Thursday, December 27, 2007

Running in Hong Kong vs Running in Dongguan

Yesterday was a very pleasant "Tempo Run" of 9k, done at moderately hard effort. My Polar strangely stopped reporting "reasonable" levels of heart rate right in the middle of the effort (grrr), so I went on by feeling, trying always to push at a level where I could say to myself: you can go on like this for another half hour. I did come out a 31'54", a very respectable 3'33"/k (5'42"/Mile), with HR most likely in the low 170s (judging from the effort).

Anyway the purpose of the post was mainly to illustrate the feeling of the incredible difference between running in Dongguan vs Hong Kong.

- get up from home at 5.45am, the road is not lit
- cross the town center, paying attention to the motorcycles that normally does not switch on the headlamps (...most likely, lights stopped working 2 days after first use)
- from start to end, pay attention to the pit-holes in the road and especially to the covers of drainage system (many are stolen during the night to be sold as scrap metal)
- pass nearby the local "wet food market" and judging from the smell coming out, the hygiene must be quite optional inside...
- take the large new avenue, pay attention to barbed-wire fences. It is still bloody dark.... run slowly to see my steps
- reach my usual training loop of 4km, in a quiet new residential area. Pay always attention to the scarce traffic and the missing drainage covers. Avoid some trash thrown on the road.
- Landscape: industrial buildings, residential building
- Mental effort: tough, I am glad to be back home

- out from home at 5.45am. It is still dark, but the roads are clearly lit
- short jog from home to reach the Shatin-Taipo/MaOnShan cycle path. The whole path is along the ShingMun River and Tolo Harbour. It is lit 24hours and far from any traffic. All together, you have a 40km+ network of seaside cycle track.
- run along the fence of the "Horse Race Course", horses are already training. They always train very early in the morning, I guess that to be a good jockey you must be a real "Early bird"
- the path is also marked every Km, since it is the venue of several races.
- I run along the seaside, with a good morning breeze coming from the sea. It is very quiet, few cyclist or runner can be met so early.
- I can run for 10/15 km in one direction and than back home, complete mental relaxation.
- Landscape: Sea on one side, mountains on the other side.
- Mental effort: low, just let the mind float to enjoy the pleasure of feeling fit.

The result: is that at the same effort "easy run" (70%to 75% HRmax), in Dongguan I struggle to make 12/15km at 4'20", while in Hong Kong I could on for 25/30km easy at 4'10" !!!

One day I will post some pics for more evidence...

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