Sunday, November 25, 2007

There are never "easy" wins .... you must give 100% when you wear a race number

The estate where I live in Hong Kong houses 9600 residents (10 block/40 floors/6 flat per floor). That is pretty standard in Hong Kong (do not raise your eyebrows ...). The management usually sets up several activities all year round to enliven the community (tournaments, interests classes, etc, etc). Today was the day of the annual Running Festival, where on the 1km driveway around the estate, they held a bunch of races for kids, youths, adults, families resident in the Estate.
Coming out from 3 wins in the past, I was pretty confident in another easy win of the "Male Adult" 2k race: a solid pace with the leaders and a surge in the last 500m was usually enough to earn some admiration from my neighbours. There are plenty of runner enthusiasts in the Estate, but the best of them are around 38min/10k runners, so easy prey of a very fit "BY7".

So I crawled out of bed 15 minutes before the start, slip on short/shirt/shoes and jog to the (early) 7.15am start. The plan was for a "recovery" day: warm-up, race, some cool-down to reach 8/9km easy after yesterday's long run.

At the gun, the unexpected: a young guy (probably just turned 18 and who likely raced in the Youths in the previous years) started fast, very fast. My legs were cold and heavy like marble, my Polar was showing a 3'10"/km pace (!!!) but the guy was simply pulling away. I guessed that it took me at least 600m to react from the shock and made up my mind that even if it was supposed to be an easy day, I did not like to lose my winning streak. With 1k to go, i was probably running in 3'15" (!!) and 10 seconds behind (crazy ...). I slowly gained space to him and let him ahead to cook for a while, placing a surge with 500m to go right while I was passing him.

At the end: win in 6'18" for a 2k on cobblestones !!! This for a "easy" neighborhood race ....

Legs like stone for the rest of the day ...

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