Circumstances having conspired to make a Sunday trail run difficult, I gave up on the notion of a Sunday road run around my local area in favour of a longer than normal Monday lunchtime run down to the High Junk Peak trail and back. At the time, it didn't seem like a bad compromise, but it retrospect, it seems like those conspiring circumstances were quite malicious!
Early Monday morning seemed warmer than normal, but I had my Nathan X-mutation water bottle belt, so I wasn't worried. It was very sunny by late morning and the temperature was quickly rising, but all I thought was that it was good conditions to test my new sunnies.
At lunchtime I was running a little late, but let people know where I was headed, got ready and headed out on my run.
A cool gate at one of the mansions overlooking the island littered coastline. Bright sun and blue sky apparent!!
On a side not, I find it interesting that sunglasses have managed to earn both the nicknames "sunnies" and "shades", considering these are the fairly opposite parts of a sunny day!
A beautifully coloured moth/butterfly lays in ruin on the sidewalk. Little did I know I was soon to join him!
High Junk Peak looms in the distance as I struggle along the outgoing road section of the route
What I guess was once a straight paint line along these bricks is now a delightful abstract pattern
The initial trail section is relatively shaded... pity it's up a long (but runnable) hill. Well... normally runnable anyway, only 5km in and I was working hard here, already resorting to a little walking up the steep staired sections
The weaving and at times quite rocky trail
Running along the rockier sections of the trail got me thinking. Perhaps it's all the thinking I have to do on the trail that I enjoy so much. In the same way that a large part of enjoying climbing is, for me, about solving physical problems, running trails at anything above a crawl requires quick reflexes, planning foot falls in advance, and executing without looking (because you're busy with future footfalls!). All this while trying to manage exhaustion, pain, heat (and keep half an eye out for snakes!) is an involving task, and one that I thoroughly relish. (Not even "despite", but, in part, because of the exhaustion, pain, challenge, etc)
Bright sun and slightly hazy conditions (the haze can be much worse than this!) out towards the islands
The message that I deliver now may be quite different from the one I would have written directly after this run, as it was around this time the heat was wearing on, my water was running low and I was beginning to ration it and I started to feel a bit weak and light headed.
Beautiful vistas abound (and I was quite thankful for the chance to rest while capturing them)
As I was running along, I heard a rustling in the bushes just to the side of the track, and decided to stop and check it out, as I normally do, half expecting to see another lizard, but to my surprise, I found a fairly fat toad! My surprise, of course, was borne of the fact that the sun was beating down, it was becoming quite hot, and I didn't think there were many water sources around nearby (I mean, how did he even get there?). Anyway, he stood perfectly still as I fussed with my belt and whipped out my camera, but just as I powered it on and went to shoot he hopped deep into some dry grass, disappearing from view. Screw you, I thought, I'm going to shoot a photo here anyway, so went ahead and took a couple of frames of this flower. Thus, I now have a picture of a flower where there should be a picture of a toad.
Incidentally, it was also right around this time that I was strongly considering throwing the towel in. And when I say "strongly considering" I mean I'd decided to take a bus back to work but went ahead and changed my mind later. So I reached the end of the trail section, and with more or less 5km of road back to HKUST and a couple of mouthfuls of water left, I decided to have a seat for a minute and think if I really wanted to throw in the towel.
If I was going to give up, I was going to was going to do so after collapsing at the roadside.
When I got to the final hill climb, I couldn't manage anything more than a trudge. I snapped this quick shot showing my Skins, Zoot Calf Sleeves and Brooks Cascadia 5s.
Finally making it up the hill, I was truely beat down and headed straight back to UST for water and a cold shower.
Something a little different here. Since I recently found some software to add GPS data to my photos (for runs that I have a GPS track for), I can now display, on the map, exactly where I took the photos! Cool, eh? Sorry for the small size, the numbers are in order of the photos above... not the km markers.
Strangely, my GPS puts this run right around 15km, but eh elevation profile is half a km short. Perhaps it's as the crow flies?
Anyway, enough from me for now.
See you out on the trails!