Today I participated in the Hong Kong Trailwalker. I trained very hard for it, changed my diet over the past 2 months (more veggies, hardl any meat), stopped drinking alcohol, and drastically reduced my coffee intake. I don’t think I have ever been in a better shape than I am at the moment. But it seems it all did not help, because I had to pull out of the race after 52 kilometers.
The day started off well, we were early at registration and were at the front of the starting grid when the Trailwalker started at 9 AM. The weather was nice, but soon it got very hot. Official temperatures were around 30 degrees and it was very humid. Not the kind of weather I like for a long-distance run. I drank huge amounts of water and sports drink in order to stay hydrated, and also took regular salt tablets.
The heat was not just killing for me, at the second mountain already lots of people had difficulties to continue. It was so hot there, there was no shadow and no wind. To me it felt like over 40 degrees during the climb. Later in the day there were some clouds, but not enough to cool off the heat. My body felt like it was boiling during the first two sections.
Section three was a bit cooler, but because it’s quite steep it was not an easy one. My dad ran with me and he even carried my backpack. The section was OK, but not as good as I’d hoped. Marcel was not feeling very well during this section, but he managed to recover in later sections.
For me the ‘man with the hammer’ hit me around 32 kilometers. Suddenly I felt very dizzy, I had a headache and felt sick. I had no idea what happened and also not why it happened. Marcel helped me a lot and he got me to the top of highest mountain in that section. But despite eating and drinking more the man with the hammer did not go away.
At CP 4 (around 45 km) I got a doctor to check me up. She could not find anything serious, but I got some painkillers and medicine against dizziness. But that did not help too much either. At around 52 km I realized it would be the most sensible thing to pull the plug. It was a very difficult decision, I normally would never give up. But after struggling for 20 km and slowing down the team considerably I realized chances that I would recover were getting smaller and smaller. I also realized that medical consequences could be considerable if I would go on for another 48 km.
It’s a pity and I feel bad for letting the team down. Even though the 2nd part is a bit easier than the first part, I don’t think I could have made it. Sorry Marcel, Dolphin and Martin! The three of them are still running while I type this, I hope they will enjoy the rest of the Trailwalker and will still be able to get a reasonable finish time. Marcel, Dolphin and Martin, I look forward to seeing you tomorrow night for dinner and drinks and hear all your stories.