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Story of starting hiking and running by Tak

Episode 1:
It started 5 years ago.

I was far from being a healthy person; I didn’t exercise for god knows how long. It was an eye opener when I did a 20km hike with people who were all older than me. I was desperate to complete the hike while others seemed enjoying it. I was complaining why I was even there to suffer like that. However, the reality of me being completely out of shape was obvious.

I was constantly tired and ate more than I needed. What was worse was I did not use the calories I took in. I felt I really needed to do something to get out of this lifestyle as quickly as possible. This was the start of my trail running journey.

Firstly, I needed to have my target and decided to participate in the race called Oxfam Trailwalker (OTW) where teams of 4 complete the 100km MacLehose Trail. The race took place in middle of November. Back then, it seemed it was mission impossible. Fortunately, there were people there to support me. Not knowing exactly how it would turn out to be, I determined to do regular hikes to prepare myself for the race. It turned out to be the journey of a lifetime.

To start it off, I wanted to see where I was in terms of physical and mental strength. I joined the Green Power race, the full Hong Kong Trail distance of about 46km. The route is from The Victoria Peak to The Big Wave Bay. It was around the end of January 2016 and with thoughts of giving up in my head flying around I completed it sub 11 hours.

Below is the beautiful view of a part of the MacLehose trail.

Episode 2:
Trying to form a team of 4 was a challenge in itself since it is better to have members with similar speeds and at least one experienced hiker. Also, it was not easy to train all four of us together with various reasons such as working schedules, personal engagement etc. Somehow, I thought we needed to have training together to get to know each other too, but that did not happen until near to the race. Therefore, each of us trained on our own or sometimes with different combinations of members (all in all I did something like 20km per week training). Unfortunately, at the very last minute, one of our teammates dropped out and we had to fill the spot very quickly. However, we were very lucky to have found a young and experienced person to join in our team. Everyone is younger and obviously I was the laggard. Finally, we got a team went into final phase of training before facing the race.

There are rules we set for this race, including but not limited to, not to run the first stage (it is a flat road of 10km, because you want to save energy for the remaining 90km), stick together (it is a team work and you need to go through each checkpoint together). These rules are at least in my mind but alas, they were not followed. We ran the first stage, two of us went ahead, ….and I started to have a muscle cramps (pretty bad ones) after about 15km going into the race. I was telling myself how the heck am I going to be able to complete next 85km!

The muscle cramps seemed to decide to stick around and I was at a loss and helpless. A lady runner who seems very experienced approached me and asked me what was wrong and offered me a salt tablet by saying it should work. The cramps were spreading fast from both calves to front and back of thighs and even reached bottoms. I needed anything to cure it to be able to move forward again…… continued

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