Tag Archives: Adventure

MoonTrekker 2012: A step towards my 2013 objectives

17 Jan

MoonTrekker happened three months ago but I have not gotten the chance or time to go over and share my story. With a new job that started one week after the event (happy dance!), I ended up focusing much more on my new workload than on the blog. But now, with almost three months into my new position and a few weeks of holiday in my hometown of Quebec, I have had time to regroup and put my thoughts into words.

I had initially planned on preparing a well-detailed race report with pictures and crunchy details. However, with this unfortunate three months delay, the anecdotes faded out. Preparing a race report was turning out to be a chore rather than a fun blogging experience, so I took some time off and decided to just sit back and get inspired by what this ambitious challenge had been like.

As expected, MoonTrekker ended up being an amazing experience for me. I loved every single part of it. From the moment I bought my energy gels for the night, until my hot shower on the Sunday morning before climbing into bed and getting some well-deserved rest. Here are some of the lows and highs we experienced:

My lows:

  • Seeing two of my teammates suffering from hip and knee injuries. Kudos to both of them for not giving up and finishing up the race in a more than impressive time.
  • Feeling as if that last 2km on concrete was never going to end. Feeling so close yet so far from the finish line…
  • Sitting on the floor of the MTR on my way home, dreaming of a hot shower and a delicious breakfast. Bacon had been on my mind since at least 4am!

My highs:

  • Feeling in top shape during and after the race. All these early morning hikes and late ascents of Lion Rock had paid off.
  • Eating some delicious pumpkin soup at CP3. Speaking of checkpoints, I have to add that all the MoonTrekker volunteers truly outdid themselves. They definitely made each checkpoint a relaxing and very enjoyable place to rest.
  • Reaching Lantau Peak earlier than expected. I had assumed that we were going to witness the sunrise from the top of the peak but ended up there at 5am. It was cold and windy so we decided to just head back down right away. On the way down, it was great to see Lantau Island slowly waking up. It gave us the unique opportunity to see the cavorting colors in the sky from the rising morning sun, combined with the contestants’ headlights piercing through the skyline, almost like a little light show.

Lantau Peak in the morning

Lantau Island waking up

Sunrise over Cheung Sha beach

After witnessing such a beautiful sunrise, we attempted to run (read fast walk) down to the finish line. We hugged. Some of us laughed, some of us cried… We quickly ate a more-than-average hot dog and then we went home. What did I do that weekend? I slept, I ate, I relaxed. It was simple but was much needed. It was finally over.

And now? What happens afterwards? What are my plans post-MoonTrekker? What do I have in mind for 2013? Well, I do have many ideas and objectives for the coming year… I definitely want to become more involved in similar events: trail running, hiking, mountain biking. And I will. Here is a quick overview:

First of all, I want to help. After MoonTrekker, I started to volunteer at a few outdoors events and races in Hong Kong. I was so impressed by the volunteers’ work ethic and passion. For example, in Moontrekker, they supported us all night. And I mean all night, in the October cold (HK standards of course! I’m from Quebec after all). Without them, the experience would have been totally different. So I want to help out as well. Thus, it is a good way for me to understand better how races work. This coming weekend, I will be volunteering for the Vibram Hong Kong 100, one of the most intense events in Hong Kong in my opinion. I look forward to it.

Secondly, I want to race. I want to get better at running so I registered for my next event, the Hong Kong Standard Chartered half-marathon. It’s not on the trails but it will definitely be a good way to test my running endurance. It will take place at the end of February. I must admit that I am slightly nervous, having never run such distance before. But I like challenges.

Finally, I want to join a trail running club and improve my running skills while training with like-minded passionate people. It does intimidate me but it will be good for me and will push me. There are so many trails to discover out there and I think I need some partners in crime.

In a nutshell, my objective for 2013 is to keep exploring Hong Kong (and some other regions of South-East Asia) on my two feet, whether it is by volunteering at races, racing, or training for these specific events. Who doesn’t love a little adventure every now and then? While training for MoonTrekker, I really got the opportunity to explore fascinating parts of Lantau Island that definitely evoked memories from my past outdoor adventures abroad. While volunteering at a few events over the past few weeks, I discovered new trails that I am quite curious to tackle. After my half-marathon in February, I have some new projects in mind. A little too early to disclose, but I have ideas….

Since the event, I have been back on the trails only once when a former Moonshine team member and I hit Lion Rock one night after work. I have been running a lot, but on concrete more than anything else. Writing this post is giving me the hitch nonetheless. It is time to plan my next visit to the mountains. I am back from cold, artic Canada and ready to hit the trails this season!

 

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Aiming for the moon… and for the sunrise

22 Jul

“Aiming for the moon and missing it is better than aiming for the ditch and hitting it” -Unknown

That’s what I told myself when I decided to register for a 40km adventure night race in Hong Kong. The first time I heard about the MoonTrekker event, I was chilling on a junk boat with friends while working on my tan. Living the glamorous HK life! I had recently moved to the city and was enjoying my new life in Asia with style.  I still didn’t know about all the hiking opportunities that Hong Kong presented and I was definitely unaware that the city hosted such adventurous racing events.

MoonTrekker immediately intrigued me… I liked the name (slightly mystical) and I was attracted by the idea of racing through the mountainous trails of Lantau island under the moonlight. Starting in Mui Wo and finishing at Cheung Sha Beach, the objective of the race was to reach the end before sunrise. How exciting it must be! That same night, I tried to register for MoonTrekker. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for me since I had not done any training), the organizers weren’t accepting any more participants, as it was too close to the event’s date.  My registration attempt and hopes were shattered. Instead of being discouraged, I was determined to register for the 2012 edition. And that’s what I did at the beginning of May this year, along with three other highly motivated girlfriends. Team Moonshine was born and the training begun…

Preparing for this kind of adventure race is such a great way to explore the many trails the region has to offer. During our training sessions, Hong Kong’s abundance of lush green valleys and the limitless blue ocean often blow me away. This island is truly stunning but tourists and visitors don’t often get a chance to see this.

View from Dragon's Back, a famous hike in Hong Kong

View from Dragon’s Back trail, a famous hike in Hong Kong

As it will be our first time participating in an event of this magnitude, we don’t want to put too much pressure on our shoulders. We just want to finish. There are some hardcore athletes racing in this event every year and as I looked at the results from 2011, I momentarily second guessed my decision to participate. But then I decided not to stress about it. We are four fit, enthusiastic girls and we will train hard. We will aim for the moon. And try to make it to the end before sunrise.

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