Monday, August 31, 2009


This Sunday I did a duathlon, in which you run, then bike, then run. Actually for me it was more of a quintathlon as I biked about 20 km to the venue, then... well, we'll get to that part.

I got myself out of bed at 5:30 and managed to find the venue- woo-hoo! When I left my apartment it was almost 90 with a "feels like" of 97. I took it easy on the ride there, of course, and they had lots of water and shaded tents once you got there.

The first run was 5.3 km, a little more than 3 miles. I took it pretty easy pace-wise but my heart rate was quite high. It was just wicked hot. Lots of people passed me and it was tough to not go as fast as I could but you know... I had to do that run again, plus bike.

The bike was just under 30 km. It started up a couple of big hills and I started passing people like crazy. All kinds of people were walking, even in-shape-looking ones with nice bikes. After a spell it flattened out and we did several out-and-backs along realllllly ugly road- like dirt on one side and a huge wall blocking our view of an airforce base on the other. But it was fun. I wasn't going that fast but very few people passed me and I kept picking people off. I also managed to eat a little and drink a lot. Then it was a long downhill (back the way we'd come) and I managed not to get passed by too many people there either. Riding downhill is my total weakness as I am a big scaredy-cat.

Then back to the tent to drop my bike off and get ready for the run. There was an old guy- well, old for a race like that- in his 60s- who gave me a banana. I said I couldn't eat it and he was like "You need to eat! We still have to run!" So cute. The second run was another 5.3 km and it was like a death march- for almost everyone but me! I ran about the same pace as I had at first but very few people passed me and tons of people were walking. It was mostly through rice fields and a few little houses but pretty with a couple of tiny hills. There was one water stop and they also had a guy with a hose who would spray you- I took full advantage of that.

Overall, I wound up #540 out of almost 900 people, and around the middle of pack of women, I think. So I was pretty pleased. The weird thing about Taiwan is that there's not many races but the island is small enough that a serious athlete could go to every race in Taiwan. So there were some crazy-fast people there, but also plenty of regular people.

Afterwards I gave myself plenty of time to cool down as much as possible, ate a little, and had a number of inscrutable conversations about which was the road I needed to take home was. My brain doesn't totally function after an intense, long bout of exercise in the heat, either. Long story short, I went the wrong way and wound up lost in a place I've been lost before, climbed another road on the same huge hill I'd climbed in the race, knew that at the pace I was going it would be an hour before I'd be home, and then I came upon the airport. (The little Taichung airport.) With a million taxis outside. One of which I took home. Even with the ridiculous 50% airport surcharge, it was worth every penny.


jeremiah said...

hey! we were at the race watching our friend run. you may have noticed us... i think we were the only white spectators :) my wife and i are hoping to get into a few races in the next year or so. we're over at if you ever get bored. maybe we'll see you around!

Taiwan-Teacher said...

Ha! I loved during the awards ceremony how they'd say "a foreign friend," then spell out the name. So cute.