Sunday, September 13, 2009


Well, we both did it!  I got to the hotel around 10 on Friday night.  It was pretty far from the train station but not too far from the triathlon venue- about 3.5 km, all down hill.  Which was nice on the way there…  I rode the train, then took a taxi which was only a tad harrowing (the driver had a little TV next to him that was playing Taiwanese soap operas).

Here we are at the hotel in the morning before we started:ilan triathlon 001

And don’t laugh at our bikes until you read the rest of this!

We got our extremely Taiwanese breakfast at the hotel then headed down.  The triathlon didn’t start until 1 but we had to sign in and weren’t sure when all that would take place, plus we’d woken up early so we left the hotel around 8:30. 

We saw the lake about halfway down- look how far we had to ilan triathlon 002 swim!  (750 meters).  We got there pretty early, got signed in before we could even set up our stuff in the transition area, and sat under a tree for a good long while, and spent a lot of time asking people what the heck was going on.  At one point early on Janelle (who signed us up) said “It’s actually really well organized” and I said, “I have to disagree.”  Actually it wasn’t bad; it was just nerve-racking not really knowing when and where we had to be because we never got any registration info in the mail.  We hung out at a restaurant for a while then came back and set up.

Eventually it was time to start.  We were in the first wave of 120 people- there were 5 more following at 3-minute intervals.  I actually have gotten good and confident with freestyle swimming over the last few weeks- I swam 1500 meters straight!- but I got in the water and couldn’t see my hand in front of my face and freaked out and did stupid backstroke the whole way.  After a few minutes I stopped cursing myself and just got it done.  People from the next waves kept passing me and there weren’t a ton of people left in the water when I got out.  (Later, Janelle told me a lot of people turned around pretty soon.  Seriously?  Also a lot of people had flotation devices which were apparently allowed?!?)

I jogged up to the transition area and quickly got my stuff together for the bike- it was hot and I’d covered up my water bottles with a t-shirt, smart, eh?- and was a little worried to see Janelle’s bike still there as it was about 1:30 when I got on the bike.  I took off and it was such a great bike course.  Quite flat with just some slight grades and I flew.  I passed people on super-fancy road bikes and people on non-fancy regular bikes.  A few people passed me but not many.  I had to force myself to slow down to drink and eat some gumdrops, and I didn’t let my heart-rate get too high, but I averaged 27 kph- about 17 mph- almost 19 km in less than 45 minutes.  There were tons of volunteers cheering and directing traffic- I didn’t have to stop at all for traffic- that was awesome.

I got into transition after one (older, extremely fit) female foreigner but left before her and started running at what felt like a decent pace.  There were a lot of walkers and I felt pretty good, jogged at a pace I could maintain.  It was 2 laps around the lovely lake- lots of shade- and as I was on my 2nd lap, I passed Janelle on her first.  I forced her to jog with me a little (I wanted to encourage her, but I didn’t want to walk), then took off.  As I jogged away I shouted back that it was 2 laps around the lake, not 1 (we didn’t know either way before we started)- I know she was disappointed then, but it would’ve killed her to think she was done and still had another lap.

The 2nd lap went great- I kept up the pace, kicked it up a notch a couple of times when I had annoying guys breathing down my neck (why would you run half a foot behind me?) and reeled a couple of people in I’d been watching the whole time.  I kicked it up towards the end and ran pretty fast through the finish, for a 5k around 26 minutes!  So the swim was slower than I wanted and the bike and run well exceeded my expectations.  I got my bottle of water and headed back out to wait for Janelle and cheer on lots of other people, doing the Chinese “Jia-you!”  A videographer came up and started to film me- he was like, keep saying jia-you!- and than was awkward but then Janelle came and I ran a bit of the way with her.  She did so good.  Overall she finished in around 2 hours and I did about 1 hr 40 min- I think- the times posted online seem to have added an hour to our overall time?  I know it didn’t take me 2 hours 40 minutes!

ilan triathlon 003

Here we are afterwards, a little worse for the wear…

We piddled around a while, then walked around the lake to burn off some lactic acid.  It was pleasant and we cheered on some late finishers as we went- it was funny, they were all jogging at a good pace.  We cheered and told them they looked great- but the one poor girls said “I think I’ll die soon!” (Chinese of course but poor thing.)  We wound up circling the lake and it was quite pleasant.  By then it was about 4:30 and we found out we’d have to wait until almost 6 for awards and then a free meal.  I wanted to get an award but Janelle just wanted to get a shower (and I kind of did, too).  Of course our hotel was straight up the mountain and we knew we wouldn’t be coming back.  We asked and they said there would be awards for the top 10 foreign women but if we weren’t there to get them they’d send them so we left.  I did kind of want my podium moment but oh well.  We think there were about 8 westerners but of course we couldn’t tell if there were Asian foreigners so maybe we still didn’t place.  I’m pretty low down on the list that’s online (and Janelle is last) but our times are an hour too long and I don’t know how many other foreigners’ are too long.  Weird but oh well.  We’re both happy with our real time and for sure lots of foreign girls beat us both. :)

The 3.5 km bike up the mountain (that picture of lake was taken from halfway up)- well, we won’t discuss that. 

We showered and ate at our hotel.  It was a pretty nice hotel and the food wasn’t bad for Taiwan food.  Not much to say about that night.

Today it wound up raining and we couldn’t do much so we started back late this morning- I rode the bus to Taipei with Janelle then got another bus the rest of the way home.  We’re neither of us too sore.  They had an Olympic-length triathlon today and we feel very sorry for the people who did that!  It was hot but lovely when we did ours.

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