Sunday, June 27, 2010

Weekend Wetness

I did another triathlon on Saturday, at a place called Shimen Reservoir up north a ways. It was a bit of a bummer because on Wednesday night I started to come down with a cold and wound up taking a sick day on Thursday. I debated not doing the triathlon but I had plans to go up with a friend and a hotel room with a deposit I wouldn't get back so I decided to go for it.
It's been crazy rainy and thunderstormy so I was relieved that we had beautiful weather for most of the weekend. The hotel was in kind of a crazy place- we got a taxi from the High Speed Rail station and he got extremely lost- but the people were super-friendly.
The race started at 1:30 which is such an awkward time. I still wasn't feeling great and took a half-dose of cold medicine. The race went OK- I blew the swim as usual :( My poor friend, Irinka- I asked her to count the women who came out of the water before me, thinking I might not blow it this time, and I came out and she was like "34!" ha. Now I'm not a bad swimmer in the pool but the combination of adrenaline, people all around me, and very cold lake water just takes my breath away. I had wanted to go in the water beforehand to get used to it but they wouldn't let me, oh well. I did swim in the lake for a while afterward just to practice and convince myself someday I'll be able to do this, and I had no problem, even going a little faster than my slowest speed. If I could ever practice swimming in a lake it would be different but there is almost no where to swim in Taiwan. Even the places where we have triathlons don't usually have beaches- you can only swim on the triathlon day. Many Taiwanese think ghosts live in the water so there's not the same beach atmosphere there is back home.
But I passed about 10 women between the run up to the bikes and actually getting on my bike and leaving the transition area, and about 10 more on the bike. My stomach wasn't feeling so great, which was a first for me during a race, but I think it was just all the cold junk I was breathing in, plus the heat. I wasn't too happy with my run either- a few women passed me and I just couldn't keep up. Anytime I'd try to go faster my stomach would refuse. So it goes. Don't know what my performance was overall but I think I might have stayed in the top 1/3 overall. I figured if my swim and run were great there was a chance at me getting 5th place but of course that's a big if!
One awesome thing was that they were handing out watermelon afterwards! It was funny because Irinka asked if I was hungry and I said no, my stomach isn't doing well, but then when I saw the watermelon I was like, "That's the only food I could keep down right now!" I couldn't even handle water. Anyways, we went back to the hotel, went for a little walk on a path in the woods but it was so crazy hot and humid, then had dinner and some beer on a nice patio with a view.
Sunday we got to do some hiking. There turned out to be some pretty nice trails near the hotel. At first they were just roads with lots of stands and karaoke machines but then it became an actual path- not just stairs, which is kind of a novelty- and had some beautiful views. But it was crazy hot and humid. I had sweat pooling on my arms- like forming droplets that didn't go anywhere. Happily near the top there was a place with ice cream and cold drinks. The way down was easier of course but my clothing was pretty much soaked through when we got back to the hotel.
We got back just before it started pouring, although I couldn't have gotten much wetter. We got packed up quickly and took a taxi back to the rail station. This driver knew where he was going but seemed pretty eager to find himself a wife on our ride- poor Irinka was up front with him and he kept telling her she could come back and he'd be her personal tour guide, that she needs to get married soon, and how much money he makes from his army pension. Being the good friend I am I just laughed the whole time but he was not deterred.
I rode the regular train back from the high speed rail station- the regular train is so dumb about bikes, you can take them on the "local" trains that stop at every stop but not on the faster ones unless you go through some process that's inscrutable even to my Taiwanese friends and most of the railroad employees- so that was that. Although I balanced my bike on top of my rolling carry-on it was still wicked hot and humid and I wound up pretty much sweating through another shirt.
I had been thinking that I'm used to the Taiwan heat now but now I think it's just been unusually cool this year.

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