Running in Taiwan is an entirely different beast than running in the U.S.
In Taiwan I can run at any time of day, and while I may get some strange looks, it is safe and okay for me to do so.
In the U.S. there is way less pollution (in some spots) and the weather is cooler.
Each place has it drawbacks and advantages.
When I first got to Taiwan I told myself there would be no way I would run a significant race here because of the pollution and my breathing issues. Low and behold Nike decided to host it’s first Nike Women’s Half in Taipei and I just couldn’t resist. I also needed a way to break up the last 4 months of teaching so I found myself signing up for a half marathon in February. .
Training was really hard. Trying to plan long runs around all the traveling we do felt like an acrobatic act. Plus, I know the air quality is horrendous and there aren’t many running paths so I was all like zenme ban? But as many of you know I started posting on instagram with a really sweaty photo of me for accountability. That helped so much. The encouragement was very appreciated.
Finally the weekend arrived and I started packing.
Running culture is just now picking up in Taiwan through some really influential bloggers in Taipei, so it is interesting to be able to see that happen. Having done the Nike Women’s Half in D.C. last April I knew the pomp and circumstance that would come with the race, which makes it so much more fun.
I finally got into Taipei around 4 pm on Saturday and checked into my hotel. I felt like such a grown up having got a hotel! It’s the little things in life.
Unfortunately there was no expo, so I couldn’t spend all my money on new Nike gear. So I headed over to my favoriteeee restaurant Outback Steakhouse to get some cheap pasta.
I went back to my hotel and stretched out, took a bath, and headed to bed super early hoping to catch a few winks.
I didn’t really sleep and I woke up right at 4 AM to head to the starting line. I got to the event and was able to check in my bags, use the bathroom 4 times, and take a handful of photos with Diane and Catherine.
After using the restroom one last time I waded through thousands of enthusiastic Taiwanese women to my starting area. There were some professional….athletes? leading warm ups and so I literally felt like I was walking through a combat zone.
Finally the race started. From the begining everything felt a little off. My breathing was off and my chest felt tight. I had noticed when I got to Taipei that I was wheezing a bit more than normal (hey allergies, asthma) and so when I got to the 10k mark and my breathing hadn’t regulated and I was started to cramp in one of my legs I decided that I wasn’t going to take my race time too seriously and just try to enjoy the rest of the run.
Over all they did a great job with the race organization. There were a ton of water stations and food, and performers to entertain us while running. It was a really fun event and the weather was beautiful. After a couple hours and change I finally finished and wobbled around grabbing water and trying to recover. I finally ran into Catherine and Diane and chatted, took a few photos, and parted ways for a bit.
Later we met up for a huge brunch and feasted till we were content and then I made my way back to Taichung. It was so fun, I am really glad I did it.
However, I am really ready to run a half in America where, in theory, I won’t have as many breathing issues.