Running Taiwan

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.

Packing for 24 hours in Taipei.

Packing for 24 hours in Taipei. Lots of random things, like foam rollers.

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.

The main reason I rented a hotel room. BATHHHHHH.

The main reason I rented a hotel room. BATHHHHHH.

My not-so-ritzy-but-super-comfy-bed.

My not-so-ritzy-but-super-comfy-bed.

I checked into my hotel and walked towards the registration and came across the Nike billboard:) they did the same thing at the Nike store as they did in D.C., putting everyone's name on the wall.

I checked into my hotel and walked towards the registration and came across the Nike billboard:) they did the same thing at the Nike store as they did in D.C., putting everyone’s name on the wall.

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 think the bartender was a little perplexed by the fact that I was reading at the bar. #sorrynotsorry ?

I think the bartender was a little perplexed by the fact that I was reading at the bar. #sorrynotsorry ?

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.

I would say "bright and early" but it wasn't even bright yet. So, early?

I would say “bright and early” but it wasn’t even bright yet. So, early?

IMG_3592

🙂

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.

Chilling with all my friends during warm ups.

Chilling with all my friends during warm ups.

Impatiently waiting to start!

Impatiently waiting to start!

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.

Yay! we did it!

Yay! we did it!

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.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Running Taiwan

  1. Minnie Horvath says:

    Hi Celeste!

    My name is Minnie and I’m a senior at UChicago. I’m applying for a Fulbright ETA in Taiwan after graduation, and I came across your blog post when I googled “running culture in Taiwan”

    I am a runner and I’m looking to find out more about running and exercise culture in Taiwan. If there is any way you might be willing to answer a couple questions to just give me some sense of what it’s like that would be amazing!!

    Hope to hear back from you,

    Minnie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s