Last Sunday I ran 18km which is less than a half-marathon. The result is rather mediocre – it took me 3 hours and 41 minutes to do that. So why so long? The answer is – it was a run in the mountains. And after few days of rains. As the above image suggests, we were sliding in the mud. It was actually kind of fun, it reminded me of downhill skiing I used to enjoy in Finland so much! So in fact I thought that this way of going down the hill is the Taiwanese equivalent of downhill skiing.
But first things first. On Saturday evening I arrived to JV’s hostel which is located 10 minute walking distance from Taipei 101. Still, this is one of the cheapest places to stay in Taipei costing around 10 USD per night. The price/quality ratio is superb! Of course, I had to spend a night in a room for 10 people, but you know, I really don’t care as I had to wake up 4 AM the next morning.
I left the hostel at around 5 AM and then the rain began! What an unexpected trouble! I thought that our race would get delayed or even cancelled. Luckily, the rain stopped almost immediately. The race is called EzFun. The start/finish line is located just a few kilometers east of Taipei 101. Taipei is a very interesting city: it is surrounded by mountains, so it takes only 10-20 minutes by walking to get from downtown to a nice mountain trail. This run included 4 steep climbs to the height of 300m.
Going up and down, up and down… After 1st climb I felt OK, after 2nd I was a bit tired but it was still OK, after 3rd climb I felt really tired, but I still could run. When we approached the 4th climb, after the previous 15km of climbing, I thought I could climb no more. But… There was no way back. So, I had to climb it no matter what. I had to use every single muscle to get on top of that mountain. Some people actullay used their hands. By looking at those people I reallized that our predecessors were using 4 legs for a good reason – when you have to climb a lot doing so with 4 legs is naturally easier than with only 2 legs.
Overall, I noticed that I could go uphill a lot faster than downhill. The problem was that while going down I was afraid of slipping and tipping over, and I was carrying my iPhone in my back pocket. So I had to choose: arrive at finish line with good result but with smashed iPhone or arrive with a slightly worse result but with your iPhone intact. I chose the latter. There are so many trails on those mountains. Some of them are without any paving, while others have concrete steps or wooden ladders. At each intersection there was an arrow pointing where to go or some staff doing the same.
Overall, the race was very well organized. Except one place where everybody got lost. People in front told me that they spent 10 minutes running up and down trying to find directions but they could not. They asked staff, but they did not know either. They spent another 10 minutes discussing the issue over the phone. Finally, one of the members of staff led the pack in the direction he thought was the right one, but he was mistaken! After another 10 minutes of running around we were able to find the right trail.
We finished this race all covered by mud, from top to bottom. I received my medal and certificate of completion. My iPhone was not damaged and I was able to take a few nice pics along the way, such as this one. I wish I had better camera with me.
I went back to hostel to take shower. I felt really happy that I didn’t fall somewhere off the cliff. I think the organizers and those who participate in such kind of events are really brave (or maybe crazy) people! I amdire them. Good job, guys! This race reminded me of time spent in summer camps during highschool. We also had such sporitng events after which I felt totally exhausted. Today I woke up and reallized that every single muscle hurts.. Ouch, I can barely climb the stairs. But you know – in exchange for this pain I had another great feeling – I feel 15 years younger now.