I have not participated in a road race for a long time. Instead, I have been running in the mountains. But as the weather gets better (cooler) there is no need to keep hiding in the tropical forest anymore - we can hit the highway once again.
Since the race was scheduled to begin rather early, at 6 AM, I checked into a hostel on Saturday night. It was a nice and clean hostel near Longshan temple. For some reason, it was pretty full which means it is rather popular among local youth. The problem is that they have been arriving into the room (with their luggage) during entire night starting from midnight, one person at a time with an interval of about 30 minutes. It looked as if the day and night were swapped - lots of people wandering around during night. That deprived me of sleep for almost entire night, even though I was finally able to nap during early morning hours. But the most surprising thing was that somebody just arrived into hostel at the time when I was leaving - at around 5AM.
Another funny thing that I noticed in this hostel was a mirrored shower. Yes this is truth - a full-length mirror in the shower! I am loving it (for the record: I did not take shower there).
Still, I woke up in rather cheerful mood. I anticipated this run as a rather easy one. Only 11 km on a highway - what can be simpler? But this race taught me this old lesson once again: never under-estimate the effort you are going to undertake! This morning the biggest problem was heat and humidity. During the last few days a heat wave has struck Taiwan, with temperatures over 30 centigrade during the night, and humidity around 70%. In this kind of weather I can run slowly, but if I am to run fast then I will suffer. As you can see on the pictures below I was very tired at the finish. Indeed, running under 5 minutes per kilometer for an hour will make you feel overheated.
The race was designed as recreational one. No timing chip attached to your leg, no medal at the finish line. Only 1 water station with just pure water. And there were no toilets along the road! What was I supposed to do if I needed it on a highway? There is no place to hide. Take off my pants in front of the fellow runners? What I miserable feeling, I guess.
But I was lucky. I made it through without toilet, and my finish time was less than 1 hour, namely 58 minutes 28 seconds. For some reason, I felt more tired than after a 5-hour race through mountains. Even though I keep telling myself not to run fast, once the race begins I cannot help from competing with people around me. When people run together they run as one big creature and re-energize each other along the way. And this is really fun, despite the heat wave and high humidity.