My alarm went off at 4am and one minute later, there was an earthquake. I lay there in the dark thinking, “this can’t be good.” Later, at 6am, when I was standing with the hundreds of other women watching the countdown for the Nike 10k race to begin, I turned on my Ipod and it immediately froze and would not play music. There have been better starts to runs..
Luckily, the Nike Half Marathon and 10k event was extremely well-planned and not having music wasn’t a huge bummer. After watching the sun come up over the towering 101, we were off, down Renai Rd., where all traffic was blocked. I found it somewhat meditative without music. I focused on keeping my pace, tried to not get annoyed with the huge herds that plagued the run for the first kilometer or so, and simply enjoyed a beautiful morning running through the streets of Taipei.
Photo via Nike Facebook
All of us women were wearing our matching coral Nike shirts that we’d gotten as swag and there was a sea of us, plus some randoms dudes mixed in, who were either supporting their girlfriends or just tagging along far too noticeably. I was pretty jealous of how decked out some of the women were in their running gear. I’d probably run more if I could look that cool and not like someone going in their pajamas to buy groceries. It was also awesome to see all the different ages, body types, and fitness levels taking part. I felt proud of all these fierce women who were out at the crack of dawn, getting their run on.
Somewhere around kilometer 6 (can you tell I don’t have a running watch?), we hit a hill. I was gearing up when I noticed music. IT WAS AN ORCHESTRA PLAYING ON AN EMPTY TAIWANESE FREEWAY. So absolutely cool. AND they were playing this song (start at 1:20):
It was hilarious and gave a much-needed bolt of energy to get me up the hill. At kilometer 7, I was really tired of running on this freeway with no end in sight and I was moving like a bored slug. Finally, I gave myself a pep talk that consisted of me deciding that if I ran faster, I could get off this stupid freeway and if there was anytime to push myself it was now, so I did. The last two kilometers, I tried to go as fast as I could.
Photo via Nike Facebook
I heard some American girls behind me screaming and whooping. One asked the other, “why are they all SO quiet?”
It was a fair question. The runners were totally silent. None of us cheered or yelled at each other or people on the sidelines. The water station helpers were the only ones who really seemed to have much energy for yelling, as they screamed “Jiao!!” Even when we came sprinting across the finish line, the sidelines were dead quiet. That was the weirdest part for me. I wanted a feeling of victory! Instead, I was handed a rose and a jewelry box containing my Nike necklace. Apparently, I’m dating Nike now. There were also free massages from the blind and a booth where they sprayed muscle stuff on your legs. That booth was mostly just full of chemicals in your face. The swag continued with free Snickers bars, energy drinks, and weirdly, Special K.
I ate the Snickers while stretching on the ground (Snickers after a run is not recommended. I did not feel great) and waited for the half marathon girls from Hsinchu to come in. Kera, Marie-Louise, and Kristen are bad-asses who hardly broke a sweat in their run, which they finished in a little over two hours. My 10k in a little over one hour didn’t seem as impressive in comparison. All in all, this run was a fantastic experience and it seems even an earthquake and Ipod issues couldn’t ruin it. Now to train for a half marathon!!
UPDATE: My net time was 1:05:35 and I was 490th in out of 7577. Feeling more impressive now 😀