the finisher’s medal
I still find it hard to believe that I have actually completed a half marathon, all 13.1 miles of it. This time last year, I was still recovering from arch pain (i have flat feet), so I couldn’t run for months.Back then, I thought that 6 miles was a terribly long distance to run, let alone 13.
On Sunday morning, the alarm went off at five, but I woke up feeling awake and energized which was probably due to my super early bedtime, *gasp* before 10, the night before. I had my usual breakfast of oatmeal and a banana, and then my personal chauffer, my dad, drove me off to the race. Having someone to drive you to a race really is such a blessing because you can continue getting ready on the car which is necessary for a serious procrastinator like me. By the time I got to the race site, the Taipei Expo Park where the Taipei int’l flora expo was held a few weeks back, most of the runners had already arrived and started stretching. The signs were really clear and the staff was really helpful so the bag check was really quick and painless. All too soon it was nearing 6:30, the starting time for the race. Pre race jitters were inevitable, but manageable.
The race started and ended at the Yuanshan park entrance, cutting through the Children’s Recreation Center to the Riverside Park. I vaguely heard a guy say that it was his first time at the children’s recreation center. Anyways, at the beginning, congestion was pretty bad, especially on the ramps leading up to the bridges. Soon, distances started pulling apart so it was no longer a problem. I’m a slow runner, so I knew I was going to be passed by many people at the beginning, and it seemed like every single person was going faster than I was, which they probably were. Though I didn’t have a goal pace in mind, I knew that I couldn’t go too fast at the start or I’d be winded before getting to the mid point. I put on heavy layer of sunscreen in anticipation of the blazing sun, but the weather turned out to be perfect conditions for a road race, overcast and cool, definitely a huge contrast from the burning sun on Saturday. Sometimes, the weather in Taipei is agreeable, mostly it’s just too humid, too hot or non stop raining.
Water stations were plentiful, there were about four of them, or eight since the race was to a checkpoint and back. Besides water, there were also sports drinks and bananas so I didn’t have to dig into my reserves of raisins, which is my choice fuel for long runs. For the first few miles, I felt a bit dehydrated so I drank two cups of water at the first station which was definitely a mistake which left me bloated for the next few miles. An important lesson learned: don’t drink from every water station. The riverside view was quite beautiful and I even caught a glimpse of a dragon boat race. Speaking of which, dragon boat festival is coming up which means zongzi(粽子) galore. Yummy!