The Run – Wings for Life World Run 2016, Yilan (Taiwan)

And the Wings for Life World Run 2016 is finally over! Almost 90,000 people all across the globe ran at the same time and for the same cause. They ran without a finish line and I am sure, all of them had their targets in mind. And so did I! With just a month of training, my primary target was to make it at least 15k and to make it as much as close to 20k.

With my running destination as Yilan, I was running alongside 4400+ runners. This was the second and till date, the biggest race of my life. The race was scheduled to start at 7 PM. I managed to reach the venue at 2 PM and made a couple of friends to help me out with the formalities before the race. The environment was great, people were happy, enthusiastic and excited! There were a lot of performances to boost the energy of every single runner. I am pretty sure that I and my friend Jerry explored almost everything out there! People were gradually showing up until 5 PM and by that time, the stadium was full with the view of fluorescent green running T-shirts. At around 6.15, we started for our warm-ups. People could be seen jogging and running around the track as part of their rituals. Some were stretching, doing yoga and we were no different. Even in a crowd of all strangers, I was no alien to them and we all were getting ready to hit it up for the main event.

The clock was about to hit the mark of 7 PM and the countdown had already begun. I thought to myself, I had prepared enough, I just have to do what I have learnt during my entire training. To run, and to run until I can. This race was supposed to be the combination of all the key elements of running that I had focused on during my training – stamina, speed and strength. There was no room for me to doubt on my abilities and therefore I was pretty confident about what might happen.And therefore, I knew my limits too. Because I would like to stay in the race for as long as I can.

Three.. Two.. One!

And it started. All the runners around the world started making their way out in the middle. Some wanted to take the lead which they are allowed in the first thirty minutes and some wanted to maintain their regular pace. On a day before, I did a 30-minute comfortable yet slightly challenging run so as to see where I could make it in the first thirty minutes and my target was the same. Around 5.5k. Because of the presence of thousand of runners, it took me a bit of time to get myself fueled up at my regular pace but on the other side, it was a good warm up to go slightly slower for the first couple of minutes. I skipped the first refreshment station which was at 3k because I knew the next one was at 5.5k and I could easily maintain my running form until then so I won’t need any water or Red bull (sponsor). For the next 10 minutes or so, I kept running and I hit the refreshment station where I managed to get two cups of water and drank them while running because the thirty minute mark was not yet over. I almost made it 5.65k in the beginning and that’s when the catcher car started. That’s when this moving finish line started. My goal was then to make myself to the mark of 15k. Catcher car reaches 15k in ninety minutes, so from that I can estimate that how much I am leading and how much can I lead further.

I had already picked up my usual pace, close to 5 min/km. I was getting continuous feedback from the Nike App that I have on my cellphone about the time, distance and my pace. It really helps in such races to keep a track of your speed because you do not have “infinite” time with you. I kept on running, gradually passing by some slower runners, being thrashed by runners who were pacing up. Six, seven, eight, nine, ten. I hit the 10k mark in around 54 minutes. At that time, I was thinking may be I could had run more faster at the beginning of race where I crawled with other runners.I gulped down two cups of water and a cup of red bull at this station.

And then came the hardest part for me. The next five kilometers. Not because of the distance, but because of the unavailability of the water on the way. I used to drink water every 2-3k on the day on my long runs. The reason being that I sweat a lot and I need to have a good intake of water to cope up with that. And the 5k desert lying ahead of me was indeed a big problem. I maintained my pace at the first and felt it trembling near the end. With every kilometer passing by, I was hoping to make it as fast as I can to the refreshment station because that was really necessary for me to stay in the race.

Finally! 15k!Almost 82 minutes. Catcher car was just 8 minutes behind me and after that, it would speed up a bit to gain even more on my back! I was a bit dizzy at that moment. Supporting myself against the pole, I gulped down three cups of water and one red bull with some apples. I stopped for a while and walked down some distance so as to make it OK for me to run the next part i.e. my second target, to run as much as possible!

I started back again. My next target was to hit the refreshment station at 17.5k because that would mark my half success towards my last target. It was getting a bit difficult to continue to maintain the same pace but I was not the one to give up at that point. I dragged my body along. I knew that the catcher car would catch me up in sometime no matter if I am running or not.Undoubtedly, I was not running at the previous pace at which I ran the last parts of race! But I was certainly avoiding to jog right there on the track. I was pulling out every bit of strength I had left inside of me and I got to the refreshment station. An awesome feeling! No more red bulls, just a cup of water because catcher car was already on my shoulders by then. My mobile shouted “17.9 kilometers…..” and I did not care to listen to the rest and I gave my race the last boost, the last drop of fuel I had in me and sprinted for at least a minute with whatever I had until the catcher car passed me by. And that was my finish line. 18.24 kilometers!

I was extremely happy that I made it so far in my first edition of WFLWR and I am sure that I would be giving it all to beat this distance next time. I have pulled this from my phone to share with you about my timings, distance and the pace:

2016 May 12 19-31-19


Day Three: Yehliu Geopark

(Read it on MultiEMOtions Android App)

This is the last day of our trip. After the morning hike, as we reached hostel, luckily other people were planning to go to Yehliu too and we caught up along with them. We left the hostel around 10.30 AM and grabbed some breakfast and took the bus to go to Keelung. Here is the detailed journey:

After we were finished with Yehliu, we thought that we could spare some time to go to Tamsui (Danshu), but the bus took around 1.5 hours to get there and it was already quite dark. So, rightaway we took MRT from Tamsui to Taipei and got back to Hsinchu.

Day Three: Tai’An Waterfall

This is the next morning. Luckily I got enough rest at night and unluckily, I overslept. I wanted to wake up before 6 to go to this nearby mild hiking place where we have read a signboard of a waterfall. Anyway, we woke up around 6 .30 and quickly prepared ourselves to go to this little destination instead of wasting a pretty morning on bed.

For me as a tiny traveller, I prefer to do something specially in the morning time. This place was near to the hostel we were staying in. It has a pretty scenic view with a peace and solitude offering environment in the early morning.

Night Two: Keelung Night Market

We are now in a bus from Heping Island and heading towards Keelung Night Market (Cheelung Ye Shi would be the name in Chinese if you wanna ask somebody). I was pretty hungry by now as I had not had anything in my lunch because I was roaming and wandering all over. Night market is a perfect place to feed yourself 😀

This market is not as big as you would expect but it has a lot of foods and things for you. I have always loved that many different variety of food, activities are maintained in Taiwanese night markets no matter it is big or small. This night market ends our tiring day and we headed back to our hostel. Because I had planned to go to a nearby waterfall for mild hiking and to see the beautiful morning.

Day Two: Heping Island (Heping Dao)

(Read it on MultiEMOtions Android App)

We left Yilan around 1PM to get into the train from Yilan to Qidu where our next hostel was located. I would really love to mention about this hostel first of all. Amy and Ann (staff) were extremely friendly and resourceful. They told about every nearby destination and what should be taken care of during our visit. We reached Qidu around 2.30PM and Ann was there to pick us. After taking a little rest, we set on our next destination, Heping Island. It is not really an island if you are thinking that way, it is connected with Keelung city by a bridge of around 100m in length. Since we had Chinese people with us, we did not bother to ask people about the bus numbers. We take bus 402 from Qidu to Keelung and bus 101 from Keelung to Heping Dao (Chinese name of Heping Island) as I remember. From the bus stop, after walking for some distance, we were at the main gate of Heping Dao. Students can have discounted tickets of 40NTD while the regular ticket costs 60NTD.

As the clock hit 6PM, we were already outside this park. I guess this is the thing about Taiwan. It has some places extremely close to nature where you can find some time for yourself in solitude. I would highly recommend this place to go at afternoon till the evening. I am pretty sure that these pictures could convince you more than my words.

Guess what could be our next stop if it is almost night now? NIGHT MARKET! Let’s go.

Day Two: Su’ao Cold Water Spring

Taiwan has a lot of hot springs but when it comes to cold springs, there are only two of them in this WORLD. Correct me if I am wrong. One of them is in Europe while the other one is on the little island. Since I was in Yilan county, by no chance I could have missed this opportunity to go to such a unique place. Next morning, we headed to Su’ao (Yes the name is Su’ao cold spring) from Yilan train station and the journey was merely half an hour.

To sum it all, it is a decent place to go and have some time to relax in really cold water. Private pool is good enough for two people at a time while public pools are cleaner than you can think of. It could be an ideal family place as it maintains a sweet serenity inside. We spent around two and a half hour in this place till we were all fully satisfied and headed on to eat something. This was my journey of two days and one night in Yilan: Fulong, Luodong and Su’ao. My next stop from Yilan was Keelung about which I am gonna post in a while.

Night One: Luodong Night Market

Taiwan is very famous for it’s night markets. Last time, when I was in Taipei, I got to see many of the night markets of Taipei. Luodong on the other hand is famous for it’s night market in Yilan county. This market was BIG and we did not had enough time to go through it all because out hostel needed us to come back before 11PM. It takes around just 15 minutes from Yilan to reach Luodong by train however check the train schedule before buying tickets.

We spend around one or one and half an hour inside this market and bring a pleasant end to a pleasant day. If you do like night markets, I recommend this market highly if you are around this area. I still wanna go there and keep eating till I become a pig LOL.