santa run

I was a bit cynical about the Christmas Day China Hash run, but it turned out to be really enjoyable. It was a bit longer than usual (11km for the short, 13km for the long), but I suppose that makes sense as normally we’re clambering through mountain forests and yesterday was all on flat roads in central Taipei.

I’d initially been put off by the whole “dressing up” side of it, but it was really fun running through crowds at Ximending, up the steps at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, through various parks, and even 3 or 4 busy marketplaces! The Taiwanese all stared, some laughed and called out Happy Christmas, and the little kids often went crazy with excitement at the sight of dozens of locals and foreigners running past decked out in our Santa hats.

I’m the redhead dressed in red!

The sections of the run that went through parks were really pretty, and even though everyone got lost in the Botanical Gardens, to be honest it was a delight running around the labyrinth of paths and little bridges looking for flour. For most of the duration I also had the pleasure of running with another girl whose brisk pace kept me pushing hard all the way through, and we stayed well ahead for most of the run. I ended up first girl in, except that in a moment of weakness I had chosen to run the short and therefore was disqualified from that honour. I felt really good about how comfortably I ran though, so I’m very happy overall.

I still am overly aware of my ridiculous running posture. James and I used to giggle at the girls who run with their arms flopping all over the place (or worse, men who run like that too), but in fact I run better this way — my shoulders are relaxed and then my feet land very silently and I can breathe smoothly and easily. I can feel the difference, and I can see the improvement… but I still feel like an idiot, even as I am pulling away from everyone else!

Unfortunately, today I am wiped out. The combination of running over 35km in 4 days, plus last night’s fun Hanukkah party (seems like I am already friends with a third of Taipei’s Jewish community so I knew plenty of people there), meant that this morning I slept through my alarm. For over two hours. Oops. I’m taking a day off from school…

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