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My legs are out of control. Is it because of pain of just exhaustion? I’m not sure. No matter what, if I give up and get on the car, I can get to the final stop at ease and in great comfort. But if I take the car, why did I come?

6 hours has passed, I’m still sitting here on the ground with my head on my knees. The ocean wave keeps striking on the shore. The sound should be relieving, but it sounds simply noisy now. Look back the very first 20 km road today, I could still run as my wish; how come after 20km, I can only feel the pain striking me like waves one after another. Even my trekking pole cannot help. What should I do? Am I going to be DNFed? Am I going to give up? Am I here to give up? Do I want to give up?... I keep asking myself.
 

Days before the race, my new-bought UD pack finally arrived far from abroad. I was extremely excited. 16L in size, with so many pockets, I’ll be able to pack in everything I need for the race! When I got back home and had a try, the whole space was filled out right after I put in the sleeping bag. What about my cloths, mobile, powerbank…. I tried to squeeze the bag but in the end accidently put the rope apart. Nooooooooooo!!!!! I decided to go to bed first and left the mess for tomorrow.

The next day, I bought a water-proof compression bag and all kinds of ropes so I can hang my sleeping bag outside the pack. I had some trial. However, I felt the sleeping would definitely fall apart at the very beginning of the race; besides, the sleeping bag kept bumping my bum. The sleeping bag is squeeze to 5 cm smaller from 35cm. Finally I can put into my powerbank, mobile and supplies, but still no space for my water bladder and other stuff. Then I had another worrying night.
 

I rethought the reason why I need this sleeping bag: I’ll have to sleep in mountains, and I get cold easily but I can’t this time during the race; besides, I’m already used to this one. Or, should I get another new UD pack? I might use it this one time only, which would be a waste…. After having millions of considerations, I made a crazy decision, by which I will regret.

 


My hiking backpack.

 

Makido 70R pack, 2600g. Plus 2 trekking poles would be 3000g in total, which is 8 times heavier than the UD pack but is able to carry everything I need. Considering the cost, as well as giving myself a chance to do something I might not try again in the future. Anyway, I took on the 10kg package and set off!

 

Stage 0

 

Day 0, check out. I arrived at the Kenting earlier. Most of the shops were still closed. I got into a convenient store and bought some food and stuffed them into my pack to the fullest I can. On my way back to the place of checking out, I was worried, not about the weight of my package, but if I would be able to enjoy and finish the race. “Enjoy what you’re facing under the condition of safety.” But when I reach the limit, would I still be able to enjoy, or would I get hurt and give up again?... No matter what, since I’d already been here, just go ahead!

I went to the seaside, trying to relief, before checking out. The sound of the wave, sometimes whispered and sometimes roared; sometimes sang and sometimes yelled. All in a sudden, I felt it’s a reflection of my life: sometimes tedious but once in a while do some crazy things. A wave of strong ambitious cover my mind. “I have to finish the race no matter what!” I told myself.

 

I left the coast for checking out and had my mandatory gear checked. I asked the staff there, what runners carry for an ultra race. At least 20L, they answered. My new UD pack is not big enough for everything I need, I said. Do you want me to help you have a try? No, thank. I’ll just carry this. I pointed at my hiking pack.
Are you sure about that?! Maybe try to find another lighter pack right now?
It’s okay, it’s fine. I’ll try my best.
Yes, it’s gonna be tough, but I’ll try.

 

On the briefing session, I got to have a look at the other runner and know the course in the following 3 days. I remembered only the first day course. I set my goal on finishing the first day. For the rest, I’ll try my best. I would pass through mountains and see the ocean in the first day. I believed it would be an awesome day. I fell into sleep that night at 11pm. 3 hours later, I would be in the hall again, taking a bus to the starting point, Lili Elementary School.

 

Stage 1

 


A tough runner who accompanied me for a part of the road.

 

Dahanlindao(大漢林道) was tough like what I imagined. A long way uphill, which composed to toughest part in the whole race course. Luckily I were still energetic for slow run or and fast walk, or pushing forward in downhill by gravity. Leveraging the speed was the key. I decided to simply follow my own temple. But maybe that’s why I couldn’t run in the following days. There was a tough runner who attended the single day race. Thanks for accompanying me for a part of the race.

 


I forget to take a photo of the Jinshuiying Historic Trail, so I posted this one instead.

 

Jinshuiying Historic Trail (浸水營古道) had magic. The wet and uneven muddy route challenged the skill and judgement of runners. It could be dangerous if you select the wrong stepping points. However, behind the danger were the great beauty of nature. The plants and flowers, the birds and flies, as well as the terrific mountain view. Sadly, I didn’t find a great lookout, but my full experience on this trail was still memorable.

 

Getting through the jungle to the trench, all I could think about was what I should eat. I cross the bridge to the CP3. Except for some weariness, I’m still fine. I was thinking about having my lunch at the pavilion. But in case I gave a stomachache like days before, I simply ate some grains then kept going on.

It was extremely hot when I was on the river bed. So hot that I didn’t even want to run. It might because  that I ran too fast in the trail. When I crossed the river, I either stepped on the rock or directly into the river. The coolness of the river water soothed me. All in a sudden, tragedy happened: my right foot was feeling in pain. It might be the old injury from the new year.  Considering the other 2 days of the race, and my goal of simply finishing the race, I decided to walk for the rest of the day.

You’re slower, the time get longer when you just walk. Little scenery here along the road, plus the enormous noise and the polluted air emitted by the passing cars. The only thing delighted me was the glory blue pacific on the left side.
 

Nantiantsen(南田村) was such a faraway place! Good to finally reach here. I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish before the closing time but I did, so I could keep running tomorrow. I did some stretch-out, asked for some massage on my shoulder, however, I was much more exhausted than I thought. My rigid muscles and result from the torture by my backpack was taking their revenge in the second stage.

By the way, the massage skills of the students of the Department of Recreational Sports and Health Promotion was super duper awesome. My shoulder was cured immediately right after their service. And the kinesio taping really helped on my injury on my right feet. Another thing to be noted, I only need to bring my breakfast and dinner. No dried-rice for lunch, if you don’t want some extra weight.
 

After some talk by the race organizer, everyone got to sleep early. The sound of ocean waves was load, but much better than the cars on the road. I had a nice sleep, though I woke up for several time for being afraid of kicking the other runners.

 

Stage 2

 

I was well-prepared right after done my breakfast. 50k road, just a bit less than the day before. Little climbing, but the course plus the injury on my feet still got me nervous.
 

We set off from the Shouka Biker Rest Stop. It was downhill at the very beginning. I thought it created great advantage for me, but it was not actually. Speed created great pressure on my foot due to the weight I carried. My right foot was still in pain. I moved on slowly and conservatively. It was still fine when I passed CP1. The situation dropped dramatically when I reach the CP2. My left feet burdened too much in order to lighten the effort made by the right one. I tried hard to get to the CP3 by my trekking poles. I put my head onto my knees, thinking whether I should give up or not.The great pain seemed not going to recover in short. I determined to give up, right when I enter meet a staff, though I wish to finish the race so, so bad!
“Are you alright?” A cute staff asked me, interrupting my thoughts.
“Yah, fine. just a bit hurt on my feet.” I smiled.
“So, are you going to stop here?” Give me some time to think about it, please.

 


The ocean view that let me had me make up my mind.

 

I walked to the ocean forward and backward. I paused to the watch. Am I done here? Is it my end of the race? I saw my backpack, and thought to myself, “ What am I doing for all these time?” I walked back and told the staff that I am keeping going.
Are you sure? There are difficult mountain roads following up.
Really? Then let me have a second thought…. I like mountains. I might got crazy and mad, but I’ll keep going.
I put on my pack again and told the staffs, thank you, I’m leaving. Voice of their cheering up echoed between the mountains.

What are mountains for me? A symbol? A examination? A place with sceneries? Or a place with dreams? Maybe all of them. After climbing onto the top of the  Xueshan once, seeing snow, I fell in love with mountains. Then I rode a bike onto millions of hills; then I started to trail run and face the magnificence of mountains directly. Mountains have my dreams and examine my determination. They get me feel small and strong. Once after once, steps after steps, I felt the great pain of my foot and missed the flags for times before CP4. However, I was still in great belief that I could finish. I want to get tough, tougher and more!!

I finally arrived at the CP4. I set off again right after refilling my bottles, in hope of finish the day before the closing time. My goal by the time was to  finish the last 10km, regardless of the tomorrow. I was anxious due to not only my new goal, but also that I couldn’t find the red strip for indicating the direction. Finally I found two in the corner, but the way seemed weird. It was heading toward a household. Then I heard dog barking. An old man walked out. I assured with him that it was not the right way, so I went back to the main road and kept going, in worriness. Luckily I meet the photographer, pointing the right way for me, so I can put down my anxiety.

 

In the end, I arrived at the destination before the night. I knew I’d devoted all my effort for the 50k. I doubt if I would be able to recover the next day while I still had the wish the finish. I took a shower, waited for massage in line, had some food then I  went to sleep. It was a tough night. Every time I turned over, I felt terrible pain. I would still try my best for the rest no matter what.

 


Ice patch after exercise within 24 hours. Then hot patch. That's the common sense.

 

Stage 3

 

Last day, woke up at 4. I had my breakfast, and got my package ready, and tested my foot a bit. Better than yesterday, but dangerous still. I spent 4 hours to finish 20k the day before. In stage 3, I would have to finish 25k in 5 hours, which seemed to be impossible. Never mind. Since I’d been here already, I’ll just try my best.
 

5 in the morning, we were collected to have photos with some big shots. One more day! Everyone was smiling. Starting time was close. Kevin Lin and the vice-county ministration shut the gun. We set off. Some disappeared in seconds. I followed my own temple. Much more relief in pain today, but it got worse again at 9k. Till I passed the CP station, the volunteers cured my left feet by massage. Magic! However, I had no energy still to keep moving. My knee was in trouble as well due to the lack of strength in muscle. I looked at the time, knowing I wouldn’t be able to make it in time. So I sat in grass, enjoying the wind, having my energy gel. A car passed by and stopped. The medical person got out of the car and asked.
“Are you alright? Do you want to get on the car?”
“No!” I answered, by instinct. Nooooo!!!!

“Alright. Then take care.” Seemed that I just got rid of the last chance to give up. Time to go now.

 


Xuhai was really beautiful. Gotta be there again someday in the future.

 

There were beautiful grassy slope at right and gorgeous ocean view at left. There were also mountain roads which were not too deep but still tough. Another car stopped in back of me. A volunteer walked to me and chatted about my heavy pack, of course, and my running experiences. Thanks for her companion, so I wouldn’t feel too lonely on my way.
“Enjoy the last part of the race!” She said, before leaving. 8k left for the day.

I backed to the main road after enjoying some moments on small tracks. Pressures are all way around here. There were noisy cars, polluted air, and the rescue car returning and following me along the way. That put a lot of stress on me though I knew I was for my safety. A girl rode a bike and came to me, saying that she want to had a look at the dummy runner who carries a big backpack and still denied to get on the car. (okay, she didn’t tell like this. I added the adjectives. lol) We chatted along the way, letting me forget all my pain, and the annoying rescue car, and the dirty road. And also, thanks for buying me a can of soda drink at the finish line. Thanks for everything. I forgot to ask for your information, but hope to meet you someday again.

 

At last, thanks for all the volunteers for your cheering at the finishing line, though I wasn’t sure if it was encouragement for me or celebrating that we could finally had lunch. And thanks for the race organizer for giving the finishing certification. I wish to complete the race next time under the regulation and get the ITRA points with my real strength. I’ll try my best to train myself. See you next time, SUPERACE Taiwan Station!

 


A photo with the legendary ultra runner, Kevin Lin!!!

 

 

 

 

 (Article origin)

 

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