Running the Wall: Pre-Race

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As part of refusing to let my children convince me that I’m old at 40, I agreed to run with my MeiMei (Little Sis) in the Great Wall Half-Marathon on May 17.

Training commenced on January 1, and all winter despite minus-20 degree weather I ran in my neighborhood in NE China, on a treadmill in Manila, rollerbladed by the river, and ran thousands of stairs in my 17-story building.

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Saturday May 17th was the Big Day!
Meimei arrived the weekend before and spent time with the kids before we took a train to Beijing late Wed nite. We found some tasty Korean BBQ near our hotel.

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(Not sure why Meimei was bothered by the parking arrangement on the street below our hotel)

6:30 the next morning we got on a bus and rode 2.5 hours away to HuangYaGuan to “inspect” the course:
With over 1000 other runners we climbed about 300 steps to get up to the Wall itself, then a series of steep up and down staircases and slopes in between.

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Hit the portapotty halfway along the wall, keep going.

Steep slopes along the “goat trail”–oh no, there was a poor girl with her ankle iced and elevated with a Danish doctor in attendance.

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We got back to town later, OH SO SORE. Good thing we had a rest day before the race…

We immediately went for a massage across the street hoping to get that lactic acid out of our legs as fast as possible.

I woke up at 6:30 am the following morning in a panic, thinking we had missed the 3:30 am departure to the race site.

I shouted at MeiMei, “We missed the race! We overslept!”
She told me it was not till the next day, but i was still not convinced and couldn’t get back to sleep while I tried to believe it.

We spent most of the day at the Pearl Market, bargaining furiously with the vendors. One woman nearly clawed my arm in a desperate attempt to get me to buy her purse.

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Also did the necessary Tiananmen Square excursion, complete with security checks.

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Legs terribly sore, back to the hotel and find some pre-race dinner in the local hood.

I came up with roasted lamb skewers, daoxiaomian (hand cut noodles in beef broth) and apples and bananas.

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And all the while reciting Coach Katherine’s core value: Hydration is the key to victory.

Next Post: Race Day!

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4 responses »

  1. Thank you for this wonderful post! Love it! Hats off to you both for doing this! (sigh) If only the “gentles” really were gentle. We need more men in this world like your husband! Anxiously awaiting the next post! very cool!

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