Monday, November 2, 2009

The walls of Xi'an

I'm in a new city called Xi'an now. We have crisper (and cold!) air and it makes a big difference while running.

I got up a the crack of dawn since we had an organised tour planned for 9am and covered myself in lots of layers since it was only 3 degrees celsius.
The first thing I noticed is how friendly Xi'an is for runners. There's wide paths everywhere (no doubt they get crowded later in the day, but this early they were pretty empty!) and there also these really cool underground underpass at busy intersections so you don't have to wait for traffic to let up before crossing!
Xi'an has a wall surrounding the downtown touristic core. My hotel is smack in the center near one of the landmarks called the Bell Tower. I proceeded to run towards the wall, wanting to check it out.
The wall is pretty impressive (I haven't seen the great wall yet so bear with my newbie wall gazing impressions) and from my calculation is about 15-20km long. I wanted to run the whole thing but quickly realised it was bigger than my original estimate of 5km long. Every now and then there's a cute structure built on the wall itself.
There's stairs to go up the wall but they were all fenced off. I'm not sure if it's because it was silly o'clock or if it is not open to the public. I will check it out later if there's time.

I ran a pretty good pace considering I would stop every now and then to have a slower look around and snap some pictures.
I wasn't the only runner on the road :)
There were a bunch of folks in a park doing some aerobics to chinese techno music
I also came across a temple
And of course some parks
Being rewarded by a beautiful sunrise over the wall was truly amazing. If I had to choose only one thing to do for the day, that would have been it.
Overall, my 10 or so km run went pretty well. Even with an average pace of 5:46m/km I was really satisfied.
There's even some parts where I put in really decent speeds (4:20m/km) which is the fastest I have been able to run in China so far... And I got back to the hotel with time to spare before the tour started!


  1. Wow, what a change in temperature and scenery! I'll be seeing temps like that this weekend and will have to make sure to bundle up. The views, however, will not be nearly as nice.

    Glad you're having fun!!

  2. What an amazing experience! Keep the posts coming!

  3. Wow - how amazing to discover new countries with running. Well done, it's nice to live vicariously through you. I need to go and catch up on your blog now :)

  4. Amazing photos. What a unique way to explore the city. Totally worth it for the sunrise!

  5. Love the pics, feels like I'm there!! Great job on the run too!