When it became official that I was indeed going to travel to Korea, one of the first things that came to mind was, “Ooh, where can I run?”
My run coach who’s been helping me with my BQ efforts just happened to mention that he’d be riding the 450 miles from Seoul to Busan (training for an IM). So I got to thinking…
That’s pretty much how we came up with me running at least a portion of the trek while also acting as a sherpa of sorts. LOL. I had to think of something catchy and interesting for you and challenging for me. We toyed with the idea of a marathon a day. But I really wanted ultra distances, because, hey, it’s just that much more ultra!!! We also considered 150k in 3 days, but ultimately decided on 200k in 4 days as I really wanted to run in Seoul as well as the other planned “ports of call”, Chungju, Daegu, and finally my birth city of Busan.
So here I am, Day 2, riding on a bus that left Bundang (so very promptly too!) heading towards a small town called Chungju (not to be confused with Cheongju).
Yesterday, I ran along the Tancheon River from Bundang all the way up to where it meets the Han River. I intended on a 15.5 mile out and back, but it extended to 16.5 and a little extra as I went into town in search of cold beer and octopus BBQ. Running in 85% humidity for a total of 35 miles was incredibly challenging and sweaty. Today will be no better at 89% humidity! WTF right?!
During the final miles yesterday, right after a real dark patch between miles 27-29, (during which I had thoughts about quitting not just the run, but running altogether) an older Korean man accompanied me for a few more miles and chatted me up in our broken Kor-English. He couldn’t believe that I actually had run 30 miles at that point and also how tan I was! LOLOL (It’s not fashionable to be so tan in Korea!)
One thought provoking question he had asked was simply, “WHY?!”
I couldn’t really answer him succinctly. We all run for different reasons. For me, it’s the desire for personal accomplishment. It’s the desire to keep testing my mind and body to new levels of performance. I run for endorphins and my need to have my body shut down my overactive, sometimes neurotic, mind. It’s like Cesar Milan’s dog whispering technique of tiring them out through long runs! LOL
I also consider this epic ultra adventure as a way to connect to my birth country…it’s fitting to return to the motherland as a catharsis of sorts. As glamorous as it might seem that I’ve had several husbands, divorce is not really ever all that much fun and definitely not very glamorous. Regardless of unfortunate life circumstances, it’s always a good thing to keep strengthening one’s character and ya can’t do that by taking the easy way out. Push through and fight off the fatigue of life. Be Unstoppable!