It’s been a few days since my return to Seoul from Busan and I feel like I’ve left y’all hanging because after literally running around the country, I’ve been running around Seoul catching up with family and friends which means lots of shopping and eating and little time for blogging!
So after two glorious days in Daegu, I made my way to Dongdaegu station to catch the high speed KTX train to our last stop, Busan! I sorta glimpsed at my ticket and read enough of it to know that I was on the correct track. Little did I know that these trains split off and yes, it does matter which car you’re in! I boarded a random car and sat in a random seat. No one checked for my ticket. The car was pretty empty and I was all comfy and relaxed with my beloved Iced Americano. 40 minutes later, I hear, “Last station, Pohang.”
I wasn’t so much panicked but perplexed as to how a smart cookie like me would get on the wrong train and annoyed that I knew my daylight hours were quickly dwindling and I had many miles to run in Busan once I got there! I had knocked out an additional 10k that morning in Daegu before I got on the wrong train, but I still had about a 50k deficit to hit my 200k goal.
So, I take the escalator from the train platform and figured I’d just stand in the ticket line and ask how I get to Busan from there. Hopefully, it’d be a relatively painless solution.
The line was ridiculous. It literally spanned almost the entire length of the station. Luckily, I saw someone looking semi-official in a uniform handing something out to passengers. I asked him if he spoke any English and showed him my ticket which clearly demonstrated my blunder. He referred me to another dude, not as official looking but clearly had a bit more pull at the station and spoke a teensy bit of English.
This really nice, polite, and chivalrous guy explained to me that there was no train to Busan from Pohang and that I’d have to go back to Daegu! OMG. Ok, I panicked a little then. Well, at least it was high speed travel…it really could’ve been much, much worse!
He ended up comping my ticket back to Daegu; he secured me a ticket to Busan from Daegu so I didn’t need to wait in the ticket line; he carried my luggage even though I refused at first; he waited for me to use the potty; he got me to my seat, secured my luggage, and explained my situation to the conductor and train attendant and told them to make sure that I got off at the right stop and to guide me to the correct train once in Daegu!!! #beyondcustomerservice
It’s always heart-warming to be the recipient of random kindness and selflessness. It made the sting of losing almost 5 precious hours of running bearable. Once I Kakao-talked my mom (really, it’s just texting) and told her my predicament, she had my uncle pick me up in Busan to take me to the hotel. Yes, I felt like a child, but damn, it’s nice being taken care of once in awhile! Single moms rarely have that luxury!
I finally arrived in Busan. My uncle and aunt found me and well, he had his ideas about how the rest of the evening would go! We’d check me into the hotel, pick up my other aunt and uncle and they would take me to dinner. None of my extended family in Korea really understand why I set out this challenge for myself. At this point, it was 5:30pm and there was no way I’d get in a 50k before dark. I hadn’t seen my uncles in 15 years, was feeling flu-like achy symptoms anyway, and I had no idea how to explain myself without seeming completely rude and ill-mannered, that I went along with his plan.
My hard-core runner and endurance friends know how difficult it is to call a scheduled training run, race, or challenge! It felt like a DNF to me at that point! (Did Not Finish) I knew I wouldn’t have an opportunity to run in Busan at all…not with how my body was feeling and the time crunch of getting back on the train to Seoul in the morning. We barely got on the last KTX as it was!
To experience how happy my relatives were to see me and to be treated with such kindness and love, the sacrifice of a few miles was most definitely worth it. Oh and did I mention the FOOD?!?!
Btw, not done running in Korea quite yet. We got back to Bundang and I got in another hot and humid 10k…will get in another long run this weekend in forecasted thunderstorms before I head back to the States! Hopefully, I will get a chance to hike to the summit of one of these damn mountains too!
Until then, Be Unstoppable!