Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Land of the Morning Calm

       I still feel like we got off the plane yesterday, but we have now been in Korea for two weeks. So far it is mostly involved jumping through all the hoops required of the military, but we have ventured out the gate a little to check out the shopping, and buy cell phones, and are moving into our new home tomorrow (provided the typhoon that hits tonight doesn’t prevent us.)

       All my running has been on base. Not because I don’t feel safe, it is just easier to stay on base for now. I am excited about checking out the local trails and getting familiar with the neighborhood around our house once we move into it, but we just bought a car yesterday and haven’t had much chance to go sightseeing.

       Running on base has been a great challenge though. It is very hilly here, not to mention hot and more humid than Florida! One morning I headed out into fog, despite it being over 80 degrees. I didn’t even think that was possible. It was like running in a steam room. The hills have been great though. At first my left Achilles was really sore from walking all day on steep inclines, but that has settled down and I’m getting more comfortable with the hills.

       Running the flight line is great too. It is a 6 mile loop around the air strip that is clean, smooth pavement. Apparently the in thing in Korea is to put down a rubber surface made of ground tires to pad jogging paths. About a mile of the trail near the fitness center is surfaced with it. It is kind of cool stuff, but I would rather run on dirt. There are lots of sidewalks though, something that was seriously lacking in our last home town, so it is easy to avoid traffic and feel safe from traffic.

       Out around the flight line things get interesting. I’ve passed groups marching in full combat gear, big camouflaged rocket launchers surrounded by flowers and big white birds, and a corridor where all I can see is the fence on either side of the road topped with endless coils of razor wire

and the occasional cement closet to shoot from.

I’m pretty used to this sort of stuff so it interests me more than it bothers me. I feel safe running the flight line, knowing every part of it is watched for intruders. Best of all there is almost no traffic on the road and it is free of trash or debris. I’m sure I will come back often to run here.

A couple of days ago I traveled up to Seoul to meet my new running club. It was a great visit and quite an adventure, (that included getting back to the bus home with 3 minutes to spare!) I am really excited to run with this group and experience racing in Korea. I am registered for 2 half marathons already, one at the end of this month and another in October. The race this month will be hilly, but beautiful. It is in the DMZ where they have set up a park with hiking trails. I’m not sure about the October race, but the military is sponsoring 150 runners so the race fees and bus are paid for. Woo-hoo, free race! Cut off time for the half is 2 ½ hours so I won’t be mid pack on this one.
       For my RA followers, this move has been the best so far.  Other than a slight shoulder flare from carrying heavy stuff too far, keeping up with my running has kept things under control.  I've been tired and wiped out a lot of the time, but so has the rest of the family so I think it is more a let lag issue than an RA issue. 
       Things are moving along, we are slowly getting settled and finding a routine. The next chapter in our life has begun!


Traveller said...

The last time I was there was 23 years ago. It will be interesting to hear your take how things currently are.

Good luck with the new home.

Getting My Words Out said...

I found your blog from RLAM. I would have rathered email you, but I couldn't find an address...

I haven't read your blog yet, so the answers might be in there...but I've been doing a lot of research lately on auto-immune disorders (RA is one from what I've read) and there is a growing idea that they are possibly caused by undiagnosed food allergies. I was tested, found out I'm allergic (meaning my body produces an immune response) to many foods I have eaten every day. When I cut those foods out of my diet, within a week I was feeling a million times better. When I slip up and eat something on the list-BAM, I'm feeling bad again. If you haven't already looked into it, it's been worth it to me.

I'm going to search your blog to get more info on barefoot running. SO interesting to me that you ran a full marathon in Vibrams.

Thanks for sharing yourself with the world through your blog! :D