[life] A note on running in Korea...

So for those of you that don't know me personally - I recently started running. I say recently as in... before I was 23 I pretty much thought running was reserved only when someone was coming after me, say for my favorite pair of earrings or you know, my super secret stash of food... I don't know. Something of worth. But I made a new year's resolution last year to a) run a 5k and then b) to run a 10k. I don't know why exactly, but I think it had to do with many of my family members becoming ill and/or finding out that certain conditions run in my family. I am SO glad I made that decision because I've really come to love running.

Running back in Indonesia was a lot of fun - my neighborhood was relatively open and the streets were mostly empty anytime I tried to run. As long as I stayed on the sides of the road, no one said anything! I got a few stares here and there but mostly it wasn't bad.

So when I moved to Korea, I thought that running would be a breeze because a) Korea is much more accustomed to Western culture where people run outside and that's considered normal and b) streets are paved and c) it's nicer weather! What more could a girl ask for?

I ran today. And it was a nightmare and a dream at the same time. Here are my takeaways for you runners thinking about running in Seoul.

  • the GOOD: Streets are paved - but of course, that's really going to be great for you if you came from a country where that's not the norm. 
  • the BAD: Streets are filled with people. People who could care less about whether you're trying to beat your mile time or not. You are not their problem. 
  • the GOOD: The weather is nice - especially during the beginning of fall like it is now? I could feel the wind in my hair, and everything was going along great until...
  • the BAD: The wind is crazy, I was tearing up by the time I finished a mile, and sniffling like mad. People probably thought I'd gone through some emotional trauma and was running away from my problems.
  • the GOOD: Again, if you come from a country where this is already the norm - I apologize. But there are sidewalks! Without cars! Woohoo!
  • the BAD: There are stoplights. So. Many. Of them. I literally had to jog in place half of the time and that wasn't so much fun. 
So my conclusion from my run today - running in an urban area definitely has its ups and downs - just know your route before you go and time it accordingly. I found that there were multiple stoplights that I could have crossed so if stoplight A was still red, then I should have moved onto the next one and checked if my timing was right so I didn't have to do the silly runner's run-in-place-move (you know the one).

But apparently it works for me because I had the best average mile pace that I have ever gotten. Yay Korea! Let's run together some more. Love, me.

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