Sunday, April 20, 2014

My late friend Steve

You think I'd learn, wouldn't you?

One of my longstanding bad habits (that is, mental malfunctions) is continually underestimating how long it takes me to get out of the house and go someplace. Today I paid for it, in frustration and embarrassment.

It's a gorgeous Easter Sunday, 70 degrees without a cloud in the sky (or, you know, anywhere else) although you wouldn't know it was Easter, aside from the church lady who handed me a packet of two hard-boiled eggs in the subway. (They weren't dyed, but there was a churchy message on the plastic.)

Anyway, today was the so-called Bundang Marathon, although there wasn't an actual marathon-length course. In the US South, every soft drink is called a Coke... here, every road race is a called a marathon, whatever its length, and today's "marathon" was a set of 5K, 10K, and half-marathon (21K) races.

I'd trained for a couple of months, with my friend Laura-Claire, to run the half. But as so often happens--and did I mention you'd think I'd learn?--I got there just minutes before the race and, after frantically stashing my bag with a Korean guy who looked trustworthy and dashing to the restroom (where I got precious little rest), I couldn't force my way through the thousands-strong mob of 5Kers and 10Kers to the half-marathoners up in front.

So, rather than slink home in self-imposed disgrace, I ran the 10K. The course started in the most beautiful park I know and mostly ran alongside the nearby stream. After 3K, I was pleased (and a little shocked) that I was running a six-minute-per-kilometer pace, about a minute per K faster than usual, and decided to try to beat an hour, which would be nearly ten minutes faster than my previous 10K, a few years ago.

And I woulda got away with it, too, if not for that meddling bathroom stop on the course. Still, 1:00:35 ain't bad for a broke-down, overweight sexagenarian. (Oh, calm down... the "sex" in that word just means 60.)

A bunch of my hashing friends also ran in the various races...
I guess I was late for the photo, too... shocker.

I couldn't find my bag, with my clothes and my wallet, after the run. I got busy panicking and walking around the big plaza without much hope that it was still around, but the man who'd said I could leave my bag corralled me at the other end of the plaza and handed it back; he'd been carrying it around with him for an hour.

Afterward, a bunch of us went to the start of the Southside hash, though I didn't do the trail because I was already limping. A couple of the guys and I had lunch at a Korean restaurant. I thought I'd communicated "no animals" to our waitress despite my minuscule Korean knowledge and her matching English skills, and I was having the most delicious noodle soup I've ever eaten, till I found a tentacle in it. Apparently I'd already eaten some chopped-up mussels, which I'd thought were mushrooms. It's that kind of day.

Still, I've been feeling leaden since the horrible ferry tragedy on Wednesday. Many public events have been canceled, and I'm grateful that the race wasn't, because an Easter morning with friends in the sun, in a gorgeous, sunny park and by a gorgeous, sunny stream, is exactly what I needed.

And I swear I'm not gonna run late for stuff anymore.

I mean it this time.

 No, really.

 See? Right on time for the photo after the race. Doing better already!