Sunday, October 10, 2010

This is certain to be a bunch of rambling.

Ok, so it's been a few weeks so I last wrote. I really just didn't feel like writing the past couple weeks but I do have some things to write about and I have free time this afternoon due to the 5/6 graders off on a three day excursion. So, let's see what all I've been doing the past few weeks and hopefully it's interesting!
I started running outside more recently as the weather has begun to get quite a bit cooler and it's made for some rather enjoyable runs. Sadly last week I was feeling under the weather and only ran one day and worked out at the gym one day. I'm really excited to get in my run today as I picked up the Nike + wristband and chip this weekend. I calibrated it yesterday a little with my ipod but today I'm going to calibrate the running part, where as yesterday was walking. I'm excited to track how far, fast, etc my run is and get started in uploading it to the Nike + website and really start tracking my progress. I know I don't need all of this technology but I really think it's going to help and inspire me to work harder, especially sharing my times online! I really want to work hard this next month as in that time I'll be hopefully running two 10k's and a half marathon.

In my last post I mentioned the Korean Thanksgiving was coming up (Chuseok). I spent Chuseok on the Island of Jeju which is south of the main peninsula and is a popular spot for honeymoons,etc. I stayed in Yeha Hostel which was only 5 min from the airport. It was a very nice hostel with free internet, free breakfast, rooms were nice, and the staff was very friendly. I really enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone traveling to Jeju. Since I went by myself I decided to mainly just chill out and enjoy the trip as much as possible. I slept in everyday and picked one area to visit and hopped on a bus (bus terminal was 3 mins from hostel) and spent the day there and came back. Two of the days I spent quite a bit of time at Hyeopjae Beach which was absolutely breath taking. I actually spent my last night there and watched the sunset. One of the main reasons I chose Jeju for Chuseok was b/c it has the tallest mountain in Korea at about 1,950 meters (~6,000ft). I was told that it takes anywhere from 7-9 hrs to hike it round trip so of course I decided that I could do quicker. It ended up being a fairly gradual hike and definitely not like a lot of the hikes in Korea which are fairly short but straight up.

I reached the summit in about 2:30 hrs and changed my soaked shirt and got into a dry one as it was a bit chilly at the top. At the top of the mountain I sat down and enjoyed some peanuts other snacks and drank some of my water and checked out all of the people along the platform. Yes, there were lots of people up there, as expected. I think I've mentioned it before but hiking is basically the national sport for Korea. It's always an enjoyable experience for me hiking b/c I look at them and laugh b/c even if it's a 30 min hike they have 1,000 dollars worth of gear on; they look at me funny b/c I have running shoes, basketball shorts, and a cut off t-shirt. It's a good time for all. It was a cloudy day at the top, as it seems to be quite often when I hike in Korea, however, after about 25 minutes of waiting the weather cleared for about a minute and we were blessed with the chance to see the crater inside the top of the mountain. It was quite the spectacle watching a nice size group of people charging towards the fence to take pictures, it made the entire hike for me. It ended up taking me as long to get down the mountain as up it, because there were so many people going up. So, I ended up hiking about 20k in about 5 hrs.

The rest of the week I checked out a folk village which was pretty neat, hit up a few more beaches, checked out a crater which was probably, aside from the beach, the most beautiful area in my week in Jeju, visited the Mini land (weird), and very excitedly found a batting cage downtown. One of the coolest things I visited on the island was the area where I took the picture to the left. I ended up staying and watching the water crash into the shore for nearly an hour and a half. It was amazing watching the power of the water hitting the shore. The area is also famous for having these black volcanic rock there shaped in straight columns where the magma cooled. The whole island of Jeju is one big volcanic area. Mt.Hallasan is located right in the middle of the island and you can see volcanic rock everywhere on the island. I had not been to a batting cage in years and really enjoyed the atmosphere and people in the area. Overall, my Jeju experience was fantastic and I'm very I went. It was a nice week of doing something different.

So, I've been very luck to have gotten to meet people from all over the world, all over Korea. I really enjoy visiting my friends all around. Recently I really have loved meeting and hanging out with the people of a running group I'm in, called "Team Dirt" (I know, appropriate). Through this group we had a survivor like challenge called "The Heathen Challenge" which involved a variety of drinking games such as boat races and funneling. We had teams of 10 and my teams name was Better than Dong and our outfits were white, collared shirts with really short running shorts. It ended up being an absolute blast and I made even more friends from all over. I really enjoy hanging out with all of those guys. Oh, by the way, my team "Better than Dong" of course won the challenge!

A dumb thing I've recentlty did was completely shave my face. I did it two weeks ago and I was kind of liking it, but repeated it this past week and, not so much. So, it's back to beard time, which is good b/c it should start to get fairly cold soon. I also finally finished reading Theodore Rex, which I think I started a few months ago. I now just need to wrap up The Koreans by Michael Breen. I stopped into What the Book this past Sat as I was waiting for some friends and picked up "Travels with Charley" by Steinbeck and I've thaready finished about half of the book. I now know for a fact that I really want to travel my whole life. Yes, I want a base to call home, but I love traveling and the new experiences it brings. I really want to do an epic tour of the entire US, visiting National Parks, Landmarks, mom and pop restaurants, etc. I absolutely love it.

Well, I'm sure there are things I'have done the past few weeks that I've forgotten to include, maybe I can include them next time. I'm going to get off here and search for some running music. Can't wait to try out this Nike + watch!