Friday, June 30, 2006

une nuit bien arrosée

The French expression in the title actually refers to drinking. The literal translation of arroser is "to water," as in "to water one's plants." But tonight, the walk up Namsan-- which took five minutes longer than usual-- was a wet one, and I was practically swimming during part of the walk downhill. Even without alcohol, this was une nuit bien arrosée.

The three-staircase routine is still kicking my ass, but I'm able to do it without stopping. Tonight, though, I did have to slow down, and it looks like I'm going to have to incorporate some major warmup and stretching into my routine if I plan to continue: my leg muscles are tighter than they should be, and I almost cramped up during this walk. On the other hand, the muscles are starting to look harder and healthier than they used to, but I noticed one bit of weirdness: my right calf is bigger than my left one. Too strange. I try not to favor either leg when I'm walking up those stairs, but I may be using the right leg more.

My hiking time shifted again: lately, I've been doing the hike from 11:30pm to 1:30am. It's great for an introvert: after I leave my immediate neighborhood and hit the foot of the mountain (it takes all of ten or fifteen minutes to do that, depending on where you reckon the mountain begins), there's almost no one out at night.

My walk takes me through my buddy Jang-woong's neighborhood, which contains a lot of structures I associate with "old Seoul," such as crammed-together stone-and-concrete houses separated by alleys barely large enough for two people to pass each other. At night, especially as I walk through those alleys on my way home, I hear domestic noises: coughing, laughter, arguing, TV, even the sounds of some kid playing Starcraft. Tonight I saw some dude stop and take a piss in one alley. Considering how close-together the houses are, I found that to be pretty damn rude. Good thing it was raining: I'd hate to be the homeowner who wakes up in the morning, opens his window, and is greeted by a ghastly nimbus of rancid urine.

Absolutely no one on the Koreanische Philosophenweg tonight. Good. The rain, which I had been hoping for, actually stopped for most of my uphill hike, making the trudge nearly unbearable. The water on the ground and the ambient temperature created a wall of humidity, and humidity is my mortal enemy. The rain started up again-- with a vengeance-- when I was about two-thirds up my final obstacle, the dreaded Library Stairs. Thank Cthlulu for the rain: I was honestly thinking of stopping and resting, which is the one thing I've told myself I must not do on these hikes. Trudging slowly is fine, but the goal is to keep moving forward, to the summit, no matter what.

I walked back down Namsan with the local sanshin, who had taken the form of tons of water. I imagined what it would be like to walk the downhill stretch with my goddaughter R and her sister E; I suspect my goddaughter wouldn't have liked it very much while her sister, by contrast, would have been thrilled. What precious kids. I talked out loud to an imaginary R & E as I walked. Good thing no one was about; they'd have thought I was nuts.

Got home, stripped off the wet and nasty clothing, took a hot-then-cold shower, and just... rested. I'm hoping all this pays off in the coming months.

The over-tight muscles worry me a bit because I'm afraid of charlie horses. Having had only one charlie horse in my life (in the worst place imaginable: the biceps femoris, the huge muscle group at the back of the thigh), I can say with assurance that it's not something I'd ever want again. So: more stretching for ol' Kev.

And now-- sleeeeeep.


1 comment:

Maven said...

Not to be contrary; however, I do believe that getting a charley horse in one's tongue and jaw area during oral "treats" is worse... OY!!!