Saturday, July 08, 2006

90 steps, nightcrawlers, nastiness

Last night's hike up Namsan was simultaneously the best and the worst hike so far: the air was absolutely still and heavy with humidity, which was murder. However, I made my fastest time yet going up to the Tower: 57 minutes. This was the first time I'd beaten the 1-hour mark.

[NB: My old routes always took me around 45 to 50 minutes, but this current route zizags me two-thirds up the mountain, then down again, then up that final set of stairs.]

I've concluded that I can't hike the path every day without risking cramped leg muscles, so I've scaled back to every other day, which seems to work fairly well. I'll have to figure out something to do during my "off" days; it's probably not a good idea to do nothing.

For whatever reason, I found myself dropping into calculator mode and counting the steps up the first large set of stairs on my three-staircase route-- the stairs that take me up from Huam-dong to the Yongsan and Namsan Public Libraries. Ninety steps.

When I reached the Koreanische Philosophenweg, I was too sweaty to think about counting the second set of steps, but did notice that the steps were wriggling with nightcrawlers-- a fisherman's dream. Huge ones, too: some were over a foot long.

My progress up the Philosophenweg was faster than anticipated, and this is probably the reason I made better time than usual. Nevertheless, I finished the climb in the same mental state I always do: disbelief that I made it without stopping. I'm also getting better about letting go of my ego and not worrying about the people who see me sweating my way up to the top (on Friday and Saturday evenings, there's an after-midnight contingent, usually couples who very slowly make their way uphill, savoring their time with each other and not going for a workout). By the time I've hit the second set of stairs, the ass crack sweat issue is moot: my entire body is soaked. Nothing to be done about that.

On my way down the mountain, I was greeted by a couple having a nasty spat. They stopped yelling as I approached, but the lady actually picked up again just as I was passing her and her man (boyfriend? husband?). I wonder how that resolved itself. Breakup/divorce? Angry sex? We'll never know.

By the time I got home, I was exhausted. The July heat and humidity are oppressive. The serpent in my head, the one that silkily hisses I should be resting and not hiking, is increasingly persuasive as the weather worsens. I'll do my best not to listen to it.


1 comment:

  1. That voice is a bitch. The single biggest obstacle in exercise. It's best to just not entertain notions of why you shouldn't do something. Just leave the house without thinking.

    In the end I had to put my bag in front of the door the night before so in the morning I would pick it up to move it on my way out and since it was already in my hand I might as well take it with me and if I went through all the trouble to bring the damn bag to my 7 AM class then I might as well go to the gym after.

    I will be breaking some significant barriers this month. Let me tell you it's the most rewarding feeling I've had in a long time. Keep with it, because it feels good to feel good again.



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