Monday, September 08, 2014


So—lessons learned! I faced my fear and did the double-summiting thing again tonight, braving the steep, steep bus route back up to the top of Namsan. It was about as bad as I thought it would be, but I must grudgingly admit that it was absolutely fantastic cardio. I walk the way I drive: competitively. (It's amazing I didn't get more speeding tickets than I did back when I lived in Front Royal and was tear-assing along Route 66.) This means that, when I see a person ascending the mountain ahead of me, I'm determined to pass him or her. Despite being tired, despite gasping as if I were having sex, I generally chug forward and pass the offending fellow hiker with a grim sense of triumph.

Another thing I learned was that the actual number of steps it takes to double-summit Namsan is only about 15.1K. The route from my neighborhood in Chungmuro 5-ga, through Dongguk campus, up to the summit of Namsan, then down the descending bus route to Namsan Library, then back up to the summit's bus parking lot, then back down through Dongguk to my Chungmuro neighborhood is only about 7.3 miles. I can get all this walking done between 9PM and midnight. It takes a little over two hours, given that I walk at a rate of about 3.2 miles per hour (approx 5.2 kph).

So how in the world did I manage nearly 26.1K steps the other day? Easy: it was a work day, so I had packed in several thousand steps just by going to and fro upon the campus, and up and down in it.* I normally get in nearly 7,000 to 8,000 steps on work days; this includes my tendency to prowl the classroom actively: I'm not a hide-behind-the-podium type of teacher, or a sit-on-my-ass type. My point is that I'm always racking up steps on the days that I work (although I think I slack off a bit on weekends). Sometimes, instead of hitting Namsan, I've taken to walking over to the Jongno district, which isn't far from where I live. It's not a bad way to pack in another 3,000 to 5,000 steps, and if I were to walk all the way to the Myeongdong Lotte Hotel, I'd probably rack up all 10,000 required daily steps.

Life has changed for me ever since I began to take my phone's pedometer seriously. Smartphones are extremely destructive when it comes to social relationships and basic human interaction, but on occasion they have their benefits, and I think my steadily improving physical condition is a direct result of my incorporation of the pedometer into my lifestyle.

*Ten points to you if you know, with some precision, the literary reference. No Googling!