Friday, January 05, 2007

Dash through the Seoul train station

Yesterday, my schedule dictated that I leave Korea by boat from Pusan at precisely 1:00 PM. As my previous Couchsurfing buddy Nate was unable to host me again (and I couldn't locate anyone else) I decided to stay one more night in Seoul with the woman who hosted me there. The only real downside to this was the early train to Busan.

As the previous train took 3 hours, I was confident I would find a fast enough train to get me from Seoul to Busan if I just showed up at the station. But like most people do at some point in their lives, I slept in just a little too late and took a little too long getting ready. I wasn't out the door until about 7:30 AM in Seoul. This included a 15 minute walk to and through the subway, a 20 minute ride, and a mad dash through a busy train station to catch a train.

My predicament dawned on me as I was taking the subway. What if I couldn't catch a train in time? What if the only trains they have available aren't fast enough? By the time of my arrival at Seoul Station, the stress had sufficiently impressed upon me the need to make extreme haste. With my overloaded expedition pack full of unused ski gear (the blue one with 5500 cubic inches if anyone is interested), I sprinted out the subway door and up the escalator, skipping steps and knocking everyone over with my enormous load.

The best Broncos running backs had nothing on me that day! I seriously didn't realize I had such strength, as I dashed up a stairway that ascended four to five floors from the subway to the surface with 40 pounds on me.

I had been dashing for 2 minutes when I realized I had run in the wrong direction! I gathered my bearings and ran back with more zealous fervor than I had ever mustered before. As I startled slow walking old men from behind, I could hear tons of them cheering me on. Perhaps the old men had not seen such a sight since US marines and the ROK army stormed the beaches at Incheon 50 years ago!

In the end, I managed to get on a train with 4 minutes to spare. Plenty of time to catch my breath and remove 3 sweaty layers. Upon my arrival in Busan, I looked at the schedule of trains arriving from Seoul. The one immediately following from Seoul would arrive at 1:30! Four minutes stood between me and a heap of trouble.

The lesson from all this: a good, disciplined training regimen and proper nutrition pay off in the long run. Get out and work those muscles!

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