Monday, May 2, 2011

The Marathon: Part 2

My friend, Sara, ran a marathon this weekend!  She ran a great time!  I was so proud of her for finishing the race.  You can read about her adventure here.  Please take note of her super cute running top!  It is not only cute but in one of my fav colors (hint, hint Amazing Husband).

While I was reading her blog post, I realized that I never finished blogging about my marathon.  So here we go: the Korean aspects of running my marathon:

Oh wait! wait, wait, wait!  My amazing husband went bungee jumping this weekend.  I just wanted to tell you that.

First aspect of Korean marathoning: Group Stretching.  Everybody got together and was lead in some stretches about 20 minutes before the race started.  Koreans are all about group culture.  Group Stretching fits right in. 

Also, there was a B-boy performance before the marathon.  I am not sure the purpose of the B-boys' dance but it made me laugh.  Always throw in some K-pop for good measure. (confession: I like K-pop sometimes)

About 2 minutes before the gun went off, I noticed all the Koreans getting into lines behind one another.  (Important side note: Everything was being announced in Korean.  So, me being nervous, thought that they were getting ready for us to start) I thought to myself, "what are they doing?  This is not going to be a very efficient start if everyone is standing in line."  At this moment the person behind me started massaging my shoulders.  I noticed that everyone was massaging the person in front of them.  Oh Korea, how I love you!  I felt so uncomfortable (and I was so nervouos at this point in time!) but I lightly massaged the man's shoulders in front of me.  Then we had to turn around and massage the person behind us.  It was nice to have a reason to laugh off some of my nervousness. 

About five seconds before the gun went off, everyone started counting down.  In English.  With their hands in the air.  (So, put your hand in the air, and count down from five, then boom fireworks and we were off and running!)

During the marathon, people would say one of three things to me:

"Fighting!"  This is the only thing Koreans cheer. Even to other Koreans, spectators would shout "Figh-ting!"   Ususally I would pump my fist in the air and shout back fighting. At the end of the race, I was too tired to shout back enthusaistically.  (I think my fighting sound more like this: iiighhht-iiinnnngg and my fingers would not make a fist hahahaa)

"Where are you from?"  This was somewhat difficult to answer.  I live in Daegu, but I am from America.  So I just said America.  I did not want them to start speaking Korean to me.  The only memory I have from mile 19 (other than: I want to stop, I want to stop, I am going to stop in my 5 more steps...) is someone running up to me saying, "where are you from?" me saying "America" and then the person sprinting off (okay maybe he did not sprint off, but it seemed like it to me).  Why do you feel the need to talk to me when I have the look of death on my face.   The people at the water stops were really interested in where I was from as well. 

Speaking of hydration stations, I think there was a junior high girl at each stop.  The junior high girl would say each time, "you are beautiful"  Maybe at mile 6 I believed junior high girl.  By mile 23 I was like, "what are you thinking? - this is the worst I have probably ever looked in my life.  Well besides the time I got my wisdom teeth out).  Of course each time the girl would say it to the Americans and no one else.  Only in Korea...

Still on the topic of hydration stations, they served choco-pies at some water stations.  Think of a Little Debbie snack cake.  Now think of tons of Little Debbie's unwrapped laying on top of each other in the sun.  No thank you.  (I can say no thank you in Korean!).

Three weeks after the marathon, I got a package.  It was a box of traditional bread snacks.  I love free stuff.  I feel like I never get free food three weeks after races in America.

I just asked my Amazing Husband if there were any aspects that I was missing.  I was missing two.  Here they are:

They served Korean beer after the race.  I did not partake in this aspect of marathon racing.  I think I was dehydrated and nausea enough as it was.

There were some tents set up a grassy/muddy field (the Korean form an Expo).  One tent was acupuncture.  I am not sure if acupuncture is common at marathons, but it seemed Korean to me, so I am including it on the list. 

So there you have it.  The Korean aspects of my marathon. 

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