Friday, September 18, 2009


I'm not sure what it is about running that I like so much. I like the time alone with my thoughts, but I get plenty of that elsewhere too. I like pushing myself, and that's certainly something I do in various aspects of my life. I like the goal-oriented nature of running, and I like the feeling I have when I finish a hard run. But what I really like about running is something that's hard to pin down. I just feel good when I run, more awake and more aware. It's something that I don't get in other areas of my life--including other kinds of exercise. I sometimes think of running as therapy, but I'm not sure why.

I suppose I first got interested in running when I was in elementary school. I've always been okay at sports, but I was never a superstar. I've always been far better at exercise that I have at sports. When we'd run the mile in school, I always led the pack. I wasn't ever a stand-out in baseball or basketball or soccer. And that's probably why I joined the cross country team when I was in sixth grade, and probably why I continued with the team for the next couple years even after I tried and quit baseball, basketball, and wrestling.

During high school, I ran track, but I didn't run cross country. I chose football instead, which is a decision that I'm still not sure was the right one.

I didn't get back into long distance running again until college, when I started doing 10k's with my Uncle Scott. I had a good time and did okay, but I was never great. I hurt my knee running in a race after a year or so, and since I had no insurance, I wasn't able to ever really find out what the problem was. That's when I got into biking (which didn't hurt my knee) and forgot about running entirely.

I started running again seriously about a year ago. A doctor here helped me figure out what the problem with my knee was. Through exercise, stretching, and building up my legs on the treadmill, I was able to start running on the road in early August 2008. It wasn't long before I remembered why I liked to run. I felt stronger, and happier, and more alive. Because of the running (and some change in diet), I took off all of the weight I had gained since coming to Korea (nearly 30 pounds). What started as just a few kilometers for exercise became more and more. I ran my first race since starting back in March and have run a race every month or so since then, including a sprint triathlon (one of the hardest things I've ever done) last July.

My next race is October 11th, the day after I have to take the GRE Subject Test. It's a 10k, and I'm hoping to get my best time since I was in college (just under 40 minutes is the fastest I've ever run a 10k. My goal this time around is about 42 minutes--I'm getting closer). Then it's on to a half marathon in November and maybe a full marathon in the spring. I don't want to become a marathon runner, and I'd prefer to stick with 10k's, but I'd like to stay that I've done it once. Running long distances puts a lot of strain on your body, and I'm just as happy running 5 kilometers as I am running 25, so I don't see the point after I've done it once.

Regardless, running has been, is, and will be a part of my life for a long time. It's something I look forward to, dread, enjoy, and push through. It's something that makes me who I am.



At 11:41 PM, Anonymous Kent said...

Congrats! I've been trying to get back in myself (needing to lose weight) but it's been a tough road thus far. What I've been telling myself is that when I shell out the money for a good mp3 player, I have to start running again as motivation.

At 11:44 PM, Blogger Korean Ryan said...

Oh, hey Kent! How's it going? Yeah, I bought an iPod touch before I started up running again, and I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks when I run. It's definitely a good investment and gives you motivation to actually get out there and run.

At 11:37 PM, Anonymous Kent said...

How's it going is a complicated answer. Sufficed to say that I'm not going to bore you with it in the comments of your blog. I will say the good news is that I have lost about 10 pounds and will hopefully continue on that path. What podcasts have you been listening to lately?

At 5:28 AM, Blogger Korean Ryan said...

Lots of them. My favorites are probably "This American Life," "Stuff You Should Know," and "The Moth." Actually, Aalgar's "Sarcastic Voyage" is pretty good too. Anyway, I hope the complicated stuff clears up soon. Talk to you later and have a good one.


At 10:23 PM, Blogger Kang Hae-Joong said...

It sounds like you have a very sound habbit! Although you might be so busy working, I hope you have a happy Chusok, Ryan.

At 10:26 PM, Blogger Korean Ryan said...

Thanks, Hae-Joong. I am pretty busy, but I'll try to enjoy myself anyway.


At 7:58 PM, Blogger LINUS said...

I used to love running in the Army, because it was the only thing I could do better than other big guys(I couldn't beat them by something using my muscles such as lifting heavy things.)
Nowaday, I don't have time to run and I get more and more weights. I am planning to start doing some exercise after I take the teacher appointment test(I'm thinking of learning boxing.)
Anyway, I think it is hard to find a good place to run in Busan due to the air which which is not so clean.:(

At 8:46 AM, Blogger Korean Ryan said...

There are plenty of places to run in Busan. For example, our building is right next to a running track! There is also the running path next to Oncheon-Cheon or the running area in Sajik-Dong.

It's easy to procrastinate, but I find that exercising actually helps me to be more productive, even though it takes up some of my time.



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