My last marathon, a full one, was in December 2017 in Seoul. I had signed up for another one the following Sunday, which had to be postponed to Christmas Eve due to heavy snow. I ultimately passed on that final marathon of 2017 as the air pollution reached a level I considered foolish to run in.
I searched for other marathons to enter in 2018 but passed on one after another as we seemed to average about two days a week of air quality that was only “Moderate”ly polluted or better. It was with some heartache that I would see other runners in Korea triumphantly share the results of their runs on Instagram.
My winter became busy, rolling into a hectic new semester. I put signing up for marathons out of my mind as I contented myself with workouts at the gym and the very occasional run on mornings when the air pollution wasn’t hazardous.
At the end of March, one of my students told me she would be volunteering in the Yongin Marathon April 21 and asked if I was running in it. I hadn’t even known there was one! I looked for it online to learn I had missed the application deadline by several days. I texted the organizer to ask if it was still possible to sign up. That person must have been inundated with similar such messages as I got no response.
Stupid, stupid, stupid! All the times I had gotten up at 5 am to quickly take a bus to Seoul and be at the starting line by 8:00 or 9:00! When there’s a marathon practically down the street from where I live, I miss the deadline to sign up! But rather than spend that Saturday morning pathetically standing on the sideline cheering on the runners I should be running alongside, I decided to simply sign up for a different marathon that weekend. What’s another pre-dawn bus ride?
I just made the deadline to sign up for the Cherry Blossom Marathon in Yeouido. I can do 10K without a problem; I’m not sure how ready I am to run a half marathon. But I know if I didn’t sign up for this marathon, I’d never get around to it. I think it’s time to restock the pantry with oatmeal.