Thursday, October 25, 2012

First Race in Korea

Nancy is the one on the left
Those of you who know us know that Nancy and I are runners...well kind of.  We used to be pretty decent and won our share of age group awards and did a number of marathons (I did 8 and the wife did 18 because she is an overachiever).  We pretty much suck as runners now but despite that, we still do the occasional race just for the humiliation factor.  That was how we decided to do our first race in Korea a 10 K in Gyeongju.  It was part of the  Gyeongju International Marathon and it was a pretty awesome event.  There were probably a couple of thousand runners in all of the events including some Kenyan marathoners who were absolutely astounding.

The weather was perfect, the course was great, awesome Asics shirts and we both ran pretty well...I finished in 40:30* and Nancy ran 1:07.  Not too bad.  But there's a couple of "other" things about the weekend that are really more entertaining than our race...

The street in Gyenjongju with the Love Hotels.
In many of the cities we've traveled to in Korea (including Daegu) there are a hotels that are known as "Love Hotels".  They can be rented for an hour or a few hours and are used for...well I think we all know what they are used for.  But these are not sleazy, Motel 6-like establishments.  They are very nice with clean rooms, wi-fi, flat screen TV's...and thoughtful "gift bags" that are provided when checking in.  So we ended up staying in one of these "Love Hotels" for the race.  It was awesome.  Not only do you get the "gift bag" complete with toothbrushes, shampoo, massage oils and condoms, but you also get CNN and soft core porn...what else could you possibly want?
Artwork on the outside of our L.H.
 In Gyeongju, there were a large number of Love Hotels near the bus station (go figure) and I would say that if you are ever in a place where you have a L.H. option, you should absolutely go for it!

Who doesn't love Mr. Pizza???

Don't even think about asking for a second bowl!

It's can be pretty challenging for us to find food that we can eat (and that we like) in Korea so when we saw a Mr. Pizza in Gyeongju, that was our ticket for dinner,  We have eaten at Mr. Pizza's in Daegu and in Busan so we know that the pizza is good and they have a pretty decent salad bar.  So we went there and ordered a cheese pizza and two salad bars and figured we were set.  There was a bowl and two small plates on our table so I took the bowl and Nancy took one of the plates and we got our salads.  Right after we sat down and started eating our waitress rushed over with a horrified look on her face.  Pretty soon another waitress sprinted to our table and both of them were frantically trying to tell us (in Korean with a word or two of barely understandable English) that it was completely unacceptable to use a bowl AND a plate for our salads.  We were expected to share one bowl and eat our salads in tandem.  This was reinforced when they brought us the waters we glass, two straws.  And they insisted that we pay for the meal right then.  Those crazy Americans...wanting TWO bowls...

Despite the Mr. Pizza incident, it was a fantastic weekend.  We have another 10K in Daegu on November 4.  Probably won't be quite as interesting as this one...but you never know!

* Ryan Adjusted Time.  Actual time may be 40-50% slower than R.A.T.

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