YangYang Trailrun 103km 2016 on Saturday, August 13, 6pm through 12noon on Sunday August 14, 2016, in Gangwon-do, South Korea
It is my 3rd time participating in this fine Nature Oriented Trail race. I had finished in 12hours and 53minutes in the 2012 race. When I had heard about this race, I felt like I should join and explore the uncontained pure nature oriented environment.
I wasn’t thinking of my lack of preparation as I hadn’t had any lengthy trail races since my 100km-CCC/UTMB in August 2015 in Mont Blanc, France. I was too much over excited for going back to the mountain where it felt like my home. Later I paid a priceless price for my lack of training.
Up to 30km point was OK even though there was hot heat all throughout the evening. The Day time temperature was 37~39 Celsius in Yang Yang. The unpaved mountain roads were bumpy and there were many potholes; the over half moon was half covered by the Clouds until about 3am the next day.
At about 900meters above Sea Level, runners were given watermelon juice. I had two bottles of this sweet juice, and hit the road again. From that point, it was downhill for the next 12km. All of a sudden, my body was not cooperating with me at all. It was 9:30PM in the evening in the middle of the mountain near to the peak. It took me 70 minutes to go the next 5 kilometers downhill as I felt like I was going to pass out.
I found running water from the mountain in the creek, and without any consideration I took off my clothes and took a cold bath in the creek. That made me so refreshed and revitalized again. When I got back to the track, I was able to run the next 5km until I reached the 42km check out point.
I was thinking more than a thousand times if I should quit or not. I was wondering, “What am I doing here in this dangerous mountain?” I paid for the pain, I paid for the risk of walking on the cliffs, I paid to run in this killer heat. However, I also felt the sweet breeze which I can’t get anywhere else except on this golden pine tree covered mountains. I also faced the sea of stars and got to see the fattening of the moon. The orchestra played by the grasshoppers and cicadas made us keep running from the bottom to the top, and then from the top to the bottom again to climb to the top in this dark evening with murderous heat.
No one pushed me to keep running, but all volunteers supported us by supplying water and some snacks all throughout the evening. Since I had lack of training, my legs were gradually stopping to cooperate with my mind. When I had 30km to go, I was literally not able to run. But still, I had time to finish even though I walked. I walked for the next 30km without stopping over to dream of crossing the finish line even if I was the last finisher in the checkout time of 18 hours.
At 5AM on Sunday morning, the sun gave us light, the mountain started to breathe, and the sky turned blue. Birds were singing, water was running in the creeks. In the meantime, the killing heat was getting more and more strong minute by minute since I was running facing the east, where the sun was rising. The mountain is full of golden pine trees which are tens of years old or even hundreds of years old. There are very tall and beautiful pine trees all over the east side of the mountain. I even thought about if I would be able to come back to this pine tree place before God calls me, but I had enjoyed that I was able to run this mountain 3 times where it usually is blocked for the public to enter for the protection of these fine mountains.
I still had to run 6 more km after I got out of the mountain to the finish line. The asphalt paved road from 10AM to noon was like boiling me in a pot. Some street peach vendors were offering us water or peaches. An organizer drove by us and handed over a cup of coke with a popsicle that made me to keep walking for the next 6km.
I saw the finish arch over the parking lot, but I felt terribly sorry to the organizers as they supported us all throughout the evening and I just made them wait until now.
I just thank God that I was lucky to run this wonderful place 3 times in my life where it is truly a fine place to come and visit.
I miss my beloved MOM who passed away on Christmas day of 1999
My Mom left to go to Heaven on Christmas day of 1999, right before the New Millennium’s arrival, when I was in North Carolina, USA. It was so weird that Christmas Eve night. I couldn’t sleep and found myself struggling throughout the evening. I immediately knew when the Phone rang in the middle of night. It was the unwanted news that arrived like a Thunderstorm. I immediately left my friend's house to go to a Local Airport in Raleigh, North Carolina to catch a flight to JFK Airport, New York. It was a small flight to NY and swung like a pinwheel. Back then, the Airliners were not so tough for changing departure days so I could catch the connecting flight to Kimpo Airport Seoul, South Korea with a party of 5.
I was crying all the way to Kimpo Airport and hoping my MOM was still OK as she lived in GOD all those years. She only left a few donation envelopes after she left; we found the trip expenses for Heaven from her Bible. It was inside of her Bible.
She was at the age of 65, a few years older than my age now. It was snowing so heavily from Seoul to my home town, Gyegon-myun, Haenam-gun, Jeolla-do when we moved to my home village where she lived all most of her entire life as a wife of farmer. We couldn’t let her go to the cold soil with mournful of snow. Back then, I couldn’t believe that my Mom could just leave us without even saying goodbye to her oldest son to whom she had devoted all her life to educate in Seoul as a farmer’s wife who lived in a small village in the south edge of farming county.
She always came to Seoul in order to earn pennies for her son’s education by thinking of the fine days ahead as long as her son graduates from the college in Seoul. But I was too immature to realize the tough days my Mom went through while she was being a hard worker even in the bitterly cold winter days in Seoul. She worked as a service lady in a small restaurant in a market to earn a penny. I went to the University with her penny and tried to hang on in the college. I was not a super smart student, but just trying to hang in there to graduate. I was too naïve and an immature boy even after my 20s. When I started to make a living after college, I always handed over an envelope to my Mom every month. It was kind of like living expenses for my Mom and Dad. I now confess that I was thinking that I was doing well enough by handing over an envelope with a small amount of money. I already forgot how I went to College. I was too busy to make money more and more, didn’t pay attention on my Mom’s health at all.
By the time I heard she was diagnosed by colorectal cancer at a Hospital in Seoul which was famous for Women’s clinic, I terribly regretted that I wasn’t doing enough to take her to a more professional hospital for colon cancer such as Seoul National University Hospital. I was too young at the age of 39, and my focus was only on Money.
She prayed for her first born Son and didn’t even talk to me directly when she went through the tough days in an inconvenient old fashioned house. I overheard through my sisters that my Mom was waiting for another surgery which she was desperately seeking for. I took her to the Emergency Center a few times and sought for the possibilities to conduct another surgery if there were any chances to heal my beloved Mom. No Doctors wanted to mess with her as the illness went too deep for the surgeons. But still I regret that I didn’t try extra surgery as I cry now after she left at a young age on the coldest day in 1999.
As it says, time flies. And I am now a few more years to reach her age, I don’t think I am ready for heaven at all. I can feel my Mom’s sorrow on how she felt about her upcoming death which she would had been seeing minute by minute. The loneliness and the fear with anger about why me, I can feel the pain and frustration while she was lying down on the bed in a dark room.
I dare can say now that life is just like a dream in a Spring, and it is a second for everyone. Looking back on the day I went through seemed like it was just yesterday. I had strong days, I had good days, some days I was a friend to money, and some days the Money left me suddenly. Still time goes as it is, and now I am standing at the verge of the shadow where I can even see the dark days ahead.
I wish I would have just one more day with my beloved Mom as I want to say to her that I am so sorry, and please forgive me. Mom I didn’t know how seriously ill you were and I were too immature to realize what life is.
Within not many years, I would see you in heaven, and want to say "Mom, I love you and respect you and I am again so sorry for letting you go too early.
I wish I would have one more day with you. I love you Mom. I hope you're having happy days in heaven where you wanted be and prayed about so many days.
Your first born son Sang from a humble place in Seoul, South Korea on the Korean Thanksgiving Day in 2016 after you left 16 years ago.