Sunday, 24 June 2018

From the Land of the Rising Sun to the Land of the Calm


We left the beautiful Island of Okinawa to head back out on operations once more, thus putting me back into the not so exciting routines at sea.

The next port of call is Busan, South Korea towards the end of the month which I'm looking forward to. When I last visited there, it was known as Pusan but that was 18 years ago. I have no doubt the city which features in the latest Black Panther film has changed a lot since the last time I visited. It's a busy stop coming up but I'm looking forward to revisiting the place for a couple reasons as you will find out later on.



Leaving Okinawa
Whilst, we are at sea it was time for my annual fitness test. Nothing too difficult for me especially at my age of 40, although I do have sign a death waiver. This is so I can't sue the MOD if I die during a fitness test because I chose to do the bleep test over the Rockport walk. I passed as always which wasn't hard as I only have to get to level 7.8 on the bleep test for my age. I'm not going to go into the RN fitness test standards because that's a whole different level of discussion.


Sunset coming into Busan waters
The weather wasn't great, it was like a cold wet miserable day in Plymouth, more than the warmer climates of the East China Sea. I did what I had to do even though it was raining and that was all that was needed. I've nothing to prove to anyone, or myself. I did record it on my Garmin though just to record the location of where I conducted my fitness test, more than anything and it's funny to see the actual results. How much I would love to be as good as it suggested there was no way I ran 4.30 min mile nor did I do 2.7 miles in 10 mins odd. What caused this? Well the ship moving as I ran effects the GPS, I could've set it to treadmill mode but then it wouldn't have logged the area I ran it in. That's all I wanted it for, I know if I uploaded it to Strava, there be some sad person claiming I cheated as they take what Strava says as gospel. "If it's not on Strava it didn't happen" Bollocks. 


Flight deck out in the East China sea the location for my Annual Fitness Test
Further a field back home, my boy ran the 2.4km Junior race as part of the Hope24 event festival. He's ran it twice before, but  it was either with me or his mum. This year he wanted to do it by himself "because Mummy is too slow" and he did. He did brill, as we had some reservations on him doing it by himself, as sometimes he requires a little motivation to get him round from one of us. However he didn't require us and he smashed it out of the park. Very proud of my boy, we're not pushy parents at all. Far from it, if he wants to run it's great, we'd never force him. That's how I believe a lot of children lose their motivation for sports. Again I could go on with this as I have seen many pushy parents in Judo a sport I participated and taught for around 30 years prior to retiring from it, but I won't that's another discussion. 

Obviously I am sad I never got to see my boy do this in person, but that's one of the down sides to my job. I have, since he's been born, missed a lot of things with him. Especially birthdays I've been home for about 1 of them and I will be away for his 8th birthday this year, and as it stands possibly away for his 9th. During this period it was Father's Day also, sadly another I am not home to spend with him. Luckily the post arrived in time prior to sailing with my Father's Day card and gift, so I haven't totally missed out but sadly it's the downside to a job at sea. Much like my own father who was in the Merchant Navy for 36 years. He was often away for birthdays and Christmas' a like. 


Hope24 is an amazing event, it was it's 5th birthday this year and I'm sad I wasn't able to participate in any form. From what I have seen on various SM outlets, it appears it was another successful one again, with my friends enjoying themselves and some even achieving more than they expected. Well done to all of you! Hopefully I will be back next year. I've missed seeing all my friends especially those who I formed friendships through the event itself. 



My boy proud of his Hope24 achievement
That said we eventually arrived in Busan, South Korea. I wasn't hanging around as I was off on an organised to trip to Seoul first, a 2 hour train trip from Busan. This was because the following day I am visiting the De Militarised Zone aka the DMZ. The border between North and South Korea. It's one of those once in a life time opportunities really, I've never been before and the likelihood it would happen again if very unlikely. The fact I could say "I've been to the DMZ" is pretty ace to be honest. 


Tracked my wall in and out of North/South Korea




At the DMZ






















So the DMZ was so surreal but so amazing, definitely one of the best experiences I've had around the world and I've been to wonders such as the Pyramids and the Great Wall of China etc. We could only take pictures at certain times, and as the phone signals were being blocked by the North, so I could only manage to track my North/South bimble on my watch. It is definitely and experience I recommend to any one. If you get the opportunity to do so, then take it. 

The following day after I got back from the DMZ, I went to the Korean War Remembrance Service with pretty much everyone else from the ship. The Korean War is often the forgotten war and it's easily to forget that is actually has never ended yet. It's just a military cease fire, nothing more. It was a really lovely cemetery and the service was good. Sometimes it's easy to take things for granted, this war only started 5 years after the end of WW2.

So anyway back to the running. After what was a busy few days, I finally got out for a run first thing early morning the next day after the Remembrance Service. I didn't get to go out in Seoul, mainly because I had little time there and I wanted to explore and get drunk in Seoul to be honest, to which I did. So my run in Busan, came at 0530 before I was going to be stuck on board duty. 

I went out of the main gate and took myself up the stonking hill. The temperature was warm and it was humid at that time. Haze over the sea was yet to be burnt off, but the views nevertheless were still stunning once I go to the top. I took in the views and eventually carried on a bit down the other side before turning back round to run back to the ship. 

Running across the top of the big hill
It couldn't be a long one as I had to get back to take over from the guy who was duty the day before. Knowing how hot and humid it was going to be I knew I had to stay hyrdated, so I went with Green Tea Tailwind once more, making sure I had ample of fluids.The climb up the hill was tough and the descent was pleasant it was long but not knee busting steep. All in all a good run.

It was nice to get out on my own again, allowing me to ponder things. The area was pretty quiet at that time, birds were singing and it was nice. Busan is a good place to visit, with lots to do. Whilst there I found out that there is a trail from Busan to Seoul that measure 330 miles ish. Thus has given me an idea for maybe a future adventure, however not sure how the wife may feel about it yet. We shall see, I've plenty of ideas for my next big adventure but it depends on where I go after I leave this ship. 

Green Tea is yummy!
Running in Pusan is now the 8th different place I've ran in this trip so far, although it may not be as great as some of the others, it was by not disappointing at all. I recommend visiting this part of world, it certainly different, the South Koreans love their drink so be prepared to party hard. 

So by time this gets published I will be seeing my little family in 4 days time when they fly out to join me at my next stop for 2 weeks. It's going to be fantastic and I'm really excited. I know my son is going to have an amazing time. I'm glad I chose not to fly home, as there was so much hassle flying home thanks to the RAF, it almost doesn't seem worth it plus I'd have less time at home. 

#LiveitLoveitRunit taking in the views of Busan during a break in my run.
Well that concludes another blog for the time being and brings you all up to date, feel free if you haven't already to read the other blogs. 

Thank you to the continue support from everyone, and especially my sponsor Tailwind Nutrition UK. It's great to be a Trailblazer out here on my adventures. Until next time.



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