After the StairMaster and the renewed interest in running, I was looking for more things to put some variety in my work-outs. One day a co-worker came in with a black eye. I asked her how she got the shiner. She told me that another black belt threw her a flying side kick and she didn't block fast enough. I was intrigued because this woman I was talking to was shorter than I was and she was a black belt herself. I asked her if the club was just for students. She got me in. Hapkido is atKorean style of self defense in Martial Arts. I was hooked. I worked hard. My favorite move was the choke. I became so good at it that it was hard to find a sparring partner when we would do wrestling. My partner would eventually tap out because I had a mean chokehold and armbar. That was my specialty. Every semester soonafter, I was promoted to the upper belt. In three years, I earned my brown belt. That was as far as I got; we moved out of the area.
It was in my second year in Hapkido that I was first introduced to trail running. We had year-end retreat that included running a half-marathon in the trails of Point Reyes in Marin County. I agreed to do it as a fun run. I had only been running 5ks and a few 10Ks, but not that much more. My longest run was 6 miles at the time. Needless to say I was ill-prepared. As soon as I got on the trail, something happened. The sight of the black belts taking off just fired up the competitive spirit in me. I tried to stay with them. At every turn I was at their heels. Soon after the lead pack pulled away. I found myself dropping some of the guys on the uphills, that just made me run harder. It gave me a confidence boost. The group ahead would stop for photo opp at certain vistas. I overheard one of them talking about some yellow belt. They were wondering how I was able to keep up. I had to be honest, that made me feel good. But I only felt good for the first half. After that, I had slowed down. I was introduced to some gluteus maximus pain from running uphills with no training behind me. I tried hard to keep up, but I was in excruciating pain. I managed to finish with the the black belts. I wished I had known what my pace was. This was before the days of Garmin. My first time on the trail and I treated it like a 10K. Didn't like the hills. My approach was all wrong. It took me weeks to recover.