When running in Istanbul, you don’t really have to worry much about doing Hill Work. The hills find you. They’re everywhere.
My initial forays into running here have taken me to and around Maçka Park. It’s a nice park, relatively narrow, on the side of a hill facing the Bosphorus. I often do circuits around the outside of the park. Getting there from where I live is downhill. Part of the clockwise route is flat, then it goes down and then back up to the top of the park. I’m getting a lot of practice going up and down hills.
For doing tempo runs and my Sunday long(ish) runs, I’ve been running along the Marmara Sea. There’s a path on parts of the coast there between the Galata Bridge and beyond the Yenikapi ferry station. It’s not unobstructed. There are very few places you can run here that are unobstructed. I have to navigate around the cars coming into and out of a car ferry terminal, and around the metal fencing topped with razor wire that might or might not indicate construction.
It takes me about 45 minutes to get there though. So I have to do a bit of planning to get there. I’ve got an Amphipod water bottle that I carry on my hand. It has a small zippered case that I stash a 1 Lira coin (in case I need to use the toilet; the WC near the Eminönü ferry docks does not let you use your transit card to pay, only cash) and a granola bar to eat at the end of my run.
There they are, my two running companions: my Amphipod and my iPod nano. One for sustenance on long runs, the other for its ballpark-figure accurate pedometer and musical accompaniment.
I’m hoping that as I increase my mileage I’ll be in good shape to run my next race, a 15K on Sunday November 17th. It’s a race that’s part of the Istanbul Marathon. I am not doing the marathon. I’m in no shape to run a marathon. I’d prefer to run a few half-marathons, to see how I can handle the training and the distance, before I attempt a full marathon.
The course for the marathon and 15K starts on the Asian side, crosses the Bosphorus bridge (the only time pedestrians are allowed on the bridge) to the European side, where it winds its way along the Bosphorus and then across the Golden Horn.
If I complete the race, I will have raced my first 15K and have raced on two new (for me) continents (Asia and Europe). How cool is that for running milestones?
My wonderful sister will be joining me for the race. She’s a runner. She flies often for her job and so she has lots of frequent flier miles that she can cash in to fly to Istanbul. Which means it will also be the first race I’ve ever run with my sister; one more milestone to add.
P.S. I am running free of pain thanks to a lot of stretching of the muscles on and near my feet for that dreaded plantar fasciitis. Sometimes I feel tightness in the morning, but no pain.