December 15, 2008

Long Run Along Bosphorus, Istanbul

For our long run this week, I really wanted to experience running along the Bosphorus. It is such an important part of this city. At any time you'll find locals walking along, sitting by, swimming or fishing in this strait which forms the boundary between the European and Asian parts of Turkey.

My sister's regular running buddies, two Dutch neighbors, were also keen for a change of their usual Sunday route in the woods. As we left home at a very relaxed 9.30am to drive to the area of Sariyer where we'd park the car, it was very foggy.

But when we arrived at our starting point, the sun had come out and the views across the Bosphorus were spectacular. Both professional fishing boats and private fishermen were trying their luck. While we saw other runners, we counted them on one hand during a two-hour run.

(These images were taken a day earlier when it was raining at similar spots to where we did our long run.)

December 13, 2008

Registered for the 2009 Vancouver Marathon

Yesterday I registered for the Vancouver Marathon 2009 (May 3), just before December 15 to take advantage of the early registration fee. (There is a 5.5% fee to pay online.)

I've run this course once before and I am hoping that this year's experience will be very different.

The actual course is OK - mildly undulating so on paper it should be a relatively fast one. In practice I found it hard to get into a good rhythm last year but, again, I hope it was mostly me and not the course.

My training for this race will start in earnest in about two weeks and I am excited!

It includes five 3-hour runs (if all goes well) - the most I've done.

I've been trying to include weight training for a year or more. But I keep putting it off - let's see if I can get it together for this marathon!

December 06, 2008

Training overseas

One of perks of being a runner is that training provides the perfect opportunity to explore places on foot. I am in Turkey for 2 1/2 weeks and then in the Netherlands for five days. Both are family visits.

My sister has been living in Istanbul for nearly three years. After a visit in September 2007, I am back to see her. The difference between this time and the last is that she has become a runner too.

She started running in early 2008 with the goal of completing the 10km Nike Human race in
Istanbul. She did, and then trained for the 15km of Istanbul held in October. She completed that one as well and is still following a training routine that involves running four days a week.

Needless to say that I am so proud of her. She visited me in Canada earlier this year for 10 days and we did our runs together. Now we have a chance to do so again. Today is our long run and she will take me to the forests near Kylios.

I am looking forward to running outside as we have done our training on the treadmill this week. Mostly because when she returns home for work it is already pitch black outside.

Another reason is that last year I had an unpleasant encounter here with a couple of the many street dogs that roam this area. While most of them are friendly and asleep, early in the morning hunger puts some of them in a bad mood as they search for food. I was in the unfortunate position to run into a couple of those. Luckily, a local was around to help me out but the experience made me more cautious about running along the streets in this area early in the morning.

When I go to the Netherlands later this month, I plan to do the same 10km race I did there last year. This certified and flat 10km race was the first where I managed to run sub-41 mins. Since then I have broken 40 minutes twice, before suffering a few months of sluggishness and slower times in training and racing including a 10km of 41mins of change. That's a few months ago and I feel much better now so I am very keen to test my current level of fitness.