Gerisayim (n.: countdown) Only 30 days, 21 hours, 13 minutes* — Oh, my!

To what are we counting down?, you ask.  I’ll tell you.  The Istanbul Marathon.  I, of course, am not running the full marathon but instead the 8km portion.  Which is more than I’ve ever managed to run straight.  It’s part of my 30 in 30 and possibly the most difficult one, although having re-started my 30 days of no swearing multiple times now that might not be true…

I’ve been trying to get my lazy butt in gear to run this 8km for a while now, but have been a serious slacker — especially during the time I was in the US.  Last night I proudly managed to run two miles straight without even intending to.  Which is a start, right?  Granted, I need to get another three in before I actually manage to run an 8km, but hey I can run/walk the 8km right?  The answer to that is yes.

While this post is a bit of a pat on my own back for doing two miles straight without even meaning to, it’s more to tell the funny story of how I’ve been getting by in my training.  First, I have to give a quick plug to the podcasts I’ve been using.  I [heart] Chubby Jones in a major way.  She has pretty sweet taste in music and is awesomely motivating to run with (however, might I recommend against doing the booty bump or dancing it out if you’re on a treadmill in a busy gym while listening to her podcasts? Otherwise definitely do what she says… and heck, do a booty bounce if you’re feeling it just be prepared for laughing and/or falling off treadmills).  Lately I’ve started using a few of my own playlists to keep me going and thanks to my awesome friend, MKD, I always include ‘Hold On’ by the amazing Wilson Phillips.  I might also sing along and dance.  Which, I’m sure, is part of why people look at me funny when I run outside.  The other part, however is that I often bring my running buddy along.


My running buddy.

I don’t always bring her with me, but when I do it creates a bit of a scene.  She’s a little slow these days (I’m trying to get faster and she’s still trotting on at our old pace), but it’s nice to have her with me because:

1. she’s a good pace keeper

2. once she starts running she’d rather keep running than stop and walk for a while so she’s motivating that way

3. I feel guilty leaving her at home when I’m going for an outdoor run

4. who doesn’t like a running buddy that smiles the whole time?  It’s all good right?  Wrong.

If you’re a facebook friend that you already got the very short version of this story.  Bear with me (or, you know… stop reading.  I’m not forcing you).  Not only is Ankara generally not runner-friendly (I’m looking at you, streets without sidewalks or crooked pavement), but it’s not terribly dog-friendly either.  I guess I just always thought that people who didn’t like dogs would just get out of our way or ignore us… I thought wrong.  When I run with Olive people either run up to pet her or jump out of her way — from like 10 feet away.  It’s strange.  I don’t really appreciate either, but prefer the jumping out of the way from afar generally.  Mostly I can just ignore it because, well, I have the dog and loud iPod to keep me occupied.

On our run yesterday for some reason people were especially rude and snotty about Olive running with me.  In the past, I’ve had people ask if she was chasing me (which is just ridiculous because she’s on a leash attached to me! Granted, I strap it across my chest so I don’t have to hold it, but seriously?) or sort of act shocked and jump into the street to avoid us (on those ten-foot wide sidewalks).  Last night I had more people look at me disgusted and pull their children closer as we passed than usual.  I understand the cultural distaste for dogs and the lack of trust from the street dogs here, but did you see that picture of Olive?  I should point out here that Olive isn’t her usual lovey dovey/need to make friends with everyone self when on a run.  She means business.  She’s not angry or domineering in any way, but she’s focused on running and is just trying to keep up with me while her tongue hangs out of her mouth like a loon.

Back to yesterday’s run… There were two girls about 25 years old walking in front of us on a street that, of course, had no sidewalks. I assumed they heard us coming, but when the one girl turned to look, she saw Olive (still at least 3 feet away from her at this point) and she screamed.  Like a scary movie bad-guy-is-hacking-the-closet-door-you’re-hiding-behind-to-pieces-with-an-ax scream.  And jumped — literally 2 feet in the air.  I wanted to laugh, but her shrill scream scared Olive who jumped away and almost into on coming traffic.

Remember this moment.  Make a mental note to refer back to it when people later ask when I lost it.  I had had enough of the stares and inappropriate reactions (read: over dramatic).  So I screamed at them.  I started in English with some choice words that mean I will have to start my 30 days of no swearing over again (poop! I was up to 11 days this time!!!) and when they looked at me confused I yelled at them in Turkish to be careful and pay better attention.  As they started to mouth off back to me, I told them they didn’t have to worry, she only eats small children and was full anyway.  Then put my earphones back in and kept running.
And so that’s how it came to me.  I will from now on use that line when people respond in a way I feel is inappropriate to my adorable running buddy.  Also, I will start running in the mornings.  In part because there are fewer people out on the streets in the mornings and in part because the 8k starts at 9 am and I’ve been reading (in lieu of running) about races and how you should train at the same time of day as the race.  Which, by the way I’m not “racing” per se.  Just trying to survive and finish in the time allotted (which is totally doable since it’s four hours).
And the would-be vicious beast doubles as a foot warmer post-run.  Convenient.
*as of the publishing of this post.
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: