Sunday, June 22, 2008

Counting down, ramping up

This week is not only the first week of summer, but also the start of my 18-week countdown and intensive training program for the Eurasia Marathon. I took up running again back in February, but the training I will begin this week will require 6-day-a-week workouts. My long runs are scheduled for Sundays and speedwork on Saturdays.

The Eurasia will have a new course this year. According to runner/writer John Crofoot:

The new course increases the scenic and historical appeal of the marathon, crossing, as usual, the Bosporus, then passing through Beşiktaş and Karaköy and following the Golden Horn to Eyüp. Eventually running along the sea coast to Gülhane Park, the 42.2-kilometer marathon will end in Sultanahmet, at the Hippodrome, one of the oldest race tracks in the world. (Today's Zaman, June 10, 2008)

Training in Istanbul presents some special problems and the biggest one for me is the poor air quality. I have allergies and asthma, which means I'll be doing a lot of my running indoors as the air grows increasingly worse, with the compounding factor of photochemical smog this summer. Of course, I would much rather be outdoors, so I'll also be trying to shift some runs to the early morning, when the air is slightly better. My neighborhood does at least offer wide sidewalks that are mostly free of the undulations and holes just waiting to wank your ankle in much of Istanbul. As well it's a pretty safe area.

Did I mention that I tend toward laziness and I've never been naturally attracted to running, which to me are both reasons driving my marathon goal. I do like to be fit, but I also need something to work toward so it's not just exercising for the sake of it. I love that fully relaxed but energized feeling after a run, and pounding the pavement or the treadmill has been a good way to sweat off the stressors of the day.

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