About 3 months ago, I learned that there will be a marathon in Istanbul, Turkey on November 12th. My first reaction was: I have to be in this thing. By no means I am a marathon runner. The longest distance I ran up to that date was probably around 8-9kms, but I had a great urge to participate in the event. The event had 15km and 10km categories as well, so I decided to do a 10km.
Why So Enthusiastic?
I don’t know exactly why I was very enthusiastic to participate in this event but I think it was a combination of these things:
1. I Like Running
Even though I never ran a marathon before, I enjoy running a lot, and I do it regularly almost every week for exercising. The idea of running as part of a big event like this with people cheering around sounded great to me.
2. A New Challenge
I could set a target time to beat, make myself a training plan, and make this whole thing a challenge for myself.
I would be able to run on the bosphorus bridge and on other roads with great scenery in Istanbul. You are not allowed on most of these roads as a pedestrian in normal times.
So I registered myself to the 10km run, and made myself a simple plan to prepare for it: do three 10km runs every week until marathon day. My approach would be first to get used to running 10km without any time restrictions. Once I am comfortable running 10km, I would start setting target times and improving my pace. And lastly, I would try some courses with ramps to get used to the ramps in the actual course on race day.
After the first week of running 10km three times, I started feeling high pain in my right ankle that made running almost impossible. I had been running distances around 8km once or twice a week before so I thought running 10km three times a week wouldn’t be a problem. Turns out I was wrong. I rested for about a week. My ankle got better but I still had some pain. I didn’t have much time until the race so I wanted to keep exercising. I thought it would be fine if i kept running at a slower pace. Turns out I was wrong again. Looks like you are not supposed to get back to exercising until you are fully recovered. My ankle pain got worse and I started have pain in my left ankle as well. Overall, a month passed without much useful practice.
After I learned my lesson from my injury, I was able to do some effective running practice for 2 weeks. Just when i thought things were going well, I got scratched by a stray cat. My doctor told me that I have to get tetanus and rabies shots. (I needed to get 5 shots of rabies over a period of 4 weeks.) I don’t know if it was the side effect of the shots (doctor told me it might be) or if I got flu at the same time coincidentally, but I felt terrible and had no energy to run for about ten days. When I started to feel better, only two days were left for the race.
Race day came and I was ready at the start line. I didn’t have any fever or a congested nose anymore thankfully. I just felt a little less energetic than normal, and I still had some cough but I was way better compared to a week ago. I felt good enough for running.
It felt great to be there with other runners at the start line. I know it is not a huge deal to run 10km but it was just a great feeling to know that I was contributing to one of the biggest events of a metropolitan city instead of just watching it on TV.
Race itself was very tiring for me. I think I ran at a faster pace than I would normally run because of the extra push I got from other runners and people cheering. When it was all over I was exhausted but I had my satisfaction of finishing.
I ended up with a time of 53:08.
Today, after a month, I think I am just glad that I ran even though I was still a little sick on race day, and I couldn’t practice for the run as I wished. Setting aside all the practices and target times, I was a part of a great event. It was something I never tried before and it was so much fun. I am definitely looking forward to the next one. From now on, when I go out for a run, I am running 10km, just in case I learn about a race two months in advance 🙂 And I have to admit, I envied people who ran the full marathon on race day. Who knows, maybe one day…