Turkey Trot

Sorry for the silence on the blog front – Me and Claire have just got back (ok on 12109885_10155983439070012_5648678780408137212_oThursday) from a lovely holiday in Dalyan, Turkey last week. We were spoilt; lovely people, nice hotel, beautiful weather, awesome food etc. We hadn’t been on a proper holiday for well over a year what with moving house and life in general, so it was lovely to get away, relax and put our feet up. I even got a liking for the excellent local beer, Efes. (Sorry that will be the end of the gloating – for now at least)

I had taken some trainers and a load of running kit, but only ended up doing two small runs when we were there. This was partly down to laziness, and also an unforeseen issue; dogs. 12132511_10155983431755012_8391598184987610331_oIn Turkey it seems people very much care for their dogs but let them roam free. It’s a little weird at first, as its not how we do it here, but then you just enjoy seeing them running about being dogs with each other. They turn up all over the place looking for food mostly and when it isn’t to be found falling asleep (near where food might be dropped, as above. They know their business).

Our hotel had three resident dogs who wandered about throughout the day quite unconcerned by guests, staff or the passage of time. Until the buffet breakfast was being dished out when they suddenly became very active and friendly, asking about your stay and ‘How’s your room?’ etc. One Spaniel had learnt the trick of starring into your eyes with a mournful look of despair until you gave him something to take the pain away, preferably meat based. I think that was his tactic, but he may have been trying to hypnotise us but that seems pretty unlik-… {(Goes and buys some dog biscuits and airfreights them first class to Turkey)}…

Er… Sorry. Where was I? So dogs wander about in Turkey, which is fine. What’s less fine is if you get up early for a run to avoid the heat. You’re a sweaty, pale person in shorts running past a load of sleeping, essentially wild, dogs who haven’t eaten for an hour or so. Then you’re an early breakfast opportunity/chew toy. On my first run I got about half a mile before my presence upset a dog in a restaurant. This staffy/Alsatian/poodle thing came bounding over the wall (which I was desperately hoping would protect me) snarling and bearing its teeth. Well I nearly saw the baklava from the night before, and I don’t mean on the restaurant’s glossy menus.

I ran screaming in terror to freedom, in the process waking up a considerable amount of hungover German tourists in the vicinity and performing an impromptu interval session. What fun. On hitting the main part of town, after a meander by the river to get my heart rate down to below cardiac arrest level, I came to the main street and saw four or five dogs lying about/in wait for din-dins. I carefully weighed my chances, thought ‘rabies’, crapped myself and meekly ran home. I eyed the road back to the hotel like a character from the Walking Dead in a season finale(without a shotgun or cross bow to defend myself I should add).

So I decided to treat the holiday as a rest period and work on carbo-loading as much local food and beer as possible; I was very pleased with my efforts. I did venture out once more before we went home, using a route on main roads that didn’t have as many dogs lurking which went a lot better. On two fronts actually; firstly with the magnificent sunrise I got to see, and also I somehow managed to set a new 400m PB. I believe this is evidence of the performance enhancing power of Baklava and aubergine fritters. 12140185_10155983431945012_5567577009769390225_o

Now we’re back in Blighty and I’m straight back into training for the upcoming Riverside marathon, which is only 5 and a bit weeks away on the 22nd November. I moved my long run up to Saturday from my normal Sunday this weekend and ground out 18 miles. I was looking to do 20, but I was tired from travelling home still, it was surprising hot and I didn’t take enough fluids with me, and I didn’t want to knacker myself out completely. Also I was carrying an extra few pounds or ten from all the holiday eating and drinking and was sloshing about like a melty snowman on acid by the end.

The plan though is to keep hitting the long runs of up to 20-22 miles over the next few weeks before I taper for the race. I’m hoping to sneak under the 4 hour barrier at the Riverside so need to make sure the miles are in my legs. Longer term, my plans are to try and not get too fat over Christmas and be ready for the Jeskyns Challenge me and Claire are running in mid-January. It’s as many 4.4 mile laps as you can do in 6 hours, so could be my first proper ultramarathon if I do 7 runs round and go past 30 miles. We shall see though. Might just look to complete my third marathon and not be too greedy/delusional, especially if the weather is very wintery.

I found out when we got back that I didn’t get into London, but thankfully that wasn’t too disappointing as I’m running the Kent Roadrunner Marathon in late May so can concentrate on that instead. It’s good to have so many races booked in to look forward to and keep me motivated to train. Bring on the ‘Austen Triple Challenge’!

Cheers for reading, happy running 🙂

PS. Meet Psycho. He looks cute, and yes he is – look at his little face!, but beware; this little low-slung monster has a bark loud enough to knock a toddler into a paddling pool and a fearless 12080109_10155983432050012_4967001663075227184_ospirit that sees him take on dogs literally three times his size (He also likes tummy tickles and having his ears scratched). He was one of the pack of dogs staying at our hotel and never let a day go by without running and barking like a lunatic at any unsuspecting intruder that strayed on to his territory. We salute you brave warrior.

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