Busy, busy, busy!
With my junior year, with the university having started, a lot has happened in the past 2 weeks.
Best news first! I am going to race in my first ever SPRINT TRIATHLON this weekend. I had been looking forward to this, and with the announcement of the distances, me and my teammate Nermin are going to Kusadası (famous for the touristic ports where cruises come to). Thanks to my dearest teammate I don’t have to deal with transportation or accomodation! More on this after the race, let’s not jinx it.
I and a bunch of friends (mostly from my orienteering team) had been planning to compete in the MUDRACE ’13. A few teammates of mine had raced there last year, with their costumes from Ancient Rome!
So we prepared our costumes and took the midday bus to Istanbul. We took a cheap bus to Istanbul, as many races had taken the weight off our wallets. We were in the middle of nowhere, when the bus stopped out of a sudden and had us scared that the journey had ended without us even seeing any mud. I took this opportunity to get back to blogging, apparently this was what I was waiting for. I wrote those long posts about 34 HAT tournament and wasn’t even satisfied, so started working on my internship report.
A few friends from Bogazici Fat Cats (a university Ultimate Team from Istanbul) decided to join us for the MUDRACE, and Seçkin, someone to write a few posts about, was generous and welcoming to let us stay at his place, After Carb-loading, apple flavored beer tasting(in a very cosy bar called ‘Uçan Ev’ translated as ‘Flying Home’ ) and spending some quality time with an old friend,Yusuf, I was feeling very tired, which got me a bit worried about the MUDRACE the next day. I don’t even remember falling asleep.
The day after, the sun was hiding behind the grey clouds, giving us the chills while we were eating our morning pastry. To our luck, the sun was shining when we got to Kilyos Beach. Quickly getting my number& timing chip, I started to make a few last remarks on my costume.
My companions were in no mood to really race, acting all chill, no race but I managed to concentrate a bit on the race and warm up properly before the race. Ok, let’s be honest I did a lot of chillin’ too 🙂
Observing the first mass start, we knew we had to take the lead in order not to be stranded behind the crowds in the obstacles ahead. By the way, we 4 ,my companions and I ,were the only people wearing a costume which really made us a target at the mass start.
And the race started in all of a sudden! People were sprinting as if it was a 400m race, a few ‘thoughtful’ runners brushing me with their elbows. I knew I had to take the lead, so I sprinted, struggling through the sand. After a 200m sprint, I wasn’t sure how I could pace myself as I was breathing heavily and really having a hard time climbing a bunch of stairs, however a leading group of 3-4 people provided the motivation I needed to maintain a proper pace. I wasn’t really expecting to get a ranking finishing time but seeing that I was leading the group was enough to motivate me to really push myself.
I was expecting to be covered in mud very soon, however for the first 3-4Km it was more like a trail run. I maintained a good pace, controlling my breathing and staying motivated. I was careful not to look back, as I knew it might have pushed me off my pace. The costume started to weight heavy especially running up hill. After running up and down on a few hills, I looked back to check how far my next rival was. It was Emre, another teammate of mine! He is a great runner, so this really motivated me. I kept pushing and pushing.
Then came the obstacle maze, where I had pass 6-7 obstacles one after the other. I jumped up and rolled down, without losing any speed. I had to throw my glasses to a volunteer nearby just before jumping into a pool of mud. I divided right into it and stroked a little too. I jumped out of the pool, but my vision was all blury, muddy water covering my eyes. I rejected clean water to clean my face, what a smart runner!, and kept on running.
The volunteers were cheering ‘Here comes the DOCTOR!’ so I kept on going. Last 1Km or so was hard to cover, but I managed to layout through an obstacle of tires, and sprint in the last 100m sand. People weren’t expecting to see a 19-year old wearing a muddy costume to finish first. Emre came in close second. Happy as we were, exhauted is a better description. We jumped into the sea to clean ourselves up.
I was suprised to see that I had was ranked 3rd overall and 1st in my age-group (sub-21). Sharing the podium with famous ultra runners was a good experience. The gifts aren’t so bad either.
Afterwards I celebrated with pizza followed by a coconut juice!
The bus ride back wasn’t about resting though, I had to finish up my internship report. Thankfully I enjoy writing while travelling.
I could say that I’m really looking forward to a trip like this one again! Living life to its limits, pushing any boundaries you have and enjoying great company. Once again I realized how lucky I was to have teammates I share so much with. Motivating me before, during and after anything I have to deal with, be it a hard race or a harder homework to finish!
Share your thoughts!
What was your last ‘different race’ ?
How much do you dislike mud?
Bus trips, a love to do, or hate to do?