Salomon Trail Runs

Hey again! Missed me? I sure missed writing about, well anything. These past weeks I found myself planning what to write,  and how to write those. Trying to find the right words, connecting the dots in my brain. Do you ever plan what you are going to write, too?

Well apart from all the races, these 3 weeks have been overly busy with my 1st midterms, and a whole bunch of training sessions squeezed in. Now that my midterms are finished, another race in 3 days, I need to get some of those pictures in my mind out, and create more space for more to come! Hopefully, I won’t have any trouble remembering, so here it goes!

As I mentioned in my previous post I had been planning to race in Salamon XRuns (Trail Runs) on 27th of October. (Wow it’s been nearly two months). It was a superb race! There was two different courses, a 6K Trail Run and a 15K Trail Run. This was the first race I would race after my triathlon, I was feeling a litle soar, feeling a bit injured, and tired because of over training. So I wasn’t too excited about the race. It was a great opportunity to get to see Belgrad Forest in Istanbul, see old friends but most importantly a good warm up run and motivation just before the Ist5Days, a 5 day orienteering event.

As you might have figured out, my life has been very much revolving around orienteering for the past 2-3 months now. Not sure if I am becoming a better orienteer but I definitely feel like I am. I am definitely more confident in myself. My fear for long distances has disappeared, or the long distance on my mind has become a much longer distance now. I do find myself longing for a 15-18K on the weekends, a great distance to really leave that week behind and have a good start. Hill training is now a place that I can prove myself, and the interval training are becoming all about speed. Of course I am very behind in my technical orienteering skills, but I am sure I’ll get over it very soon!

Ok getting to the run, but wait! A german friend of mine, Vassily cooked pasta for us, again! This time I made sure to take a few pictures.

IMAG0028 IMAG0029

I don’t usually think twice while buying pasta from the supermarket, that was because i didn’t know i could make them so easily!  While the pasta was being prepared, I tried to get my friends to watch Key & Peele, I don’t think they got the jokes, though 🙂

So, the trail run! I decided not to run a 15K, as I was scared my pain would get worse, and I always like a short distance of 5-6K. 2 of my friends were going to run a 15K and another friend (Remember Zeynep!) was going to run a 6K.

So again I travelled to Istanbul, this time early on Saturday morning. This time I couldn’t find a friend to stay at, so I took this opportunity to spend some time with my uncle and his wife.

Their house was in the Anatolian side of Istanbul, so I did have some fun trying to find my way in Istanbul. I spent hours on the back seat of the bus, having myself the time and start reading a new book, “What I talk about When I talk about Running” or having the time to enjoy the view on the ferry back from the European Side.


Another great opportunity to learn how to live in Istanbul! Many of my job opportunities, really considering Consulting as a career, is located in Istanbul. What scared me the most was the traffic and the over population in Istanbul.


Back to the race! After leaving my stuff in my uncle’s place, we had the chance to grab a bite in a place just next to the sea. Afterwards we took a walk next to the sea. It was thrilling to sea that there was a, not too long, bicycle road next to the sea shore. There was a good number of runners and bikers enjoying the sea and bright sun.

Rest of the day was about napping and getting ready for the race. I cooked ravioli pasta -delicious!-, drank hot water with lemon and went to bed pretty early.

Waking early in the morning, my usual routine took control of the things. Tea with toast and jam on the side. I did not get to eat much again, but it was pretty filling.

Met Zeynep and her family, who were kind enough to offer me a ride to the race site, otherwise I definitely would not have made it 🙂 On the road there, we picked up the remaining runners, Metin & Ayar who are also in our ODTU Orienteering Team.

Upon arriving, the atmosphere was really moving.  There was a lot of runners, just there for their weekend run without even acknowledging the race. The trail was a running trail inside the forest. There was a lot of little up and down hills, making it a perfect training especially for me.

While warming up, my pain started to surface right away. I did a few little sprints ignoring the pain trying to clear up mind and took my place at the 6K start. The 6K start was very crowded, and that’s when I really realized I might have had a better chance for ranking in the 15K run. After a few minutes of delay, the race was on! Again, like always there were sprinters for the first 100metres but this time I acted like an amateur trying to have a good start right in the middle of the group. Now I  realize that if I had started the race on one of the sides, just as I did in the MUD Race, I would have had an excellent start and maybe push myself to be in the leading group.

Having a bad start, I really couldn’t keep up with the leading group. They started with a very fast pace, and first long hill really didn’t help on this. The tiny bit of pain, got through to me, making me give up on my ambition to catch up with the leading group of 5-6 people. After this, I decided to maintain a good pace for myself and really enjoy the process. I got used to uphills and downhills after a while, and the run became very enjoyable. Seeing non-racing runners on the trail and their cheers were really motivating, too. I did get to pass a runner, and managed to not be beaten by anyone behind of me.


From the start there was one runner, wearing a yellow jersey, that I made my race goal to pass. On the uphills I would really shorten the distance and downhill he would take the distance back. Seeing the last 500m mark, I increased my pace catching up with him in the last 50m. Just when I was about to pass him, I started yelling “keep running i’m right behind you” in order to warn him and see if he was up for the race. I ended up miliseconds behind him, which the timing system was indifferent to notice. Good for me! We thanked each other for the adrenalin rush of the last 50m.

My time is apparently

7 207 DORUK BALKAN 00:23:13 18   – 29

I was pretty happy with my result, and using the Mcmillan Running Calculator, it seems that I improved my 5K pace! 20:06 to 19:11! Yeay!

Zeynep didn’t get to run in the race, as a precaution for her injuries. Emre hadn’t had the chance to train well however he did have a good finishing time. Metin WON! I mean he was ranked 3rd overall in the 15K, bringing home the trophy 🙂 His time is very inspiring to me and a good challenge to beat soon!

The after ‘fruit shots’ were awesome, so was the event tshirt they got for us!

After the race, I went to a restaurant near the bosphorus and spent some time with my relatives.  We took a quick walk on the running trail laying just next to the shore. Afterwards when we got back home, and my uıncle cooked the fish he caught,  delicious!


Ciao for now.

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