Friday, January 22, 2010

Rain in Istanbul

Istanbul in January is not much to write about. Rain, snow, more rain, wind, trash and cold wind in your face, leaking rooftops, and smelly run-down buildings. My days are spent in solitary confinement. I don't leave my apartment, except for an occasional meeting, a coffee at Susam - a perfect neighborhood cafe decked out with eclectic 1950's grandma's living room furniture -- and daily trips to the gym, where I keep pounding out the miles.

The magic of this city is gone, at least for me. I used to come to Istanbul with eyes and mouth wide open. A magical place. Indeed, it was, it is, but only for a few days. Living here has been a different, frustrating experience. Language is the first problem. Yes, I have myself to blame for that. Three months in and I don't speak a word of Turkish aside from the basic five phrases. But Turkish is tough, and for the life of me, I can't place it. On top of it, I'm tone deaf so learning through internalizing the sound of the language is not an option - my brother, a talented musician, would probably do a lot better. Istanbul, or maybe it is just my neighborhood Cihangir, lives by night sleeps by day. I'm up until 3-4am every day, and never awake before 8.30. I used to be a morning person, now I'm a complete night owl. Cool, I accept it. When in Istanbul, do as the Istanbullus.

Food is the one thing I still enjoy, though even this is getting a bit repetitive. I love eggplant, and so does Paola. Turkish cuisine uses eggplant in everything. Eggplant stuffed with rice; eggplant grilled and mashed served with barbecued chicken breast; eggplant with tomato, cucumber, garlic in yogurt...etc. You think it, they have it. A strong vegetable diet is great for training - from this perspective, my intake of nutrients and complex carbs is better than ever before, and it helps keep my energy levels in balance. I'm also feeling good on the runs. The other day I did a 26Km long distance at a pace of 15.2km/h. I was fine the next morning, and recovered by today for my VO2 max workout.

Haiti fundraiser update: so far, we've collected around 1200€ in donations. Thank you all, so much, for giving. But there is a long way to go to 10,000. If you still can, please donate. Or pass our message on to your friends.

Bleeding nipples after running!


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