I lasted one month in the sports school in a basement in downtown Üsküdar, the Istanbul district where I live. It smelled of sweat, it was noisy with bad music, and most of all: it was not in the open air. You can run on the street too, right?
So I bought running shoes, running socks and a new sports bra, learned how to get started with running (never did that before in my life) and took off. From Üsküdar to the intercity bus station at Harem, right alongside the Bosporus, a road of about one mile. I started running about three months ago, and developed a routine. I tell you: I can do both condition training and muscle training easily in the open air.
Did I ever write about the fitness equipment that the Istanbul municipality (and many other municipalities across Turkey) installed in city parks? They did, and after walking down to Üsküdar I start my training in the park right across from the tourist spot in the Bosporus, the Maiden Tower: muscles in arms, legs, and belly. Then I start running: since I started only recently, I run only for ten minutes, but I will slowly extend that.
At the end of the run, I’m at Harem bus station, and from there I can take stairs up to the neighbourhood high on the hill: about 150 steps up. Then more steep streets follow, till I’m up on the hill. And what’s on the top? Another municipality park with fitness equipment! Arms, legs, belly again, then down again to get to the next hill, which is the one where I live. To get to my house, I take another high staircase, and yes, I counted those too: almost 170 steps.
The view while running: the Bosporus, beyond it the Marmara Sea, across the Bosporus Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque and the Aya Sophia. I do this routine every third day. Today I go again. Last week I bought summer running trousers. So if you see a woman running between Üsküdar and Harem, in pink sports trousers (short, to the knee), a black shirt and a big smile on her face: that’s me!