First thank you very much for all your messages and comments. I haven’t had time to answer to all of you yet. I came back to Istanbul on Thursday morning at 5:15 AM. While being in Iran I had only the time to post to write two blog posts because I had a busy time: running, traveling, spending time with people and I preferred to live the present moment than to write. Now I am back in Istanbul and I have a little bit more time to write.
In the next days, I will write and share with you some blog posts about running and sport in Iran, the places to visit in Teheran and Isfahan and about the life in Iran.
Today, I want to talk about my run at highest altitude. On Monday morning, like on Sunday morning, my alarm went off at 5 AM. I would gladly have slept longer. I was still feeling tired from the two runs of the previous day. But who would miss the chance to go running in Iran? : ) I woke up, put on my running tights and the long sweatshirt that Sara gave to me, had a tea and we took a taxi with Farshad. In Teheran the trails going to the summits are very close from the city. It took less than 15 minutes by taxi. Davoood Shirkhani came and we began to run together. Davood works for Salomon in Iran but on the same time he is a mountaineer and a very good ultrarunner. He went a few times to Turkey to participate to races and will run this year in August the Raidlight Aaladağlar Skytrail and in October The North Face Cappadocia Ultra Trail.
When beginning to run, I felt immediately and again tired. Living in Istanbul at the sea level, my body isn’t used about altitude. The Iranian runners really benefit from a big advantage: they have endless hills and mountains 15 minutes away from the city. I really discovered a running paradise! It is an incredible place to train for races. I am planning to organize a running camp in Iran in September. Stay tuned.
Let’s go back to the run. We started at an altitude of 1715 meters. The first 20 minutes weren’t very steep. Needless to say that it wasn’t flat but we were able to run. Slowly we arrived to a very steep section and we had to climb with the ropes fixed on the rocks. I really liked to run and walk on such a trail: I felt both like a runner and an explorer.
Davood was continuously showing a higher point and I was thinking in my head “no it is impossible, I can’t go so high.” But we kept going up and after 1 hours and 40 minutes, we reached Panahgah Chyrpala (2750 meters). The mountaineers, by walking only, reach in general this point in 3 hours. Davood’s record is 48 minutes (!). We had a 5 minutes-rest and decided not to turn back by the same way.
I guessed that we would only run downhill, but it wasn’t like that. We first ran flat but after some minutes we started again to run uphill. On the right, the Tochal summit (3964 meters) appeared. We reached also the highest point of our run (2816 meters). Everywhere it was green and only on the summits there was some snow left. In the mountains, you can almost find water everywhere and whenever you are feeling thirsty, you can drink directly from the water sources. Nobody else, only rocks and flowing water.
Finally we began to run downhill. We passed under the cable car going to Tochal. Yes, you can ski there in the winter. Actually I am thinking about trying to ski there next winter. : )
After 3 hours and 47 minutes we were back in Tehran. In total the run had a 1266 meters elevation and a distance of 16.53 km. I held my heart rate in average at 138 bpm. It was really a nice experience and I promised to the Iranian runners to come back.