September 22, 2023

By Ahmet Abdulaziz….

I admit I am a crazy person. My life is filled with my crazy adventures. In different phases and times of my life, I put myself into adventures, sometimes making some temporary and sometimes permanent impacts on my life.

On many occasions, people have called me a “crazy person”. At times looking back, and re-winding the film of my life, I come across some events, about which make me start thinking if I am really a crazy person.

This Sunday was also one such day when I acted crazily.

My love for walking and running is well known. However, for quite a long period of time, I have not been able to continue running/walking the way that I had been in the past. I am running and walking, but not in the way I should be. Intermittent gaps of days and weeks have taken the real interest away. There are so many new things that have entered my life during the last 4 years, that my love for running and walking has faded into the background. Yet I always think that one day I will regain my lost form, and will do something really big in the field of running and walking.

The COVID-19 period put me further under stress. During the lockdown period, my run or walk was even less than previously. It rather put me under some sort of depression. Prior to the start of the lockdown in March, I had started running five or ten kilometres for some days, late at night. But once I stopped, I felt really bad. It was indeed very depressing to find myself not doing what I really wanted to.

With all this background, I wanted to find a way to regain my previous form, once the lockdown ended. However, due to many reasons, most of them due to my pessimistic state of mind, I could not manage my time to re-start running. The most that I could do was 2 or 5 km walk only. That also was at night time only.

I was always cursing myself for being pessimistic and wanted me to come out of my state of depression. Doing something really crazy is my one way of beating depression.

This Sunday (28th June 2020) was the day when I did something crazy. With no planning in advance, I decided to go out for a 36 kilometre run/walk in the morning. So I set off, at about 6.30 am from my home in Lefkoşa, heading towards Balikesir, which is near Ercan airport, about 18 km from Lefkoşa (Nicosia). Though I had mentioned it to my wife the previous night, of course, she had not taken it seriously, although she had asked me not to do it, since it was going to be very hot the next day.

However, nothing could change my mind, as my craziness had taken over.

I started walking quickly, in the beginning, since of course, I did not want to put myself under pressure by starting off running. It was a hot morning. In a short period of time, as always I was feeling pain in my legs, and I was feeling uneasy. As always I experience this state of mind, during the first few kilometres. This state of mind differs from time to time. At times I think of returning back home. Sometimes this condition also persists until ten kilometres or so.

The same happened this time. Badly out of shape I kept on struggling to move on. Kilometres kept passing by, but my state of mind did not change. I knew that it was indeed not at all easy to continue when badly out of form, but I had to continue. The weather was indeed hot, though it was early in the morning. After about ten kilometres walk, I found myself fit enough to start short bursts of slow running too. The sun was rising and heat increasing, yet I continued without taking any rest.

However, I had realised that it would be too hot in the next few hours. The crazy man inside me was not listening to what my mind was thinking. After a few kilometres more distance, I returned back to walking, not running anymore. By the time I finished the first phase of my run/walk, the weather had become really very hot. I reached Balikesir at about 9,30 am. I was tired. I had run/walked for about 18 kilometres non-stop. I had felt I was regaining my lost confidence.

Regained confidence was one positive development, but the reality on the ground was too difficult to cope with. I took an hours rest at Balikesir and re-started my walk back to Lefkoşa (Nicosia). I had eaten my food and had water. I had realised that it would not be an easy walk back home. On my way back eastward, the sun was on my back. The heat was indeed intense. I took the first rest at a bus stop, after the first 5 kilometres.

Back on the road, I felt that the heat was terrible, so I found a piece of hard packing card, and put it inside my cap so that there would be two layers to save my head from the heat, but my back was burning.  I was wearing my dark glasses, yet the brightness of the road was still passing through it. However, there was no other option available but to keep going. Although tired and slow, I was continually moving ahead. I had started putting up small goals for myself. I had started telling myself to rest under the next tree. So I had made my spirits high by continuing extending my goal further to the next tree, without resting at all. But my speed had gone very slow.

A few more kilometres and I decided to take a long rest under a tree. The heat was really terrible. I sat under the tree for about fifteen minutes. I wanted to continue relaxing there, under the tree, which was like heaven to me at that time, but I could see the long long road in front of me, waiting for me. I had to stand up and continue walking. With renewed courage, I started off walking with a little better pace. I scheduled to wait for one minute under every second tree. I continued like that for a couple of more kilometres. The new system had slightly taken my mind away from the heat. I had started counting the trees. I had started guessing the distance between two trees.

But still, I was feeling very tired, due to the heat. My back was burning under the sun. I was nearing the Haspolat roundabout when my telephone rang. The brightness of the sun was so intense that I could not even see anything on the screen of the phone. I took off my dark glasses, to read the name on the screen by simply guessing, it was my wife. She asked my whereabouts, and I told her where I was. She told me that my son was going out and he could pick me up. Indeed she knew that a crazy person like me would not accept her offer, yet she had phoned me.  But my brain told me that my craziness would be harmful if I did not agree to her offer.

It was one that rare moment when I accepted what my brain was telling me. I decided to leave my craziness behind and conveyed my willingness to be picked up by our son.

He came within the next five minutes, as he was already in the area. He picked me up and I reached home safely. My adventure of running/walking a distance of 36 kilometres, ended after 25 kilometres.

Editor’s Note: To all readers, do take care when out in hot sunshine!

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