So, here I was at the somewhat hectic Esnaf hospital waiting among the throng and the heat for my long awaited test. I'd heard stories and researched this test myself as I like to know (as much as possible) what I'm getting myself in for. My father had one not so long ago and informed me that, yes, it was indeed stressful and he found the running so hard he felt he was about to be shot off the machine backwards at any given moment. Based on that information I armed myself with my trusty jogging suit and well worn runners*
After filling out all the required forms and baring my arm for the odd blood test my trusty 'tourism guide' led me into the room where the test was to take place. Now I must say that Turkey being a fairly conservative country and predominantly Muslim I expected a certain amount of modesty especially between the sexes. Ha! Ushered behind a curtain I was told to strip off my top, bra and all (get the mental picture right out of your mind!) and was henceforth wired up - and down! The only thing between me and the 'gentlemen patient ' on the other side of the room was aforementioned curtain that the nursing staff felt unnecessary to keep closed. As foreign women are often viewed as 'loose' in Turkey they must have wondered what they'd struck as I kept wrapping my arms around myself and ordering the curtain CLOSED as the odd stranger poked his/her head around to see what was going on.
Wiring in place, the next indignity was the mesh 'sock' I was helped into to keep all the bits in place. (There again with that mental picture!) When I asked about how I would wear my bra over all of this they simple looked at each other and laughed...Mmmmmm!
The next thing I found a bit odd was that I was ordered to take my runners off. "How was I going to run in socks?" I enquired. "Don't worry" was the only reply...again Mmmm. Instructed on what was to take place, "..a slow walking pace followed by an increase in speed every three minutes until I could take no more" I felt I was completely prepared for what was to follow, that was until they put the machine on a 16% incline and I realised my stocking feet wouldn't grip. The faster the machine went, the more my feet slipped. So there you have it! Hanging onto the bar for dear life, entwined in a designer fishnet sock, sweet pouring off me, pulse rate climbing and none of it due to the pace of the machine and all of it to do with the fact I felt like I was trying to climb up a greased slide. So while I never actually got to the fast run I was anticipating, it just goes to show that stress comes in all shapes and sizes and running up against the odds can be just as hard as running towards them. As for my results? The 'slippery slide' got my heart rate up to 96% of it's maximum with no issue save for modesty ;)
*runners are to trainers as thongs are to flip flops - It's an Aussie thing.