Ok. I have finally gotten around to it. I am going to break this post into two separate posts. The first will be about the pre-run, and the second will be abput the run itself.
The truth is it is difficult to find the words to describe the run to Jerusalem. The feeling of accomplishment, the idea of running to Jerusalem, etc. I will try to describe it the best I could, but mostly I think it will be the technical aspects of it, just because I don't know if it is possible to actually describe the emotions and spirit behind it.
The pre-run was nerve wracking. In the days leading up to the run I kept re-thinking whether I should be doing it or not. I planned on doing it, and therefore I skipped the Wednesday mornign run, which anyway was not really scheduled - it was added ad-hoc by request of a few guys. I also skipped the last motzei shabbos run. I went on the Monday morning run.
The idea was that I needed to rest my body for the long run, and I wanted to not overstrain my busted toe, or pull any muscled in my legs because of over compensating, in anticipation of the big run.
But leading up to the big run I was getting nervous. Am I really ready for it? Nobody else from my level of running was planning on doing the run. Only the more advanced runners were participating.
I also was nervous about the idea of running to Jerusalem. I told myself it is not really a big deal - I already have run 18km a couple of times, so 24 is a bit longer, but not such a big deal. I can do it. What made me nervous was the idea of running to another city. Until now we ran a route - a circle or an "out and back". This was running to another city. Even though in distanc eit was onyl going to be a bit longer, but it was running to another city!
Also, in addition to never having run more than 18km before, going to Jerusalem is uphill, no matter how you cut it. Yes, they told me the route is mostly flat with only some uphill, and the last 4km was the only serious uphill, but that is a serious uphill, and even if it is "mostly flat", I have learned that that means it is only a slight gradient of uphill, not really flat.
I got over my fears and stayed with the program.
The pre-run included a lot of preparation. We had to go as a group, in a convoy, the night before, to drop water bottles at certain spots for the run. Also, we needed to leave cars at the final destination so we would have rides back after the run. I went along in the convoy to give rides back to people leaving their cars in Jerusalem.
We dropped off the water, and continued on to Jerusalem. As I saw the last uphill climb, I started to reconsider. This was an uphill of major proportions. I knew I could do it, if it was at a point like 5km into the run, for example. But to do that hill at 21km? I thought it was beyond me. I really thought to myself that I am making a mistake and I should not be doing this. I am not ready for it yet.
We dropped off the cars and went home to make final preparations and get some sleep before the run.