Sunday, September 28, 2008

Slow Gonzales

Tonight was a 9km run at recovery pace. That means about half a mionute per km slower than your normal training pace.

I was (and am) still sore from Friday's long run, so I figured I would take it easy. I ran even slower than that. I ran anywhere from half a minute per km slower, to 1.5 minutes per km slower than my average. I guess running slower is better than not running at all!

I normally prefer to run Sunday morning rather than motzei shabbos, but with the week shortened because of Rosh Hashana, it made sense to run tonight, and possibly be able to squeeze a Monday morning run in as well. Whereas if I would run Sunday morning, I would have no chance of running Monday morning.

So I ran up Yarqon, down to Road 10. Turned right and ran to the 375 and turned right. I ran on the 375 until the end of the lights (which is not far), then I ran back. I ran back up Road 10, up to RBS, turned right on Yarden and ran up and down to Kishon, turned left and ran back home. That totals 9.39km at an average pace of 7:34/km.

Friday, September 26, 2008

K'Kros Ha'Gever

This morning's group Long Distance run was scheduled to be 17.2km. Yes, that is what I ran last week, but that was a mistake because we got lost. We were meant to run 15km last week. Today's route was the same trail as last weeks trail, just with the end point 2.5km further down the road.

We ran the trails behind the various Moshavim of Tzafririn, Roglit, Neveh Michael, Adulam and Aderet. The trail itself is called Churvat Midrasim - the Midrasim Ruins, and we pass on the trail something called Churvat Itri - the Itri Ruins.

The run was very good. Because we already were familiar with the route I paid much more attention to the area around. It is really a beautiful area, with the fields and vineyards. The temperature was a bit warmer today, but the sky was cloudy so the sunrise was less spectacular.

As we began our run past a moshav, we could hear the roosters start the cackling. As the gemara talks about daybreak being k'kros ha'gever - when the rooster begins calling. You generally don't hear that anymore, now that we generally live in cities instead of in an agronomical society. But running behind the moshavim provides that opportunity to hear the calls of nature.

We were a small group today - only 6 of us showed up for the novice run. The advanced runners group had a larger crowd (we passed each other in the middle). So we kind of split up into two groups - the faster group and the slower group. I felt like I could run a bit faster much of the way, but I did not want to separate too much from our group.

This time we did not get lost. We made the turn in the right place. It was very interesting running past the sattelite dishes from the backside rather than from the highway side, as I am used to passing them.

We came out of the trails at the entrance to Aderet, and ran the last 3 or so km on the highway back to where the cars were parked.

One more thing - I carried a small bottle of water, but I really wanted to see if I could do the 17km without needing it. I do not like running while carrying the bottle, but I did it hoping that I would realize next week I do not need it. I ended up carrying it the whole way and not drinking from it at all.

The final numbers were 17.68km at an average pace of 6.27/km.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

stretching and soreness

I don't know why I am so sore today. I stretched after my run last night. Usually I only feel like this if I do not stretch...

Speedy Gonzales

Today was a medium/long 12km run for us novice runners. The morning did not work out for me. I woke up early, but was way too tired to run after yesterdays softball game. So I ran tonight, late, after learning.

12km. I ran up Yarqon, down towards the Kvish 10. Turned left, and figured I would run until I hit 6km and then turn around and run back.

Oh yeah. I forgot to mention we were also supposed to run 3km of the 12 at half marathon pace. I do not know what that is, but it is faster than just regular running.

So I turned left on 10, and sped up. I ran 3km from there at 1 minutes per km faster than my average. I ran that 3.15km at an average pace of 5:15/km. I did not think I would be able to keep it up for the whole 3km. I thought I would make it 1.5km or 2 at the faster pace, but I just kept going.

Anyway, at about the entrance to RBS B is when I hit 6km and turned around.

The way back was much harder. Part of Kvish 10 is flat, but most of it is a long, slow, gradual uphill, with the end of it being steeper. You might not feel it much in a car, but running you feel it.

So I ran back the 6km at a decent pace. Much of the way at my average pace, and where it was steeper I slowed down a bit and ran a bit slower than my average. Anyways I was still sore from softball, so I figured it is ok to slow down a bit...

Sorry nothing special to say about the run, but I have some things on my mind (from my other blog), and was thinking about those things, and less about the run itself...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hill Repeats

Tonight I learned what the Gemara means when it discusses a yerida l'tzorech aliyah.

Our group training session tonight was called "Hill Repeats".

That means we ran up a hill (mountain really) a lot of times. We ran down Yarqon as a warmup run, all the way down Tze'elim to a bit past the traffic circle down towards the 38 highway. After that began the repeats.

From there we ran up the hill, back down the hill, and repeated it 3 times. That hill is a killer hill, even though I have run it a number of times on my personal runs. The truth is that you cannot run anywhere in the BS area with running a serious hill. But this was a serious hill we ran 3 times.

We were breaking it up by experienced runners and novice/beginners. Experienced runners would run up the whole hill 3 times, while novice would run just until the steep part.

Even though I am a novice (someone told em tonight I am no longer a beginner!), I felt like running all the way up. So I did, the first and third time (the third time everyone had to anyway in order to run abck to the meeting point). The second time I ran to the steep point. I am not sure I would have made it at a reasonable time (if at all) the third time had I run the whole thing the second time as well.

This was a yerida l'tzorech aliyah. We only ran down so that we could run right back up.

Another thing is we were supposed to run it at a good pace, not at a crawl (the way I normally take uphills).

So at the end of the day, I ran 11km (including the run home after we finished the group run), most of it being uphill, at a faster pace than my average has been. My average pace tonight was 6:09/km.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

couple of interesting observations

On our Friday "long run" I noticed a couple things, nothing so significant, but I thought they were interesting and wanted to point them out.

  1. the run was in the back trails behind a number of moshavim, such as Aderet, Roglit, Neveh Michael, Massua and some others. One other is called Tzafririn. Along the path there were signs directing people to a wedding of two people. The bride's name on the signs was "Tzafrira". She was likely named after the moshav tzafririn (where she probably lives).
  2. Along the path there was, at a certain point, a tree with a large sign hanging from it "Tachanat Ri'anun" - or a refreshing point. We would call it nowadays a rest stop or a trcuk stop, though there was no gas station, no kiosk, no Mc Donalds, or anything like that. The only thing it did offer was shade. But the sign made me think of the passuk "Tachat Kol Etz Ra'anan". It seems it was common to make rest stops under trees along the paths. I do not know who is travelling on this path who needs a rest stop - maybe it was for some event or something.

Seeing stars

Week 4 (out of 18) of marathon training has officially begun!

Today was a recovery run. We were meant to run 30 seconds slower than our half marathon pace, in order to recover from Friday's long run. I don't know my half marathon pace, but I did run on average about 30 seconds slower than what I have been averaging up until now. I ran 10km at an average pace of 6:43/km.

I decided I needed a change of scenery, so I figured I would run a different route and when I hit about 5km I would turn around and run back. So I ran up Yarqon, down towards Route 10. Made a right to the Highway 375, ran to almost the satellites (actually went to the junction of the 367 right before the satellites), turned around and ran back.

Simple run.

Amazing that I can now look at a 10km run and say there was nothing special about it.

I do not know if I will do this route again. At least not alone at 4:30 in the morning. I have gotten used to running around RBS at these hours. The roads here are lit up, at all hours generally. When I got down to the highway, it was pitch black and it seemed kind of dangerous, with cars and trucks speeding by. This is a run I have done with the group, but it is different in the dark running alone.

I must say though, that by chance I happened to look up and saw dozens and dozens of stars and constellations. Things that I normally do not see because of the city lights. I think I even spotted the Little Dipper.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lost

I don't even know where to start. We were scheduled to run 15km this morning. I and a few others ended up running 17km. Because we got lost.

We were running the trails today. The trails behind Moshavs Aderet, Roglit, Massua, etc. Until now we have run a route back and forth, ending where we started. Today we took half the cars to the end point of the run and then half the cars loaded up with everybody to the beginning of the route. When we would get to the end, we would take those parked at the beginning back there and then leave.

Man plans and God laughs.

We made plans that whenever there is a turn in the route off a trail onto a different one, someone from a fast group would hang back to show the next group which way to go. After about 11km or so, we lost track of the people ahead of us. They had waved from afar to show us which way to go, and we saw them. Then we made a turn, but could no longer see them. And then the path ended and became a field. I thought we should still go that way, because that is the general direcytion they had been going, and there would probably be a path up a head. Someone else insisted it must be the way of the path.

So we went the way of the path, which ended up curving in the other direction. So, instead o ending up behind Moshav Roglit, we ended up behind Moshav Neveh Michael. After unning along the fence for a bit, we got to the highway and ran back to Tzomet Aderet where the cars were parked. Because of our detour, our run ended up being 17km instead of 15km. After that we still had to go looking for some people who had been behind us and also gotten lost in different places.

The run itself was great. beautiful scenery. We ran through fields and vineyards, with the sun rising ahead of us.

I noticed something in todays run though, and I think, by me at least, it has been that way in other runs as well. These numbers will be estimates:

0-1.5/2km running is great and strong. Very motivated.

2-4km is fine. technicals. Getting into pace.

4-9km(give or take) was very difficult. Parts got boring. Motivation goes down. Working hard to run.

Suddenly at around 9km or so, the run gets easier and more fun. I feel stronger at that point -kind of like getting a second wind. We stopped at 17km because that was the end, but I could have even run more.

I think things in general work that way. In life you start a program, something long term. You start off motivated and it is easy to stick to. Then the excitement dies down and you have to work hard to keep going so that you accomplish your goal. Then, if you have kept going long and worked through the low times, suddenly you look up and you see you are not too far from your goal. So you get this burst of motivation and energy again and you fly right through to the end.People who do not succeed in accomplishing their goals, it is often because they give up after the first period of excitement. As soon as it gets hard, they don't put the effort into working through it.

I remember it was like that when I learned daf yomi. 7.5 years is a long time to commit to a program. I had tried a number of times before and dropped out after a bit. Many people drop out after a couple months. The last time though, I stuck it out, despite there being times where I did not feel like going, and all that. In the end, it was easier because I knew I was almost done, and the acheivement was right before me.

The same is with the run. On the specific run, I start off excited and motivated. It is easy. After a bit it gets tough. If you work through it long enough to see towards the end, you get that motivation back. The trick is to somehow find the way to push yourself through the tough part.

And it is true with the general marathon training program as well. At the beginning I was highly motivated and excited. It was easy, and I wanted to do it. I think now I am heading into the tough period. Times where I think I am too tired and what I am doing this for anyway. I tell myself I have already proven I can do it. In 7 weeks I have built myself up to running 17km straight without stopping, so I know I can succeed, so why bother. Things like that. Overall motivation goes down, and it gets tough to follow through. If you work through it, and don't let the thoughts get you down, the acheivement will really be right before you. It is not just training yourself to be able to run a lot and once you see you can do that, no need to continue. You have to train yourself to follow through and finish to acheive your goals. And when you get that far, you (I) will get that additional burst of energy knowing the accomplishment is right there.

17km!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

who are you competing against?

I do not know if it is an important question or not, but I have been asked a number of times who I am competing with? Do I really think I can win the marathon, especially when so many others have been running for so much longer than me? And if not, why am I bothering?

My answer to that is that a marathon (as if I know so much about them) is not a race between you and the other people running in it. It is a race between you and you. It is a battle of wills.

I am not even so sure the actual race is the real battle and competition. I think it might even be the training itself where the competition is either won or lost. But either way, I do not care how I place compared to the other guys running it, and I know I will not finish number 1 or even close to it.

The race is against myself. Can I push myself to do something that is against my nature, that takes a lot of work to accomplish, that is very difficult. It is a battle of wills, and if I can train, if I can run the marathon, I have won. No matter what place I come in.

I told that to somebody and he told me he has a different answer. He believes the competition is between you and the pavement. Will you keep "slapping" the pavement and conquer it, or will the pavement do you in and take you down - either in an injury (God forbid) or just in wearing you down until you give up. That is the competition.

I thought about it and there is a profundity in that as well, but I still like my answer better. I still think it is me against me.

Like last night when I did not want to run. It was a small battle, in the scheme of things, but I won it. I willed myself to do it. I am sure there will be plenty of such situations over the next few months of training, especially as it gets cold and wintry and the runs get uncomfortable like that.

A marathon, and life, is one big battle that is made up of a lot of little battles. If you can will yourself to win the little battles and stay in the long term race, you have won the big battle.

For example, I had another battle tonight as well. Not just the should I run or should I stay home and watch the exit polls of the Kadima primaries on the Internet. While I was running. I was doing a very serious uphill. A real killer of a hill. And I was tired and worn out and unmotivated. I thought to myself maybe I should stop for a bit. Maybe I should walk a bit. What's the difference? Nobody will see, nobody will know that I stopped to catch my breath. I will still run the 11km.

Then I thought to myself, who cares of nobody sees. If I stop just beause nobody sees, I am nto fooling anybody else. Nobody else cares. I am only fooling myself thinking I can run the 11km when I really could not.

Lots of little battles. The marathon is a race between me and me. The question is which me is going to win.

sticking to your plan

First the technical details of the run. Todays run was considered a medium/long run. For us Novice Marathoners that weighs in at 11km (don't worry - this Friday is still going to be 15km). The thing is we were supposed to run 4km of it at half marathon pace.

I have no idea what half marathon pace is, but I assume it is a bit faster than normal training pace. So the first 3km of my run I ran at a faster pace. I ran it at about 5:50/km. Overall I ran the 11km a bit slower than my average. My average pace tonight was 7:14/km. I was tired and unmotivated, so I ran slower...

I intended to run early this morning (Wednesday), but it did not work out because I had to go in to work early. So I ran Wednesday night instead. Let me tell you, when you wake up early and run, it increases your energy for the whole day. When you wake up early and do not run, you get tired very early.

So I was pretty tired. And I was not motivated tonight. I was thinking to myself I am too tired to run, maybe in the morning instead, maybe I'll just skip this one - no big deal, etc. Then I decided I have a plan and I have to stick with it. You skip one run, maybe it is not a big deal. Then you start skipping more runs and all of the sudden you are way behind in the training. It took a lot of will power to get myself going when not so motivated, and especially to run a difficult route, but I did it.

If you have a plan, a long term plan, there will be ups and downs. There will be times when it is easy and fun, and there will be times where you will not want to do it - it will be hard, tiring and not fun. You have to stick to your plan in order to hit the finish line and meet your goal, even during the tougher days.

Monday, September 15, 2008

you can always push a little more

Tonight was a group run, and we ran it in Bet Shemesh, not RBS. The BS loop is not as flat as the Dolev loop, so it is a bit harder, but also has the benefit that it allows a range of speeds and inclines.

Tonight we ran what was called an interval run. We ran the loop once as a warm-up run (1.9km), at regular pace. Then we broke into groups of varying speeds. Each loop would be run at intervals of different speeds. 1km faster than normal, than 900m at a slower speed.

the point is to improve speed.

So we ended up running the whole loop 6 times, including the warm-up, for a total of 11.4km.

I ran with a group at a fairly slow speed, but about half a minute faster than our normal pace. We were meant to be trying to keep our fast pace at about 5:40/km. Oh yeah. the rule is if you feel like you are going to keel over, you do not stop. You keep going. and then you slow down to a slower, jogging speed.

This was going to be tough. I thought I was already running at my maximum speed. So how would I run 5 loops at half a minute or so faster? And it was so humid, I could hardly breathe!

So we broke into our groups, and we ran faster than normal. We did the fast part at a pace of about 5:50 or so (it was fluctuating a bit), and then slowed. We did a couple loops like that and our little group slowly fell apart as people had to slow down and run at different paces.

Eventually I was running myself for a bit. Then I met up with someone from a different group that had been running faster than us. We joined up to run togwether and ran the last couple of loops. he pushed me a bit (amazing how you can do more when you run with other people), and we ran at an even faster pace than the previous loops. We ran [the fast part of] loop #4 of the intervals at 5:20/km or so, and then loop #5 at about 5:10 or so.

I could not believe I was able to do it, but it seems there is always room for a person to push himself a bit to do better.

a matter of perspective

I had to got to my shiur last night, but did not have access to my car. My wife needed it.

A few weeks ago, I would have been willing to walk the two blocks, but I would have groaned a bit or just not liked it.

But last night I right away said no problem, I can walk the two blocks to shul. Heck, if I am running about 45km a week, and 10-11 every other day, I can walk two blocks and have no right to be lazy about it!

It is all a matter of perspective.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

pushing your limits

We run all week, but only on Fridays do we run a really long run, increasing our distance.

Using this weeks schedule for example, on Friday we ran 13km. Saturday-night/Sunday we ran 10km, Monday night we will run 11km (working more on speed), Wednesday 11km again, then Friday we are scheduled to run 15km.

I would have thought that all week long we are slightly increasing the distance and achieving 15km by Friday. But that is not the case. I do not really understand how it works, but it seems we are solidifying our base at 11km all week, strengthening our bodies to have that as our standard, and the on Friday pushing ourselves to increase that.

Then next week we stabilize our base at the 11-12 range and then move up on Friday to 17km (then the week long runs are no longer even close to the Friday runs.

So I do not understand how the weekday runs prepare us for the increase in distance on the Friday runs.

I guess the real push is from Friday to Friday, with the weekday runs just keeping our base, and improving our speed.

Once you have run 11km, your next barrier is higher. You don't need to keep slowly incrementing upwards - just push yourself a little bit and you can make the jump.

There must be some mussar in that. Keep pushing yourself past your last limit. Strengthen your base, but always push your limits.

Recovery Mode

Week 3 of Marathon Training has begun!

Recovery mode is what this morning's run was called, and the barometer for the type of pace we were meant to be running.

10k at recovery mode. Recovery mode means something like 30 seconds slower than whatever your regular training pace is. According the email sent out last night, it is meant to "facilitate bloodflow to the muscles and repair microscopic soft-tissue damage that the muscles sustained during Friday's long run", whatever that means.

Looking at my stats, I was right there. On Fridays long run, I ran an average pace of 6:16/km and this morning I ran 10k at an average pace of 6:59/km.

the truth is that most of my pace was more in line with the 6:16/km, but the 10km route I run has two very serious uphills, one of them extremely steep. Those uphills really kill the average pace. But according to the numbers, even if it was not intentional, I ran recovery mode.

Anyways, I was still sore from Friday's long run, I do not know if I could have run any faster than I did....

Next week is slichos, I will probably have to do my running at night instead of mornings. And I can only imagine but I will probably have a hard time waking up for slichos, because it is something I do not enjoy doing. I will have no excuse considering the ease with which I wake up to run... I could always say slichos at night and run in the morning...

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Little Engine that Could

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

That is what I was saying to myself today at a couple points during the 13km group run this morning. Specifically near the end on the seriously steep uphill from Road 10 up to RBS, and earlier in the long slight incline on the Highway 375 back from Aderet.

And I did.

Today we were scheduled to run 13km. We started on Dolev-Dolev and ran down to the corner of Yarden - Yarqon. Down and out to Road 10, turned right. At end of 10, we turned right and ran to Aderet. Then back. Each direction was 6.5km.

Group was good. I think we were 7 people.



As you can see, I ran 13.03 km at an average pace of 6:16/km. It generally fluctuated between 5.5 and 6.5. The best part was that on the killer hill back up to RBS from Road 10, I still stayed in the range of 6.5/km and did not slow down t 7 or 8 like I thought I would have to!

The runs in the morning out of RBS are complete with stunning views, along with cool air, and running in the sunrise. What can be better that that! Well, maybe sleeping could be better....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Rabbi"?

Why do I use the title Rabbi in the name of the blog?

Yet another good question. I don't use it anywhere else, so why here?

The answer is so simple, it is funny. The first day I went out running, the thought came to me, during the run, to sart a blog to keep track of my progress.

So while I am running, I am thinking what I would like to write in it, the content, the style, etc. Then I start thinking of names. I come up with 4 or 5 very basic names - nothing special. Things like "Marathon Training" and Running a Marathon".

Sure enough, I get home and start the new blog, and when registering the name I had chosen, I found out they were all taken (even though none of them had been actually blogging anything new in a few years). I did nt have energy to star thinking of a new name, and the thought struck me that Rabbis running a marathon always piques peoples interest, so I just tacked on the Rabbo to the beginning of the title, and walla! I had my blog title.

The only problem is that having the word "Rabbi" in the title kind of obligates me to was rabbinic every now and then. So pardon any future mussar shmuesses or hashkafic thoughts gleaned from running...

Kol tuv!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

One hour and 17 minutes!

That's how long it took me to run 11.45 kilometers tonight.

I set out planning to run a bit more than 10k, but was hoping I would be able to stretch it out to beyond 11km, and possibly up to 12. I was hoping to break my previous, unrecorded, record of 11km, but was not planning on it.

It was muggy, with the occassional cool breeze. Let me tell you that even if you cannot tell the difference normally, when you are running a lot you can. The morning air is so much better for running! At night it is still humid and muggy, along with sucking in the fumes from the cars and buses that drive by. In the morning, the air is clean and cool and a pleasure to run (as pleasurable as running can be I guess).

I did the RBS 10km route - down Tze'elim to the Highway 38. Back up Tze'elim. Left on Kishon all the way to the end. Right up Yarden. All the way to the end. Right on Yarqon. Back to the starting point was 10.2km. I continued running farther and turned around. Arrived home at conclusion of run pulling in at 1:17hr, 11.45km. So I was pretty satisfied with my run.

According to my nifty gps watch, my average pace for the total run was 6:45/km (that is 6:45minutes for each km on average. While running I noticed it mostly around 5:4 or so, until the steep uphills - then it went into the 7s and on the really steep one (Yarden up to Dolev), even well into the 8s.

Friday is a group run. I think we will be doing something like 13 or 14km, so I think I am now ready for it!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Good question

Why the heck am I doing this?

Good question. I don't even really have a good answer for it.

Generally I am pretty lazy when it comes to exercise. I do not do any exercise. I enjoy sports and play when I can, specifically basketball and baseball/softball, but that is pretty much the extent of it. No formal exercise for me.

I have wanted to run a marathon for a long time. I just never wanted to train for it.

You know the story of the guy who broke his hand. When he went to the doctor to get it casted and fixed, he asked the doctor if he would be able to play the violin after it healed. The doctor said yes. A short while later, he asked again if he would be able to play the violin. Doc said of course. He asked a few more times "Are you sure?"

Eventually the doctor asked why he was so concerned? Are you a professional musician?

He answered that no, but he has never been able to play violin so if as a result of this he will be able to that would be great!

I have been like that guy. About 6 years ago I had a surgery on my foot to remove a bunion. At the time I said I would recover and run a marathon. Needless to say I recovered and said to myself that I have not run a marathon until now, so why should I do it now?

Then about 3 years ago I had arthroscopic surgery on my knee from a basketball injury. Again, I said after I recover I would run a marathon. Sure enough I recovered and said why should I if I have never done it before? Just because I had a surgery?

Really the reason was because I was always too lazy to exercise. But I really wanted to do it.

I was looking for a new project to embark upon (along with a couple others I am in the middle of), when Chaim sent an email to the local list about a marathon training program beginning at the end of August. The timing was perfect I guess. I emailed him and asked if I could relaly do it considering I was starting from way below zero.

He said yes and built me a program to get in decent shape for running to train for the marathon with the group.

I must say that while I am not a "freak" for running, like many of these guys who simply love it and love the fitness, I am feeling the benefits of weight loss and feeling better all around (more fit). I am enjoying that aspect of it.

I do not know if after I run my marathon I will still continue running - for fitness, small races, and other marathons, or not. That remains to be seen. But I am enjoying it now, I am feeling the benefits and I am working hard to train properly and make it all the way to the end of the marathon!

Monday, September 8, 2008

what a sight! - marathon training #3

I just returned from tonight's group run. Tonight's run was a tempo run, meaning we ran l;ess distance, but were working on improving speed a bit and running at an even pace. Chaim sent out an email with a long explanation and introduction, but I did not understand a word of it.

Overall, including the warm-up run, I ran tonight 10.2km, according to my nifty GPS watch. My pace fluctuated between 5.25km/h and 6.10km/h.

When we started, the group got together meeting at Dolev-Dolev. We were about 35 or so people! I met a bunch of people from the neighborhood, and saw some friends I did not know were into running...

We started running. Can you imagine 35 people running down the middle of Dolev (or any street)?! Soon enough the group broke up into sub-groups, as people split into groups runing different paces and distances, each according to their abilities.

As I said, I did a total of 10.2km, but felt like I could have done more. The guys who did mre, did it at a much faster pace than me, so I could not keep up with them...

Wednesday morning will be a long run. I have to work out a route that will be longer than the 10k route I ran yesterday. Maybe I will do the same route and just an extra kilometer or two at the end.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Only 17 weeks left!

It started out with an informal diet, and then I added running into the mix (even though I pretty much went back to eating normally minus most baked goods). Now I am losing so much weight that my clothes barely fit me anymore!

The only problem is I did not weigh myself when I began, and I have not weighed myself since, so I have no idea how much I weigh nor how much I lost.

I wish I could afford a whole new wardrobe! Oh well, after the marathon I will gain all the weight back and fit right into my clothes! 17 weeks to go!

raising my standards

With all this running, it was time to raise my standard run to a new base. The previous 6km was no longer good enough to help me increase my endurance levels and be beneficial for increasing my distance. So I asked and people told me the standard 10km RBS run is running down Nahal Tze'elim to Highway 38, back up Tze'elim, and then around the perimeter of RBS.

I decided that is what I would do.

The only thing I feared was the route. Actually, two parts of the route. The way back from the 38 to RBS, and from the end of Kishon up to the top of the hill at Yarqon and Dolev. The former is a very long uphil, part of it on a gradual incline an dpart on a steep incline. I ran it when I first started training and could not make it up. The latter because it is an extremely steep uphill.

But I did it. I ran the route, and I ran it without stopping. I made it through all the uphills and I made it successfully without stopping to walk or breathe. I am figuring out how to pace myself better, and I am getting stronger.

So today was another very positive run.

I got my gps watch on Friday, and while I still do not know how to use it, I turned it on and used it with basic settings, and after converting the miles to kilometers, I did just over 10km. And I could have kept going for a bit more.

Tomorrow night is another group run. While it is supposed to work on speed, I am still working on distance and endurance, so we will see where it takes me..

All this Kochi V'Otzem Yadi is getting to my head, so let me thank God for, literally, "Ba'Derech She'adam rotzin leileich, mesa'yai'in oso" - for giving me the ability and energy to keep this up and succeed, and hopefully continue succeeding until I accomplish my goal.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hitting the trails - marathon training #2

Today is the day we, as a group, were going to be doing "the long run". There were two routes scheduled - one for the real pros which would be a 21km run. The route for the rest of us was about a 12km run on the off-road trail from Tzomet Ha'Eilah until the Moshav of Aderet.

We met at the parking lot by Tzomet Ha'Eilah and ran a warm-up run until the beginning of the trail. Personally I see no difference, at this point, between the warm-up runs and the real runs.

Anyway, we then ran on the trail to Aderet. It went well for a while but then I started huffing and puffing. 3 or 4 times I had to slow to a walking pace to catch my breath. I have to learn how to pace myself better. The route to Aderet was about 6.5km or so, and then back to the road. It was unclear how far it actually was, so I stopped at about 5.5 km and turned around. I later heard from the others that it was only slightly farther, at a little over 6km, so I probably could have made it. I did not feel bad.

The run was a slight gradient uphill, at some points a bit steeper, and was very tough (for me). Everybody was complaining how hard it is to run in this heat and humidity. One guy even met us and then decided to go home and run on the treadmill because of the humidity. So far this is the only weather I have been running in, so I am hopeful that it gets easier as it cools off some more.

So we turned around and ran back. As I always say, the way home is always easier and faster, and that proved to be the case now as well. The way back was a slight downhill, and I did not have to stop at all to walk, though I ran at a slightly slower pace.

We got to a point where there were fig trees on the side of the path and everyone stopped to eat figs. I have never eaten figs before. I always thought the inside looked too disgusting, kind of like worms, and always refused them. But while running, this was a sight for sore eyes and my body really craved it at that moment. So, I opened a couple up and after looking for bugs that I have no idea how to see, I ate them. They were sweet and delicious, and I understood a bit better how the fig is one of the 7 species of fruit with which the Land of Israel is blessed.

We finished the run and did some stretches.

I ran about 11km, which is a new high for me, along with half the run being uphill. So I had a good day. Even better is that afterwards I was not wiped out. After taking care of some stuff, I went to play my regular Friday basketball game, and I survived!

Everyone told me that the hardest part of marathon training is staying healthy and injury free, so that is one of my goals. I want to increase my distance on each run, and my endurance, and my time as well, but I need to stay injury free.

11KM!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

lum de dum

Today's run was basic.

I found out that the group runs are only twice a week - Monday nights and Friday mornings. While other runs are scheduled, they are not group runs, just guidelines for how you should be running. So instead of going out last night as was scheduled, I went running this morning. The morning air is much better for running than the night air.

The only problem is though that I am running alone and not as part of a group. I see now the benefits of running as a group. I did not increase my distance today. One is not nearly as motivated when running alone. Also, I do not yet have my gps watch (couple more days I hope!), so it is difficult to know how to properly increase speed and distance at this point.

So I ran the route. I did not pay attention to my pace, but I ran almost the whole time. A couple of times I slowed down to walk for half a minute each time or so. I was a bit distracted and not really focused well, so I just ran the route.

I must say though that I feel stronger. I came back a bit earlier than normal (meaning I ran a bit quicker, or perhaps a bit more than usual so i finished the route a bit faster), and I was not wiped out. Even post-run I feel like I can still go out and run a little more. Maybe I am just delirious!

Anyway, if anybody wants to run with me at 5AM or so (today was 4:45AM) a couple times a week, right now at a moderate pace, let me know. I can use a partner!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Day of Rest

At the end of the last session, I asked Chaim, the guy who heads the BS Running Club, what he means by scheduling Tuesday as a rest day. Does it mean there is no group run, but I can run on my own, perhaps a shorter route, or does it mean I should actually rest my body and not run?

My question was based on ignorance. Maybe the body needs time to recover, or maybe continuous pushing will increase the endurance level.

Chaim's answer was simply "rest!"

Little did I know at the time, but he did not really need to declare it as a Day of Rest that we should all adhere to if we want our bodies to heal and recover. I was sore and tired and would not have been able to run at all yesterday!

This was a forced day of rest! Kind of like a "forced vacation" at work.

Don't worry Chaim. I rested!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A few random thoughts after last nights run...

First of all I apologize for the many typos in the my post-run post. I was really dead, and just did not notice them

Because I was so dead, I also forgot to include a few random thoughts and observations... so here goes now:
  1. The experienced runners were "complaining" how much harder the run was because of humidity. They were talking about the whole summer having been much more humid and hot than usual, thus creating a much more difficult environment for running. Me not knowing any better felt good about that. if I could run in this heat, in which even the professional runners consider it difficult, when it starts cooling down it will get much easier!
  2. Group running is very different than individual running. It is kind of like the difference between learning in a shiur or with a chavrusa versus learning on your own. To do it on your own, to do it well and consistently, you have to really be motivated and energetic. When you do it in a group, you are motivated and pushed by those doing it with you.
  3. Don't eat dinner right before a run!
  4. Aside from the 67% (or so) increase in my running last night over my previous sessions, I realized that was only the actual distance increase. In addition, I ran much more of the time than I had done previously, and at a faster pace (at least for part of the time). So, while I cannot measure how much, I did increas my performance much more than by the 67% I previously wrote!

Monday, September 1, 2008

legs dead after run

my legs are so dead. I can hardly move them right now.

running the fartlek! - marathon training #1

I did it. I have finally run with the group, and lived to tell the tale! I guess that means my marathon training has officially begun.

Tonight the group ran something called fartleks. I, too, had no idea what that meant. It sounds dangerous, if not terminal. But it turns out it is Swedish for something. According to the email sent out to the BS Running Group prior to the run, it means "speedplay". The email described the pace we would be running at, alternating between various speeds. None of that meant anything to me, as I have no idea how fast I run, nor how fast I can run. So I just run. I told Chauim, head of the Club, to tell me who to follow, and I would try to keep pace with them. He stuck me with a couple of guys who were planning to run at more of a beginners pace - not because they were beginners, mind you, but because they ran the Tel Aviv race last night and wanted to go easy tonight!

We ran the Bet Shemesh circuit, which meets on Narkis and Shoshan, and runs the circle around. The circle is about 2km. We first ran the 2km as a warmup run. After that, the fartleks began. We were to be running for 48 minutes. Mind you, we were supposed to be increasing speeds every four minutes, but I just ran. I figured if I make it all the way around, that is good enough.

So we ran the fartleks. I ran four circuits around the circle, totalling 8km, plus the initial 2km warmup run. That is a total of 10km! An increase of about 67% from my pre-training getting in shape runs! I could not believe I did it. I was nearly dead after three circuits, but decided I would do one more, as there was enough time remaining. I ran the whole time except for three times I had to slow down to a walking pace for about 45 seconds each time. I felt, at times, like my heart had ripped open a gaping hole in my chest and had climbed out.

But I mad eit with perseverance and am ready for the next run.

Tomorrow I am told we have to rest and let our bodies recover, so the next run is Wednesday night I guess.

There is a big difference between running alone and running in a group. Mor eon that later.

At the end we did some crazy stretching. and then went home. If I thought I knew what it meant to shvitz like the rebbe previously, I was wrong. Tonight I really shvitzed like the rebbe!