Friday, April 29, 2011

Tough 11km Hilly Run

This morning we went out for a nice run in the pleasant morning weather.

We went out to Park Brittania. The trail there starts off flat, but quickly goes into a very steep, but not long, uphill. After that is a long downhill, which is great, except on the way back it meant it was a very long uphill.

Overall the run was great, albeit tough. I am still a bit out of shape from not having run much, except a couple of short runs, since the marathon in Tel Aviv 3 weeks ago and all the holiday food.

Wee finished the run at just under 11km.

and in other news, my new pair of Vibram TrekSport shoes have shipped. My nephew should be bringing them when he comes to visit in a couple of weeks. These should make running trails a little bit better.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Can't Run In The Gaza Marathon... This Year

So I have been thinking about, but not seriously considering, running in the upcoming Gaza Marathon. It suddenyl struck me that I should not even bother to think about it until I find out if it is even possible, should I decide i want to.

I took a look at the UNRWA website, and it seemed form the information there that the marathon is only for Gazan runners, and UN staff. I sent off an email to the contact listed there for information, asking if it would even be possible for me to run, should I want to.

The following was his reply email to me:
Dear Rafi,
First of all, thank you so much for reaching out to me and for your interest in the Gaza marathon.
Unfortunately, as this is the first year that we have run the event, we're still working through a lot of the administrative details and it doesn't seem like it will be possible for us to accommodate people ordinarily living/working outside of Gaza this year. Also, as an Israeli citizen, you would likely not be permitted entry into Gaza (the Government of Israel has a strict ban on this) so you unfortunately probably would not be able to join us for the marathon in any event.
Thank you so much once again for your interest, and I very much hope that in the years to come we may find a way for you to come and run in Gaza! In the meantime, please do think about organising some kind of sister event (eg an event with your regular running group) on the day of the Marathon so that we link up.
All the best,
Gemma
Gemma Connell
Executive Assistant to the
Director of UNRWA Operations
Gaza Field Office
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)
Office: +972 8 288 7265
Mobile: +972 599 891464
Email: g.connell@unrwa.org
So that solves that. Even if I wanted to, I would not be able to. i was even thinking about running it in a Free Gilad Shalit body suit..

Oh well. I guess we should just say "Next Year in Gaza"

Serene and Pristine

What a beautiful morning for a run!

serene and pristine
Because of the holiday, the roads are pretty empty in the early morning hours. People take advantage of the holiday schedule to wake up late, go to later services, take vacation from work. So when i got up early for morning services and went out for a run afterwards, i was looking at mostly empty roads even though it was already after 7am.

The weather was beautiful, just cool enough with a pleasant breeze. You could hear the breeze rustling through the trees. I could hear the birds chirping. And I was mostly alone.

I ran with no watch, but my distance today was probably about 9-10km. Maybe tomorrow I'll go out for a medium length run of 15km or so.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pretty Good T-Shirt

One of the habits I have fallen into is that for the first run I go on after a marathon, or the first two or three even, I wear the "marathon shirt" on those runs. It almost feels like a victory lap, going out on a couple of 10km runs wearing the medal of honor of having finished the marathon.

This afternoon I went out for a 9.5km run. My first since the Tel Aviv Marathon on Friday. I have felt great all week, but it just has not worked out for me with the schedule to find running time. This afternoon I went out with my running partner for a short, easy-paced run. I wore my Tel Aviv Marathon t-shirt. It was actually a very good t-shirt. very high quality running shirt. I was very impressed. Sometimes they give out decent shirts, sometimes junky, but this was very good.

The run was great. Good to go out and stretch the legs, get the rhythm back, get the blood pumping. We went out on the 10 and then turned left at the end. We went up to the KKL sign and turned around. That way is uphill, so I said to my running partner that we are beginning our training for the 2012 Jerusalem Marathon...

Running The Next Marathon?

And just like that I already feel ready to run my next marathon. Since I have no intention to travel and spend serious money just to run marathons (unless someone wants to sponsor me - if you do, drop me an email at israeli.jew @ gmail dot com), I am kind of limited to marathons in Israel. That now gives me about 3 per year, plus some shorter races such as half-marathons and 10km races.

At least it did until now. With the upcoming Gaza Marathon, there is a new marathon in the area that is just a 45 minute drive away from me...

From The Jerusalem Post:
Gaza means many things to many people, but rarely does it bring to mind a runner’s Mecca.


Nonetheless, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees is hoping that the coastal territory will bring hundreds – if not thousands – to take part in the first-ever Gaza Marathon on May 5. The marathon is being held largely as a fundraiser for UNRWA’s 5th annual summer games.


“The idea is that it’s a fundraising for the Gaza summer games. We supply these games each summer for up to 250,000 children – we have sporting activities, cultural activities and remedial activities for children there because the situation is so terrible for them in Gaza,“ UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said Tuesday.


UNRWA is looking to raise $100,000 for the games. As of Tuesday afternoon its website showed that donors have contributed $2,259.


“Gaza Marathon is very much about raising money and raising awareness. It just shows the world that kids in Gaza just want to be like kids anywhere else in the world. They don’t want to live in this terrible and locked-up environment,” Gunness said.


Fortunately for the marathon planners, the mostly flat Gaza Strip is almost exactly the length of a marathon, at around 42 kilometers from north to south.


According to Gunness, most of those planning to take part in the run will be local Gazans, volunteers and employees from UNRWA and other NGOs, as well as a few members of the Palestinian Olympic team.


He added that there are currently no plans to bring any big-name east African runners to participate.


Gunness said that the marathon will run from the very far northern tip of the Gaza Strip through Beit Lahiya, to the seashore, where it will continue down the coastal road.


However, he said the coastal jaunt could present some difficulties as it will pass areas such as “Wadi Gaza,” where large amounts of raw sewage sits in the open air – posing what he calls “a serious health risk“ that “really does stink.”


On the other hand, he assured that there are no other war-related risks to be posed, adding that “it will be a very pleasant and fun day.”


Assuming all goes as planned, the Gaza Marathon will take place on the heels of the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv marathons, a fact that is not lost on Gunness.


“We’ve had the Jerusalem Marathon, the Tel Aviv Marathon – and now UNRWA is staging the last in a trio of Middle-Eastern marathons: the Gaza Marathon.”
Anybody interested in joining me to run this?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Tel Aviv Marathon

This is going to be some random thoughts strung together about my experience at the Tel Aviv Marathon on Friday.
Passing the 40km mark.
See my Vibram FiveFinger Bikilas in action!
  • I went into the race with no expectations. This was going to be my third marathon in 3 months, my second in two weeks. Having just run the tortuously hilly Jerusalem Marathon, I figured this basically flat course would be a nice easy run at no specific pace. I started off that way, but by the middle I realized I was feeling great and strong and still could have a chance at a personal record. I had a great run, though I missed my personal record by a minute and a 20 seconds.
  • Lots of people still asking me if the Vibram FiveFinger Bikilas are comfortable and if I wore them for the whole thing. I tried a bit of humor at times and mentioned that I only wore them for half the run and changed shoes in the middle. They didn't realize I was joking. They also looked shocked when my response to "are they comfortable?" is no. Then I explain that they are not meant to be comfortable. they are not padded.
  • A lot of people were telling me they run in Vibrams but only short runs or occasionally. 
  • The first 30-45 minutes after completing the marathon are excruciatingly painful. You have no control over your legs, they hurt like nothing else, you cannot talk to anybody, you cannot focus, your leg muscles are spasming. It is just horribly painful. That is when we say things like "I will never do this again". After the first 45 or so minutes, you are sore for a while, a couple of days even, but you are mostly ok. And then you feel great. I feel great. I am ready to run again. I am even thinking of starting to look for when the next race is, though I know there is no full marathon in Israel any longer until January.
  • A great distance for a long distance race is about 30km. Beyond that is ridiculous, with little purpose. the average long distance runner will still generally feel good up until about 30km or so (some 31, 32, 33, 29, etc, but 30 on average is my guess). Until that point you can run a great race. The real struggle, where the mind kicks in and it becomes more of a mind over matter issue, is after 30km. I guess that is what makes the marathon more than just a race.
  • The Tel Aviv Marathon course was not fun. There were very few people outside cheering. The course took us out on some main roads that were basically empty, rather than through the city. It was a good run, and the terrain itself was not bad for the most part, but it was not an interesting, fun or enjoyable course.
  • The Tel Aviv organizers were completely unorganized. They did not have enough food at the end. No fruit. No popsicles. Not enough yogurts. They had plenty of water though. The ushers in the pre-race could not direct me to the gear check-in, as they had no idea where it was.
  • The water stations were pretty good as far as frequency is concerned, though they distributed cups of water most of the time. It is hard to run with a cup. They should have used small bottles. Less waste, less cups blowing around and better for the runners.
  • The nice parts of the race were basically through park HaYarkon, though the terrain there was more difficult - bridges and bumpy narrow trails, and on the boardwalk along the beach next to Sde Dov airport. That stretch on the beach was beautiful, but it was very hot and windy.
  • There were many sections, including Park HaYarkon and along the beach, where there were many non-marathon-runners and walkers, and bikers, and dog walkers, that just got in the way. 
  • There were many runners who did not bother registering. I don't know if it is theft for them to be taking water and gels at the stops when they did not pay the fee, or maybe the sponsors don't care as they still are doing their advertising. 
  • The road was very crowded, and for large sections, mostly until about 17km, it was difficult to get good footing and into a good rhythm because of how crowded it was. 
  • I ran with my running partner. We fell into rhythm with the 3:45 pacer. At about the 17km my partner disappeared. I figured he had stopped to take a gel with the water, but when I noticed he was gone I could not spot him. I kept running, and a bit later I started to feel very strong and I felt I had a chance at a really great run. I picked up my speed. For the next 10 or so km I ran very hard at a very fast pace. I knew I was being stupid, as I was hurting myself for the end of the race, but I could not stop myself. Sure enough at about 28 or 29km in the park I started to slow down, and some of those people who I had passed, including the 3:45 pacer group, passed me. I ran through the rest but it was not easy. 
  • I finished at 3:56:07, just 13 seconds before my running partner who told me he could see me about 100 meters ahead of him for most of the race after we had split. It is amazing how you see nobody unless they are immediately in front of you or immediately behind you. Everybody else is invisible.
  • The weather was strange - at the beginning of the race it rained, a light steady rain for a few minutes. Then again later, maybe at 13km or so it rained hard for a few minutes. It was also sunny for much of the run. During the last 8km or so it was extremely hot. At points I thought I might not make it because of the heat, but thankfully the water stations were in abundance and every time I started to feel like that I would hit a water station or someone with a hose spritzing water.
  • It was funny to see but early on along the route there were a couple of spots where the Tel Aviv prostitutes were still out working the streets. You could right away tell that this was Tel Aviv and not Jerusalem.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Two Perspectives Of The Marathon T-Shirt

This was actually supposed to be a part of yesterday's musings post, but I forgot to include it while I was writing that post.

There are two different approaches to the marathon t-shirt.

When a runner registers, and pays, for a race, and it does not matter if it is a half-marathon, a full marathon, a 10km race, or a 5km race, he gets a runners kit. The kit generally contains a bib for the shirt with the racers number on it, a chip that is either embedded in the bib or to be laced into the shoes for tracking the runner during the race, promotional materials from the various sponsors, and a t-shirt. Depending on the quality of the race, and how much you paid to join, the quality of the shirt varies from being a simple shirt to a high quality runner's shirt.

As I began, there are two different approaches to the marathon t-shirt.

Some look at the shirt as being meant for running the marathon in, or even simply as a gift, with advertising on it, for running the marathon. These people will wear the shirt at any time from the moment they pick up the kit, and often even during the marathon itself.

Others look at the t-shirt as a prize. If you joined the marathon, ran it and completed it, you can wear the t-shirt. Sort of like a badge of honor. The t-shirt shows that you ran this or that marathon.

I am in the group #2 type of person. I will not wear the marathon t-shirt until after I have completed the given race. I have had a shirt or two from races I had to cancel my participation in, that I will not wear, even to this day, because in my mind I did not run the race, and I do not deserve to wear the shirt that says I did. Even though I paid for it.

For example, I registered last year for the Jerusalem Half-Marathon. I don't remember why, but in the end I did not run it. Maybe I was not in the mood, or maybe I was not feeling well. Either way, I did not run it. I have not yet worn the shirt that I received form that race. Over a year later. Now I think I can because I just ran the full Jerusalem marathon, so in my mind I have qualified for the honor of wearing the Jerusalem t-shirt.

At the end of the day it is just a t-shirt, and you can do with it what you want. To me, though, it is a badge of honor and accomplishment.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pre-Marathon Warmup Run

I went out today for a 10km pre-marathon warmup run.

I have not run since Friday, for a variety of reasons. Mostly due to laziness, but add to that being tired, the bad weather, work and study schedules, preparing for Pesach, and again, mostly laziness. To avoid a bit of stiffness, we went out today to stretch our legs.

Running at mostly a recovery pace, we went out to Tzomet Aviezer and back. It was a nice run, and despite the attempt at a recovery pace we settled into a seemingly natural pace of about 5:10 for much of it. It felt good to stretch out the legs before the marathon...

Musings

1. I noticed that when I try to run in my regular clothes, just up the block or so, I feel pain everywhere. My joints hurt, my knees, ankles, etc. My legs feel tired. Yet when I put on my running shoes (Vibrams in my case) and my t-shirt and shorts I feel great. Strange.

2. Ever since the Jerusalem Marathon I have had an insatiable appetite. I don't know why, just I am always hungry. I have probably gained a few good pounds in the past two weeks...

3. I feel tired. Much more now than I remember feeling in a long time. When I run my legs feel tired. I am sleeping a bit longer at night. Maybe this extended marathon season is taking its tool. Just a couple more days and then my body can rest.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Words of Encouragement and Planning For the Tel Aviv Marathon 2011

When of encouragement and planning for the Tel Aviv Marathon 2011 from my running coach, Chaim Wizman, owner of Al Derech Burma:

The only thing sweeter than tapering before a marathon is recovering from a marathon. Those of us who ran Jerusalem and also plan to run Tel Aviv are both tapering and recovering so you should be in turbo rest mode. For the saner runners out there who are running their first half marathon or are shooting for a PR in the full marathon, you are all in for a treat. The Tel Aviv course is flat and packed with adoring fans who will make you feel like a superhero. The forecast is for great weather and it is a perfect way to usher in the season when most people put on weight. I have attached an article about how to run the marathon and the same general advice applies to the half marathon (only the numbers change).

I am also happy to announce that there is life after the training season ends. Beginningt next week on Friday morning, we commence our traditional adventure trail running series where we will run a different trail boasting spectacular views and bone crunching elevations in a profound quest to experience the ultimate beauty of the Holy Land. The runs are relaxed and fun and I encourage you to join us and expand your horizons. We will also contunue to meet Monday nights atthe corner of Hashoshan and Narkiss at 8:30 for an 11 km run through the Merkaz as well as Saturday nights 45 minutes after Shabbat. And now for the marathon article.


My Dear Friends:

All the diligent and consistent training that you have done over the past eighteen weeks has brought you to the starting line of the 3rd Tel Aviv Marathon in fantastic shape. However, without an intelligent, well-thought out strategy for the race itself, you will not perform optimally. Because of its formidable distance, the marathon is a race that has to be run with the head as well as the heart and legs. Therefore, I suggest you read this article carefully to help you formulate your plan.


Warming Up: Although warming up is generally very important for races, particularly those of shorter distances where you plan to run fast from the outset, it is far less important for the marathon. Warming up prepares your body to run at race pace by increasing your body temperature, metabolic rate and the circulation of blood to your muscles. The problem with warming up for the marathon is that it also uses up valuable glycogen stores and one of the most critical elements of your race is to preserve your glycogen stores as much as possible so that you are not forced to burn fat earlier than necessary. Therefore, you need to do the minimum warm-up necessary to prepare your body to handle race pace as soon as the starter's gun is fired so that you save as much of your precious carbohydrate reserves as possible for the 42.2 km ahead. A 4-5 minute warm-up should do the trick since your marathon pace should be a pace that feels relatively easy to you. Begin your warmup by jogging slowly and picking up the pace slightly every 30 seconds until you are at race pace for the final 30 seconds. Then stretch gently including loosening up your shoulders and neck. That's it. Find your way to a good spot on the starting line and make sure that you meet up with whomever you are planning to run with.


Pacing strategy: There are huge debates among running experts about virtually every aspect of the Marathon . But there is one thing that absolutely EVERYBODY agrees with. You cannot bank time in the first half for an inevitable slowdown in the second half. In other words, if you think that you should run faster than your goal pace during the first half while you are still feeling strong because it will give you some breathing room in the second half, think again. You will pay very dearly for making this mistake. If your goal is 3:30 , don't run a 1:38 first half on the theory that you can run 1:52 in the second half and still reach your goal. Chances are that if you do this, you will crash in the second half and be reduced to a shuffle or worse. The reason for this is that your optimal marathon race pace is just below your lactate threshold pace. If you run faster than that (as in the above example), lactate accumulates in your muscles and blood which deactivates the enzymes for energy production and forces you to slow down big time. You also use more glycogen which means you will have your joyful encounter with "The Wall" earlier than necessary. Therefore, the best strategy is to run relatively even pacing. The Tiberias course is conducive to this as the course is relatively flat throughout. Start out by running the first kilometer (or first 2 kilometers if you want to play it conservatively) at 10 seconds slower than goal pace. This is even more important this year when the weather isexpected to be unseasonably warm. Ignore the many fools who tear off like bats out of hell. Believe me, you will catch them later. Drop your pace by 5 seconds in kilometer 2 or 3 and by kilometer 4, you should be running at goal race pace. Maintain this until the halfway mark. At the halfway mark, do a body check. Ask yourself how you are feeling? If you are feeling good, you can quicken your pace by a few seconds per kilometer but nothing drastic. At kilometer 32, if you are still feeling strong, pick up the pace by a few more seconds per kilometer but still run in control until kilometer 39. At that point, there is no reason to hold back. Give it whatever you have left. That doesn't mean you should start sprinting. It means you can begin running at tempo pace. Your sprint should begin when you see the 42 kilometer sign just ahead. Use that last 300 meters to show yourself that you have mastered the marathon and finish strong with arms held upright in victory like the champion that you are. The huge advantage of running a negative or even split is that you will be passing many runners in the late stages of the race who did not run as intelligently as you did and that is a fantastic feeling.


General Race Observations: I cannot overstate the value of running the marathon with a group of runners of similar ability. The marathon is a long grind and it will be immeasurably more difficult if you have to go it alone. If your goal pace is close to that of one of the pacers, stick to that group for as long as you can. Aside from the significant motivational aspects of running with a group, you will be able to take turns drafting and thereby conserve energy. This is a major factor on a windy day as is usually the case in Tiberias. If you are running near someone who strikes you as unfriendly, don't take it personally. Don't try to race against him when he moves ahead of you. Run with your head, not your ego. Your only race today is against the clock.


The first half is the time to cruise mentally. Try to save your mental and emotional energy for the second half. Just get the first half out of the way at the correct pace without using any more mental energy than necessary.



From the halfway mark to 32 km is the no-man's land of the marathon. You are already a bit tired and there is a long way to go. If you feel strong, follow the pacing strategy outlined above and pick up the pace a bit. Otherwise, try and hang with a group as long as possible. You have to expect moments of crisis (a.k.a. "rough patches") during the marathon. When it happens (and it will), don't panic. Often, these patches last a few kilometers and then mysteriously disappear. The important thing is not to allow yourself to think negatively. Have the confidence to know that you can tough it out and overcome this challenge. It is precisely this kind of challenge which makes the marathon such a rewarding experience. Ask yourself how badly you want it.



From 32 km to the finish is the character part of the marathon. This is what we have prepared for in our long runs. Here's where all that hard work will really pay off. It's the stretch that poorly prepared marathoners fear and well-prepared marathoners such as yourselves relish.


Drinking and Eating: The secret to a successful marathon (aside from proper pacing) is staying properly hydrated and avoiding glycogen depletion. You should aim to consume at least 600 carbohydrate calories during the first 36 kilometers of the race. Gels have 90 calories each and three of them will therefore supply 270 calories. Sports Drink (it's actually kosher thios year for a change) has about 28 calories per 100 ml. Thus if you drink 1.5 liters (and this should be an absolute minimum), that will supply an additional 420 calories. The question is when and how to consume these all-important commodities? The answer is a lot earlier than you think. Personally, I plan to take the gels at 10 kilometer intervals (10, 20 and 30 km marks). Kilometer 36 or 37 is the latest time in the race that you can take in carbohydrate and still have it be absorbed in your system in time to be useful. Don't wait until 10k to drink though. At every water station, drink something (at least a few gulps) but make sure that you are getting a substantial amount of liquid (shoot for no less than 300 ml) on at least five separate occasions. I strongly recommend walking through these stations to make sure that you get the liquid down. The few seconds you will lose will pay huge dividends as you stay properly hydrated through the late stages of the race. An additional benefit is that the few seconds of walking will relieve some of the eccentric stress on your running muscles and this can also make a difference near the end when your quads are begging for mercy.


Expectations and Results: Don't ruin your marathon experience by making success dependent on a goal set in stone. It's a long race and anything can happen and it often does, even to the professional runners who do nothing but prepare for two marathons per year. It is important to have a goal but it is ludicrous to judge yourself a failure if, on a particular day, you were not at the top of your game and ran a few minutes slower. You are running a marathon, a supreme physical challenge at an age when the vast majority of your contemporaries are sedentary couch-potatoes. Furthermore, you are running a marathon in the Land of Israel . If every four cubits (Arbah Amot) traveled by foot in Eretz Yisroel is a Mitzva, by my calculation, you will earn roughly 20,000 of them on that fine Friday morning. Don't lose sight of the big picture. You have accomplished the incredible regardless of your finishing time.


And finally, as arbitrary as it sounds, your expectations will sometimes have to be modified by the weather. If it pours or is hot or very windy, you are unlikely to reach a goal which assumes optimal conditions. Be flexible enough to adjust if necessary. Above all, savor every moment of this amazing experience.


Important: Drink 4 or 5 extra cups of water over the next few days and take Vitamin C. You should be doing some serious carb loading starting today. The best breakfast is a whole grain cereal (cheerios, branflakes etc) with a banaana, cup of orange juice and two cups of water (pancakes, oatmeal and toast are also good). Bagels or whole grain bread sandwiches are a great choice for lunch with rice, potatoes or pasta. Stay away from oily foods and heavy desserts. Lean proteins such as chicken breast or salmon are good protein choices for dinner with a starch of complex carbohydrates (bulgar, ptitim, rice, pasta, barley, potatoes, sweet potatoes.) Snacks should be fruit, pretzels, dried fruits, raisins or rice cakes. Almonds are also OK but they have a very high fat content so don't overdo it. Most importantly, make sure you rest as much as possible. Stretch often and stay off your feet as much as you can. Make every effort to get a good night of sleep on Tuesday night . This is even more important than Wednesday night because it takes approximately 24 hours for your body to register the effects of a good night's sleep. Continue to visualize yourself gliding smoothly across the marathon course and think of the celebration afterwards. Note that Relaxing for the next 48 hours is definitely going to be a challenge. I have actually run two marathons without getting a single minute of sleep the night before because I have been so wound up in anticipation of the race. Don't worry if this happens to you. The atmosphere of the race and your adrenaline will carry you through.


It is often said that in those final grueling miles when both your mind and body are screaming in rebellion against the task at hand, that you discover who you really are. I beg to differ. "Who we are" is not something handed down to us arbitrarily, leaving us helpless to do anything about our shortcomings. On the contrary, those final grueling miles are an exquisite opportunity to define ourselves, even to reinvent ourselves. It's not that you will passively discover who you are. Rather, you will actively decide who you are by your conduct in those fateful moments. That's it, my friends. Now go and conquer.

Looking forward to celebrating with every one of you at the finish line.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bet Shemesh 5km Community Run

The Bet Shemesh 5km Community Run on behalf of, this year, the Benjamin Library, was a blast. I went into it thinking I would take it easy. The course is half uphill and half down. I figured the uphill would be tough and I would take it slow, and then down I would make up some time, but take it easy. It is always fun watching the crowds at these events. Lots of children, old people, families, etc.

I started off by running 7km from my house to the starting point of the race. I figured that would turn it into a reasonable distance for a Friday morning run.

that's me in orange
I started off on the uphill and felt great. I picked up speed to a regular pace and felt strong. I decided halfway up that I was feeling strong enough to run hard and try to finish well.

After the long climb, I made it to the top and then across to the 2.5km marker and turn. The rest of the way, except for one small stretch right before the end, was downhill. I was now turning on my motors and running hard. I was flying, passing everyone in sight. I skipped the water station, despite the heat, and kept motoring on. I was running at speeds I normally don't run at.

It is far easier to run a breakneck speed when your distance is limited to 5km, than it is when it is longer or more open-ended.

I pulled into the finish line at 24:57 or so, having run a pace of 4:55 minutes per kilometer. I finished 7th in my category and 43rd overall.

It was a lot of fun. If you are in Bet Shemesh you should be sure to participate next year.