Sunday, August 28, 2011

Runner's Guide To Israel: Beit Natif

I have fallen behind on my writing here. Today i did not run, but I have run four days straight until today.

On Friday we had a small group running out shooting for about 14km. The main group was going to be running a 22km run through the Dolev Nature Reserve to Bar Giyora. Just last week I had gone on a jeep tour of the nature reserve and I saw that it would be impossible for me to run these trails. The trails in Dolve Nature Reserve are very rocky and difficult, besides for the difficulty of the long mountain climb, the steepness and the general terrain.

So our small group ran out to Kibbutz Lamed Hey. From there we went in to the entrance of the kibbutz and followed the path around the back. That took us in to the Beit Natif Nature Reserve. Beit Natif is a mountain range outside of Bet Shemesh with beautiful trails and terrain. Parts were rocky, parts were soft, and overall it was beautiful.

We started off running through a vineyard. Much of the run through Beit Natif was uphill, as we were climbing from the very bottom, from the kibbutz, and crossing over the top to get back to Bet Shemesh. After the vineyard, we hooked onto a trail that was part of the Shvil Yisrael trail - the cross-country Israel trail. We ran along that for a bit, until it continued too far south, while we had to be turning eastward at that point. We followed some other trails up, eventually forcing us to stop running. We knew which way we had to go, but we did not necessarily know which trail would take us there. We basically hiked for a bit climbing from trail to trail until we found the main trail that took us back to the top of Beit Natif.

Along the way we found a well, an ancient olive press, an ancient cell phone tower, and more. The path then took us down past the area where the new nighborhood of Bet Shemesh is being built, just below tel Yarmout. and that brought us back to RBS.

the total run, not including the hiking, was probably about 16km, though that is an estimate. None of us were wearing a GPS watch.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to 7km

It has been a while since I have written anythign here, but it has also been a while since I went running. Due to smoe personal scheduling issues right now, in addition to the heat and general laziness that is always difficult to overcome, I ended up not running for the past 9 days. Besides for that, I have been eating like a pig and could feel myself going to waste...

But I went for a great 7km run this morning with one of my running buddies, and that is a start to getting back on the road properly. It was tough. The run was hard, the hills I normally take just fine were difficult. But I was back out there and it felt great.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Running Early

A run is a great way to start the day.

This morning we went for a basic 6.5km run. Saw a bunch of other runners out. It felt like it is going to get hot pretty early, so it was good we went for an early, instead of late, run today.

Friday, August 5, 2011

And Sometimes Barefoot Means Barefoot

We put a small group together, four runners, and ran about 15km this morning.We ran out to the Junction of Aderet and then back. Running back we detoured by Eziyona Junction and ran on a path through the fields. The end of the path is pretty rocky, but not horrible. The run was mostly uneventful.

When we got back to the top of RBS and split ways, I stopped to remove some pebbles and thorns from my Vibram Bikilas. While I had my Vibrams off, I decided to run the last kilometer completely barefoot. So I did. and it was not bad. if I do it a few times, my feet might get used to the feeling of the surface. I must say that it felt great to put the Bikilas back on for the last 300 meters...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Running Through Elul Into The Tanakh

This morning's early run was great. We ran 7km, and got out early, starting my run at 5:23am.

When starting out, while running up Kishon/Yarqon, it was still dark and the sky was just starting to show some light. The crickets were cricketing in full force, there were no cars on the roads, and it felt like running in Elul. What does "felt like running in Elul" mean? When marathon training season starts, at the beginning of September, usually in Elul, we revert to doing most morning runs very early. Early, as in, when the crickets are still chirping, the sky is still mostly dark, the cars are far and few apart... and during the run, if running in the neighborhood, you can even hear the distant shofar being blown. Today we had all of that except for the shofar, and it made me feel like Elul had arrived, and I was almost waiting to hear the shofar.

My running partner is participating now in a Tanakh conference. During the run he described to me some of the interesting lectures he had heard yesterday, and we discussed various issues from Tanakh and politics and social justice. It was a great run as it was stimulating for the body, stimulating of the mind and stimulating in a spiritual sense. Our runs are just about always stimulating for the body and for the mind, as we discuss all sorts of issues, the extra stimulation of the spiritual senses was an added benefit today.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

6KM Not Enough

My right ankle has been sore, feeling like I twisted it at some point, though I don't remember actually doing so. Because of that I was not able to run a for a few days. Now it is feeling much better, albeit not 100%, and I am running again.

I ran the other night with a friend and a fellow visiting who is an experienced Comrades runner. Comrades is an ultra-marathon run in South Africa that is a 90km run. This fellow ran for 11 hours! Talk about making you feel insignificant! I can't even imagine that, though it reminds me of the days when I could not imagine running 42km..

This morning I ran a nice 6km run. The early morning air was still cool, and the atmosphere was pleasant. We had a great run at a good pace.

By the end I felt like 6km was not enough. My body still wanted more.