Invisible Shoes - Barefoot Running Sandals

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My first 10km race - Tel Aviv

Well, it looks like the Israel Marathon was not the end of my running career. I still don't know where or how it will end up, but it looks like I will be running for a while still, though I don't know at what level.

This Friday was the Tel Aviv Marathon celebrating the 100th birthday of Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv used to run an annual marathon but stopped about 15 years ago I think. They brought it back in honor of the birthday, and I think I read somewhere that they are considering making it an annual event again.

My running group did not train for this marathon. A couple of guys, guys who had not run the Tiberias Marathon, trained with this marathon as a possibility. They decided a few weeks ago that they really wanted to do it and the bug caught up with the other runners. The group did a shortened training and planned to run the marathon with no goal of setting personal records - just to run and enjoy.

Unfortunately I was too out of shape to do a brief training for the 42km, so I had to forgo. Instead, I ran the 10km race in tel Aviv on Friday. It is funny, but in a way I feel like this was a cop-out. I ran 42km 3 months ago, so 10km is not a big deal. Which also raises an interesting consideration - 10km is more that I would have ever been able to run just a mere 8 months ago, and now I am "ashamed" (to a certain extent) that that is the race I had to participate in.

Maybe that will be my push to train again for the next marathon...

Anyways, I ran the Tel Aviv 10km in 52:46. When I registered for the race, I registered with an expected time of 55 minutes. At the time I really thought I would run at 58 or 59, and possibly not even break an hour. I had almost not trained, and in the little running I did do, I was already hovering around the hour mark. Maybe in a race I could sprint a little and rise to the challenge and break the hour, but registering at 55 was exagerrating a bit.

The weather was pretty much perfect for race day. Just cool enough, cloudy, and exciting with a festive atmosphere. We start the race, and I realize I am running too fast. That is natural, as it is exciting to participate in these races, especially when it is such a large race that 10,000 other people (between all the various events) are participating as well. I did consider that it should not really be a problem because it is only 10km and I should not burn out on such a short distance. I decided to slow down anyway, not that I could sustain that speed for much longer..

I was watching the sites. It was interesting running in the streets of Tel Aviv. I really like Tel Aviv. For a while I ran in the street, and then I switched and ran in the pedestrian median. It was also beautiful. I noticed that pretty much everyone was passing me during the run and I was passing almost nobody. Needless to say, this made me question whether I was going to break an hour or not. I decided I would not worry about my time and just enoy the run.

At about 5km we made the turn and ran up some other major roads (such as Allenby). We passed right around the corner from the US Embassy as well. I was not really paying attention to my time during the run - just the occassional glance at my pace to see how fast or slow I was running.

At about 7km I look at my watch and notice that it was only at something like 37 minutes. I thought for sure there was a mistake. Then I said to myself that how is it possible that I was running so much faster than I had thought I was running - and maybe I could finish the run at 50 and if I push, maybe even break 50. Then I thought why should I bother. Just enjoy. So I ran keeping the same pace.

I crossed the finish line at 52:46 and hung out to watch some of the other runners cross the line. Some interesting ones (though I do not know what races they were part of - it could have been the 5km or the 10km) - a woman runnign with her little dog, a guy running with his son (I assume) who had Downs Syndrome (they were connected at the wrist with some sort of leash), army units, some very old people, etc.

I know I'll be running more, so stay tuned...