Invisible Shoes - Barefoot Running Sandals

Sunday, January 30, 2011

To Bet Shemesh And Back

I had a meeting last night in bet Shemesh, and decided I would turn it into, weather permitting, my Saturday night run. I would run to the meeting, meet, then run back to RBS.

No problem. The distance expected was 5.5km or so in each direction. The way there would be a breeze, with the run being mostly downhill, as RBS sits higher than BS. The way back would be difficult, as the uphill climb would be pretty serious.

I started out at 9 PM and ran to Bet Shemesh. As expected the way there was a breeze. Unfortunately, it was shorter than expected, and only came to just under 4.5km. I got to the meeting point, had a drink and shortly after everyone else came and we met.

When done, it took longer than expected, I headed back. The way back was difficult, but not as bad as I had expected. Maybe my recent increase in hill work is paying off.

The run was going to conclude at about 8.6km. I considered adding to the run a bit, to bump it up to 10km, but it was already late and I wanted to get home, so I left it at that...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Great Friday Hill Run, Great Running Week

This past week was a great running week, and Friday was a great run. The weather all week long was beautiful and perfect for running, and Friday was the same.

I met up with a running buddy I used to run with a lot, but have not run with him at all in the past few months. We went out to Tzomet Ha'Ela to begin our run and ran out to the entrance to Mitzpe Massua. From there, there is a small access road that goes in and through Park Brittania. This was a great section, as it incorporated some reasonably serious hill running along with some flat running.

The path took us to the main entrance of Park Brittania, dumping us out on the 383. We run out on the 383 until we came to the path through the fields across from the moshav Sedot Micha. We ran on the parth through the fields, and then hooked onto a trail that would take us through the moshavim in the area.

Yes, that's right. Despite running in Vibram FiveFingers, I ran a trail. The trail was pretty good - it was a packed dirt trail, that was strewn with rocks, but it was not a rocky trail. I was able to run on it finding enough space with no rocks. Yes, I took a risk going into it, but it all came out good.

That path then led us up through a moshav called Ajur. I had never been in this moshav before, and it was really nice and pastoral on the top of a hill. Everyone there seems to have dogs hat barked as we ran by their houses.

After running through Ajur, we connected onto highway 353 which would eventually take us down to the 38, and then back to Tzomet Ha'Ela. The 353 was a pretty good run, with uphills and downhill, and not much flat land. It took us past the southern entrance of Park Brittania, along with passing the moshav of Srigim-Li On.

We finished the run at about 18km, in 1:54 at a nice and easy pace.

A great Friday run brought me for the week to 44km, with runs of 14, 12 and 18 kilometers.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Barefoot And The Hills

I went out for a run today in the most beautiful weather. I ended up running only a bit over 12km because I started later than expected and had to get moving.

Because I am training now for the Jerusalem Marathon in March, it is no longer a good idea to try avoiding hills. The Jerusalem Marathon is full of hills and it will make the course a very difficult one. I now have to train with hills in the runs to make sure I survive, and conquer, Jerusalem.

So in today's run, I even detoured around a bit to include more hills in my run. Running in bet Shemesh is a natural for preparing for the Jerusalem Marathon, as it is easier to find hills to run up than it is to find flat road. In total, I ran up four hills during my run. 3 of them were decently significant inclines, and one was small but significant.

Another interesting thing was I ran part of it barefoot. really barefoot, without even my Vibram's. I have been reading about people who run really barefoot and wanted to try it. In the middle of the run I took my Vibram FiveFingers off and ran 800 meters barefoot. The sensation was very interesting, noticing the different surfaces and how the foot reacts to them. However, it is not for me. I will stick to the Vibrams. I guess if I build it up my foot would get used to it, as they say happens, but I don't feel like doing it. Maybe running through the grass is ok barefoot, but on the road it doesnt seem right.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

14 watchless kilometers

Today I went out for my first run since the marathon. I had been itching to go out. I had a hard time scheduling a run last week because of a busy schedule combined with very cold nights. So this morning I went out with three other runners, for an easy paced 12km or so run.

It felt good getting out on the road again. I felt strong. It was nice because the weather was good, cool and overcast. There were other runners out as well.

I ended up running about 14km. When I stopped to wait to meet my running partners before heading out to the highway, I turned my watch off. When we met up and started running, I forgot to start the clock. So I ran without tracking it, but the distance was about 14km, and the pace was about, based on the other guys watches would be about 5:20 average or so. That was close to marathon pace, and not the slow and easy pace we had planned. Though in reality, when running 12 or 14km that is a pretty good pace for us. It is only tough when running that pace for 42km!

Makes me wonder though, if I run with no watch, does it count?

Jerusalem here I come!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Marathon Is More Than A Race

The previous post recapping my marathon experience was really written to be shared with the running club - everybody shares their marathon story. I then posted it here as well. I do feel the blog is deserving of another post as well, not running club specific. Here it is:

Running a marathon is an amazing experience. People regularly ask about the health aspects of running so far and  for so long. Personally, I doubt there is much gained health-wise by running such distances - the health gain is probably capped off at 10 or 15km runs. Anything beyond that has nothing to do with health and exercise. The marathon is not a form of exercise, but is an experience. An amazing experience.

Training for, and running, a marathon is an experience of self-awareness and self-fulfillment. The marathon is well beyond the capabilities of any normal human being. Yet, people push themselves and train for months to be able to run one. And despite all the training, all the speedwork, all the long runs, despite it all, everybody struggles during the marathon, especially during the last 10 or so kilometers. No matter how much you train, the marathon resists, and makes you earn your medal.

I trained for this marathon for 18 weeks. I really started earlier, running intensely in July and August to get into decent shape for marathon training which would start in September. My goal this year was to run the marathon barefoot (in Vibram FiveFinger barefoot running shoes), and it was a challenge. Different body parts would be sore, different way to run, different aches and pains and challenges. After the holidays in October I slowed my training down from 4 times a week to 2 times a week, with the occasional good week running three times.

That is not a recipe for success, but a marathon can be run like that. It was a good thing I did not really have a goal other than to finish the marathon successfully, having run it barefoot. I did not think in accomplishing a certain time and pace goal.

Despite it all, and perhaps because of the different running style (due to being barefoot), I was still running just a bit faster than in previous years. My expectations were that I would break the 4 hour mark, but I wasn't shooting for it.

Then you actually get to the marathon. At the marathon anything can happen. As I said, the marathon is an experience, and it is far more than a running event. The marathon is a test of your mettle. When you are out running for 3 to 4 hours, your mind plays tricks on you, trying to get you to stop. The marathon is the ultimate test of you being able to conquer your limitations, both physical and mental, and especially mental and succeeding to surpass your normal abilities.

I went out with my running partner and we got off to a fast start. The excitement, the running, the camaraderie - it is just an amazing feeling. You are out there struggling to keep your pace and you suddenly see a friend, a fellow runner, who calls out to you, maybe he even just waves because he doesnt have the energy to call out, and he hoots at you, and that gives you a boost. It keeps you going for a little bit more. Then you see another. We support each other because we know what we are each going through, what we are each struggling to accomplish.

The run was great for the first 32 kilometers. the last 10 kilometers are the toughest. they are harder than the first 32 combined. The last 10 km is really where you get tested. And no matter how well you trained, how hard you trained and how carefully you planned for your marathon, that last 10km will be the greatest of challenges.

At 33km I started slowing down, with a slight uphill. It was not big enough that it would have affected me on a normal run, but after running 32km, this was like climbing a mountain. Up, up and up, finally at the top and then you see you are still nowhere near the end.

At that point I think I need to take a break, maybe walk a little bit. Then you have to catch yourself and realize that your mind is playing tricks on you and you cannot let your mind win, nor can you let your body give out. You are stronger and you will win this battle.

So you break the rest of the run down to more manageable sections. Another 500meters, 1 more kilometer, 2 more laps around this or an out and back to the landmark run. And you keep plugging on. It is a struggle, but you are winning. It does not matter that you have slowed your pace down, because you are still going. That's what matters.

You have already succeeded, just by having completed 18 months of grueling training and not giving up in the middle as many do, not giving in to the aches and pains, not succumbing to the desire to sleep just a little bit longer and miss a run. Now you are succeeding again by running through the toughest part of the marathon.

35km, 36km. you are still struggling, but now you are getting back to seeing some high points as well. You know the end is near. You even know that if you continue running you will be able to finish and get over the pain quicker than if you would stop right then and walk the rest of the way. So you keep on plugging. I even start to speed up a bit again. Not much, but I do pick up my pace a bit.

39km, 40km, almost there. Suddenly you see everyone else around is also seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. You are nearly there. Still picking up some steam. It is tough, and painful, but you are back in your zone. Only 2km to go. 1km.

Then you see yourself approaching the finish line. 200 meters to go. You find relief, and you also find your last bits of energy reserves, energy you thought you had used up a long time ago, you find some courage, and you pick up your pace. You will finish strong, You will finish a winner. You have conquered the marathon. You have overcome your own limitations. You have come out victorious in the games of the mind.

And then you cross the finish line, with your arms up in the air, knowing you worked hard, you succeeded, you accomplished. And if you end up meeting or beating your intended pace and time, how much more so!

That is why, I think, everybody who completes the marathon gets a medal, and not just the top 3 runners like in other sports - because your race was not against the other 1000, 2000, 10000 or 40000 runners. Each person was racing against himself, his or her own limitations, his or her own capabilities. Anybody who finishes the marathon successfully, and it does not matter how much time it took to run, is a winner.

And that then carries over into your daily life and routine. You know you can do anything. You approach things differently, You know you can succeed where others would give up.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Competition Is Success And Tragedy (video)

I feel bad for this guy. In this 20km race in Tokyo last week, this runner comes from a few back to take the lead with just 150 or so meters to go. Then he follows the truck taking a turn instead of running straight, obviously thinking the lead truck was going the right way. With officials gesturing to him, it is obviously his own mistake. At that point he diverts back, but it is too late - he has lost the lad and finishes in fourth place. Competition is full of glorious moments, both personal and competitive, but it is also full of tragedy and failure.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Running Hard, Setting A Record

Going into this marathon, my second, I had no goals other than to finish, but four sets of expectations.
  1. I had the remote possibility of running hard the whole way through finishing at a pace of anywhere from 3:35-3:45.
  2. the more realistic possibility of a good and even pace more in tune with my abilities and finishing in the 3:55 range, possibly pushing 4.
  3. crashing and running in the range of a 4:15 or so.
  4. bad weather and whatever happens happens.
I had no idea which of these possibilities would happen.

Victor and I have been running a lot together over the past couple of weeks. Even though he is normally faster than me, but I enjoyed the fact that he was coming off an injury and running slow (for him). Still, I have had to run very hard during the past few weeks to keep up with Victor even at his slow pace.

We had not spoken about running together at the marathon. I was not sure I could run with him, as running fast on a 12 or 16km run to keep up with him is different than doing it in a 42km run. I still decided to line up with Victor and go out together, using him as a pacer and he could use me as a pacer.

I have run a lot on my own. I have done almost all the long runs on my own (finishing in Rehovot with the group, but the whole run was alone), and even when I run with the group I am running alone because of my speed (funny to call it speed, when it is the slowest in the group). There is a tremendous difference between running alone and running with someone. Running with someone you are constantly motivated to keep running hard. When running alone, you start to get tired so you take it easy and slow down.

The weather was so beautiful it was amazing. The Kinneret on one side, the beautiful green mountains on the other. No wind. You could not ask for better marathon weather than this, and what more could a person want than to be able to fulfill Kum V'hithalech Ba'aretz in such a beautiful setting?

So I went out with Victor and we were running way too fast. A break-neck speed of about 5:15m/km. We knew we would eventually slow down, but we were both feeling good and just running. We were not even talking. Just running together. I dont know how much he was using me to push himself, but I was definitely using him. As we neared the halfway mark we realized were still keeping the same pace. I confirmed it when we hit the 21.1km mark at the exact same time I had finished the Beit She'an half marathon 3 weeks ago. At that point I thought to myself that if I can keep it up, I might even finish in the 3:40s. But I knew it was not likely.

At about the 28km mark, Jonny Klompas met us (he did not run the marathon but came out to run part of it) and ran the rest of the way back with us. We were still going strong, and Jonny joining us was a big boost. he was talking and we were not really listening or answering, but he gave us some fresh energy and some morale boost. he was really blabbering a lot. thanks Jonny.

We were still going strong, and then we hit some slight uphills. I kept it going for a bit, but then at the 33km mark there was another small uphill, and that was it for me. I could not keep the pace up any longer. I slowed down to go up the hill - it was looking like a mountain by then - and then could not get back to my pace. My legs just couldn't go any faster. Victor and Jonny were pulling further and further away and I knew I was on my own for the rest of the run.

My timing was still great, and I knew I would not be hitting the 3:35 mark by then, and just kept going. It was tough. The 33-37 were the toughest I think. I kept telling myself, this is just a run down to the satellites and back, this is just 10km - anyone can do that, this is just 3 more laps around Dolev, etc. I kept telling myself that I am going to walk soon, but not yet - one more kilometer and then I will walk a bit, 500 more meters and then I will walk. Two more laps around Dolev, no big deal. I dont know at what mark it was but I grabbed a piece of banana form someone and wolfed it down. Then I grabbed an orange but when I chewed it I could not swallow - I chewed out the juice and spit out the mush.

Suddenly I was at kilometer 39 and I knew I would make it the rest of the way. I got a sudden burst of energy and picked up my pace a tiny bit. I felt a little stronger as I started seeing more people cheering and as I got closer to the city. I passed 40, then 41. I had it in my grasp. 1 more kilometer to go. Chugging through the city. Finally the last 200km and I started to pick up my speed and build into a sprint. nothing like the sprinting of the Ethiopian runners mind you, but that final 150km is downhill, just over a ridge, and perfect from a strong finish. The finish line is in sight and I am blowing right by people. I even see that I was finishing in time this year to still see Chaim and Rich and some of the other guys waiting near the finish line before they go back to their rooms giving up on us slower guys. I hear my name called on the microphone as I approach the finish line and then it was all over, setting myself a personal record of 3:54:15.

I have to thank all the guys for their support, especially Chaim for all the work he puts into the group planning and encouraging and motivating, especially Victor running with me, pacing me, and making me run hard, and Jonny for joining us late in the game giving us a big boost. And to my wife who came along to cheer me on.

People thought I was crazy trying to run barefoot (in Vibram FiveFingers), but I am proud to say that I am the first Israeli marathoner to run it barefoot, setting a unique record, though I really have no idea if anyone else has done so previously. I just made it up on an assumption. Good enough for me.

When does training for Jerusalem begin?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

That's it?

We are the champions! We are the champions! What a run! Amazing finish! That's all you got??!! That's all you got?? Bring it on!!

200 meters

42km done, 200 meters to go. Going to sprint to finish this thing like a champion!

Almost There!

I am hitting 40km now. I can feel it! The end is within reach! Just over 2km left - no big deal. I think I can even pick up my pace a little bit!

Not Much More To Go

Wow, 36km and starting to bog down. Really feeling it. Tough to stay mentally sharp at this point. Feeling depleted. Only 6km more to go. I can do this!
As I enter the 30s, I see people starting to drop off their pace and struggle. I still feel good but weary.. Almost done. Keep going. I can run 10km more! That is a short run for me!

Coming Around The Bend!

Just about now I am making the turn, hitting the halfway point. 21.1km down, 21.1km to go!

In A Groove

I am now at about the 10km point in the Israel Marathon. More later.

And They're Off!

The marathon is starting right about now...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Inspirational Words Leading Up To the Marathon

Inspirational Words From Coach Chaim

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 34th Tiberias Marathon on Thursday 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.

Carb-Loading: Your diet oer the next two days should consist of foods high in complex carbohydrates such as whole grain breads, cereals, oatmeal, sweet potatos, bananas, rice and of course, pasta. Eat well but do not overeat. You do not want to come in feeling bloated and lethargic. Drink at least 12 cups of fluid and it is highly advisable to drink at least 1 liter of isotonic drink on Tuesday and Wednesday. Lean protein such as fish and chicken breast are preferable to red meat and you should avoid hard cheese entirely over the next 48 hours. For the pasta dinner, 2 plates of pasta with a non-spicy red sauce is ideal. There is no need to eat mountains of pasta and especially not with thick cream sauce. For braekfast on marathon day, I recommend toast with jam, a bowl of cereal, some fresh fruit, and two cups of orange juice. If you normally have coffee in the morning, do not change your routine.

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 700 carbohydrate calories during the first 36 kilometers of the race. GU Gels have 100 calories each and four of them will therefore supply 400 calories. Sports Drink 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 like to take the gels at 8 kilometer intervals. 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 Thursday 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.


NOTE: A comment was written in the comment section questioning the reliability of the hechsher on the GU Energy Gel products. After thinking about it for a bit I decided to do some research. I have not found anything specific in the little bit of research that I have done, so I am not going to say that the KORC hechsher based in San Francisco cannot be relied upon, but I do want to make it clear that this post does not endorse the GU gels or the hechsher, and if you want to use these gels you should do your own research, ask your rabbi as to the reliability of this hechsher on this product, whatever. Your decision. I am not endorsing it, nor am I saying it is no good. Do your own due diligence.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Marathon Week

That's it. The final stretch. Less than a week to go until the Israel Marathon in Tiberias. I am expecting to do one more short run, probably tomorrow on Sunday. After that nothing until Thursday's marathon.

The journey is nearly complete.