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#onelonghillrepeat

I looked it up and that hashtag doesn’t exist. Guess the rest of the world just calls it an uphill. I was trying to make my morning run sound fancier than it really was but basically I just ran along a dirt road in the rain. And it was hilly. Yeah, did I mention the hills? 

I took a selfie break in the middle so I’d have a better chance at running, not trudging up the long road home. By “long” I mean over a mile. I haven’t been running much lately so this was no easy task. The drizzle turned to rain and I enjoyed the gorgeous green scenery as I puffed along. 


Once back, I completed my new favorite upper body workout in the yard, using rocks as hand weights. 

The workout: 2.7 mile run, 2×10 walking squats, 2 sets upper body

 

I did it for the t-shirt

Monday morning, to get out of the rain while I was waiting to meet a friend, I wandered into the Tel Aviv Marathon expo tent.  An hour later I wandered back out, carrying a screaming Eitan who was having a major hunger meltdown.  I had also missed the coffee date with my friend.  However, I had two Tel Aviv Marathon 10k registrations in hand and the pink t-shirts to prove we were to be race participants.

Now, about the training leading up to the race…  oh yeah, there wasn’t any.  I’d only intended to sign Ariel up, because he’s been running regularly, but when he suggested I join him, I didn’t give it a second thought.  As I reflected on my hasty decision afterward, I figured running 10k couldn’t be much more difficult than my daily miles of pushing/pulling/carrying two kids around here.  So this week I did a little race prep.  I cut my toenails, I drank plenty of water, I mentally prepared myself for the possibility that I might not be able to finish and I debated whether or not I should go for a short training run.  I decided I might as well see how it felt to run without pushing a stroller so I did 2 km on Wednesday morning and felt great.

This morning Ariel’s dad showed up early to watch the kids and of course Eitan chose this one morning to not wake up at his usual sunrise time slot.  I actually had to wake him to feed him before we took off in search of some green bikes to ride to the race.  I was startled to be directed toward bike parking by a soldier with a machine gun; then a metal detector wand was waved across my body as I entered the race area.  I never feel unsafe here but was reassured by the extra safety precautions in a crowd of 40,000.


We were together in the second heat of 10k runners and as we slowly got moving, Ariel commented on how, when you run a race you only see people’s butts, not faces.  And a few bald heads.  True but not at all troubling to me unless those butts and bald heads are moving slower than I want to move. I actually said to Ariel at one point “these people seem to be pacing as if they’re running a much longer race”. Then I realized that I didn’t even have a pace. And I felt mildly bad about making snarky comments when I hadn’t even trained.

Races are notoriously not environmentally friendly, although many are trying to be better.  I was dismayed to see at the first water stop volunteers handing out small bottles of water, caps already removed. People took a sip then tossed the entire bottle to the side of the road. I attempted to keep mine because I couldn’t bear sipping and tossing but I just ended up splashing water everywhere. Giving up and tossing my bottle, I vowed to find one with a cap at the next stop so I wouldn’t throw away more water & more plastic. I saw Gatorade 3 km later and dove for a cup but was waved away with the explanation that water was on the other side. Apparently the Gatorade was only for the people running longer races.  I scrambled to find a bottle with a lid and got lucky.

For the past four years here I’ve seen the marathoners run by our apartment and every year I’ve wished to be one of them.  Today by kilometer 6, I was very pleased to have only 4 more kilometers to go, not 36!  My foot and everything else on me had begun to ache and I’d developed a stitch in my side.  I made the decision to push forward and started breathing out with more force to get rid of the side pain.  (turns out that’s not really what you’re supposed to do, but it worked for me.)  As we hit the 8 km mark, I was feeling pretty confident I’d  make it to the end so I encouraged Ariel to go ahead and pick up his pace. I also attempted to push through to the finish line and managed to pass a few people but I was thoroughly exhausted & simply happy to be done.

I teared up as I neared the finish – a mixture of relief that my body had held up, pure joy to be running again and satisfaction to have finally participated in this race.  Ariel was waiting for me and we snapped the mandatory selfie-in-front-of-finish-line before grabbing snacks and retrieving our green bikes for the return trip home.
 I sleepily pedaled my way home to grab a swim suit then we met the kids at the beach to give our muscles an ice bath. Twelve hours later, I’m still tired but not extremely sore. I feel fabulous about running today’s race and I’ve got the pink shirt to prove it!

the workout:

10 km ride, to & from race

10 km run, negative splits, 1:02

kicked out of school

Technically speaking, I wasn’t kicked out of Ulpan today, I was simply told I couldn’t come back because my month was over and I didn’t pay for the next month.  I don’t think it unreasonable of me to not want to pay for an entire other month since my class ends next week, but they were completely unwilling to be flexible, so I left at the first break.

Since our nanny was planning on staying all morning, I took advantage of the free time to grab a workout.  I hopped on a green bike  and started pedaling toward Yafo.  Riding bikes around here is very unlike San Francisco.  There are bike lanes on all the boulevards, but there are no regulations about who can use them.  (And if there were, nobody would follow the rules anyway.)  The most common sight is a parent on a motorized bike, with kids on front and back seats.  Also, there’s the more-than-occasional person riding top speed on a motorized bike while smoking.  And talking on the phone.  And perhaps, running the dog.  Sometimes motorcycles use the bike lane.  Sometimes kids with scooters go between the bikes, ringing their bells because the bikes are in their way, even though the rest of the boulevard is empty.  Oh wait, that’s my kid.  Yes, he thinks he owns the sidewalk.  How very Israeli of him.  Anyway, you get the picture.

My ride today was quite pleasant.  I’d fortunately chosen a green bike that was in good shape, with two tires pumped and brakes working.  I rode along the water, enjoying the view.  Then my friend from Ireland called and I tried talking on the phone while biking.  And not wearing a helmet.  How very Israeli of me.  And also not safe.  I promise I won’t do it again.

I arrived back at my favorite swimming beach in one piece and returned the bike in just under the allotted free half hour (what’s with me and saving money today??).  I changed into my suit and slowly walked into the clear, cold water.  And walked.  And walked.

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It’s shallow for quite a long time at that beach!  I’m not one who likes to tiptoe into the water and feel the cold slowly creeping over me.  I more of a plunge-and-get-it-over-with type of person.  Oh well.  I swam back and forth – from the end of one cafe’s green lounge chairs to the end of the next cafe’s green lounge chairs – twice.  Maybe half a kilometer.  Maybe more, but who knows because the software for the fancy watch I bought still hasn’t been updated to include the advertised swim distance function.  It tells me only how long I swam.  How practical.  Since I couldn’t just check the time on my watch to see how long I’ve been swimming while I’m actually in the water.

Once out of the water and hurrying along to gather a baby and pick up a preschooler, I realized that my legs were sore.  What a great feeling!  Does that sound weird?  You probably have to be an exercise addict like myself to think being sore after a workout is a good thing.

Just for the record, now that I’ve been kicked out of school, I’m planning on keeping the nanny and using my free mornings to swim and bike and run.  Maybe I’ll study a little Hebrew on my own and practice some violin too!IMG_5652.JPG

running with the family

What do you do when you wake up at sunrise on a gorgeous weekend morning? Go running!  No… Wait! That was my “old self” from ten years ago answering.  My “today self” pushes Ariel out of bed while whining about how tired I am, begging him to get up with the kids.  Lucky for me, he often does this even before my whining begins.  He knows I’m not a pretty person to be around when I’m tired.

Strangely, when we woke at 6 am on Saturday after an interrupted night’s sleep, instead of responding “yes!” to Ariel’s offer to get up with the kids, that enthusiastic morning person buried beneath my tired Mommy self somehow clawed her way to the front and I found myself suggesting we all get up and go for a run. Two days earlier, I’d attempted my first run since early in my pregnancy 18 months ago.  I’d tried alternating minutes of walking and jogging, totaling about 2 miles and felt great, both physically and mentally.

Running in the morning on the trail overlooking the Mediterranean Sea used to be one of my favorite things to do here so I was enthusiastic about continuing this tradition with all members of my family.  The details of getting us out the door (who needs a snack? do you need to use the bathroom? where is Eitan’s hat? where’s my water bottle?) were more complicated than they should have been and it was well past sunrise before we were on our way.  Once outside and halfway down the block, Aviv announced that he needed to go potty.  So Ariel took him back into the house and I continued my warm-up walk toward the water with Eitan in the running stroller.  Once to the path, I began a slow jog against the flow of florescent-clad runners who were already on their way home and felt an instant runner’s high.

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The boys caught up with us in no time and as I pushed the stroller, Ariel mostly dragged Aviv on his scooter.  We crawled along… but everyone was happy!  Toward the end of the run I asked Ariel if it wasn’t wrecking his run to be leaning over and pulling a kid along.  He answered with complete sincerity “Is there anything better than holding Aviv’s hand all morning?”!

the workout: 5km slow jog, alternated with walking at random intervals, concentrating on form and not leaning over stroller

 

my non-mommy suit

Back in July, two months after Baby E was born, I went swimsuit shopping.  My requirements were that suit camouflage my postpartum belly and be easily accessible for nursing.  I walked out of the store with both a suit which fit my needs and a suit I was pretty sure I’d never wear.  I justified the purchase by saying it would motivate me to get my figure back in time to look fabulous at Gordon Pool in Tel Aviv.  In truth, I thought the sleek silver suit was something I’d never have fit into even before children but for $17 it was a steal so I grabbed it.  I texted my cousin (who’d also just had a baby) that I’d purchased a mommy suit and a non-mommy suit.  We had a good laugh.

Fast forward six months to today… I actually wore my non-mommy suit to Gordon Pool!  And I looked fabulous in it, if I do say so myself.  I kept my workout short but it felt amazing to stretch out my limbs and move through the freezing cold water at top speed.  I sprinted my swim because it was too cold to do anything else.  The forecasted 70s were not reached today and the water is unheated, refreshed directly from the depths of the Mediterranean each night.

To ease the strain on my hand, which is still recovering from Wagner and baby carrying, I swam with a closed fist instead of open palm every other lap.  The closed fist swim drill encourages good form and maximizes pull.  Today my goal was to get through my workout without any pain.  Success.

The pool was populated by its usual personnel – a few uber athletes in speed suits, the Gold’s Gym meathead types, the nip & tuckers, and the woman cloud-bathing in her fur trimmed coat and shorty shorts.  I love Gordon Pool.

the workout: 500 meters free, alt closed fist drill

too much adventure

This story has nothing to do with exercise.  On the contrary, it has to do with sitting and eating.  Then sitting and eating some more.  It is how we brought in the new year this year.  We didn’t discuss resolutions or even notice when the clock struck midnight.  We were in the air, somewhere between San Francisco and Istanbul.  Somewhere between December 31st and January 1st.

Our adventure began with a two hour delayed flight and an Uber driver who’d just found out he is going to be a dad.  Literally just found out – we were the first people he told after hanging up the phone with his girlfriend.  In the middle of loading our 5 bags, three carry-ons, stroller, carseat, violin and food bag into his car, the UPS truck drove up and my husband flagged down the driver.  We’d been trying to track two packages that were supposed to arrive the day before and when the driver handed them to my husband, he received an enthusiastic hug.

We made it to the airport and hauled all the bags inside.  Actually, I hauled the kids and my husband managed our baggage.  He could have skipped his earlier run and called moving luggage his workout for the day.  A flight change, complications with our three year old’s ticket and two hours later we boarded the plane.  The flight itself was completely uneventful, which is a great thing when you’re traveling internationally with two young kids.  The food was good and we arrived in Istanbul the next evening, missing New Year’s eve and day completely.  The airport was packed with tired, angry travelers and as we were trying to find our connecting gate a friend from the first flight announced that our next flight had been delayed due to snow in Istanbul and rain in Tel Aviv.  Eight hours.  Overnight.  Wow.  As I soaked in my loud, colorful surroundings, a uniformed Turkish Airlines official whispered something to my husband.  We were passed off to two other men and told to follow them.  They motioned toward the baby sleeping on me.  We were rushed through the mobs of people staking out sleeping spaces on the dirty linoleum floor and passed to a third man who led us into the business class lounge.  At first glance I took in plush white couches, a pool table and crystal chandeliers.  The lounge was its own two story universe, complete with a golf room, movie space, gym, showers, mini remote control race track, coffee bars, top shelf liquor and food in every direction.

I expected at any moment the sun would rise on our decadent night of manti (Turkish dumplings), simit (sesame bagels), olives, brandy, Turkish delight and baklava. The party atmosphere quieted from 2-4am at which time breakfast was served.  I helped myself to musli with ayran and honeycomb as we hurriedly collected our belongings and exited.  I walked with my boys to the new gate, exhausted from lack of sleep but feeling mildly rejuvenated after a shower and stuffing myself full of delicious treats.

The next flight was delayed more and just as we were finally taking off, Baby E started grunting.  I hoped for the best but expected the worst.  And ended up changing a diaper (and entire outfit) while he stood on my lap during take-off.  He then screamed at me for a while and finally fell asleep.

Once off the plane we waited for our luggage.  Then we waited some more.  Then my husband waited in “line” for assistance.  He and the lost baggage lady remembered each other from last year.  And no, they didn’t have any idea what had happened to our stroller, carseat and all but one of our bags.  Good thing we packed our entire house for this trip.

Looking on the bright side, we didn’t have any bags so we all fit into one cab!  Tomorrow I might eat less and I think I’ll go for a walk.  In my rain boots.  I found them hiding in our only bag.

back in the game

I’m officially no longer postpartum.  Apparently that ends with the 6 week post-delivery visit.  I’m also officially not going to be running for a while because I finally had an MRI and found that I do indeed have a bad case of plantar fasciitis and also a touch of tendonitis in my left foot.  My podiatrist suggested that I quit walking and focus on swimming and biking.  Yeah, right.

When my first son was born we walked for hours every day and it kept me sane.  It was also an easy way to get him to nap.  In the early days there wasn’t much else I could comfortably do and I’d read on the blog of a triathlete come mother-of-twins that the best advice she’d been given in the beginning was to get her boys and herself outside every day.  That became my mantra.  I gradually added back in running, then running with Baby A once he was big enough, then swimming and spin classes once he was old enough to be left at the Y childcare, then eventually the occasional bike ride when I had a sitter or my husband was home.  That was the progression, but first there was walking.

This time my life it busier with a three year old and new baby, but my older son is either in school or happy to ride his scooter alongside me and the stroller, so we are once again walking.  I’ve also added an amazing program I came across when researching how to heal a diastasis recti, the gap that often happens during pregnancy between the two sides of the rectus abdominus muscle.  The MuTu System is “the complete body make-over for moms who want to shift the mummy tummy, heal their core and pelvic floor and get strong, fit and truly body confident inside & out.”  Sounds remarkable, right?  So far I’m finding that it is.

I’m on week three of the program and am taking my time, stretching each week’s program longer than a week and not beating myself up if I miss a day.  I’m making an effort to do my core work every evening and had cleaned up my diet until I discovered the insanely delicious chocolate almond croissant at my neighborhood’s new Arsicault Bakery.

I feel incredibly good, both physically and mentally, and I think my body is pulling itself back together even faster than it did the first time!

  

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