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Archive for February, 2016

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

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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

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