October 5, 2013

What was the last insane thing you did?

Posted in Running at 1:04 pm by Lisa

Running 31 kilometers in 24 hours. That would be mine. Here’s the story:

It all started months ago. Following the “Mountain to Valley” (M2V) relay race (a ~220km race from the North of Israel), a new relay race was announced: Tanach Tashach (not sure that’s the actual, official name but it’s what I called it because I was always too lazy to look it up and putting Tanach Tashach in google always brought up the right page).

Anyway, Tanach Tashach (TT for short) was another race due to take place in October – it would be a total of 208km but apparently the terrain is much tougher. Etgarim was planning to participate but after the M2V race, I wasn’t ready to do another one. However, it turned out that a friend was one of the organizers of TT and somehow I ended up on a team. Of 6. Which meant that I had to run 4 segments of the race, instead the usual 3 that I was used to.

Sure, no problem, I could do that. But I never actually trained for it. I’ve been in a weird place when it came to my running this summer and I don’t think I’ve done a 10km run during the last 3-4 months (in fact, I really can’t remember when my last 10k was – maybe this is why people blog about their runs?). And for several weeks on end, I didn’t do any running at all. However, I was/am biking to and from work every day, as well as hitting the gym 3x/week, with the occasional run thrown in there to make me think that I was still a runner.

And maybe I still am. Because in a period of 24 hours, I ran 31 kilometers. There was some walking thrown in there, and it most definitely wasn’t the fastest I’ve ever been, but I did it.

The race was pretty convenient as it was about 30 minutes from TA and was in a huge circle around the Latrun/Beit Shemesh area. We started at Latrun and I had never been there before so it was pretty interesting.

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(Tanks in the background – lots of army ceremonies take place here).

This was the starting line of the race. Here’s our team, right before the day started. Missing team captain (I guess he was taking the picture!)

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I was runner 3, which meant that I had to do legs 3, 9, 15 and 21. The first leg (3) was hard. We had to run up to Neve Shalom. Up a mountain. Not a hill. A mountain. It was brutal – middle of the day so it was hot. And it was such an incline that it was actually easier to “run” up than walk, although run is all relative. Anyway, I did it, but I was to learn that when the course description said uphill, it really meant “you’re going to be running up Israel’s equivalent of Mt. Everest.” Not exactly the terrain that exists in Tel Aviv.

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However, the first section was done and I felt good – knees still bending without screaming at me – so far so good!

One of the things to understand about these relay races is basically you’re running or you’re waiting while someone else is running before running again. The big issues are trying to figure out how to rest and eat so that you can do your run, while still working within your teammates’ schedules of when they can run, eat and rest.

We split up into 2 cars – runners of legs 1, 5 & 6. I was with runners 2 & 4. Unfortunately, the guys who ran 5 & 6 were pretty speedy so my car never really had too much time to rest. But because of the logistics of this race (one big circle), nothing was really too far away so we were able to set up a camp in a kibbutz named Netiv Lamed Heh (or netivele, as we affectionately called it). After runner 4 in my group finished, we quickly all got into the car and headed back to camp, with about 3 hours to shower, eat, stretch, rest and enough time to drive to the next running station to meet runner 1 and take over the next 3 legs of the race.

My second leg was right before sunset – actually got lucky although I did wear my reflective vest because I wanted to make sure I would be seen. I think that this was the section I enjoyed the most, nice views and much cooler weatherwise, although still light out. All in all, I had a great time, even if it was one of the longer segments.

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Bad picture taken with my crappy phone but gives you an idea of yet another climb. The arrow on the left hand side of the path was basically seen throughout the 208 km, marking our way.

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This is me following that run, doing some stretches, just resting. Actually the camping was great – it never got too cold (which was a huge fear of mine – I hate sleeping outside when it’s cold), the public baths and showers were surprisingly clean (always!). Actually, to be honest I only showered once because I didn’t want to waste any time, when I could be sleeping and I didn’t want the shower to wake me up. I would just quickly change out of my wet clothes into my next set of running clothes and lay down to try and catch a few winks.

Rest-wise this actually worked out well for me, as I was able to sleep about an hour between run 2 & 3 and then yet another 2 hours between runs 3 & 4. What my teammates in the car thought of this, who knows!

My first and only night run was a fairly non-technical run through the fields of a kibbutz at about midnight – one of my teammates called in some of her friends to run her night section with her and luckily for me, one continued on to run with me. Here’s me and Shai following our run. We had a great time talking running plans the whole way and it made this one of the easiest runs of the race.

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Me all lit up up in my reflective vest and head lamp!

My final run began just at sunrise, It started out at with a long (very long) climb on a road and then we we diverted onto some trails that once again went up and down. It was a bit more of a technical run since the paths were not at all smooth, with plenty of ruts, loose and jutting rocks, various slopes, etc. However the morning view was really beautiful.

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This was about 6:30 in the morning. Lots of people passed me – the arrow and black line mark the upcoming climb, which, for some crazy reason, I decided that I would run the entire way. Road running is much easier so even though this climb was yet another killer, I was able to do it.

But it did take it’s toll and by the time I was halfway through this segment, I just walked every single hill I came against, even if it was only a gentle slope of a few meters. I was done! Taking into account my (lack of) training, I’m not at all surprised. In addition, I realized that I was really running on an empty tank. It was so hard to get the food right – after each run, I wasn’t really hungry so didn’t eat much besides a few handfuls of pretzels. When we got to camp, all I wanted to do was stretch, change and lie down. It was too much effort to start trying to deal with food. And then before each run, I couldn’t face much more than a dried date or two. Not smart at all, but the timing of a 6-person team is much more challenging than that of an 8 or even a 4 person team. There’s practically no time for anything! Looking back, if I did this again, I would keep a sandwich in the car for immediately after my run and just force myself to eat it.

However, having said that – I did it and we all made it across the finish line!

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Here we are, all with our lovely shiny new medals!

I bailed right after this although we did have a beer toast. While the rest of my team enjoyed the spread from the race organizers, I wanted to get back to Tel Aviv as soon as possible. Friday morning and parking is not a good combination (see, it wouldn’t be a blog post if I didn’t get in a complaint about parking…). And I was in desperate need of a shower AND a proper bathroom (camping site aside, I had plenty of time to familiarize myself with the trees and bushes in the area since my stomach was sort of wonky and I had to make a pit stop during every single run.). Luckily, karma was with me and I found a parking spot on the first attempt, right around the corner from my apt.

Dragged up about a week’s worth or dirty, wet clothes (which makes sense considering I did a week’s worth of work-outs in 24 hours). Couldn’t get into the shower fast enough! Dragged myself afterwards to buy some food. Went to sleep relatively late, considering how tired I was but still felt fine.

And today? Well, this morning woke up around 7:30am and felt great. No pains at all (if you don’t count the toenail that I think is going to go black – I hate that!). I was starving so I ate and tackled mounds of disgusting wet, smelly clothes.

Now, I’m just relaxing and reliving my last 24 hours via this post. Looking back I’m amazed it was as easy as it was and I had a great time. I wish I was a little more prepared but I had a lot of fun so maybe it wasn’t such an insane thing to do after all?

Until the next adventure…!

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February 9, 2013

Well, that was interesting!

Posted in Running, Training at 1:25 pm by Lisa

I just ran 21km. Unplanned. My last longish run was 15km 2 weeks ago and then nothing much in between.

Unless you count the 8km that i ran yesterday.

How did that happen?

I hardly ever run 2 days in a row and if i have a big run i try to make sure that i prepare for it (eating and drinking right, getting enough sleep, actually signing up for the race).

But yesterday i met with some people from Etgarim for a morning run and Hila who’s signed up for a full marathon in March asked if i wanted to join her and her fiance for their long run of the week. I said sure but i was actually planning on just biking the distance. But after speaking with her last night i realized that i couldn’t really bike in a running race but still wanted to see them so i said i would do it anyway. (After a full day of crap eating and not hydrating properly.)  Also i have (had?) plans to run a 21km next week with Etgarim so even though my training hasn’t been the greatest, i just sort of figured that if i was ready for next week, i’ll be ready today. Makes sense right?

So, yes, it was pretty stupid but i actually feel ok now. Of course it will be even more interesting to see how i feel tomorrow.

What’s even more interesting was that i was able to do it. Ok, slowly, but 21km is now locked in the garmin! I think i should take that as confirmation that i’m capable of a lot more. A lot more!

Not sure what to do next week. I think i will drop down to the 10km. Better to be safe than sorry. Or maybe not. 🙂

In any event, I’m thinking it’s going to be a very early night!

December 6, 2012

On my way

Posted in Running, Training, Triathlons at 7:47 am by Lisa

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Well, to nowhere too adventerous – just to Eilat for the weekend (taking the train to the plane). There’s a big triathlon taking place there this weekend. I’m not competing – i’m going to help with the refereeing, undoubtedly one of the most hated professions out there. I personally love it :-).

I don’t really know how much of any workout i’ll be able to do down there so i did a run yesterday morning.

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I got to work early (courtesy of the parking gods and having to move my car by 06:30) so took off for a run on the beach in Herzliya. It was great – i would have gone further but i had a lot to get done before taking today off.

Anyway, i do have my running and swimming stuff with me so if there’s enough of a window i’ll see what i can accomplish.

Train is here (early!) so i gotta run. Later!

November 30, 2012

Decisions

Posted in Running, Training, Triathlons tagged , , , at 3:36 pm by Lisa

So yesterday i had another swim workout in the morning. As per usual, before getting into the pool, i checked out the other swimmers to see what would be the best lane for me. No one pays any attention to the lane labels as there was a slowish swimmer in the “fast” lane but no matter, as the “medium” lane to the right of her was empty so i claimed it.

Now i know that i am slow but i was floored (not literally because in the pool i guess that would mean drowning) to see that it took me almost the entire length of the pool to catch this woman! I am as slow as she was! Oy!

There’s no reason for this – i need to get faster, if only to be able to swim longer distances in less than half a day. So i made a decision to take a series of swimming lessons.

I priced them (the pool i swim at is owned by the municipality and is actually a “teaching” pool and you have to use their instructors). In any event, the lessons are exorbinant. And it got me thinking about how ridiculously expensive this triathon sport is. I mean any one sport can cost a lot if you get into it. But triathlon is 3 sports! And all with their own specific expenses.

So that led me to my second decision. I’m open for sponsorships! Now i’m a loyal saucony sneaker wearer (have 3 pairs lying around my apt. And 2 waiting for me at my parents that i snagged at a great price on amazon). I even featured a pair on my blog a few weeks ago (any suggestions as to how to get a half pound of dried mud off them would be welcome! 😉  )

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Therefore i think this would be an ideal partnership. I’ll be happy to include a good word on saucony in every blog post, wear their shirts during every run and write disparaging stories about nike.

Unless nike wants to sponsor me. Who knows? Maybe they’re tired of paying successful basketball players to wear their sneakers and baseball caps. Maybe they’re looking to work with a slow runner who’s an even slower biker and swimmer who consistently finishes in the back half of competitions (ok, back quarter) (on good days!). If so, then i’d be perfect for them!

I would definitely be up for any deal. And if i have to give up my beloved kinvaras, i will be happy to settle for the same running shoes that usain bolt has. I’m sure that will make all the difference!

November 24, 2012

Getting my run on!

Posted in Biking, Running, Training at 4:20 pm by Lisa

Had a great weekend, training wise. After my swim yesterday, i wavered back and forth about getting my run due to the weather in the morning. Then i wasn’t sure about having enough time to finish and still have time to shower before going to friends for dinner.

I decided to go for it and ran 12km in awesome conditions – still sunny but rain clouds were rolling in so it was starting to get a little windy. It was actually beautiful down by the water with the sun setting and all the contrasts in color.

Unfortunately no pic because my battery died.

However i didn’t make that mistake today! After a three hour indoor bike session i wanted to run 20 minutes to get used to the feeling of doing a long bike ride followed by a run.

I’m going to consider the below just another karma reward.

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That view’s about a 9 minute run from my apt. Definitely worth it!

April 25, 2011

Marathon Recap

Posted in Running at 2:00 pm by Lisa

Here are some pics of me from the marathon – this year I tried to smile for the camera so I ended up doing the same pose every time I saw a photographer – not sure exactly why I didn’t just wave – maybe next year!

The above were at the 8km point – I have the worst form ever! It doesn’t even look like I’m running but I am. Need to work on that technique! You can see the ground’s wet from the rain just a few minutes earlier (and of course, there’s the tissue in my hand that I carried for about 15 kilometers or so!)

At the 41km-ish point. Don’t I look happy? Trust me, the smile left as soon as we passed the photographer! Strangely enough, even though I was really beat up at this point, kilometers 41 and 42 were not only my fastest of the entire race, but my times were what I normally do for a speedy (for me) 10k. Not quite sure what that means – either my pacing was way off and I could have done the whole race faster, my training was off (cause I really felt exhausted around the 35-37km point), or I was just ready to be finished and sit down and this was the fastest way to make that happen! Either way that second wind pushed me to my limits and when I finally made it to the finish line, I was done!

Finish line! Right above my head there are 2 guys on bikes – Lior is the white guy in the white sweater. He met me in the park (around 29km point) and rode with me to the end. If he wasn’t there, I probably would have been about 10 minutes slower than I did! And no pics, but Tamar was hanging out at the 31km point with a second, much appreciated bottle of Gatorade – thanks! Also out of the frame are Hila and Ohad who had finished their half marathon (or “veneton” as Hila says, trying to start a worldwide movement to rename the half, calling on her Italian heritage and using the Italian word for 21) but hung around waiting for me to come in and cheer me on at the end!

In general, the race was great – I saw so many people I knew! A few parts of the course are out and back segments so it was cool seeing everyone and shouting them on (of course I was heading “out” while they were heading “back” – I hope next year I can pick up the pace a bit!). I received an email from Dror who’s in Etgarim who was running with Karen. I saw him twice on the way and yelled for him both times – he wrote that although he couldn’t see me, he could tell by my shouts that I had a smile on my face and was enjoying myself! So true – I was even cheering on people I didn’t know!

Even though the big marathons (like NYC, London, Paris, etc.) are amazing in scope, I think that there’s something so cool and fun about seeing so many friends on the course. Definitely one of the things that makes the TA marathon special for me. So I’ll be back next year!

And truthfully? Because of that “second wind” I think that I have a much faster time in me. My training was really not great this year – I started way later in the season than I would have liked and in the end only managed to get one long run in (and it was a really short, long run!). My nutrition was all over the place as the gels weren’t working for me and I didn’t make the connection until nearly too late, so I didn’t give myself enough time to try other options besides bananas (which were ok, but I’m not sure they really gave me the calories I needed) and Gatorade. On the plus side, I know my water intake was perfect – 2 stops along the way, thank you very much, and checking over the weekend, everything looked good (gross, but you know what I mean. What can I tell you? You gotta think about these things!)

Anyway, all in all I had a great time and have already started to think about next year.

And one last thing: one of the few downsides* of the race is that everyone gets the same t-shirt no matter what distance they run. I am shallow enough to care about this (I’m not knocking someone running a 10k but hey, I did the full 42.2 and why do I have the same shirt? Granted my “medal” was larger but who walks around with that?) So yesterday I took my shirt to one of those printer places and got 42.2 printed on both the back (huge) and front (a little less huge).

Such a nerd! 🙂

*Another downside? No food left for me by the time I finished! So sad. Next year I’m definitely packing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!