Friday, March 29, 2013

What's Next?

Now that I have completed my first race and have recovered, I need to decide what I want to do next.  While I have a year to get ready, I still would like to have an idea of my plans.  A year is too far that if I do not set a goal, it may get too late before I finally settle down to train for a race. 

I am deciding between 3 options; running the 10k and trying to improve my time, or training for the half or full marathon.   One of my goals is to train without getting injured and to not burn out.  The time constraints of training for a full marathon with young children in the house are also a factor.  

My plans are over the next three months to set a base of 25-35 miles a week vs. the 20-25 I do now. Then I will start training in July for 8 months.  

How did you decide your next step?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Best Stress Relief

I had one of those days today.  I was exhausted and work was starting to be a little stressful.  One of those days where there is not enough time but too much to do.  When I got home, I did not want to go out for a  run.  After the kids went to bed, I went to my own bed to lay down.  My wife came in and said “Get up, go out for a run”.

I got dressed and grabbed some music.  When I got out, it was cold.  I hate running in the cold.  I decided go my route that I would complete 5 miles  It was tough.  For most of the run, I felt tired.  Not in my legs, but it my head.  Somehow, I continued.  Near the end of the run I finally felt a little better. 

Running, there is no better stress relief.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Today was a beautiful day.  The sun was out and the temperature was in the upper 70’s.  I was excited for my run tonight.  I thought, it would be ideal weather.  I was wrong.  As soon as I got outside, I noticed the wind and could see sand and dust blowing. 

I took my hat off and attached it to my fanny pack.  I have run in this kind of weather before, but the last few times it was during the day. It was easier when I wore  sunglasses to protect my eyes.  Not tonight, I could feel the sand hitting my face and eyes.  

After about a mile in, the wind calmed down and I decided to push on to do 4 miles rather than 3.  Right after the halfway point, I noticed two guys out running far ahead.  I decided to make a game out of and see if I could catch them.  I came close and I got within a few tenths of a mile, but near the end of the run, they turned right while I turned left to go home.  

There is always next time.    

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


My wife keeps mentioning to me that I should really go out and buy new pants.  You know how guys are.  We will wear our favorite clothes until they start to fall apart. Of course we think they look fine.

I have a few different pairs of pants that I wear during the week.  I could use a new pair and the ones I am currently wearing are a few years old.  I think they still look nice, but they do have some wear and tear on them.  At some point they will rip.

The problem is that I don’t feel ready to buy new pants.  I want to wait until I lose about 5 more pounds. I need to feel comfortable in them.  It does not feel good to buy a new pair and then not to enjoy wearing them because of how they feel.

When do you buy new clothes?

Monday, March 25, 2013

What Is Junk

I made chocolate chip mandel break this weekend for the kids.  These are similar to biscotti, but softer.  We are trying to raise our kids to avoid junk food and to teach them to maintain a healthy balance between treats and other foods.  

My oldest pointed to the cookie and asked, “Daddy is this Junk?”  I had to explain to him what we consider junk food. I started to explain that we try to avoid processed and artificial ingredients as much as we can.  I told him it is ok to eat a cookie or a piece of cake and that the homemade version is a lot more healthy than any prepackaged or store-bought.  

I think he is getting it and hopefully will be able to make good decisions as he gets older.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Recovery Plan

I had somewhat of a recovery plan.  After the race, my plan included taking a walk in the afternoon following the race.  On the Saturday after the race, I planned on another walk and then a short run Saturday night.  Then take it from there.

What I did not realize was how exhausting the race was.  Not only physically, but mentally as well.  There was a lot of waiting and things to watch before the race.  Then I was off an running.  I kept looking at some of the beautiful sites around the city.

Instead, what happened was on Friday after the race, I took the kids out a short walk around the city.  We went playground hopping.  On Saturday morning, I awoke with some sore muscles in the upper part of the back of my legs.  The hills may have been a little steeper than I thought.

On Saturday, we did not go out for a long walk as I had planned, instead we went to a nearby playground.  Saturday night, I raw a slow 3 mile route just to get out there.  I took off from running on Sunday and on Monday, I was back up to 4 miles.  I took Tuesday off and ran 4 miles on Wednesday and 3 miles on Thursday. I took Friday off and then on Saturday night, I was back up to 7.4 miles.

How do you recover from a race?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Run Your Own Race

After running in my first race, the most important lesson I learned is to run your own race.  What do I mean?  You know your own pace, your strengths and weaknesses.  Do not compare yourself to other runners.  You have no idea by looking at someone if they are faster than you or if they are running their first race.

It does not matter unless you are near the front the pack and seriously have a chance to place in the top 3 or however far they go down to win prize money.  You are not competing against anyone but yourself.

I was passed by older, younger, bigger, smaller runners than me, but I stayed with my plan.  I finished strong and with a personal best.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

In Like a Lamb, Out Like a Lion

The month of March is looking to be a record setting month for me.  I am up to 61.6 miles over 13 days running so far.  Back in October, when I reached my highest monthly totals of 105.7 miles over 24 days, I was at 56.2 miles for the first 13 days.

I ran two 7 miles runs this week.  Sandwiched between them are two 4 mile runs.  The miles start to add up when you add a few here and a few there.  To break my record for miles and days run in a month, I need to run 44.1 over the next 12 days.  

Realistically, I do not see myself running the next 12 days.  That would put my steak at 16 consecutive days.  That is a lot.  I prefer to have at least one if not two days off during the remainder of the month.  The mileage will have to come without the day’s record.  This is doable, especially now that I am running 7 miles at least a once week.

Stay Tuned.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Heat Wave

As you can tell from my post yesterday, we had a surprise heat wave last week here in Israel.  The temperatures reaches the upper 80’s to low 90’s.  Near the end of the week it was closer to the mid 90’s.  At night, it felt great.  This is my favorite kind of weather to run in.  I love hot weather.  In the summer, in the middle of the day when it is over 100 outside, I have no issue heading out for a run.  I will take this over 40 any day.

Hot weather in early March, is not something to go overboard on.  My body is not used to the heat. After a few months of cold weather, this kind of weather can be a shock.  My personal experience is I need 2-3 weeks to get used to the temperature change.  To get ready for my runs during last week, I drank a little more water during the day.  I also made sure to get outside for at least 20 minutes in the middle of the day to soak in the heat. 

This will also mean, when I go out for my run, I will take it easy.  No speed work and I may do less miles.  This is where running without a watch really helps. I focus on how I feel rather than on time.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Running Tragedy

This past Friday, Tel Aviv held a half marathon and 10k run.  The marathon was also scheduled, but due to extreme heat for this time of year, it was pushed back a week.   The temperatures reached the mid 90’s and the humidity was increasing as well.  This is weather for May and June, not Mid march.  Due to the extreme weather, one runner died and about 35 were hospitalized.

There ware ways to prepare for a race when the weather gets to be this hot and it’s a surprise.  The main thing is to drink and to cool off. When I run in 100 degrees weather in the summer, I drink water, plus I pour water over my head to help cool off.   The next thing to do is to slow down.  Running in hot weather, is not the time to try to set a PR.  Forget the watch and just go as you feel. Learning to run by feel can help you during these extreme weather events.

The next thing is to get used to the heat.  This was forecast a few days before and it lasted about 4 days.  Go outside from the air conditioned office and sit in the son.  Feel the heat.  Lastly, when it doubt cancel. If your not sure if it will be safe, try to get a refund.  If you cant, you can still skip it or just walk part of the way.  I know I didn’t go running Friday night because of the heat.

Such a sad turn of events, but lets try to learn from this tragedy. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Three Month Caffiene-Free

It has been about 3 months since I have gone caffeine free and I so glad I have made this change.  I have more energy that I had before.  I do not have the crashes where I am tired late in the day and need a pick me up.  I am sleeping better.  My mood has improved. I am able to function with less sleep.  The best thing is that my running did not suffer.

If you need your caffeine to help you wake up each morning, I suggest for you to quit it completely.  It will take about 3 weeks with the first week being a pain for you to be off of caffeine.  Once you realize that you do not need the caffeine pick up to function, your days will be much better.

Who else has given up caffeine?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Walk Date

My wife and I have been trying to have a date night the past few months.  One night, we went to a show in the city.  Another night, we rented a movie.  Now that spring is almost here and the weather is getting warmer, we are planning on having a walk date.  

We can walk to the mall which is only a mile away and continue around the loop in the city for a few miles.  We can do this and still spend quality time together just the two of us. We do not have to spend any money on unhealthy meals and we get to do a healthy activity together. 

I hope we can do this at least once a month.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spring Forward

This past weekend, the US sprung forward.  This mean the clocks were set an hour ahead.  What this achieves is an extra hour of daylight in the evening.  We will be doing the same thing near the end of the month.  This is great for those of us that love to run after work or in the evening.  Sorry for all the folks who run in the morning or before work.   It will be a dark again until a few weeks from now.
This means that during my runs, the weather will be a little warmer.  I will be able to extend my runs before it gets cold.

Do you prefer to spring forward or to fall back?

Stopping and Starting Again

One skill that I have mastered in regards to running is being able to stop and then starting again.  It did not always used to be this way. There were times that if I stopped running to get a drink or tie my shoe, I would have much difficulty starting up again. The run would turn into a walk/run until I arrived home.

As much runs get longer, I need to stop to go to the bathroom or to fill my water bottle at a water fountain.  Sometimes, I need to retie my shoe.  This skill came in handy tonight.  As I was running, I came across a dog that was out of their gate.  The dog started to bark and growl at me.  I quickly stopped running and started to walk.

I walked for about 5 minutes until I got enough distance away from the dog.  I then was able to pick back up and continue to run.  Next time you are out running, after about 20 minutes or 20 miles, stop and try to start up again.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fully Recovered

It has been a little over a week since my race and I can say I am fully recovered.  I took it slow this week. I got out there 6 out of the past 9 days.   I even threw in a few shorter runs of 3 miles.  Last night though, I went out and did 7.4 miles followed by 3 miles today.  I felt great.

The run didn’t start off that good.  I was still recovering from my lack of sleep on Thursday night, when I got to bed around 3:30am and woke up at 5:00 for work.  I felt a little sluggish for the first mile. I said I would just do 3 miles.  Then I felt better and made the turn for 4 miles and one more turn to make it 5 miles.  

I was still feeling great, so instead of turning home, I went back around the big loop that circles our mall and center of the city.  This added another 2.4 miles to the run, for a total of 7.4.  I thought about doing the loop one more time and even had thoughts of trying to reach 10 miles.

I thought against it.  I was happy to run over 7 again and even happier I felt great doing it.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Why I Did Not Run Farther

A lot of people have been asking me why I did not run the half or the full marathon.  They know me as a runner and they assumed that would have been more my style.  I did run a 10k, while compared to a marathon, it is not that far, but it is still an accomplishment.  It is something to be proud and not looked down upon because it was “only” 6.2 miles.

I do not think most people know how much training is involved with running a half or full marathon.  I love running.  I do not want to take a chance to get injured.  I want to run a race and then be able to continue to run.  Maybe take one or two days off afterward, but not much more.

Plus the time commitment that goes with training was something I did not have at this time.  When I go out for a run, I am maybe out for 45-60 minutes with the occasional run longer than 1 hour.  To train for a marathon, I would need to be out at least 3 hours once a week during the second half of training and maybe 2 hours during the week.  I was not ready to commit to this

A 10k or even a 5k race is nothing to be ashamed of.  As long as you give it your all, be proud of what you accomplished.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Why I Ran With a Watch

The first question my wife and my mother asked me was why I ran the race with a watch.  I am sure some of you are wondering the exact same thing.  The main reason, this was my first race and I had no idea how the chip timers work.  I was not sure if the my time would be adjusted or not for when I crossed the starting line.  

Running without a watch was a technique I have used to keep running fun and motivating each day. I found when I wore my watch, I would focus too much on the time and speed and not on finishing my run. For 99% of my runs, it did not matter if I ran 8 minute miles or 10 minute miles. 

Since I have not worn a watch in months when I was running, it has become second nature to me to not look at it even when I was wearing it in the race.  I didn’t even take a glance until the halfway point just to see where I stood.  I listened to my body the entire time.  I went fast when I felt like it, I slowed down when I needed to.  I was careful on the downhill and made sure to maintain form on the uphill.

It worked, I ran the fastest time I have ever run especially over that long of a distance.   I do not think I would have achieved this success if I would I have kept wearing a watch. I also owe my injury free running this year to the same reason.   

Try it. Give up the watch for a few weeks and see how your running goes.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Jerusalem 10k Part 2

As soon as the gun sounded, I was picturing mass chaos of runners all trying to go at the same time.  The announcer kept telling everyone to walk slowly to the starting line.  Instead it was very calm.  No pushing.  Everyone waited patiently for their turn.  I stepped on the starting mat and started my watch.  I quickly covered the watch with my sleeve.

I started off at a comfortable pace and I felt more like Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens than a runner. I kept weaving in and out of traffic trying to find an open lane.  From reading others people’s race experiences, I expected this to occur. I figured it would take the first 1-2 km to thin out.   Once we rounded the first turn, and passed the 1m marker, we reached a tunnel.  The 10k runners started to sound like kids, with everyone screaming and yelling and making as much noise as they could.

Once we got out of the tunnel, we reached the first big hill.  I knew the hills would be a place when I would be passing lots of people. The city I live in, is all hills, so I am used to running up and down.  I kept my plan for the race in my head. I took small steps to get up the hill.  It worked. I made it up the first hill without feeling like I was drained.

Next we passed the first water station. They handed out small water bottles.  You had to be careful, as the street started to get a little wet and slippery.  Next we turned down on King George Street, followed by a right onto Jaffa Street.  These are streets I have walked down numerous times. It was neat to be running through town.  We continued on Jaffa until the Old City of Jerusalem appeared In front.

We almost had to make a U-turn to start the ascent to run through the Jaffa Gate.  This was very special, because it is the very same gate that the Israel Defense Forces drove through during the 1967 Six Day War when they brought the Old City of Jerusalem back into Jewish control for the first time in 2000 years.   We continued on the run through parts of the old city. During this time, we passed the 5km mark. I looked down at my watch for the first time and saw I was at 24:25.  I said to myself, I have a chance to break 50 minutes.

We continued out of the Old City through the Zion gate and continued on.  I could see the Sultans swimming pool and then I looked ahead and saw the famous Montefiore Windmill. It was a beautiful sight. As we were nearing the next water station, the road started a slight incline.  All of sudden I started hearing Eye of the Tiger.  I was passing a guy who had music playing out of his phone.  Thanks!  It gave me a little boost.   I passed one of my friends who was waiting to see his wife go by.  He gave me a nice high five and called me a speed demon. 

We started up another hill.  This was one was called Bible Hill.  People next to me were in agony from it and screaming as they went up.  I slowed my steps and made it up without a struggle.  As we were coming down the next hill, I heard a veteran of the race tell a friend who was running his first race, that there was one more hill.   I was ready.

We passed the 9k mark and I saw on my watch, 44:34.  I figured 50 minutes is within reach.  I started to run to make it.  Once I saw the finish line, I looked down again and saw 48:00.  I kept running and finished strong. My watch said 49:21 and the official time was 49:23.  I was near the top 5%.   I was ecstatic. 

When it was over, I walked to pick up a banana, clementine and a bottle of water.  I walked and then picked up my medal.  I quickly changed and started to walk to my bus. I wore my medal home with pride.  The highlight was when I made it home in time to pick my son up from school.  He got to see me with the medal around my neck. Of course in a typical five year old fashion, all he wanted to do was wear it. 

I highly recommend the Jerusalem race to anyone looking to run a destination race.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Jerusalem 10k Part 1

Its over.  My first race.  I ran the Jerusalem 10k and finished in an official time of 49:23.  Wow!  That is a 7:58 per mile pace.  This was a hilly race.  Here is how race day unfolded.

I woke up and ate my usual breakfast plus a banana before I left.  I kept my drinking to a minimum as I did not want to have to run to the bathroom during the race.  I knew I would drink during the race, so I was not worried. The race started at 10:30.  I wanted to give myself enough a time to get there with the traffic changes.  Since this was my first race I had no idea what to expect.
I boarded the 7:45am bus and as made our way into the city, we hit traffic.  I assumed that this would be the case, as the full marathon started at 7:00am and we were entering the city right about the halfway point of the race.  We sat in traffic for about 20 minutes as we inched forward to get on the bypass.  I had my IPOD on and turned on some oldies just to stay relaxed and calm.   I looked around; I did not see any other runners on the bus.

It started to lightly rain on our way in.  I was not ready for the rain.  I left my jacket at home.  We finally made it to the bus station around 8:50am.   It was about a 5-10 minute walk to get to the park for the bag check and pre-race activities.  After going through security, I looked down the hill into the park, there were big signs pointing to the bag check for each of the races. It was very organized.

I walked around to see what was going on.  They had some people teaching zumba or some other kind of aerobics for people to jump around on a trampoline.  They had free coffee.  I found where the restrooms were.  They had numerous restrooms.  I put my IPOD in my bag as I decided to run this race without music. I checked my bag in no time.  Very easy.  I now had over an hour to wait for my race to start.

They had giant screens showing the marathon. The leader was currently at 2:08.  I walked down to the marathon finish and watched the winner Abraham Kabeto finish in a new course record of 2:16.28.  Mazel Tov!!

I kept my legs fresh by walking back and forth around the park.   During this time, the sun kept peeking through the clouds.   I decided to leave my gloves and undershirt on and I took the ear warmers off. It was about 10:00 am. I made one last pit stop. Then I retied my shoes and tucked in my shirt.  I started to make my way to the starting gate.  I ate my piece of banana bread on the way.

The crowd started to get bigger the closer we got to the start area.  They divided the race into two groups.  There was an A and B group and a C group.  This was according to finishing times you predicted when you singed up.  I was in group B.  It was neat.  They had people checking bibs to make sure you started in your correct place.  I felt like a VIP trying to get backstage when I was allowed to enter the A & B Group.

I started getting very exciting and when the announcer said 5 minutes to go, I was ready. I had my game plan. I knew what I wanted to accomplish.  The clouds started to disappear and the sun started to shine.

Then the gun sounded to start the race.

Stayed tune for part two tomorrow.

Monday, March 04, 2013

February Stats

For the month of February, I ran 80 miles over 18 days.  My goal was 85 miles over 21 days.  I started off on a fast track.  I ran 6 out of the first 7 days of the month.  I took advantage of improving weather conditions as it was ideal conditions to get out for a run. 

I slowed up towards the middle of the month, as I needed a day or two off, plus I took an extra day off to take my wife out to a show for her birthday.  Near the end of the month, I also took a few days off. I had to go to another city for a work event plus I took the day off before my big race.  February is tough to get days in as there are only 28 days. I may have reached my goal if there were 30 or 31 days in the month.

All was not lost as I did achieve a personal best of distance when I completed a 9 mile run this month.  Throw in 2 more runs of 7 each and I was on a roll. I did do a bunch of quick 3 mile runs to make up for the time I was out during my long runs.

For the month of March, I am hoping to complete 100 miles over 23 days.  I also hope to continue to do long runs of 7 miles and maybe even reach 9 or even 10 miles in the month. Plus, I have my first race in the month of the March.

How was your February?

Friday, March 01, 2013

Are You Going To Win Daddy?

My race is tomorrow and I was explaining to my kids what a race is and how it works.  My oldest asked me if I was going to win.  I told him no, that there are people faster than me. He said just run faster.  Ahh, to be 5 and think life is that easy.  

I spent about 10 minutes tonight pinning my bib on my shirt.  First I pinned it on, and then I remembered I tuck my shirt in when I run.  I then had to put on my shirt and shorts to find the right spot for the bib.  Everything fits comfortably.  

I just packed my bag.  I made sure to have some deodorant, a change of clothes and extra water in there for when I finish the race. I am also taking 2 pieces of my homemade banana bread.  One to eat before and one to eat afterwards.  

My day today was not ideal. I left the house at 6:00am and returned home 8:30pm.  For dinner, we went out for our work outing.  I had some baked salmon, French fries and some bread. 
I checked the bus schedule and I am all set for tomorrow.   

My dad called to tell me good luck and remember to have fun.