Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Day in Israel!

Today was the first race that wasn't part of the 9+1 I needed for the 2012 NYC marathon. The Israel race was a new race this year, and it held a lot of sentimental value to me as a runner and as an Israeli citizen.

I went into this race not expecting a PR. I had been running slowly as part of my training plan for Queens all week, and this was to be my tempo run, but acclimating to the heat had been a challenge for me.

I woke up, had some fruit and a few crackers, and walked out the door shortly before 8am. I decided for the first time to incorporate a warm up mile, so I ran down the east drive towards the start and filled up my handheld water bottle. I thought that it was going to be more humid than it was, and I didn't want to stop at the water stations.

I met up with my friend Gary, and his wife Gail at baggage check. She took this very nice picture of us after I picked up a couple of temporary Israel flag tattoos. Too bad my bib didn't match the blue and white theme I was going for!

I met my friend Abbey on the way to the corral - she signed up last minute, and I was very happy to have someone to run with. It was my first time with a corral placement in the 3000s (and most likely the last since this race didn't have an extremely competitive field).

A cantor sang the Israeli national anthem, and another runner sang the American one, but unfortunately, neither of them could really sing. Sorry, but as a musician with perfect pitch I have high standards!

The race began, and my garmin was all set to go! I started out right behind Abbey, but within the first minute, she had shot off far ahead of me. At first I thought I was going really slow, but when I glanced at my garmin, it was indicating an 8:15 pace so I realized that she was just going really fast. My garmin was a bit early for mile one, so it said I finished in 8:11.

I don't have much to say about mile two. For some reason I always finish that one slightly slower even though its a downhill. Maybe after the excitement of Cat Hill I find the mile leading up to the transverse to be boring. I finished in about 8:20 or so.

I started feeling the humidity when I came around the transverse to the West Side Hills, plus there wasn't as much shade on the west drive, so I definitely slowed down big time despite my best efforts. During that time, I sipped from my water bottle a lot, and just hoped that I had enough in the tank to have a strong finishing mile. I finished the mile at 8:40 according to my garmin.

I passed the mile three marker just as I was finishing up the hills, and I sped up over the last mile, which was primarily downhill. Since I gained some speed back, I thought that I had a chance of PRing as I got closer to the finish line, but as I ran up the hill leading up to the finish on the transverse I knew it wasn't going to happen. I ended up finishing mile 4 in about 8:23 and having an unoffical time of 33:47 over 4.02 miles. (11 seconds for the last 0.02 miles). You can see my splits here. My official time was 33:44 with a 8:26 average pace per mile. I saw Mary W. at the finish line and blabbed on about how I saw her returning from a run. She must thing I'm nuts lol.

I met up with Abbey at the end, and it turns out that I made a wise decision in not trying to keep up with her - she had finished in 32:16, which is an incredible time, and I'm just not capable of going that fast yet. I probably would have bonked out over mile 3. Overall, I felt like I had a great race, and felt like I was in control the entire time.

Ran into a few people after the race - my manager, Chris, my friend, Clara, and my other friend and running buddy Gal. I saw Gary again as well, and he had a 3:30 minute PR!!! Unfortunately, I did not win the free trip to Israel, but overall, it was a really fun experience.

Here is my official time in my race history:
Gun Time: 35:47
Net Time: 33:44
Pace Per Mile: 8:26
Overall Place: 1943 / 5177
Gender Place: 447 / 2419
Age Place (25-29): 143 / 629
Performance: 57%

After I got home and showered, I wore my birthright t-shirt and walked over to the Israeli day parade and took some pictures and videos of the procession. It's days like this that makes me proud to be an honorary Israeli! It makes me wish that I actually knew how to speak Hebrew fluently, but that is a bucket list goal to be accomplish once I don't have other schoolwork to deal with!

L'Shanah haba'ah b'Yerushalayim?

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