Friday, February 29, 2008

Getting closer to the Jerusalem Half-Marathon

It looks like they started registration for this year's Jerusalem Half-Marathon. I find it a little strange that the date they picked for the event is a Thursday, but I find lots of things strange in this part of the world. In any case, the date is March 27, 2008 and there's also a 10K race (marked in purple) for those who don't want to go 21.0975 kilometers. Here's a map of the course, I wish they would publish an elevation chart!

4K Week

This week I increased the distance for my daily runs to 4 kilometers.

I didn't do a long run last weekend because I blistered my toes on an experimental barefoot run I did on Friday. In fact I took Saturday, Sunday and Monday off. It might seem sort of strange, but the weekend here in Israel is Friday and Saturday not Saturday and Sunday like in the Western world.

I did 4K on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. It took me 28 to 30 minutes to complete each run so I'm backing off the average pace to 7:15 minutes per kilometer or 11:40 minutes per mile. That's about my racewalking training pace from last year but I've got a hilly course and I just got started about a month ago. In addition, by backing off my pace I'm able to keep my heart rate at a more sustainable 160 bpm average instead of getting too close to my maximum, though near the top of the course I'm peaking out at around 175 bpm. Average cadence is around 85 (170 steps per minute) so I'm still a little short of the "ideal" 180 steps per minute.

I was thinking of increasing the daily run to 5K next week but I haven't decided on it yet. I'd rather start adding some long distance work into my routine and make 6-daily runs per week rather than increase the daily run distance and have to skip a few days. Apparently the rainy season is over so weather shouldn't be a factor for the next few months.

But what about another barefoot run? I'm actually thinking about doing it again. My toe blisters hurt more when I walk than when I run and maybe it was more a matter of doing 30 minutes on asphalt with unprepared feet that caused the blisters in the first place. Hopefully I won't be having to endure 100 blisters like this Wall Street Journal Article: Baring Their Soles: Pain Doesn't Defeat Unshod Marathoners

Here's an excerpt of the article:

Baring Their Soles:
Pain Doesn't Defeat
Unshod Marathoners

To Harden and Condition Feet,
Runners Chuck Sneakers;
Mr. Yoshino Gets a Blister

December 27, 2006; Page A1

Last month, after returning from an eight-mile run, Tsuyoshi Yoshino heated up a three-inch sewing needle until it turned bright red. Then, he says, he plunged the glowing instrument into the ball of his foot, puncturing a three-inch-long blister.

Despite the risk of infection, he walked around his San Diego house for 20 minutes on the open wound to get used to the pain. "It's not something I like doing," he says. "But I have to."

While other marathoners train by carbo-loading, Mr. Yoshino has a more painful regimen. The 32-year-old graduate student at San Diego State University is one of a growing cadre of formerly shod distance runners making a torturous transition to running barefoot in the hope of improving their times and strengthening their soles. Blisters are an inevitable part of the journey. Mr. Yoshino estimates he's popped about 40 of them in the past 18 months. (See "Running Shoeless May Be Better," June 6)

Over the years, a handful of world-class runners have been able to compete barefoot because they had run that way all their lives, hardening their feet naturally from early childhood. Among them: Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila, in the 1960s, and South Africa's Zola Budd Pieterse two decades later. But for runners long-accustomed to cushiony footwear, making the switchover often involves bizarre, agonizing feats.

"I wish there was an 'Idiot's Guide to Barefoot Running,'" says Mr. Yoshino, a former collegiate cross-country athlete. In 2002, he completed the Boston Marathon -- in sneakers -- in two hours and 43 minutes, placing him among the top 260 finishers.

Nowadays he limps to a halt after eight miles because his bare feet heat up and blister. Since commencing barefoot training through the streets and hills of San Diego 18 months ago, he's consulted an acupuncturist for pain relief. A sports-injury specialist taught him to remove deeply embedded thorns from his feet with a box cutter.


[Health Journal]

Health Journal: Running Shoeless May Be Better

Mr. Yoshino says he'll need to lance another 100 blisters before achieving his dream -- an outer crust on his feet as hard as that of some Australian aborigines. "It's no picnic," he says.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Education Break

I was hoping to put in a long run today but my blistered toes hurt. I put on my running gear and started surfing the Internet. Every hour or so I would get up to check how my toes were feeling. Each time was a little better, but not good enough for a long run. I didn't do my long run, or short run for that matter, but I did find some very interesting reading.

Right now I'm reading a free e-book named, "Running Fast and Injury-Free" by Gordon Pirie. He was an incredible middle distance runner that had some very progressive ideas for this time, he won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1955--the year I was born. The book was edited by Dr. John S. Gilbody who maintains a website in Gordon Pirie's memory.

After my barefoot run yesterday I thought that my form must be terrible because I shouldn't get blisters on my toes. However, this excerpt from his book made my day:
"...if you are running correctly your shoes will wear out initially at a point directly under your toes. You can prove this by taking off your shoes and going for a short run (on a safe surface, of course) in bare feet. Very quickly you will find you develop blisters on your toes. If you run correctly, the same thing will happen to your shoes; they will wear out under the toes."

I downloaded a couple of version of his book. The latest one with lots of archival photos and news clippings is available at the Gordon Pirie website but here is an earlier version that is quicker to download and has all the essential information.

“Running Fast and Injury-Free” by Gordon Pirie

Note that this is a self-published book partially because of his critical views of modern running shoes.

Almost Barefoot Running

Sometimes a little protection can go a long way. I was reading through Barefoot Ted's Adventures and found that this barefooted ultra marathoner often uses some sort of foot protection, albeit not much!

The odd looking rubber slippers are Vibram Five Fingers. You need special "toe socks" if you're going to use them in distance events. The minimalist sandals are Mexican huaraches.

Ted seems to be favoring the Vibram Five Fingers these days, but he is doing very long trail runs and those shoes/sandals/slippers/whatever they are, cost as much as much as a good pair of running shoes and tend to draw a bit too much attention.

I've searched for a pair of comfortable sandals, but they all chafe my foot so I usually put on a pair of socks. Yes, I look very "un-cool" so I tend not to wear sandals. I also tried Crocs, which are very popular here in Israel, but I've also gotten blisters with them.

The good thing about the huaraches is that they are easy to make, and cheap. In addition, you can make them from various materials including hemp, used tires, leather and well--just use your imagination. Here are a couple of PDF files showing how to make huaraches.

Making Huaraches

Tying Huaraches

Of course you can buy them, Barefoot Ted will custom make a pair if you send him a tracing of your foot.

Friday, February 22, 2008

First Barefoot Run

Well why not? I read about it, now how about experiencing it?

The parking lot at the Ein Gedi public beach seemed like a good place to try it, but when I got there the wind was blowing quite hard. Remembering the finish line from last week's race I went looking for that little paved path leading to the finish line by Ein Gedi Spa. Ah yes, much better. My plan was to start slow and build up very gently. I also put a time limit of no more than 30 minutes in order not to overdo it.

At first it felt a little weird--probably overly sensitive from a lifetime of wearing shoes and believing that going barefoot was uncouth. However, after a while I was liking the "freedom" and my feet were striking the asphalt with very lightly. A few minutes into it I started feeling a little sting on my fourth toe but I came all this way to do a workout and didn't want to stop. That was a mistake. When I started cooling down I noticed that I was bleeding. Rule #1 when trying out something new/different--stop at the first sign of pain.

This is what my feet looked like after my first 30 minute barefoot run--actually it was a very slow run but since I didn't strap on the foot pod I'm not really sure how far I went.

Just for the record, here's the Polar chart for the run. Note the bumps in the altitude graph showing the number of laps I did.

The rest of this week was good. I ran 3k three times. Tuesday it snowed and Wednesday it was cold and raining so I stayed indoors and did weights and stretching.

HR Pace Cadence
Sunday 162 7:35 83
Monday 160 7:19 84
Thursday 163 6:58 87

This is good feedback. My heart rate is at a respectable "aerobic" zone while my pace and cadence are improving. Once I get to a cadence of 90 (180 steps per minute) I can start working on speed.

So--will I run barefoot again? Yes, once my feet heal. Hopefully my soles will be a little tougher and my steps a little lighter.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Barefoot Running

Barefoot guru Ken Bob Saxton, webmaster of

Yesterday it snowed and this morning it was raining and cold so this tender foot stayed indoors and didn't get in his daily 3 kilometer run. So I did some weights, stretching and Googling. Something that I've been thinking about for a while now is barefoot running.

I've seen Ken Bob at last year's Los Angeles and Palos Verdes Marathons and thought it was cool that this old guy was doing this. Today while reading though his website I found out that we are both the same age! I also found out that he ran his first marathon in shoes and injured himself. He has been pretty much injury free running barefoot.

Barefoot running isn't anything new, in fact it is as old as humanity. Running barefoot apparently doesn't slow you down, Abebe Bikila from Ethiopia won the 1960 Olympic Marathon in Rome and Zola Bud, the "white" South African woman who set a world record for the 5K when she was just 16 years old, both ran barefoot. More recently Tegla Loroupe of Kenya, who held the woman's Marathon world record from 1998-2001, has run many races barefoot. Some studies have concluded that shoes actually cause most of the running related injuries. Here's one from - A Peer-Reviewed Journal and Site for Sport Research: Barefoot Running

So am I going to try it? Why not, I've been going lighter and lighter on the running shoes. The next step would be to take them off. But I think I'll wait until this weekend. In the meantime I'll try to post some Barefoot Running videos.

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Shoes, New Way of Thinking

I wanted to buy another pair of Asics DS Racers when I went home last month but they were discontinued and the replacement model wasn't in stock. OK, I thought, this doesn't need to be so complicated, shoes aren't that important. What? The athletic shoe business is a multi-billion dollar business and there's so much published on the need for the right amount of cushioning, support, motion control and so on. But many of the best runners in the world grew up barefooted. What's important is the technique, not what you put on your feet.

In fact it is becoming apparent that what caused my knee problems in the first place was bad technique. The shoes just masked the problem, for a while. I was rather disappointed that the orthopedic surgeon that checked out my sore knees scared me out of running by telling me that I would be looking at surgery if I continued. I was also disappointed at the podiatrist that looked at my feet and prescribed orthotics to keep my pronation problem under control. Neither of these doctors asked to see how I was walking or running, I don't think it mattered to them--just treat the symptom instead of finding the cause.

So this week I'm running around in these flashy New Balance racing flats. There's no support, cushioning or motion control, just a thin layer between my foot and the pavement. I'd take the next step and go unshodded if I wasn't such a tenderfoot.

Oh, and I'm not using the orthotics. With good running technique there's hardly any weight on the heels or the arches, that's what the orthotics are supporting--so what's the point?

My new way of thinking is not to take everything doctors say as the way it has to be. Every day I've been thinking about my super high cholesterol level and those pills the doctor prescribed. Treat the symptom once again. Drugs, another multi-billion dollar business. I don't care for the quick fix, I'm finding the cause and doing something about it. Funny thing is I'm enjoying cooking and feel much better. I'm looking forward to removing the stress of my current job, returning home and getting my priorities straight--my wife and our health should be way at the top of the list.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

3K Week

I increased my daily run to 3 kilometers. That doesn't seem like much considering that I would racewalk a minimum of 5 kilometers per day a year ago, but I'm running on a hilly course and just a few weeks ago I couldn't push myself hard enough to run 3 kilometers without taking a walking break.

I've been thinking about lots of things lately.

Should I do the Jerusalem Half-Marathon? I'm not sure, it is scheduled very close to crunch time at work. Last crunch time not only killed all my free time, I couldn't exercise, rest or eat properly. This time looks no different than last time. I haven't made up my mind about the Half-Marathon yet.

Am I running for competition or fun or to improve my health? All of the above, but I should mix it up with bicycle riding, taking long walks by the beach, maybe even learning how to unicycle, anything to make exercise time something to look forward to rather than dread. I'm finding it very difficult to psych myself up to struggle through those hills every morning.

Another thing I've been thinking about is work. I really miss Rosie and we are both going through a health crises. We are married and now is when we really need each other's support. When I started this job it was fun and we were going to travel and....well, things are different and I thought it would be best if I return home. I turned in my official resignation to the producer yesterday.

I'm going home!

It won't happen right away, I agreed to finish the next screening and train my replacement. I should be home by June just in time for L.A.'s famous "June Gloom" where we have cool mornings, perfect for long runs, or walks, on the beach!

Just for the record, here's today's workout:

Saturday, February 16, 2008

First 10K Run

I did it, I ran my first 10K. I had a couple of goals in mind when I set off to do this, run the whole way without taking a walking break and keep up a 7 minute/kilometer pace which would put me in at 01:10:00. Seems reasonable?

First of all, my training runs for this week. I did 2K runs around my hilly Jerusalem loop on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, all of them at 7 min/k and it felt like a comfortable pace. Thursday I took off because I was feeling a bit of a sore throat coming on Friday I didn't want to do a workout the day before the race.

On Friday I went to pick up my race packet at the Ein Gedi Kibbutz. The week before the people at the resort blew me off when I wanted to go to the sports center. According to their website:

A sportsman's paradise - the Olympic sports center
Low precipitation, a comfortable climate almost all year round, a high oxygen content in the air, the sulfur springs, the concentration of minerals in the sea water, breathtaking scenery, the special atmosphere - in short, ideal conditions for fostering the good health and physical and mental abilities required for competitive sport.

In the very heart of this natural sports 'incubator', a sports center has been built at Ein Gedi offering visitors a wide variety of facilities, of the highest professional standard. These include: a gym, running track, football field, modern sports hall, tennis courts, swimming pools - one open, the other a semi-Olympic, covered and heated pool. Coaches interested in combining health and happiness are invited to bring their teams to Ein Gedi any time of the year.

Wow, I had to check this out. Well, here's their football field and running track:

The track is around the football field of course. I guess they bring out the astro turf for games. To be fair, the pool was very good but I haven't a clue what you need to do to gain access to the facilities.

Anyway, here's how it went, the official results:

01:10:24--Just missed my goal. So, did I run the whole way? Well, almost. Right aroung kilometer 7 there was an uphill with the wind behind me and it was getting damn hot! I walked maybe 300 meters which was just enough for some racewalkers to pass me--some really old racewalkers at that. I never caught up with them. Whoa, I was thinking about entering the racewalking category but was wondering if there was any competition, that would have been tough, especially after not practicing my technique in over 6-months.

The Polar readout tells the complete story. Click on it to see it in full glory. Notice that the foot pod is finally working. The guy at the Polar booth didn't bring any batteries so he opened a box, took out the battery and gave it to me. Thanks!

Here are some other photos of the event.

The racewalking DQ list--note the creative spelling.

I thought I'd take a photo of the Half-Marathon winner but there was such a crowd and as expected, an African won it. The winning Half-Marathon time was faster than my 10K time. I did get a good shot--of one of the last to finish.

A free massage was included, though I had to wait over two hours for my turn--it was worth it!

And of course the obligatory shot of the medal, two sided in this case.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Day Off and A Letter

I'm taking a day off (from training, not from work) in order to prevent catching a bug that's been going around the office. I was feeling a little sore throat and light-headed last night to I went to bed early and decided that breathing in the cold morning air wouldn't be the best therapy for me.

The other day I got an email from the Dead Sea Half-Marathon, but it was all in Hebrew so I had to have one of my co-workers read it for me. Today I got the same message in English and Hebrew.

רשימת רצים במרוץ עין גדי - כולל מספרי חזה, עכשיו בשוונג - כנסו ובדקו

Dear Runner:

We are looking forward to your participation in the International Ein Gedi Race. As you know, the competition is scheduled to take place on Saturday, February 16, 2008. This year's registration is at an all-time high: 2,300 runners.

Below is the schedule of events for the competition, including a number of special activities for participants and their families:

Friday, February 15, 2008

14:00-19:00: Distribution of runners' numbers

Avni Sports Hall, Kibbutz Ein Gedi.

20:00: Meet the Runners, light refreshments

21:00: Festive Opening Ceremony including greetings, exciting musical performance, "Fire on Stage" performed by the violinist duo: Pavel and Yulia Ben Har

Saturday, February 16, 2008

7:00: For those who may not have received their numbers on Friday, you can pick them up now. Names will appear in English on the bulletin board and also by those individuals distributing the chips. Please locate your envelope with your name printed in English on it; inside are the items that you need. Due to the large number of participants, your patience on the day of the race helps us enormously.

Please note that the race takes place on Route #90, from the Ein Gedi Spa towards Massada and back.

The road is closed to traffic. Please arrive on time to receive your runner's number.

8:15 warm up on the track and enjoy the air and atmosphere.

8:30: Running Race, 10 kilometers

8:45 Children’s Race, 2 kilometers

9:10 Handbike Half-Marathon Race

9:15 Half-Marathon Race

For your benefit, we have pacers from the Jerusalem Breakfast Club, who have set times for the 10 kilometer running race and the half-marathon race.

10 Kilometers

40 minutes by Nir Ilan

45 minutes by Amitai Abramson

50 minutes by Amit Gal


1-1/2 hours by Yossi Scwartzfox

1-3/4 hours by Amitai Gisser

Massage Tent: Following the race, a massage tent is open to runners who would like to loosen those cramps. No additional fee.

The running track is flat, there are no winding hills. There will be distance markers along the road. A 'treats' table is available for the half-marathon runners.

All runners are welcome to enjoy Yaniv Levy's music which will accompany them throughout the race.

The Organizing Committee retains the right to change the start times of the races.

Morango Brazil Happening

Open to all participants and guests. Salsa workshop to help you warm up your feet. Dancing for all to the accompaniment of tukda and kapuara drums, and more...

Creative workshops..enjoy working with different materials...all free

Massage tent open to all runners at no extra charge

Runners and their guests.. take advantage of your special discounts to the Sulphur Baths

12:00 Distribution of prizes to the winners

13:00 Closing ceremony

No registration will take place the day of the race.

Please note: Names appear in English. You are requested to find your name on the list of participants and to arrive at the distribution point with your participant number and name.

We're looking forward to seeing you,

Dina Serper

Director of Race

סיור בשביל השכנים – תמר


יציאה ב 10.00 בבקר מתחנת הדלק פז בעין גדי

משך הסיור כ4 שעות במיניבוס

דמי השתתפות: 15 ₪ לאדם

הזמנת מקומות:

מרכז המידע – עין בוקק:08-9975010

מרכז מבקרים בעין גדי: 08-6584444

מסלול זה הינו אחד מתוך 17 מסלולי סיור הנוגעים בנושאי מים ודו קיום של קהילות ישראליות, ירדניות ופלשתינאיות שכנות, החולקות ביניהן משאבי מים משותפים. המסלולים תוכננו במהלך 2007 במסגרת פרויקט "מים ושכנות טובה" בשיתוף עם נציגי קהילה ושלטון מקומי.

שביל השכנים תמר הוא שיעור מאלף על האופן בו ניהול לא מוצלח של משאבי ים המלח ומורד הירדן משפיע על הסביבה הטבעית ועל חוסנן של הקהילות משני עברי הגבול.

אנו מודים לך על הרשמתך למרוץ עין גדי הבינלאומי . כידוע לך המרוץ מתקיים ביום שבת ה16 בפברואר. מס' הנרשמים לאירוע יוקרתי זה עומד על שיא של 2,300 רצים.

האירוע מציע שלל פינוקים עבור הרצים, לאורך השישי-שבת - להלן לו"ז ופרטים נוספים על האירוע:

יום שישי 15/2/08
14:00 ועד השעה 19:00 – חלוקת מספרי משתתף באולם הספורט ע"ש אבני בקיבוץ עין-גדי
20:00 - מפגש חברים מלווה בכיבוד לחימום האווירה.
21:00 - טקס פתיחה חגיגי וברכות מופע מוסיקאלי מקפיץ, "אש על הבמה" , מאת צמד הכנרים
פאבל ויוליה בן הר.

יום שבת 16/2/08
07:00 – חלוקת מספרי משתתף למי שהחמיץ את יום שישי. שמך יופיע בשפה האנגלית הן על לוחות המודעות והן אצל מחלקות השבבים. אנא מצא/י את שמך ומספר המשתתפ/ת שהוקצה לך לשם משיכת מעטפת המשתתף. בשל מספר המשתתפים הרב נבקשך להתאזר בסבלנות ביום המרוץ ולסייע בכך לחלוקת מעטפות המשתתף. יש לשים לב כי הריצה היא על כביש מס' 90 ממרחצאות עין-גדי לכיוון מצדה וחזרה.

08:15 - הכביש נסגר לתנועה - אנא הגיעו בזמן לקבלת מספר המשתתף, להתחמם על המסלול וליהנות מן האוויר והאווירה.
08:30 – זינוק למקצה 10 ק"מ ריצה והליכה.
8:45 - 2 ק"מ ילדים.
9:10 – חצי מרתון אופני יד.
9:15 - חצי מרתון ריצה.

לרשות הרצים עומדים פייסרים - מכתיבי קצב של מועדון ארוחת הבוקר הירושלמי, למקצים 10 ק"מ ריצה וחצי מרתון.
להלן החלוקה של מכתיבי הקצב:
10 ק"מ-
40 דקות ע"י ניר אילן.
45 דקות ע"י אמיתי אברמסון.
50 דקות ע"י עמית גל.
חצי מרתון-
1:30 שעות ע"י יוסי שוורצפוקס.
1:45 שעות ע"י אמיתי גיסר.

אוהל מסג'ים לאחר התחרות לשחרור התכווצויות יועמד לרשות הרצים בלבד- ללא תשלום נוסף.
מסלול הריצה הינו מישורי – אין עליות תלולות, לצד הכביש יהיו סימוני מרחק, על מסלול הריצה יחולקו מים וספוגים לרענון, בנקודת ה – 10 ק"מ יעמוד לרשות רצי חצי המרתון שולחן מפנק... ומוסיקה לאורך המסלול להגברת הקצב ולהנאתכם מאת יניב לוי.

הועדה המארגנת מרשה לעצמה לשנות את שעות הזינוקים.

לכל האורחים, המלווים וכמובן למסיימי התחרות הפנינג ענק מאת Morango Brazil אשר יחממו אותנו בסדנת סלסה, ריקודי שורות בהשתתפותכם, מתופפי בטוקדה, קפוארה ועוד .. ועוד.. ועוד..
סדנאות יצירה בחומר ובחמר – חינם!
אוהל עיסויים יעמוד לרשותכם הרצים ללא תשלום נוסף!
לרצים תינתן כניסה חינם למרחצאות הגופרית חמי עין גדי !
למשפחות ומלווים תינתן הנחה משמעותית למרחצאות הגופרית!
12:00 – טקס סיום וחלוקת פרסים לזוכים במקומות הראשונים .
13:00 – נעילת האירוע.
אין הרשמה ביום המרוץ!!!

מומלץ לבדוק המצאותך ברשימת המשתתפים - שימו לב השמות מופיעים בשפה האנגלית - לרשימת משתתפים - לחצו כאן


צוות שוונג והוועדה המארגנת

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Tiberias Marathon

Today is my recovery day, which means that I'm thinking about the next run. Home in West Hollywood there are lots of events, the Los Angeles, Palos Verdes, Long Beach and San Diego Marathons are all close. Here in Israel there aren't as many options but I did find out that there is this world class event that's open to everyone.

Maybe I can get in shape in the next 10 months to run a marathon?

By the way, if you can't find Lake Tiberias on the map it is also called the Sea of Galilee and Lake Kinneret. Yeah, that place where Jesus is rumored to have walked on water, though walking on ice is more likely.

Jesus walked on Ice

Long Run in a Low Place

So I'm finally ramping up and had a good running week. After 6-months of not exercising and having to change from racewalking to running because of the hills (and to try something different) I had to start all over again. I'm not sure if I'll be able to to the Jerusalem Half-Marathon next month, but I discovered another race that I think I will do:

Since I'm still too early in my running training and this event is coming up next week I was at first thinking about racewalking the Half-Marathon. But they are also doing a 10K run and a 10K walk that looks interesting. Here's the race information:

At the Lowest Point on earth, the tradition continues - 26th DEAD SEA HALF MARATHON – February 16, 2008

The Tamar Regional Council is once again organizing the Shalom Marathon – Dead Sea Half Marathon – February 16,2008.

The starting point for all races is the Ein Gedi Spa, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Jerusalem and 4 kilometers south of Kibbutz Ein Gedi. Participants can pick up their equipment and racing numbers on Friday, February 15th, 2008 between 5-8PM at Kibbutz Ein Gedi's Sports Center and on Saturday morning, February 16th, 2008 from 7-8:45 AM. (Distribution finishes 10 minutes before start of race.)

2km Children's Race

For children up to 14 years of age. From Ein Gedi Spa in the direction of Masada 1 kilometer and back, along the sand-track parallel to the Dead Sea Shore.

Starting time for race: 8:45AM, February 16th, 2008

Assemble at Ein Gedi Spa (4 kilometers south of Kibbutz Ein Gedi). Racing direction will be south on Route #90 towards Masada and back. (Visit Masada, Herod's stronghold, during your free time)

10km Race Walking

From the Ein Gedi Spa 5 kilometers in the direction of Masada and back.

Starting time for race: 8:30AM, February 16th, 2008

Assemble at Ein Gedi Spa (4 kilometers south of Kibbutz Ein Gedi). Racing direction will be south on Route #90 towards Masada and back. (Visit Masada, Herod's stronghold, during your free time).

Handbike Half-Marathon

From the Ein Gedi Spa to Masada and back. For physically disabled.

21.1 kilometers

Starting time for race: 9:10 AM, February 16th, 2008

Assemble at Ein Gedi Spa (4 kilometers south of Kibbutz Ein Gedi). Racing direction will be south on Route #90 towards Masada and back. (Visit Masada, Herod's stronghold, during your free time).


From the Ein Gedi Spa to Masada and back. 21.1 kilometers

Starting time for race: 9:15 AM, February 16th, 2008

Assemble at Ein Gedi Spa (4 kilometers south of Kibbutz Ein Gedi). Racing direction will be south on Route #90 towards Masada and back. (Visit Masada, Herod's stronghold, during your free time).

For more information please look at

Oops, they didn't mention that there is also a 10K run, so should I walk or should I run? I was able to run four days around my hilly Jerusalem course and had no idea what it would be like to run in the lowest place on earth so today I headed off to En Gedi Kibbutz to find their "athletic center" which is mentioned on their website and do my long run there. However, once I got there the guard didn't know anything about an athletic center or a track and the person running the information desk at the resort said that it isn't for guests. She knew that there would be a race next weekend but didn't have any information about it--"check the Internet" was about the extent of her knowledge.

Not wanting to waste a trip to the Dead Sea I ran around the parking lot of the public bathing beach. My goal was to run for an hour but since my Polar foot pod isn't working I have no idea how far or how fast I was going. Towards the end of my run some guys were sitting on a park bench drinking and smoking and one of them said, "Hey, I think I know you." I did a couple more laps (each lap was longer than a regulation track) and since it was starting to heat up and my heart rate kept going up and up--I decided to call it quits at 50 minutes and socialize for a moment.

After the run I went to the En Gedi Spa and splurged on a massage. Boy did that feel good and my recovery was really quick. Well, we'll see how I feel tomorrow! One interesting thing about the run was that the Polar automatic altitude sensor flashed an error, but it seemed to read fairly accurately at -385 meters. Don't know why it fluctuated, I was just running around on a flat parking lot.

So the daily runs were two kilometers each with an average pace of 7 minutes per kilometer (11:15 min/mile) and average heartbeat of 167 bpm. The long run today was 50 minutes and HR of 170 bpm. At one point I hit 182 bpm which isn't my limit but it was too much for an LSD run. Must have been the heat towards the end.

Here's a screenshot of the Polar screen with way too much information:

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Very Short Long Run

The snow pretty much melted away and it the temperature in Jerusalem got back to normal for this time of year so I decided to do a long run. I thought I'd do 10k or at least 5k, but the point was to go out and keep running around the course I setup until I felt that was enough.

3 kilometers

Yikes, that's terrible. However if you factor in that I'm not used to running, racewalking was my sport, and that I haven't worked out regularly for the past 6-months and Jerusalem is quite a bit higher than West Hollywood and there's hills in my course--well, at least I got out the door.

Since my course is 1.1 kilometers I clipped one of the corners by the Jerusalem Theater so let's call it an even kilometer to make things easy. And since my Polar foot pod isn't working at least this will give me some sort of a rough distance to work with.

Lap 1 - 7:18
Lap 2 - 7:34
Lap 3 - 8:44

Average Heart Rate: 166 bpm

Over half of the course is uphill. How's that possible? The downhill side is much steeper so I spend more time climbing. That seemed to work against me because as I'm climbing I'm thinking to myself, "I can't do this, just finish this lap." I walked half of the third lap, that's why the time dropped off so much.

The only other run I got in this week was on Monday, before the storm hit. I did just 1 kilometer before work and clocked it in at an even 7:00 (about 11:15 min/mile) with an average heart rate of 166 bpm.

Total workout for the week, 4 kilometers. I've got to do more, not just to train for the half-marathon but to bring my cholesterol level down. I was thinking that maybe I should drive to Tel Aviv and do my long day at sea level, on a flat course. Today's long run was only 23:38, that's less than what a daily run should be.