Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Tel Aviv Marathon Man: I Run the 10 Kilometer Race

When I started exercising in earnest four years ago, I never imagined that one day I would be running the 10 Kilometer race in the Tel Aviv Marathon. In fact, back then I could barely walk 5 kilometers on a treadmill. A ten-kilometer race? It was unimaginable at the time and I can’t believe it now.

Last week I shocked my family and friends, and more importantly myself, when I finished the race’s course in a very respectable 62 minutes. I placed 99th in my age category (out of 252 runners) and in 6,346th place out of 14,227 runners of all ages in total. I have run faster 10-kilometers on a treadmill but this was the first time I had ever participated in a race of any kind.

With all my training, the Tel Aviv Marathon race was nothing I was prepared for. Running the distance I could handle, but I wasn't ready for the many obstacles along the way. People running across the street; readjusting course constantly (quick starts to the left and right); speeding up and slowing down; teenagers reaching into runners' paths with bottles of water. I can’t hide the fact that I found the female posteriors just ahead of me a bit distracting. But the kindergarten children cheering from the sidewalks and the people shouting their encouragement along the way kept me going.

The race started on Rokach Blvd., at the congress center where the Eurovision song contest will take place in May. We ran down Dizengoff Street and then back up Ibn Gvirol. A final dash along Rokach and the run was complete. Last year I ran the 5-kilometer race in the Jerusalem Marathon. Running in Tel Aviv is easy compared to the hills of Jerusalem.

I can’t help but think I’m crazy. Running this sort of distance, following only four years of exercise and with minimal running experience, is not good for someone my age. Today, nearly a week later, my body still aches and my muscles are sore. I don’t know when I’ll next be capable of running ten kilometers.

Still, running the Tel Aviv Marathon is an accomplishment I’ll always be proud of. I challenged myself to participate and I came through in flying colors. I put mind over matter as I ran, telling myself repeatedly “I can do it.” And I did.

What’s the next challenge? Let my body fully recover and then I’ll make my plans.

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