Friday, March 25, 2011

Jerusalem Half Marathon - WooHoo!

Wew!  It's over - and it was most definately a tough one.  After having run the Marathon in January, I would  have thought nothing could be as hard as that.  Well, this year, the Jerusalem race went to a full Marathon, with of course, a Half and a 10K race.  Not only that, but they changed the course.  I thought the hills were bad last year.... this year I felt like we were running up hill for half the race and down hill for the rest.  In fact, I don't even remember if there was any straight away...

Here is the elevation graph from my Garmin.  I'm serious, no straight aways.

The day started off extremely cold - 8c - with the chance of rain!  I actually felt like I was back in Canada, that's how cold it was!  But I bundled up, and shed layers as needed.

My husband and Daughter in Law

There were 10,000 runners today.  1,500 did the full Marathon and the remaining 8,500 did the Half Marathon and 10k race.  Both my husband and daughter in law did the 10K - their first races ever!

I felt in the two weeks leading up to the race that I was not well rested, and my legs simply felt tired and sluggish.  Unfortunately, that's how I ran today.  From the start I did not feel comfortable with the race.  I planned on a 6:00 pace - but couldn't get anywhere near it do to all the hills.  In fact, by 7km I knew that I could not pull off a PR, and would be happy just to finish close to my previous time. 

Hard.  Simply hard.  The climbs seemed endless and it was so difficult to stay motivated.  I will admit to walking 3 times, each for about 20 seconds, and I had to stretch my legs at 15km.  By the time I came close to the finish, I felt like I did at Tiveria.  I was exhausted.  Thankfully my hubby came out to run in the last 200 meters with me!  Time - 2:18:17 - three minutes slower than last year, oh well!

Crossing the finishing line with my husband

All in all I'm happy that I ran, and mostly that my family joined in and had such fun.  I have another Half Marathon in two weeks, in Tel Aviv, where my son will run his first 10K.  Hopefully I'll be more rested.

Post run glory!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Time Flys & A New Puppy

My time flies....

I haven't been blogging lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been training... I've just been very busy!

Actually, this Friday is the Jerusalem Marathon/Half Marathon.  I will only be running the Half this time.  Remember, only one Marathon every nine months... lol.... at least for now.

I've been feeling tired and sluggish lately.  I'm not sure if it's because we're nearing the end of 'training season' or because the weather is starting to heat up - and that means dehydration, etc.  Either way, I'm pushing through the last of my racing training and after this week's Half Marathon - I have one more in Tel Aviv in two weeks.

These next two races are special because my husband and daughter in law are each doing the 10K race in Jerusalem, and my son will do a 10K race in Tel Aviv.  I'm so thrilled that they want to race - I just hope that they continue to run for their health too!

We've also added a puppy to the family, Penny is her name.  She is a yellow lab - the same breed as our current dog Nella.  Nella is going into her 13th year, and is pretty old.  We wanted her to model a new puppy, and the chance for a pure bred Lab came up, so, now we're into puppy training too.  I plan to train Penny to run and train with me.  Penny's mother runs almost daily with her owners, and I hope that good running genes will run in the family.  Certainly I've got a lot of research to do.


Monday, February 28, 2011

Speed work really pays off!

WooHoo!  Today I had an amazing run! 

Today's run was a speed workout and I decided to run 800 metre intervals.  The course I chose to run had a nice decline for about 4.5 km going out, but coming back, I'd have to climb that same route and I was worried I would be too tired.  Well forget that, I had no problems with the return leg - and my time has improved so much, that I'm finally under 6:00/km as an average pace.    There were some pretty major hills on the route as well!

Speed work really pays off - and hey, I think I'll keep it up.  I sure like going fast!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

11 Years Smoke Free

Today is my 11th anniversary of being smoke free, of quitting smoking.  I had smoked for over 25 years and had tried many times, unsucessfully, to quit.  The last time, of course worked, and I did it with the support of an online yahoo group called, NoSmoke.  It was a wonderful group of people struggling with the demon 'Nic' and we all encouraged each other in our individual journies to be smoke free.  They sent me my post from my first anniversary, and I thought I would share it here.

Jenny wrote in February, 2001....
Barely four hours have past since completing my 365th day smoke free.....yup....I made it....I vividly, vividly remember the day I quit last year. I was so mournful and scared. I was worried that this quit wasn't going to be any different than the other dozen or so I had attempted over my smoking career. I was worried that the only thing I was about to be successful in was my ability to beat myself up, (yet again), over the fact that I failed this time too.

The afternoon was grey and overcast...typical February weather in Toronto....and as I worked towards completing the pack that would be my last, I tried to reach deep inside and find the place where I knew, if I really tried hard this time, I could draw on my inner strength and beat this devil once and for all. I was so scared. I warned my husband that this was not going to be pretty, and that I would probably drag him through the pits of emotional upheaval with me. "Are you sure you can handle it?" I truly warned him, maybe as a way to find an "out" of my quit. But he was prepared and was willing to take anything I would do or say, in an effort to help me quit. Who was really the brave one?

Man those early days were so hard. I can easily look back at all the different stages of my quit and remember those moments. There were moments of absolute stark raving lunacy....where I would scream my head off in anger and frustration at an unfair world that made my beloved cigarettes such a health hazard. "Why, why, why do they have to be so bad for me....?" I was despondent because "someone" took away my best friend, and now I had to face the world on my own. But fortunately this time I took on a Jekel and Hyde personna, and was able to talk myself back from the edge (so to speak) and stay on track. My husband, bless his soul, often times stood there and waited for the right moment when he could step in and hold me...(he quickly figured out to wait it out a little). He saw a part of me that I would never show anyone....and he never left my side.
But too, there are those absolutely wonderful times when I would be overwhelmed with feelings of success and achievement. Just making it through another day was the beginning, but later it was the ability to go out into the public and manage without a craving....or without whinning.....those first times I was able to say, "Wow, I never even thought about a cig," or, "Gee, that guy really stinks from smoke...I'm glad I don't smell like that anymore."

As time passed, the episodes of sadness and madness were more and more infrequent. With every aniversary, daily, weekly, monthly, my focus was more often on my success. Was I really doing this? Me? Jenny who used to hide out from the world because she was such a failure (smoker). So I took ownership of my success and used it to prove to myself that I could do this.
I started to see a new person developing right before my eyes. And as one watches a child grow and learn the multitude of lessons necessary to move into adulthood, I allowed myself the space to learn about how Jenny was going to manage, and grow into that woman she knew she could be. I put a little note in my dessing room..."Give Jenny a break, she's going through a difficult time". I gave myself the compassion I would never deny anyone else. And it worked. That dreaded stick that I always used to measure myself against was set aside. This was the new Jenny, and she was to be judged favourably.

I know, I know, alot of psycho babble. But I am so certain that it was this ability to look inside myself, to recognize the signs and symptoms of my addction in order to learn the ways to heal myself. I read anything I could on the psychological aspects of smoking and it's links to depression and self destructive behaviors. I wanted to be prepared, to know what might happen to me. This year has been a year of personal growth because of this.
Not only am I smoke free, but I've learned to understand some of the things that make me who I am. I've learned that I am a wonderfully complex, helpful, empathetic, important, successful, loving wife, mother, daughter, and friend. Smoking masked who I really was (am). Most important to I am free. I am free from the chains that cigarette smoking wrapped around my life.

This list has also been an integral part of the support system that I have used to become successful. It certainly would have been so much more difficult doing it without this place where I could come and wouldn't be judged, no matter what I did or said. This group is such a safe and accepting place. I thank you all so much for your "ears". Sometimes this list was the ONLY place I could go to and find someone who really understood what I was feeling. So many of my friends know about this group and ask about you often. Sometimes it's almost like a soap opera.....we can be dramatic, can't we.

So now the first year is behind me, and I am so thankful. It used to be that when I was contemplating a painful situation I would compare it to child birth and I would think to myself, "nothing could ever be as painful as giving birth, so (this) can't be so bad". Now, guess what I say. This quit has been analogous to the birth of a new person. As I take the steps into this next year, I will do so as I once did a long time ago. With the strong hands of my friends and family to guide me along and teach me the balance I will need in order to continue to be successful in this quit....and my new life.

Thank you all.

PS - I would like to add that next most difficult thing was my First Marathon!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I went for a 16 km run this morning and it was the! 

The weather was beautiful - I was rested - and  for once, I was not in a hurry.  When I left the house, I decided that I wanted to reconnect to why I loved running - and that meant forgetting about pace and time and all things training. 

Today as I ran, I really opened my eyes and connected to the nature around me.  I soaked up the beautiful golden morning as the sun rose, and somehow, even the air seemed cleaner and more refreshing than usual. 
I could have run forever....

I am in training for a couple of HM's next month, but for at least today, I ran for fun - and reconnected to my inner runner.

Jenny (still smiling....)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Paying it Forward

Can I boast about something... brag about an accomplishment that while is related to running, it's not about MY running...

So far, I have encouraged directly, or indirectly, 5 people to start a running/racing program!

It started with my husband and his need to reduce his blood pressure, and improve both his cholesterol levels.  He really does NOT enjoy running, but, um, I think he does not enjoy my disappointed look even more.  Not really a runner in the sense that he doesn't anticipate his next run with any measure of joy, just mumbles and grumbles and gripes that sound like... "do I have to?"  (Know where I'm going with this?)  But bless him - he does like to race!  He has already run one 5K this past year, and is now registered for the 10K at the Jerusalem Marathon/Half Marathon next month, and the 10K in Tel Aviv after than.  Way to go hubby!

My daughter in law also became interested and after many weeks of 'learning to run', is also ready to start racing.  She is also registered for the 10K in Jerusalem and today we ran our first 10K together!  It was a milestone for her as her longest distance yet - and I was so proud of her.  She is very excited about running and racing - and I'm so thrilled that I have been the one to bring this change to her life.

Next, my son.  This past week he laced up his new shoes and off he went.  Not quite all the 'Mom' advice thrown out the door, but he pretty much was able to launch right into it.  Again, registered for a 10K in April.  WooHoo!

My workmate and his wife have also taken the first steps towards a new passion (I hope), and went out for their first runs this past week. 


The Running Bubby Club - what do you think?

I'm just happy that I am able to pay this great love forward.  I hope that everyone will benefit not only from the physical benefits of running - but more important (to me), the emotional side too.  While I am a bit too late to make any great records in times or distances, I am, however, not to late to be an advocate for running and show people just how much healthier and happier their lives could be.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Motivation vs Self Discipline

Today I had a long run scheduled of 21 km.  Added to the tremendous stress at work these past few weeks, I was stressing more as I couldn't stand the thought of running long alone, again.    So I found someone to run with.

Running today with a partner opened my eyes a little about my recent lack of interest in running that I have been feeling lately.  Ariella said that she takes a year off between marathons because she "uses up all her self discipline, and needs to store it up again for the next run."  At first it sounded a bit bizarre to me.  How can one "use up" self discipline?  Isn't it an elemental part of anyone, althete or otherwise, that consistantly, and purposefully sticks to any type of program? 

So I thought about this, and I think what she really meant was motivation.  But even if she didn't mean this, it's what resonated with me.  While I am a very disciplined person, and training for a marathon pretty much on my own goes to prove this theory, what I do suffer from, from time to time, is lack of motivation. 

So I looked up the definitions for both -

Motivation can be defined as: the driving force that initiates and directs behaviour. 

Self Discipline can be defined as:  Training and control of oneself and for ones conduct, usually for personal benefit.

So for me, the key is that the motivation needs to come before the self discipline. 

In thinking about the past few weeks and how unsatisfied I have been with my runs, I see that I need to find positive motivation for running.  I think I need to refocus on what the benefits are of training and running, and see if that can be a bit more inspirational for me.  I'm a constant thinker, and I'm sure I'll work this one out.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thanks Melinda!

So proud to be a part of Melinda Hinson Neely's blog and hopefully new book Knocking Down Walls.

Enjoy the post:


Monday, February 7, 2011

Running on Empty?

For the past two weeks my running has been uninspired.  It's been difficult and shleppy.  I'm really not very motivated to run (but I do anyway), and the magical high that usually hangs around for a few days, just hasn't been happening either.

I don't know why this blah feeling has come about - maybe some type of post marathon blues?  (I could google that I guess).

I am training for two half marathons, and while the mileage isn't as high as it was for the marathon, I'm also finding that some of these runs are very tiring and draining.  AND to top it off, one of my ankles has been feeling weak lately, and I'm worried about an overuse injury....

What to do, what to do.

While the rest of the world, or at least much of it, is in rest mode from running due to blizzards or floods, the weather here has been amazing for running.  Temps are great, and even the "cold" weather is a blessing and something we'll only dream about come April.  You would think this would be an incentive to get in some good runs.... eh, no.

Today at work I had a pretty frustrating day, and seemed to have a bone to pick with quite a few people.  One of my work mates came by my office and said, "seems you need to get out and go for a run."  I told him that I had just run 13km that morning!  See - that dopey, happy feeling is not lasting.


I'm the type of person that will continue to stick with it - and so, I'll keep to my schedule in hopes that that magic will come back.

As for the weak ankle, maybe a tensor bandage and a few less kilometers until it feels better.

This weeks plan:
Saturday - 11 km - Recovery
Monday -  13 km - (5km at HM pace)
Wednesday - 16 km - Mid long run
Friday - 21 km - Long run


Friday, January 28, 2011

Slow Down!

Just finished week 2 training for two upcoming Half Marathons:  Jerusalem on the 24th of March and Tel Aviv on the 8th of April.  I finally had a good running week putting in a total of 52 km this week, ending with today's 17 km long run.

I have a problem though - I'm running too fast.

Ever since the Marathon, I've not been able to pace myself properly.  I have these tremendous times for my runs - and while I don't feel burned out on the shorter runs, today's long run wiped me out, AND it was just 17 km!  This is really frustrating considering all those very long runs of 24,26, 29 & 32 I put in and pretty much felt the same afterwards. 

My runs start out so well - I feel energetic, powerful and fast.  My shorter runs are averaging 6:00 or better.  When I'm just doing a 10 or 12 km run, well that's okay, but my medium long and long runs need to be done at a much slower pace.  My training plan calls for a 6:38 pace for long runs, and I'm averaging 6:10 - 6:15.  This is what cost me at the marathon.  Other than continually checking my Garmin, I don't know how to pace myself correctly.  Ahhh, so frustrating.  I want to prevent any type of overuse injury - so I've got to figure this out.

The weather here has been amazing for running.  Cold, cold, cold in the early mornings, perhaps 10 - 15c and no rain.  (sorry, that IS cold for Israel).  While we desperately need the rain, there just isn't any in sight.  Everything is green and coming into full bloom.  This abundance of greenery is not seen for very long, and I'm really trying to take in all the beauty of the season before it all turns to brown.

Next week's running plan:

11km - strides
11km - 7 x 800's
15km - med long
19 km - long

I'll try and watch the pace - but any advice out there?


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Next Steps

It's been 5 days since the Marathon and I'm so itchin to run!  Tomorrow I will go out for an easy 8 km, then on Friday an easy 12 km. 

There are a couple of Half Marathons coming up, the Jerusalem HM on March 25th, and the Tel Aviv HM April 8th.  These races are my interim goals, and I'm not quite sure how hard I will train for them.  The Jerusalem course is new this year because they've added a full marathon, and the Tel Aviv race will be a first for me.

My goal is to keep running and NOT get injured.  I am much happier running than not, and I don't want to risk another lay off like I had last year.

The fabulous news post marathon is that I seem to have encouraged and motivated several more people to take up running.  My daughter in law is working on her walk/run program, my son is ready to start and two other friends have started back on running programs.  It feels wonderful to have inspired others to become healthy!  WooHoo!

Looking forward to a nice easy run tomorrow.


Friday, January 7, 2011

The Marathon Report

WooHoo!  In the bag!  I have just completed my first marathon, the 34th Tiberius Marathon - and I couldn't be prouder!  Unofficial time:  4:40:15 - of course Garmin had me in at 4:37:43 but we'll wait for the official results.

The plan was for everyone to leave for Tiveria Wednesday afternoon, and spend a relaxing afternoon and evening at the hotel.  Since I booked and arranged full board for all of us, I thought it would be a nice treat for my son and his family.  Car problems made the delay staggered, and our car arrived by 5:30 pm (my hubby, mother-in-law & granddaughter), and my son didn't arrive until 9:00 pm.  It was a 2 1/2 hour trip and I was excited the entire way.

I picked up my run kit and quickly checked out the exhibits.  I was more interested in getting to my evening meal, as I wanted as much time as possible to digest before the next day!  There was a pasta dinner,but I chose not to go to that, instead we had a meal together, in the dining room, and I was still able to carb up on rice & lentils, whole grain bread and egg noodles.  I'm NOT into all that loading.  I figure if I just eat smartly and enough, I'll be fine. 

I didn't get to bed until about 10:30 pm after I finally kicked out my kids & grandchildren who were having a ball in the hotel room!  I slept well enough, and woke at 5:40.  (Funny but that's my usual wake up time for my regular runs!)  I went to an early breakfast at 6:30 am - and because I don't usually eat before any run - I had a cup of coffee and a small bowl of granola with bran flakes.  I was so worried about having anything in my stomache to come back at me.  I've read so many race reports where that was a big complaint, so I wanted to be safe.

Funny thing happened, while sitting in the dining room with my husband and son, suddenly my husband says, "hey that looks like Neimah" (our 3 year old granddaughter).  But since that would be ridiculous, her room was on the third floor, and we were in the dining room, how could that be.  Sure enough, it was her.  Dressed only in an oversized t-shirt, crying.  It seems she came out of her room on the third floor and was waundering around.  Some man brought her down in the elevator, and deposited her in the front of the dining room to be found by her parents!  This story could really only have a happy ending here in Israel, where everyone feels a connection to each other, and really and truly treats each other like family.  I shudder to think of what might have happened.... 

Back to the race...

The Bet Shemesh Running Club!

My family suprised me by all wearing special Running Bubby t-shirts.  It was a riot!!

We lined up to race just before 9:00 am - and I wanted to run with the 4:30 pacer, but there wasn't one!  Since I could not possibly do the marathon faster, I knew I had to pace myself.  There were only 900 participants, but it was a very lively and electric atmosphere.  You could feel the energy coming off all the runners and it was hard not to be affected by the excitment!  For the past week I had so much adrenilin running through me, now finally, I could use it!

Edo and Eli paced with me for much of the first half.  Little did I know that I was their pacer!

My plan was to run a 6:15 pace for the first half, and then see if I could take a few more seconds off after the half.  Well, even though I was advised by so many people, and countless bloggers and articles NOT to go out too fast, I still made the big mistake of running my first half too fast.  For the first 18 km I was running anywhere from a 5:59 to a 6:15.  I just didn't realize how important those few extra seconds per kilometer were and how they really add up.  And, to top it off, of course I didn't feel like I was going to fast.  I kept looking at my garmin, and slowing down when I saw my pace pick up, but it really was too late.

By the half, my average pace was 6:26 - not bad and a bit off my desired pace, but the faster kilometers killed me.  However, I was okay with it.  A 2:16 half was okay.  But now, I started to worry that my second half was going to fall off because I was feeling tired.  I was taking 1/2 size gels about every 6 kilometers and I decided to walk through the water checks for the rest of the race.  By the time I hit 27 km I reached the infamous 'wall'.  Oh boy.  But I was in that place many times during my training runs, and I knew that if I dug really deep, I could weather the 3 - 4 kilometers that it usually took me to get past it.

It was very, very difficult - and by 32 km - when I had clocked in at 3:22 - a similar time to my other 32 km long runs, I knew I was in a bad place.  I called my husband on my cell phone and cried.  "I have 10 km to go and it's just too hard.  I know I can do this, but it's just so hard."  He gave me lots of encouragement and told me not to give up that I could do it.  I hung up the phone and cried for another minute.  I will not give up - I promised myself then.

At this point, my hips started to burn a little, and my legs got so heavy.  I felt like I had cement boots on, and every step was like running through mud.  Again, I walked through the water stops, and gave myself incredible encouragement to pick it up and run again.  However, by 35 km - it was time to disconnect.  I couldn't comprehend the continuing pain, but furthermore, it was becoming exhausting battling with myself.  My brain kept telling me to just stop.  Enough.  But as corny as it sounds, there arose a tiny voice inside me that kept pushing me forward.  And as each kilometer passed - the voice grew louder and with it - my determination to finish what I had started so many weeks ago. 

By the time I got to the last 5 km of the race, I knew I could finish.  Counting down from 5 is not hard to do and I counted every single quarter kilometer.  5 km to go, 4.75 km to go all the way down.  My other battle was nausea.  I think I had one too many gels and by this point, I thought I was going to upchuck it all.  (But there was nothing to throw up anyway!).  Plain and simple - pure determination got me to the end.  And I can't believe that until the very end, my brain kept telling me to stop!

I arrived at the finish line in tears.  It was such an overwhelming experience - there are almost no words.  I don't know which part I was more proud of.  Fighting the battle with my inner evil voice to quit - and winning, or over coming all the pain my legs and hips took and finishing.  It was truly a culmination of 19 weeks of training and dreaming - and I had done it!

My family was there to great me with signs of support, and my husband convinced the guards to allow him to jump the barrier to take my picture.  Because it is an International Marathon - the security was tight, and they were not allowing too many deviations from security procedures.

The first thing I wanted was a cold, cold drink and to just sit down!!!  I had a pinched muscle in one of my gluts and it took a lot to get it to let go.  I picked up my medal and made my congrats to all my other team mates who fininshed before me.  A hot bath was on the horizon and I couldn't stop dreaming about it.

After checking out of the hotel - we had a post run celebratory lunch.  All the members of the running club were there, as were many, many other runners.  I just didn't have an appetite to eat so much, and so only ate lightly.  I was incredibly thirsty, and had an enormous craving for diet coke!!  We took this family photo just before leaving.

I will say that the first words that came out of my mouth upon reaching the finish line were, "I'm never, ever doing that again."  But after a couple hours, I was already dreaming about how I'll do much better next time - and be very careful to only run at my recommended pace.  I'm not sure if I'll run another marathon between now and next year's Tiberius Marathon - but for now I will bask in the glory and spotlight of being a Marathoner.  Being a member of that exclusive group that less that 1/2% of the world's population belongs to.  I think that's pretty good for now.

Thanks for sharing,

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

We're Off!

That's it.  Ready or not.  We're off to Tiveria! 

Running clothes & shoes - check
Music - check
GU's - check
Jacket for alternate weather - check

Family:  check!
  • Husband
  • Mother in Law
  • Son
  • Daughter in Law
  • Granddaughter
  • Grandson
  • Grandson
Check, and check and check.

I'm about as ready as I'll ever be.  Very confident that I will run 42.2 km tomorrow.  4:30 is my goal, and the secret one?  Well, we'll talk about that if I achieve that one too!

Wish me luck!
Running Bubby

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Oy, the marathon is but two days off and I finally understand my jittery, jumpy condition.  Nerves!!!

Weeks ago, heck last week, I felt so confident about the race - and now, the doubts and what ifs are starting to creep in... 

Shake, shake, shake...

That was close!  Yes, I know I can do this.  I need to keep visualizing myself crossing the finish line - hands up in the air - a perfect smile - and it will come true.

This carb loading stuff is interesting.  Kind of like being pregnant and having a craving for bagels and pasta....  Too bad chocolate and popcorn isn't on the menu!  Problem for me is that I just don't feel like eating this stuff right now.  I'm actually just tired - and more interested in sleeping and resting, as opposed to trying to stuff down one more pretzel or figuring out just what to serve with the rice, again...  I usually take a GU every 5 - 7 km, so hopefully with what I have eaten, and the GU's, I'll be fine in the carb department.

My last 5 km run was this morning - and it was somewhat dragging.  It's hard for me to slow down as it just makes me feel less energetic about the entire run.  However, thanks God, I did avoid all the pot holes, gravel, rocks and uneven sidewalks. I can tell that I've got a lot in reserves because of this taper, and can't wait to channel it during the marathon.

Tonight I'm also going for a pre marathon massage.  Not TOO intense, just the kinks.  (Albeit, an hour and half kink workout!)

Everyone is psyched.  My husband is about as excited as I am - and so supportive!  I bought him a GPS two weeks ago, and he is eager to use it to map our route up to Tiberius, and I bought him another gift for being such a sport.  I won't mention it yet - as I want to surprise him.

Randy - this marathon goes out to you for your tremendous support and encouragement the entire way, and for believing in me when I was doubtful!

More later.