One of the fun fringe benefits that comes along with doing long training runs, is that you can spontaneously join a half marathon! That is what happened to my running partner (*a.k.a my husband) and me last week. Some time in the beginning of the week, we heard of a half marathon being arranged for early Friday morning. It sounded like fun, the only question was if we could get someone to take the children to school as we would be long gone by that time. Grandma up the road happily agreed to be that someone, – and then it was decided. We signed up, and showed up at the right place a couple of days later.
This was a very informal half marathon, and more like an arranged training run for the real marathon which will take place in a month. We ran through the same route as the half marathon will do then, which will also be the second half of the full marathon. It was really a lot of fun to run with a bigger group of runners. You feel the energy from everyone around you, and the joy of running is at its highest! I normally listen to a podcast or music or something through headphones during my training-runs, but during a race I like to just be totally present and soak up every little bit of it, so I don’t listen to anything (other than the regular updates my run-keeper gives me).
I enjoyed running through the streets of Jerusalem listening to the feet of all of us hitting the ground like little drum-sticks. I totally loved the Friday morning atmosphere; the Shabbat-flower stands on the street-corners, hearing people wishing each other Shabbat Shalom and so on.
Jerusalem is built on a number of hills, a fact the people who designed this marathon-route did not want us to forget… We certainly had our shares of ups and downs, – which is part of the reason why the Jerusalem marathon has earned the name “a breathtaking marathon”…
At around the 18th kilometer we hit the hardest hill, which just seemed to never end. I used all my mental tricks, telling myself that I have done this many times before, I can do it again. And that no, my legs are not really all that heavy, I am light as a feather, – I am skipping along! Anyway, what worked the best, was thinking of the yummy cup of coffee that awaited me at home after a shower. The thought of sipping this cup of coffee sitting with my feet up, was enough to pull me forward, and there, around the corner, was another downhill before the last bit of uphill as we finished the race.
And this is the happy me after the race. Enjoying being done. The sense of accomplishment. Enjoying the thought that it was really a great experience.
Quickly forgetting about that terrible hill around the 18th kilometer. Being excited about to the full marathon coming up. Thinking can I really do double what I just did… Deciding to think that of course I can!!!