My Jerusalem Marathon Experience

One of the things on my bucket list got accomplished last Friday when I completed the Jerusalem Marathon. I can’t say I finished particularly strong, but I ran the whole thing and finished with a smile.

The Jerusalem Marathon is one big collection of hills, really. As we were finishing the climb up to French Hill towards the Hebrew University, one British runner asked me: “This is the worst part, isn’t it?” Wanting to provide the positive answer he wanted to hear, but at the same time sticking with the truth, I answered: “Yes, and then there is another tough one on the other side of the university.” Ah, yes”, he said, “That is another worst part…” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that there were another five worst parts waiting for us downtown afterwards…

Me running up Jabotinsky, at around kilometer 27. Still smiling.

Me running up Jabotinsky, at around kilometer 27. Still smiling. And look, ahead of the Ethiopians, – at least some of them. πŸ˜‰

This same runner was the one who turned to me before this exchange, and asked if I was going to be smiling during the whole race. πŸ™‚ I answered that I was planning to run with joy. One might as well enjoy it, if one is doing it! And the smiling came easily through the first three quarters of the race. After that I had to work on it. Really, there is something that happens in a Marathon once you hit the 30 – 32 kilometers. I told myself that this is where the marathon starts, up until now it has only been warm-up, and wow, was that marathon hard! I kept reminding myself that I had trained in Jerusalem, and therefore had a huge advantage in comparison to all those who came from abroad and other places in Israel. It’s hard to imagine how hard it must have been for them!!

There were plenty of water stations, and good crowd support, which was highly appreciated. Lots of little children had come out to cheer, I high-fived them all, and I stopped to hug my daughter and mother in law who waited in the middle of the hill at the 25 kilometer mark. I loved seeing the Jerusalem savtot (grandmas) hanging over balconies or out of windows and shouting encouragements after us, –Β Great job, you guys! You are amazing!!

Our running family. My husband and I both did the full marathon, and our 10 year old son did the 10 K.

Our running family. My husband and I both did the full marathon, and our 10 year old son ran the 10 K race.

But in spite of the well put together race and everything, the hills were very hard, as was the burning sun from a sky free of clouds. So around the thirty kilometer mark I realized that I would not be able to make my time-goal, and I made a new goal which was simply to keep running, and not start walking. You would be surprised at how many people start walking during the last kilometers of the race! They must have been running at an ok pace up until that point, but then somehow just give in to the exhaustion of the process, and start walking. Oh, but it was tempting several times! Especially in that killer hill at around kilometer 40, where more than half of the people around me were walking, and I was running at a super-slow pace, but at least I past the ones walking.

Here is my husband finishing his race. In an amazing time of 3 hours 39 minutes. I don't know how he does it.

Here is my husband finishing his race. In an amazing time of 3 hours 39 minutes. I don’t know how he does it.

For the last quarter of the race I was struggling with a bad heart-burn and a feeling that I could throw up any time. This was the reason for me not pushing harder toward any time-goal, but just focusing on finishing, and keeping on running, no matter the pace. For the first three quarters of the race I kept sucking on some energy-giving jelly beans, which I enjoyed, but for this last quarter I could not even imagine trying to get one more of them down. I was very thankful for the bananas that were given out at two food stations along the way. That is such a perfect fuel for running, stabilizes the stomach and provides good energy. I had also brought some pretzels with me to help stabilize the stomach towards the end. Those were in a ziplock bag attached to my new fuel-belt (which by the way was a great help, freeing up my hands). But at some point in kilometer 26, a runner behind me yelled at me: “Hey, you are dropping pretzels!”, and yes, there was a hole in the bag, and I ate the remaining four pretzels soon after.

Me just after finishing and receiving my medal. I finished in 4 hours and 22 minutes, for those interested. The main thing for me was just finishing, and running it.

Me just after finishing and receiving my medal. I finished in 4 hours and 22 minutes, for those interested. The main thing for me was just finishing, and running it.

One of the few common experiences between this marathon and the Tiberias marathon I did a couple of months ago, was the bursting of a blister at kilometer 39. Only now I knew it was not a toe-nail that fell off. Both because I recognized the feeling from last time, and because I knew that toe already did not have toe nail… (sorry about the details…)

My amazing husband running another fantastic race. Coming up by Mt. Zion hotel here. You can see King David hotel in the background.

My amazing husband climbing the hill to Mt.Zion hotel. You can see King David hotel and the Montefiore windmill in the background.

To sum it up, – the Jerusalem Marathon is a breath taking experience. The views are spectacular. Really. The Jerusalem stone, the arches, the gates, the walls, the houses, the streets, the views of the desert surrounding the city, – all the people lining the streets cheering us on. It is an amazing experience. One that I might, just might, have to do again some time… We’ll see.

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My Marathon Experience.

I did it! I ran my full 42,2 kilometers! (Actually it even said 42,52 in the end, and those extra 302 meters were not easy!) Those of you who have followed me from last year, may remember my so-so experience with the Tel Aviv marathon last winter. After a lot of forth and back it was postponed and then cancelled. I ended up getting together with a group of runners to just unofficially run our marathons anyway. And, well, it was not the experience I had looked forward to. It was really hot, I dehydrated, and letΒ΄s face it, – it was my first marathon. I finished it, but just barely, and I ended up walking much of the last 10 K. So, I took everything I learnt from there with me to my second marathon, – this time in Tiberias. And, let me tell you, – in comparison, – it was a WINNER EXPERIENCE!!!

Here I am crossing the finishing line, feeling like a winner!

Here I am crossing the finishing line, feeling like a winner!

I had trained in the months leading up, building up my milage. But really, last year, my training was even more focused with more speed training and cross training, so I may have been in better shape physically a year ago, but no doubt, with what I learnt last year, I was much stronger mentally this year.

The secret to success for me, was no doubt to start slow. I had divided the marathon into three equal parts, and the goal was to up my speed a little bit in each one. The first 14 kilometer I ran with the 4:15 pace group, and we ran a pretty even pace of 6 minutes per kilometers. I had a great time! It felt so easy! It was like I had all my energy still in the tank. So by the time we finished the first third of the marathon, it was like I had just done the warm-up, and was ready for the next 28, – which is just another long run! At that point I pulled apart from the group, and started passing runners ahead of me. It was much harder to keep a steady pace when not running with a pacing group, but on average I had a pace of 5:50 per kilometer for the second third of the marathon.

Here is my husband running the race, at a way faster pace than me.

Here is my husband running the race, at a way faster pace than me.

It was an out and back course, – we ran from Tiberias, around the southern end of the Sea of Galilee, to Kibbutz En Gev, where we turned around and came back. I think I was around the fifteen kilometer mark, when the first runners were coming back. They were the professional runners from Kenya and Ethiopia. We all called out encouraging messages to them as they ran by. But really, that was the big thing that was missing from this marathon, – there was hardly any crowd support! Now, I compare mostly to the Jerusalem Marathon arrangement, and here we have tons and tons of crowd support, which really means a lot to me. So, the few people that had come out in Tiberias, got a big “Toda” (Thank you) from me.

Because of the lack of encouragement along the course, I spontaneously took it upon myself to BE the crowd support. And with an out and back course, you have a chance to encourage all the runners, – first those who are ahead of you as they come back, and then the ones that come after you, after you yourself have turned around. I cheered everyone, and especially the women (there were only a little over 200 in total), and also the somewhat older people got heartfelt encouragement from me. Then there were those who started walking, – I just had to offer them some good words. And really, encouraging everyone, encouraged me too!

The Sea of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee

It was a flat course, which was very helpful for planned pacing. It is completely different from Jerusalem, where it is so much harder to plan a pace, because it all depends on if you are going up or down hill! The weather was almost as good as it could be, with a cover of clouds but not rain. The only weather challenge, was a bit of wind at this second third of the course, but it could have been worse, and there were even times when we had the wind in our backs.

There were very regular water stations, where they gave out small water bottles, so I always had a bottle in my hand, – along with the fuel I had brought with me, my energy Chumps and pretzels. (I am considering investing in a fuel-belt before my next marathon.) They were giving out fuel along the way too, but I did not want to try anything new on race day. The only thing I took from them other than water, was a banana at around kilometer 35. It was just perfect to get that then, as I was really sick of the energy Chumps, and the pretzels were dry and hard to swallow.

Here is the only photo I took while running. It was too hard with all the things I was holding in my hands...

Here is the only photo I took while running. It was too hard with all the things I was holding in my hands…

So, during the last third of the marathon, kilometer 29 – 42, I did not hold back anymore. I allowed myself to give it all. The feeling of control of my pace in this marathon, was part of what made it such a great experience. I had energy in the tank and was able to pace myself and speed up and down as I thought most helpful at the time. During this last third, I was still feeling quite strong, but here there was actually a little bit of hills (nothing compared to Jerusalem, but still a climb that you feel after having ran for over 3 hours…). So, on average, I was not able to increase my pace from the second third, like I had hoped to. But considering the elevation, I am happy that I was able to keep 5:50 also here.

The cup of coffee I was dreaming of during my marathon.

The cup of coffee I was dreaming of during my marathon.

It felt good to just keep on passing people. I would look up ahead and find a person I would tell myself to catch up with. Then when I got there, I would choose another one and so on. I was able to do this because I had started so slowly, so I was just catching up with the people who had ran a faster pace all along. But it is amazing what this does to you mentally. It is encouraging to feel that you are doing well, and so you feel stronger just as a result of it, and it helps you keep a positive attitude.

Here is my husband again, in the last kilometers of the marathon.

Here is my husband again, in the last kilometers of the marathon.

Obviously this last third of the marathon was the hardest one. No surprise there. People say the real marathon only starts at 32 kilometers, up until that point it is all just warm-up… I think it was around the 35 kilometer mark that I was starting to feel what is my biggest challenge when it comes to running, – my stomach. It was not happy with all the bouncing and pounding, in combination with being fed these energy chumps which is a sugary type of very concentrated energy and tastes something like wine gums. Then after 39.5 kilometers, I felt as though all of a sudden one of my toe-nails fell off, and it did not feel good. Later I found out it wasn’t quite as bad, but still it was disturbing along with this stomach issue which by this point was something that had to be balanced very carefully. Now you look around, and every runner is like a quiet zombie in a trance just focusing on this forward motion.

This is me towards the end. Quite pale... But at least smiling...

This is me towards the end. Quite pale… But at least smiling…

Every kilometer-mark was a very welcome sign. 40… 41…. By this time there was a bit of crowd support. I remember someone calling out that there was only 800 meters left, which helped me gather up the little bit of energy that was still to be found, and speed up so that this became my fastest speed of the whole marathon. I kept on looking for the finishing line, where was that red gate?? And then finally, I rounded a corner, and there it was! It felt wonderful to run underneath it, step on the right mats, lift my arms, smile to the cameras, – and be done! Running the whole thing and finishing strong, was my goal. The time was not outstanding by any means, but I am happy with my 4 hours and 10 minutes. I ran my race. For me, the way it worked out for me to run this race was the victory. (But for whoever is interested, I was the hundredth woman to finish, and came in number 46 in my age group, placing me in the first half in both groups.)

My dear husband who finished this marathon in less than 3 and a half hours (he is amazing, I know!), waited for me at the finish line. We got some pretty cool medals, in the shape of the Sea of Galilee. As we walked around a bit together afterwards, we were stopped by several people who said they had appreciated my encouragement. One asked what was my finishing time in the end, and upon hearing the answer, said that if I had not talked quite as much, I could probably have done it in less than 4 hours… Oh, well, that can be my excuse, then!

Us with our medals. :-)

Us with our medals. πŸ™‚

We all have our rewards that we look forward to as we finish our marathons, and my husband had been looking forward to a good, fresh Tiberias falafel, so here he is getting it:

Falafel in Tiberias

I could not eat much, as my stomach was still settling. We got some good carbonated energy drinks, which was just right. And then, I was looking for a quality cup of coffee, which I found and enjoyed:

Coffee in Tiberias

We drove on to Kfar Tavor, about a half hour drive from Tiberias (but longer this time, because of the traffic), where we stayed with some really good friends, who also had been taking care of our children as we ran the marathon. We had a very nice weekend with them, making this an absolutely perfect marathon weekend away.

playing kids

I am so very thankful! … and I think I will sign up for the Jerusalem marathon coming up in about two months… πŸ˜‰

Slower pace – Better time.

Remember I told you I was planning on doing my longest training run this Sunday? Well, I did it. It turned out to be my longest training run ever, because in my training for the marathon last year this one was cut slightly short. This year, though, I did my full 32 kilometers. And I felt fine! Do you want to know my secret to success?? – A slower pace! That simple. But still, it took me quite a while to arrive at this conclusion. A slower pace gives you a so much better time! So what if it takes a little longer?! Who cares??

the walls of JerusalemMy goal for the upcoming marathon is not to get a finishing time of under four hours, but rather to finish strong. I am hoping to have a good time, rather than to get a good time. Do you understand the difference?

Now this idea of a slower pace leading to a better time, has had me thinking along those lines when it comes to regular life as well. How about if we would just slow our pace a little bit… Maybe we would really end up having a better time?? It is worth trying. So, – I have taken up knitting again… πŸ˜‰

knitting

This evening I could sit and enjoy knitting while our son prepared bread rolls for us all by himself. I was not even allowed in the kitchen. (Good thing I had the knitting to occupy my hands. This slower pace thing takes a little bit of getting used to…)

baker boyAnyway, our baker did a great job. The bread rolls came out totally YUMMY!

baking success

I am so happy for him to have such building experiences of succeeding at something he goes for.

fresh dinner rollsAnd hey, the more the children want to take over in the kitchen, the more knitting I get to do. Slower pace – better time! Yes, I think I could get used to this!

My First Full Marathon.

I have participated in a few marathon arrangements over the last few years, but today was the first time I actually completed my first full marathon. Β  There has been so much back and forth about this. First it was postponed because of a heatwave, and then the postponed marathon was cancelled, because one person died in the half marathon that did take place as planned, and several people ended up in the hospital because of heat stroke and dehydration.

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Then there was this group of runners who organized an informal marathon, so that we would be able to at least do this run that we had trained so much for. The whole thing was quite controversial, as there was a heatwave expected for this day too. So naturally there was a lot of focus on being careful on this run, listen to your bodies, don’t push yourselves too far etc. There was not going to be any injuries or any type of scandals in this race, that was our responsibility!

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Before we started running, at 5 o’clock in Tel Aviv this morning, we stood in 42 seconds silence in respectful memory of the runner who died last week in this same city. And then we started running down the promenade with an absolutely beautiful view of the sea, the waves, the old city of Yafo still lit by streetlights, as it was still relatively dark. More than half of the marathon was ran right next to the Mediterranean, – I totally LOVED it! First we ran south from Tel Aviv Port where we started, and after returned we ran north. The nice thing was that we kept coming back to our starting point, where I had my very supportive family refilling my water packs and encouraging me. Our son would come and meet me and run with our group a bit in the area, which everyone loved, – and so did he! πŸ™‚

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We were a small group of runners, and that made it very nice and friendly. We talked along the way, and some of us even got informally interviewed by a reporter from Runner’s World who ran along with us for the first half! πŸ™‚

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I smiled to pictures, and had such a great time running. I really, really enjoyed the experience. I was happy with my pace, did not push the speed too much, and really thought I would finish strong. But in the second part of the marathon I started having signs of dehydration, and I guess I started drinking more too late, because in my 34th kilometer, I all of a sudden became acutely dizzy and could not run/walk straight, which really brought me into panic. (*I guess that is what starting a marathon by standing in silence for someone who died running recently does to you…) And I really, really did NOT want a scene of any kind. Collapsing and needing an ambulance was to be avoided if it could be! So I started walking, drinking lots, eating more energy-GU-chews, and tried to help myself as best as I could.

The thing was also that I was very confused as to how far I had gotten. There was no marking of kilometers along the way, and I was convinced my runkeeper had told me I was close to the end… (I still think it was giving me mistaken information, about both time and distance, but there is of course the chance that I could have been confused due to the dehydration.) As I didn’t know the route very well, I also thought I could see the finishing area, but it was just somewhere that looked similar. So when I actually opened my runkeeper and looked at it, I found that I had several kilometers left, and I guess that threw me off mentally too. (*And really, running a marathon is at least 50 % mental!)

I had so not expected this type of thing to happen! It really shouldn’t have, as I had invested in this great water-backpack type of thing, so I had water available at all times, in addition to water stations along the way. I thought I drank little sips all the time, but I guess it was not enough. And I had talked about how strange it is when people start walking at the end, after doing so well for the great majority of the race! Why would they not just push themselves a little longer?? Well, now I know from personal experience how that can happen!!!

This is when my wonderful support group of a family came and met me, cheered me on and encouraged me. So I tried to walk a little faster, run a little bit in between, but after having stopped running, my legs cramped up pretty badly when trying to start running again. And, after having drunk a lot of water all at once, I had this painful pressure in my chest, which made me want to take it easy too.

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Anyway, – I finished! Which is the main thing. I thought to myself out there: If I can’t run, – I’ll walk if I have to. I’ll crawl if I must. I really, really wanted to finish my 42.2 kilometers!

I am filled with a deep respect for people who finish marathons strong! It is not a small thing, let me tell you! And I am motivated to keep training, and get ready for the Jerusalem marathon next year. I know it will be a challenge. Here we will probably not have the heat we had to deal with in Tel Aviv today (29 degrees towards the end), but here we have hills, major hills. Anyway, that is a long way away, but it is still nice to think that there hopefully will be another chance.

finishing my full marathon

Here is a photo of me finishing my marathon. I was filled with a cocktail of emotions at the time. I was relieved and disappointed, happy and sad, smiling and crying at the same time. And I was really thankful for my health and that I had actually finished my 42.2!

Running In Tel Aviv

First of all, – THANK YOU so much for all Β your sweet and compassionate comments to my last post!! You guys are the best!!! And really, maybe it was all your encouragement, prayers and good thoughts, – the next day I was already feeling much better! As I told my sister that on the phone, she said, – yes, it is not like you to be down for long! πŸ˜‰

It helped to gain perspective, – it is JUST a marathon! We are all healthy and all is well, really. I have so much to be thankful for!!

It was also helpful to just make a decision for what to do about this new situation. I knew the whole time that I wanted to run on the day of the marathon, to get to take part and enjoy the festivities and all the excitement. But I also really wanted to run my 42.2, my full marathon. (You know, the bumper sticker… ;)) So because I am planning on doing the full marathon on the Friday the week after the Tel Aviv Marathon, I decided to just run the 10 K race on that day (to not mess up my tapering-period, where I am supposed to take it somewhat easy just before the marathon).

Here you can see me having fun running the 10 K:

running the 10K in the Tel Aviv Marathon

They let those of us registered for the full marathon get into whichever race we wanted to, since ours had been cancelled/postponed, and I felt like quite the VIP going around there with my special number. πŸ˜‰

Here I am towards the end of the race… giving it all…. I only get it to come up here with the ad on the bottom, but I saw it without it, and then you can see that I am actually in the air and not touching the ground, – kind of makes up for the facial expression! Haha!

running the 10 K in the Tel Aviv marathon

I started running at 06.45 in the morning, and it was not so awfully hot yet. But they say that between 7 and 8 the temperatures rose dramatically. People actually stood along the race and hosed us down with water!!! It sure had a cooling effect! For anyone interested in the time, – I did my 10K in 52 minutes and 53 seconds. I am quite happy with the result. I didn’t know how it would go, as this is not the distance I have trained for, but it was fun just to run with all these thousands of runners. I started together with five thousand runners, and there were close to 35 thousand runners all in all.The running in crowds both slows you down and speeds you up, as you constantly have to pass people, but also are encouraged further by all the great runners around you.

Here is me cooling my feet off in the Mediterranean after the race, with my medal and all:

having done the 10K in the Tel Aviv  marathon

I really hope I will get to run my full marathon on the upcoming Friday, – they are actually forecasting a similar heatwave… so we will see.

Afterwards, I stood for a bit by the finishing line to encourage those who were still coming in. I am the type who would say something like ” Go for it! Only ten more meters! Give it all you’ve got!!!” But as I got there, I heard the ones over the loudspeaker saying stuff like “Take it easy. It is totally OK to walk. If you feel like it at all, just start walking. Listen to your bodies. Don’t push too much.” I was puzzled by this, but not long after I understood why, because sadly we heard about a tragedy that had taken place: One of the runners of the half marathon had collapsed and died. And several others had also been taken to the hospital in difficult situations. We pray for comfort for the family of the young runner who lost his life doing something that he loved, and we keep praying for complete recovery of the ones that are still being treated in the hospital.

So this is a reminder to us all to stop in time, to not push beyond a certain limit. And even if you keep drinking, sometimes it is not dehydration as much as it is overheating. They say a factor that made it particularly difficult now was that this is early spring, and we are not used to such heats, had it been May, the situation would have been very different. But really, the numbers speak clearly of that the great majority of runners were totally fine. There were close to 35 thousand runners, and somewhere between 50 and 80 individuals were treated for medical difficulties.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a really nice day in Tel Aviv. I loooooooved being by the sea!

the Mediterranean

And so did the kids.

kids having fun in the water

We were there for two whole days, and did several really nice walks on the beach, in the water, and on the promenade next to it. By night and by day.

walks on the beach

We also had friends who came to hang out with us a bit on the Friday. Lots of fun!!

fun with friends

But I have to go, you guys! The kids are already well started with cleaning for Pesach, and it is about time I join them!!!

See you later!

Disappointed.

I am so disappointed, guys. I know you don’t normally hear me like this, and really, I am normally not like this, but right now I feel like the air has just left the balloon, so to speak.

There has been this great build-up. I have been so focused. It has been so exciting. I have really been looking forward to running a full marathon in Tel Aviv. I have been training for it for four full months. It has been hard at times, but I have kept my eyes on the goal, and kept going.

On one of my many, many training runs.

On one of my many, many training runs.

Then, almost two weeks ago there was the Jerusalem Marathon. I participated in the 10K race with my 9 year old son, and my husband impressed us all with an amazing time at his first full marathon. Ever since then I have felt the butterflies in my stomach, – my own first marathon is coming up…! I have been counting days, – and hours! Really, I have!

done Jerusalem marathon

I have been limiting my sugar, caffein and alcohol to a minimum for the last week or so. Everything for the upcoming marathon. I have dreamt about pacing strategies, and that is no exaggeration. How fast should I start, what finishing time can I realistically aim for, – all those thoughts were constantly spinning around in my head.

On our way to pick up my shirt and number and everything, was the first time I heard about the temperatures expected for race day. 35 degrees Celsius! That is like the heat of summer, hot Israeli summer. Oh, well, I decided to keep a good attitude and just plan on wearing sun screen, a wide brimmed hat and drink lots and lots of water.

Then today, a couple of hours ago, – I hear my marathon is cancelled. Well, they have all kinds of options, but basically that is what it is, cancelled. And let me remind you, – I have trained for this for four whole months!!!

On another training run.

On another training run.

And now I have the option of running a half marathon, which is what I did last year in Jerusalem. But that is not what I trained for, – I was totally wired for a full marathon now… The other option is to run my 42.2 next Friday, but then as in circles in a park, and of course without the whole arrangement of the other races etc. etc. And this is the weekend we were planning on being in Tel Aviv, not next week, a few days before Pesach! We even have a nice hotel room for Shabbat this weekend, a really nice birthday gift from my in-laws. We were going to be there to celebrate that I had done my first full marathon, – what, now we will be there a week before my marathon?!? Or after just having done another half marathon?

And my bumper sticker! My 42.2 marathon club bumper sticker! I was so excited to find that in my bag of goodies when picking up my shirt and number, so looking forward to stick it on the back of our car after finishing the race!! Ahhhhh!!!!

A bummer! Such a bummer!

Sorry for taking it all out on you guys! But I just have to get it out. Ah… I am sooo disappointed!

Of course they have a very good reason for canceling the 42.2 this Friday, it was the ministry of health that did not recommend keeping it. And of course none of us want to risk our health. Would have been a memorable race, huh? The one were hundreds fainted and had to be brought to the emergency room… No, they probably did the right thing in canceling it. That is what I try to tell myself right now anyway.

On yet another training run...

On yet another training run…

And I, – I have to use this as a good learning situation. Learn to handle disappointment. Learn to cope with things not turning out the way I expected it to, or wanted it to. And then to do the right thing in the midst of it.

In Hebrew, or I guess in Jewish tradition, we have this saying – hakol le tova, – meaning, everything is for good, it all serves a purpose, kind of. And that is what I am telling myself now. Even though I do not understand why this came about the way it did, it must be for the good, for something good, somehow.

Our lives, our days, our plans, everything is in God’s Hands. He has the full control, and we just have to trust Him. Somehow that makes it easier for me to cope with situations where I feel like I have no control, – and I guess, I sort of wish I would have had just a little bit of control. Well, at least I know the one who holds it all in His Hands, – and I know He wants only the best for us, always.

Moments that take your breath away.

“Life is not measured by the numbers of breath we take, but by the moments that take our breath away” Β was written on the back of a T-shirt I saw someone wearing at the Jerusalem marathon yesterday. And there is no doubt about it, – the Jerusalem Marathon does take you breath away, in every meaning of the expression!

It was a great day for Jerusalem runners as well as for runners who had come from all over the world to run in the streets of Jerusalem. 22 000 runners all in all, I heard. What an atmosphere! What excitement! What joy!!! Oh, there were moments of exhaustions, but they were coupled with great feelings of success and accomplishment!

running partners

My dear husband ran his first full marathon this Friday. Yes, that is the full 42.2 kilometer, or 26 miles if you wish. We have trained together, and I knew he would do well. He has an amazing ability to push himself. And I have been witness to the great shape he has gotten to, – he is always the one pulling me up the hills! I followed him on RunKeeper, and saw that he started out really fast, and pretty much kept it up too, – he did really great, and that in spite of the extremely hard hills that were thrown into this marathon! For those interested in the real time, he did his full marathon in 3 hours, 49 minutes and 44 seconds.

He says himself afterwards that it was even harder than he had expected it to be. The keeping on keeping on. The putting one foot in front of the other when you are in pain and do not feel like you have any strength left.

Even though I am a Jerusalem runner and have trained for a full marathon, I did not sign up for this one, as someone had to run with our nine year old son who did the 10 kilometer race at the same time. And it was a joy to see him excel, watch him run a great race and have a wonderful time doing it! I was his big encourager / jacket holder / pacer / fuel provider etc. etc. And he finished his hilly 10 K race in 1 hour, 3 minutes and 27 seconds. There were 8 000 people signed up for the 10 K race alone, and we ran in large crowds the whole time.

running in crowds at Jerusalem 10K

We kept on passing people, and he was continually surprised of adults who started walking. All the time he would comment to me saying, – they must have started out too fast… In Norwegian, though, our secret language, so as not to offend them… πŸ˜‰ I kept my encouraging updates of how great we were all doing and how far we had already gotten etc. in Hebrew, so as to encourage those around us as well!

The crowd support was very good, and my little running partner got a lot of positive attention, – which he totally LOVED.

And at the end of it all, we got our MEDALS! (A big motivating factor, of course…) And our pictures taken by a marathon poster!

done Jerusalem marathon

My boys felt the great feelings of relief and success and accomplishment, and I am very happy for them and proud of them both.

My own marathon is still to come. I am signed up to run a full marathon in Tel Aviv in less than two weeks. I am excited about it, looking forward to it and a little nervous about it at the same time. Now that my training-partners are done with their big races, I am kind of looking forward to being done with mine as well… I will have to focus on my motivation and mental strength in the time between now and then, I think. I can do it! I want to do it! I am fulfilling a dream here!! I am going to give it my all!!!Β Even though it is not in Jerusalem, those are going to be some of the moments that will take my breath away!