Tri-ing in the Holy Land

The ramblings of a struggling triathlete in Israel

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Location: Israel

I'm the mother of 3, a teacher and a couch potato turned triathlete.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

December and 2006 totals

My December totals weren't bad at all, especially considering the fact that I was supposed to be on a training break for part of the month (yeah, right...). Here goes:

swim: 14,750 meters
bike: 179.9 km road bike and 25 km mountain bike (a special thanks to the guy who took me on those horrible rides in the wind!)
run: 132.3 km *rubbing my eyes* -- Did I read that right? Well, I guess so, since I wrote it (and logged it). That is by far (and I mean really by far) the furthest I have ever run in a month. Wow.

Now for my 2006 totals. Note that I spent almost a month doing nothing because of my broken hand. My 2005 totals are in parentheses.

swim: 211,800 meters (205,700 meters)
bike: 2,168.9 km road bike, 168.5 km mountain bike, 49.5 km stationary bike (1,912.7 km road bike, 38.5 km mountain bike, 18.2 km stationary bike, 30 minutes trainer)
run: 729.9 km (559.9 km)

2006 was a good training year. 2007 will be even better. Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A couple of running pictures

These two pictures from the Lehavim 10k in November were emailed to me today by the brother of a good friend (this guy is always snapping my picture at races!). The woman next to me in the second picture is completing the 3k race while I'm about to finish the first 5 km of the 10k. She has actually just caught up with me here and is about to sprint past me (which is why she looks so tired and I look like I'm out for an easy jog).

Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 - a summary

There are just two more days to 2006, so I guess now is a good time to take a look at what I accomplished this year. The following were my 2006 goals:

1) Improve my bike times. Goal met in a big way. In fact, I think the bike went from being my weakest part of the race to my strongest.

2) Start a regular strength training routine to work on basic strength and also to avoid further injuries. Uh... No... My intentions were good, but it didn't happen. No strength training, or very little. Lots of excuses. However, apart from shoulder problems at the beginning of the year (left over from 2005), I did manage to avoid over-use injuries. Of course, I didn't count on breaking my hand and all the strength training in the world couldn't have prevented that.

3) Run 10k in under an hour. Well, I ran the Omer 10k in under an hour, but it's slightly less than 10 km. I ran 60 minutes and change at Ein Gedi, so I came close -- within less than a minute of my goal. Goal not accomplished, but I'll give myself credit for making the effort and getting so close.

4) Learn to like running. This was the big surprise of the year. Until very recently, I was fairly certain that I was not going to achieve this goal and I'd made peace with that fact. Then I started training for a half marathon. At first, upping my mileage was hard and not a whole lot of fun. But then, in the last week or so, everything changed. Either I hit the magic number or things just clicked -- I don't know -- but I had some pretty damn good runs, on the treadmill, no less! They were slow, but they also got progressively easier and more enjoyable. And this past week, I've been suffering a bout of depression and the only thing that has really picked me up is running. I can't say I've experienced "runner's high", but I can say that running has worked better and faster than any chemical anti-depressant could. I've started looking forward to my runs, especially the long ones. It's hard to believe, but I'm pretty sure I've achieved this goal.

5) Keep a positive attitude, at least most of the time. I still complain some. It's my nature and it's something that I'd like to change about myself. But I think I complained a lot less this year. I found something good in most workouts and I finished most of my workouts feeling good. Goal achieved? It's hard to say, but if I didn't completely achieve it, I certainly got the wheels in motion.

There's lots more I could say about 2006. I completed 13 races, lowered my times on every single course that I had done previously and swam, biked and run further than in any previous year (more on that in my yearly totals in a few days). I also fell completely head over heels in love with my road bike (the one I bought second hand after totaling my previous bike at the end of 2005). I broke a bone for the first time in quite a few years and managed to bounce back from the injury in time to do fairly well and much better than expected in Eilat. I think that in 2006, I made the change from a person pretending to be a triathlete to a "real" triathlete. I'm not the fastest or most talented person out there -- not even close -- but I've certainly acquired more than enough experience to take myself seriously as an athlete.

I can't finish this recap of 2006 without mentioning the down point of my year. I've spent the last six months watching a good friend and former (and hopefully future) training buddy deal with cancer. Her battle has put a lot of things into perspective for me. Triathlon is something I do because it's fun and it makes me feel good -- and because I can. I really believe that life is about doing the things that make us feel good and doing them today, because none of us knows what we'll have to deal with tomorrow. In addition, living a healthy lifestyle can prepare us for challenges that we may need to face in the future -- I know that all the training my friend did before she discovered that she was ill and before all the debilitating treatments is now helping her to get through her struggle.

I'll post my 2007 goals when I decide what they are. The only thing I want to say about 2007 now is that I hope it will be a year filled with good health and lots and lots of happiness and fun and things that feel good.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What to do at the end of a bad day

Run 15 km on the treadmill. It didn't take my problems away, but it sure made me feel a lot better. And incredibly, despite my really really bad mood, it was a great and very easy run.

That, by the way, breaks my "old" treadmill record ("old" as in about two weeks old) by five kilometers! I learned tonight that after 10 km, you just don't notice them going by anymore.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Just because I like the picture

I'm wearing real clothes, my hair isn't pulled back into some ugly ponytail and I'm smiling. Oh, and it's triathlon-related. What could be better? Click on the picture for a closer view of what I look like when dressed.

The trophy is for finishing first in the 2006 rankings for sprint distance in my age group (old ladies). The secret to finishing first in the rankings? You just have to go to all the races where there are only two or three people in your age group ;-) Ok, so I did well in a couple of races where there were more than two or three people in my age group, too, and overall, despite breaking my hand, I guess I had a pretty good season and I know I had a lot of fun.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Nina Peckerman

A comment from an anonymous poster claimed that Nina Peckerman is not the best female triathlete in Israel and that there are two Israeli women ranked higher than her internationally. Well, I have no idea which two women you're referring to, but if you have a look at the ITU rankings, you'll see that Nina Peckerman is the only Israeli woman listed there. I'd be happy to be enlightened, though.

Friday, December 15, 2006

My triathlon dream

Since I have nothing interesting to post about training, apart from the fact that I actually managed to run 10 km on the treadmill today (I'm very allergic to treadmills and normally avoid them at all costs), I thought a non-training but very triathlon-related post was in order. Now I've had several triathlon dreams in the past, but last night's was so weird that I just have to share it. Enjoy!

I was doing a very strange triathlon and for some reason, although it was a triathlon, I was only doing the run. I have no idea how I knew when to start running, but I did. As I was running, I realized that I was running with Nina Peckerman, who is the best female triathlete in Israel. I was actually running right alongside her and she was complaining about how hard it was. Oh, and we were running in a shopping mall. As she complained to me about how hard the race was for her, I looked down and saw that she was running with swim fins. Strange as that sounds, it didn't seem at all odd to me until I told my husband about the dream. When I told him that part, it suddenly hit me that that was really weird. Anyway, since Nina and I were running together, I asked her to please have her picture taken with me, because this would be the only time I ever ran next to her in a race. So when we got to the turn-around point and saw a photographer, I think we held hands or something or just ran close together and smiled for the camera.

This is about when things started to go wrong for me. I actually passed Nina and I was leading the race. I finished the first out and back despite the fact that the course through the shopping mall was completely unmarked and there were no officials directing the runners. On the second out and back, I got completely lost. I couldn't remember where I'd run before. I kept running past stores and people sitting at tables and all kinds of places I was pretty sure I hadn't seen the first time. Nobody had any idea where the race was, so I was on my own. Then, other people started to catch up with me and we were all lost together. In the meantime, Nina finished the race. Someone told me this, but since she was lost along with me, I have no idea how she knew. She also told me that Nina had said that she hadn't had a problem remembering the correct route. I never did finish the race because I woke up. But I learned two things from my dream:

1) Running in swim fins is probably not a very good idea, or at least it didn't work well for Nina if I managed to pass her.

2) When doing a race in a shopping mall, always take along some money or a credit card so that if you get lost, at least you can go shopping.

Monday, December 11, 2006

To James from Melbourne...

I saw your comment on a long-ago post about the Netanya Triathlon. To answer your question, yes, the 2007 Netanya Triathlon is scheduled for the 18th of May and I assume there will be online registration, but not for some time. Registration here is usually very very close to the event itself and for small races like Netanya, it might only be two or three weeks ahead of time.

Hope to see you here in May!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A quick update

It's 11 p.m. and my bed is calling me, but first I have to post a quick update. You see, silly me -- I gave the address of my blog to someone who actually knows me and just in case he decides to come back and visit again, I thought maybe I should post something new here. So here goes...

Half marathon training is going pretty well. I ran 30 km the first week and 32 out of a planned 35 last week, despite being sick and feeling lousy for most of the week. The friend I was trying to convince to run with me didn't need all that much convincing, I guess. And since he's the one with the address of my blog, maybe I should make it clear that the reason he's running with me isn't because I "convinced him" but rather because he's a nice guy and maybe because he wants to make sure that I run both out and back (otherwise, the rest of the team will have to wait for me on the bus for a very long time...).

In other training "news"... I did a very unpleasant mountain bike ride last week which made my hand ache for days and convinced me to stay off my mountain bike for a while. Yesterday, I went out road biking instead. It was a lot more fun despite a very nasty headwind for the entire 30 km home. I ate quite a bit of sand and I was literally covered with a layer of dirt when I got home, but I still enjoyed the ride.

Ok, that's it. End of the update. I'm exhausted and I'm going to sleep.

Friday, December 01, 2006

From dream to reality?

Ok, so everyone already knows that my goal for next season is to start doing Olympic distance triathlons. But what steps am I taking to achieve that goal? Sure, I can swim 1500 meters and I can bike 40 km and I can run 10 km, but can I do all of them one after another? I believe that I can do the first two without a problem, but running has always been my limiter, even at the sprint distance. So I've decided to take action.

My coach once said that to do an Oly distance tri well, you have to be able to run 20 km -- twice the distance that you need to run in the race. So that got my wheels spinning. 20 km... For the last two years, I've done the 10k at the Ein Gedi 10k and Half Marathon, so suddenly I started thinking, what if I did the half marathon instead? At first, it was just a passing thought. Then, I mentioned it on one of my mailing lists -- just that I was kind of thinking about it, not that I was seriously considering it. Then I bit the bullet and asked my coach if he thought I could do it. I was hoping he'd say, "Not this year -- you don't have enough time to train." Nope. He said, "Yeah, sure you can!"

So next thing I knew, I was training for a half marathon. And I'm not just training -- I've told almost everyone I know what my plan is and I'm even on the verge of convincing a friend to do it with me (I think he's going to come around in the next few days). So I'm really doing this. If all goes as planned, I'm going to run a half marathon. Me. Wow. An Oly distance tri should be a piece of cake after that!

And to end this, a mini race report: I ran the Lehavim 10k last weekend. Since I hadn't run 10 km in quite some time, I just did it as a training run. There was lots of wind and we had to run up one of my least favorite hills twice. But I ran the whole way -- a slow run that allowed me to actually hold conversations with people without a lot of panting. In fact, a friend rode his bike next to me for the last couple of kilometers and we talked the whole way (this is the same friend who is going to do that half marathon with me if I have it my way). And I finished 12 seconds faster than the time I had declared I was going to do. My prediction had been 1:05 and my time was 1:04:48. Pretty damn close (and pretty damn slow, but that's ok).

Here I am finishing up with a big smile on my face (I think I was smiling because I loved the way the announcer was encouraging people as they reached the finish line). You can't see much of it in this picture, but this is my town -- that finishing line is about 1 km from my house. It was a lot of fun to run a race with my friends and neighbors cheering me on!

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