Back in November 2011, I received an email from Ruth that said:
Hi Emily,I discovered your blog this morning through your interview on Cooking Manager.com, and I have barely left it all day.
I have recently started running (less than a month ago) and I would like to join Team Triumph. My current goal is the Jerusalem 10K, while my husband runs the full marathon.
Thanks for all your inspiring posts!
What followed for Ruth and I, was a Facebook friendship of mutual interest and running support. And only 4 months after sending me that email, Ruth ran, not the 10K, but the Half Marathon (21K)!! WOW!!
I took up running at the start of November 2011, and decided that I would run one of the races in Jerusalem on Marathon Day, 16 March, 2012.
My initial aim was to run the 10K race without taking any walking breaks. So, not following any particular plan, I started running. The first time I went out, I ran (I say ran) about a mile. I ran until I ran out of breath, then walked until it came back, then ran again, as long as I could manage. A little like the couch-to-5k program, but I ran/walked in accordance with how I felt rather than what the stopwatch said.
I ran in this fashion 3 times per week, and I surprised myself incredibly by the speed at which I improved. I increased the distance I was running, by about 1- 1.5km per long run Friday. Before a month had passed, I was running up a kilometre hill with an average 6% elevation!!!
The Jerusalem municipality organised a few free “warm up” races in the months leading up to marathon day, which I signed up for. I thought it would be a good idea to sign up for them for a few reasons: I only ever run alone, I run when I want and I run where I want. I thought these races would give me some experience running with other people, on a set course, and at a set time. The first of these 2 warm-up races was at the end of January, with a 5k and a 10k course. As I had worked up to about 8km for a long run, I decided to jump in at the deep end and go for the 10km course. I ran most of the way, keeping pace with a few other runners of the same approximate speed as myself. As we got towards the end, they all ended up ahead of me, but turning back into the Jerusalem Botanical gardens, I gave it a last burst of speed. Expecting to finish any second, I hadn’t realized that I had a kilometre to sprint through the botanical gardens before the finish line. That was a challenge!
By then, I’d conquered my initial goal of running a 10km race. So I did what you’d expect any crazy person to do, and signed up for the Jerusalem Half Marathon. I followed Hal Higdon’s beginner’s program (which I’d already been following for the previous few weeks, in case I made the decision I ultimately did.
I followed my training program to the letter, and the rest of my training was uneventful.
Race day finally arrived. The weather was pretty dreadful. It had been raining heavily all night and Gan Sacher was a mud bath. Throughout the race, the rain was on, off, heavy, light, there was a strong wind blowing throughout, and it hailed at times too.
But most of the time I didn’t notice the weather. The hills were not as steep as my local hills (the name of my neighborhood literally translates to “hills”, and not without reason!) Despite the weather, people were out lining the streets to encourage us runners. You could feel the love! There’s also something very special about running through Jerusalem’s Old City with hundreds of other people!
I felt fabulous until after the 20km mark, when my legs decided they’d had enough, and I had to walk most of my last km. My initial plan had been to give it all I had for the last 500m, but all I had left wasn’t very much, so I revised to giving it my all for the last 100m. That worked.
My aim was to finish vertical, which I did. I had hoped to finish in 2:45-2:50, but ended up with a 2:27 time which I’m overjoyed with. Just makes it more of a challenge to beat next time!