Oh hey. Happy Friday!
This past Wednesday was two firsts for me: my first race outside of the U.S., and first night race. The Tel Aviv 10k. They say over 25,000 runner showed up, and man what an experience it was on many levels.
The race experience itself = awesome. Very well set up - tons of festivities at the finish, the course lit up with lights and DJ's, typical finishers medal, all that jazz.
It was also pretty cool because we (Andrew and I) ran the race with two of our friends from our crossfit gym - both who had never ran in a race before. So in my opinion, they picked a pretty fun race to make their first (and they both did fantastic). Plus it was through the enchanting city of Tel Aviv, which is more alive during night hours than any other time.
But let's talk specifics here, because this is where things get interesting. For example, we actually had no idea how to get to the start of our correct heat... as everything was in Hebrew. Thank goodness for bilingual friends.
So we manage to get to the start, the gun goes off and like most races the starting area itself is very congested and slow moving. However the congestion didn't clear for quite awhile.... and by that I mean, I felt I was weaving and trying to find space through almost the entire course. Which for the first few kilometers is fun right? I had the race adrenaline going, was dodging and
So first rookie mistake if I was a rookie but I'm really not anymore, so to be blunt, first stupid mistake was starting way to fast and scurrying around like a caged hamster just set free.
However. adrenaline slowed and hills starting creeping up and I became more aware that I didn't feel fantastic anymore... and we were about halfway through a 6.1 mile race.
Realizing that I was slowing down, that my legs hurt, and that I was getting passed, I came to three conclusions in my head as to why this race was different than any other I had recently run.
1. Heats were in no way followed, people started whenever the heck they wanted to (including myself) and therefore runners weren't as spread out throughout the course as I was used to.
2. I am not as fast as I was a year ago. This is true - miles simply have not been put in, and the phrase 'we hardly trained for this' was thrown around a few times leading up to the race.
3. Israel's population is overall faster relative to the U.S.
^^ Now that may be a bold statement, and I don't have hard facts to back it up outside of what I've observed these past three months. Israel is the fittest country I've witnessed to date - extremely low obesity rates - and therefore, I would honestly bet that race paces in this 25,000 person 10k race compared to a similar-sized race in the U.S. are overall faster. Just a hypothesis.
Anyways - the combination of the three above observations made this race one that will sting for awhile - in a good way. Then add in the fact that all course signs were in Hebrew - and I blew by the first water station being on the complete opposite side of the road and not paying an ounce of attention - and that was just the icing on the cake.
Finishing time is up for grabs - my watch malfunctioned at the start and started too early, and times haven't been posted online yet, but I'm thinking I sat between 47 and 48 minutes, which put my pace in the high 7's. But that might be generous to be honest.
I took a minute afterwards to vent to Andrew about how crappy the last few kilometers felt, I didn't have my racing legs, blah blah blah cry some more Kait. There aren't excuses, just facts, I'm not the runner I was a year ago.
But the beautiful part that I love about running? The more you work on it, the more progress you're bound to see. And it just so happens that half marathon we signed up for is 98 days away, as of today. So let's see what I can pull together in three months, eh?
cheers to the freakin' weekend -