Lifestyle,Running,Stories,Teresa's Favorites,Travel & Adventure

Skinny Traveler: OMG…I’m Going To Run The Jerusalem Marathon!

If that sounds the least bit weird to read, try saying it! I don’t even know how this happened. I knew when I left my full-time gig nearly 2 years ago to forge my own path as a healthy-fitness-entrepreneur in the blog-o-sphere that adventures were ahead…but I never, in 1 billion years, would have thought this would have come to be…

How did this happen?

Late one night my friend Lindsay over at Fit & Awesome sends me a message and the conversation goes like this:

Lindsay: Let me know if you get an email from the press person at the Jerusalem Marathon.

Me: Sure 🙂 what would it be about?

Lindsay: A press trip to run the marathon 🙂 They invited me today and I obviously can’t go but I recommended they contact you.

And I’m left with this feeling of envy. Lindsay’s blog has brought her many good fortunes and I really didn’t think much of it, as far as hearing from Jerusalem. But I did think about how cool, amazing, and wonderful it would be and how awesome that someone I knew had been invited on a press trip, and that she thought of me. How cool is that?

Then the next day, sure as Sh*%^*it, I get an email titled “PRESS TRIP INVITATION: Jerusalem Marathon – March 9-16, 2015.” And I almost peed myself. What? Are you kidding? I’m thrilled to get a comped bib for a local race or a blender to review and this is an invitation to travel to Israel for a week tour to run and write about the marathon?

I forwarded it to my BFF run blogger friend Kate, my boyfriend and my dad for their insight, as it seemed quite literally, unreal. The answer is definitively, go for it! This is a bucket list trip, once in a lifetime invitation — you must go. With the approval of my most highly regarded confidants, I gladly accepted the invitation. Now I’m leaving for Jerusalem in exactly 17 days. Ack!!! I can hardly sit still thinking about it!

Jerusalem Marathon

A little bit about the Jerusalem Marathon

Well, here’s the funny part. Before I even thought about foreign travel, being gone for a week, shifting priorities around, I checked out the course to see if it was something I thought I could do with just a few weeks of training. My gut instinct was “No. I’ll run the half.” Which actually, would have been ok.

But after just a few days, and especially after I read Beth’s post over at Shut Up + Run I realized that I run a half almost any given weekend during training. I can’t possibly fly all the way to Jerusalem and run 13.1. This finish line and this medal, for the first time in long time, is about so much more than the chip time. So I’ll be running 26.2 on March 13, 2015, my 13th finish line, but my first international marathon and my first press trip!

While I’ve never run a marathon in a foreign country, I think it’s safe to imagine that the sport is universal. I think this quick video does a pretty good job showing that the spirit of the marathon is just that. While the Jerusalem Marathon start and this finish lines are far from familiar territory, what goes down on the 26.2 miles in between is something I know quite well and typically, it goes a little something like this…

  • Go! Run, water, run, think “how’s my pace?”
  • Water, run, sports drink, think “oh-no not this song.”
  • Run, water, gel, think “yay- a big crowd, oh-how I love marathon spectators!”
  • Run, water, think “can I hold this pace?”
  • Run, water, gel, run, think “do I need to slow down?”
  • Run, water, run, run, think “can I speed up?”
  • Run, water, gel, run, think “why am I still running?”
  • Run, water, gel, run, think “Ouch, I think a blister just exploded and my foot is now a bloody raw stump.”
  • Run, run, run…think “where is that f-ing finish line?”
  • Run, water, run, think “Ouch.”
  • Run, water, run, think “I think they mis-marked this f-ing course…”
  • Run, run, run…VICTORY!!

Through all the pain, comes the glory. You assess your blisters, hips and knees and think, it was hard, it hurt pretty bad, but it’s so worth it (or…identify what exactly when wrong in your training and vow never to do that again!) All that said, this time, and for the first time since my first marathon in 2001, I will actually not focus on the running itself so much as where I’m running.

I’ll run with my phone, snap pics along the way, try to actually understand where I am and enjoy, live and feel every moment of uniqueness. It’s not every day you’re invited to a new land to experience their international event. I feel like an honored guest and I will respect this event, the privilege and the experience. I am simply in awe over this all…

Jerusalem Marathon Course

My flash marathon training schedule for the Jerusalem Marathon

I was about 3 weeks into my Gals Who Run training for the OC Marathon when I got this invitation. I was up to about 28 miles per week and a long slow distance of 12 on Saturdays. Now I have 5 weeks to get up to marathon endurance level. Given that this is a hard course and I’m actually trying to re-qualify for Boston in OC on May 3, 2015, this is anything but a normal training schedule.

I know this won’t be a marathon performance to write home about, it’s the experience that will matter here. I think this plan should get me tough enough to finish 26.2 and not derail OC training all that much. Here’s a little overview of how I’m working out this odd-ball running schedule for the next few weeks…

  • Mondays: Hills 4-6 miles + Yoga
  • Tuesdays: Speed work 5-7 miles + Weights
  • Wednesday: Spin + Yoga
  • Thursday: Tempo 5-8 miles + Weights
  • Friday: REST
  • Saturday: Long Run 12-18 + Spin
  • Sunday: Spin + Yoga

Total weekly mileage 28-39

  • Week of 2/4: 27 miles – 12 LSD
  • Week of 2/9: 31 miles – 14 LSD
  • Week of 2/16: 34 miles – 16 LSD
  • Week of 2/23: 39 miles – 18 LSD
  • Week of 3/2: 33 miles – 13 LSD
  • Week of 3/9: 31 miles – MARATHON
  • Week of 3/16: 19 miles – 8 LSD

Jerusalem Marathon

A little bit about the rest of this trip to Israel

This trip is just unreal! The marathon is just one day, but the entire week is packed with sites, scenes, introductions…here are some highlights:

  • Visit Jerusalem’s Old City, Western Wall, the Church of Holy Sepulcher, “Sounds of the Old City” festival.
  • Exclusive briefing with the Mayor of Jerusalem, tour from Teddy Park to the First Station marathon expo, pasta dinner.
  • Jerusalem Marathon! Drive to the Dead Sea to soak in the world’s most mineral-rich water – are you kidding me??
  • Drive to Masada and ascend by cable car to the summit of Herod’s palace-fortress where, drive through the Judean Hills and down into the Plain of Sharon, to Tel Aviv, Israel’s “New York., “a lively dinner – then time to hit the bars.
  • Ride bikes to ancient Jaffa, with its atmospheric flea market. Continue to the restored Tachana neighborhood, and coast through gentrified Neve Tzedek to the lively Carmel Market.

Stay tuned for a training recap in a few weeks and pictures, pictures, pictures! The best perk of a slow marathon is the time to take pictures along the course and really enjoy this entire experience for all that it is worth! Be sure to follow me on Instagram or Twitter and search #IRUNJEM to see pics of events as they come!

Jerusalem Marathon

Have you been to Israel? What must I make a point to see, do or try? 

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