Dror Ben-Ami's Running Profile Page reply
||1:35:29 (Jerusalem 2008)
||3:16 (Tiberias 2008)
Posted: January 20, 2008
Ok my race…..
I used to be a competitive runner in my teens and early twenties. Since then I’ve kept running, most of the years, until a meniscus tear forced me to stop for a three year interval. Since the operation I’ve done three marathons and this was my fourth. The training for these runs has been increasingly rigorous, culminating in the most extensive preparation this season. Perhaps the most telling experience this year was when at kilometer 26 of the race (31st Tiberius Marathon), a stage in the marathon where I have historically fizzled out, I kept thinking ‘I’m not falling apart … Chaim has really trained me well’.
We have all followed the same four-days-a-week training schedule so I will not elaborate on that aspect of the preparation, other than to say that I followed it to the last detail (except when the 5th two km interval was too much!). Due to my running background the physical aspect of the program was not the most difficult. My challenges lay in the mental and emotional aspects of the preparation.
My problem was that I fizzled in all the previous marathons, and 95% of all shorter races in between. By fizzled I mean that I ran far below my expectations due to faulty pacing, nerves and who knows what else. In this year’s training I learnt about pacing and dealing with over lactation in the muscles due to faulty pacing. Truth be told, Bet Shemesh is probably the most difficult place to learn about pacing. There is never a flat boring run where one can focus on rhythm and maintain it through out. In the many hills we dig deep and shuffle our way up, only to follow this with a breathtaking downhill where the legs just want to fly. This is way too much stimulation for an unruly runner like myself. Nonetheless, in my second year with Bet Shemesh Running Club I began to understand, my legs started to pick up on the variations in the landscape and on where to hold and where to release. I was fortunate to partner with Hagai, a much more disciplined runner, in the long training runs and take pacing cues from him. I must say that I still have a way to go in understanding pacing, but the first positive steps have begun.
On the emotional side I had three major difficulties to overcome. The first was pride/ego. Given my prepubescent glory days of running I had much difficulty in accepting a slower pace for a race. This was a problem until the marathon day itself because I was going to go out at some unrealistic pace. Fortunately, the morning of the marathon I decided that I am untrustworthy re pacing and put my race fortunes with Hagai. This great decision was aided by Murphy who made sure that once again my Forerunner would not function on race day (due to an overloaded memory at kilometer 12). This year I have been troubled by severe developmental delays of my twin boys, Dov and Lev, who are one year old. At the beginning of the training season I did not have the emotional strength to finish a simple 10 km run, let alone a difficult training session. Running with the team took me out of this emotional sink. Although the problem with the boys persists, running is now an outlet and a source of strength for me in dealing with the daily issues. Finally, I had to overcome the disappointment of the ongoing ‘fizzles’. Chaim was a great help in developing mental and physical strategies for overcoming the ‘fizzle’ point in the run. I reached that point about three times in the last 10 km of this year’s marathon. But sticking to predetermined tactics I was able to overcome them and get a great race result of 3:16. My goal was 3:15.
Now here is the most important point of this years’ experience. For me running is an immensely satisfying experience. It is in the training, not the racing, that I experience satisfaction, joy, and a spiritual release on an almost daily basis. Running with the team on Fridays has been the highlight of this experience. Am I crazy to drive out from Tel Aviv to Bet Shemesh for the work out? Given the emotional and physical return, not at all. Running with a great bunch of similarly minded people in the beautiful landscapes of the Jerusalem hills is amazing! Thank you to all my fellow runners and in particular Chaim for being the team’s coach and inspiration.