|Yitz Corn's Running Profile Page reply
Profession: Founder and President of Infodyce Consulting
Year Born: 1965
Running Goals: Break 3:30 Tiberias Marathon in 2010, after 2 failed attempts
Profile: Yitz is living testimony to what can be accomplished with determination and discipline. When he joined the club, Yitz could accomodate a full set of shas on his belly. 18 months and 60 pounds later, Yitz is a local legend. A highly goal oriented runner, Yitz continues to set PR's almost every time he races, including a 1:35 half marathon and 3:31 marathon in 2008. In the real world, Yitz is the founder and president of Infodyce Consulting.
||47:04 (Gush Etzion 2006)
||1:35 (Bet Shean 2007)
||3:31 (Tiberias 2008 and 2009)
Posted: January 10, 2007
My fellow runners,
As I sit here with my feet up, munching on pastries and drinking hot chocolate (sorry Tam), I am reflecting back on three critical dates in my Marathon saga:
September 1 2005 – This is when it all started. Weighing in at a fine 110+ Kg, I began my first "run" from the top of Shushan to Reuven and back. I put the word "run" in quotes because it was mostly walking and a lot of bouncing side-to-side.
April 3 2006 – After joining the Beit Shemesh running group about three months earlier, I lined up at the starting point in Givat Ram for my first race – the Jerusalem half marathon. I was a good 20 Kilo lighter. Back in those days, the running club was not as soft and kind hearted to the slow pokes like me, and the many times getting lost, dehydrated and chased after by dogs, had me "slim" (everything is relative) and ready for action! I new I could go the distance, since on our practice run of the course I had gotten so lost and had no GPS, that I ended up running over 21K before giving up trying to find my way. After completing the race in 1:53, I set my sights on the "ultimate" goal of running the Marathon in January.
Jan 4 2007 – I showed up at the starting line already a winner. After 4 months of very calculated and intensive training, I was a different man. I had dropped an additional 8 kilo (28Kg total), and had the finest training apparel, running shoes, and a top of the line GPS. I had gone over the numbers in my head thousands of times. I had calculated and recalculated my planned splits, overall pace, plans for eating and drinking on the run, plans for rain, etc. It seemed like there was nothing left to do - just run on "auto-pilot" and get to the finish line. My plan was to run the first half with the 3:45:00 pacer (5:20/km), and then speed up depending on how I felt.
My wife and two little boys were with me at the starting line. We were with all the guys using the opportunity for group photos. I remember turning around for a moment, and then could not find them again. Suddenly we were on the move. I ran slowly past the crowd of spectators looking for my family, but could not find them. Everyone's spirits were high. I started out with the 3:45:00 pacer, as planned. After about 2 km, I realized that the pacer was running much faster than planned – he had run the first two at a 5:00/km pace. I started to call out: "what the heck is he doing – we are going too fast!". One of the guys in the pack told me that the pacer explained that his plan was to run a positive split: 5:10/km for the first half and 5:30/km for the second. I thought about it for a moment, and recalculated my overall time based on the new information. I decided that I could handle it. I would stay with the pack for the first half-marathon at 5:10/km, but keep my plans for the negative split and speed up to 5:00/km for the second half.
Our group was a bit jittery about the weather all week. At first we had heard that there was a possibility of rain. By mid-week we knew there would be no rain, but that there would be strong winds – and wind there was. Throughout the first half, I felt the side winds. As we neared the turn around point, the winds got stronger. I did exactly as Chaim coached us to do: I did not fight the winds, and even slowed down when they were strong, planning to make up time if the wind subsided. Suddenly, I heard Sarah Wizman call out my name from within the photographer's car. I posed for a picture, and asked her if she had any food (some things never change). I had brought 2 gel bars with me, but it turned out to be not enough. She gave me some ice tea to drink, as well as a bottle to pass on to Chaim, as I was expected to see him soon on the other side, making his way back to the finish line. After the turn around, I began to speed up to 5:00/km, as planned. Things were going well, and I was still feeling strong. I was told to expect kilometers 21 to 32 to be difficult, but they seemed OK to me. Since the turn around point, I had been passing dozens of people who did not plan out their race strategy well. As I neared 32K I was still feeling strong, and maintaining my 5:00 – 5:07 pace, remembering that I had read in one of my marathon books that passing people can be deceiving since many crash and burn after the first half.
At 32K, I suddenly began to tire. I told myself that from here on, its just a regular Saturday night 10K – but I knew that the Marathon race "begins" at 32K. I felt parts of my body begin to wear down. I noticed the feeling of blisters on my feet, and told myself that it would take a lot more that gusting winds and blisters to stop me now (but I did notice that my pace was slowing slightly).
My final 4.4K (the course was a bit long) became a battle of mind against body. As I reached 38K, I felt the need to stop. My body was begging for a short break. I began to think about the terrible shame it would be if I had to stop now, and how I would have to wait another whole year to try again. I kept on moving. Taking Chaim's advice, I would only stop for about 20 seconds at the water tables, knowing that if I stopped just because of the pain, I would never get started again. The water tables seemed to be getting farther and farther apart, but I kept on going. My pace slowed to 5:20, but I knew that I could still achieve my time goal since I had run the first half at a faster pace than originally planned.
I tried to identify where the pain was coming from, but could not. I tried to focus on the great celebration planned for after the race, but my body wouldn't let me. As I looked around me, I recognized the streets from the last time I ran this route: Back in August, Chaim and I started to run 10K on the marathon course. I was not able to complete the 10K due to heat exhaustion. This memory, plus the fact that I was now in uncharted distance having never run more than 38K, began to play against my self-confidence. All I could do was tell myself the same thing that I told everyone before the race: "I am crossing the finish line – no matter what". With that thought in mind, I just focused on the work at hand, and began to quicken my pace. I thought about all of the hours of training that spanned the last 3 months, and was amazed at how a strategy at the level of minutes and even seconds could be implemented over the course of 3 hours of running.
As I neared 39K, I could see the city in the distance. I was feeling worn out, yet strong again. I heard someone say that we only had 800 meters to go, and though that seemed like a far distance at this point, I was keen on finishing strong. At 200 meters, I speed up as fast as I could, as I neared the cheering crowd. Remembering Ari's advice, I did not fiddle with my GPS. Instead, I picked up my arms in victory and grunted loudly as I crossed the finish line in 3 hours 38 minutes. Interestingly, 3 days earlier, I had sent an email to Chaim outlining my main, minimum, and ultimate goals for the race: My main goal was to finish in 3:45. I would settle for a minimum of 4:00, and had a best case ultimate goal of 3:38. I was more than happy and proud to achieve this. After joining the guys who had already finished the race, I started to look around for my wife and kids. When I saw them on the side lines I ran over to them with a big smile. They presented me with an engraved trophy, which I proudly accepted. My wife and family stood behind me throughout the training, and I was glad that they would be there for the victory celebration.
I know that there were some people (292 to be exact) who finished the race before I did, but I would still like to thank some people for their help in my achievement:
Chaim – enough said
Rich – for all of your encouragement and advice
Ari & Chagai – you were the guys who I trained with the most. We were out there together through rain, heat, dogs and automobile exhaust.
My family – As hard as the training was for me, it was equally hard on them. My wife and children supported my training right up until race day and were at the start and finish of the race (with 3.5 hours of shopping time in between).
Things to correct for next year's Marathon:
Drink less before the race
Eat more during the race
Wear race shoes and socks on the last long training run
See you in Jerusalem on March 19th