Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Guest Blog Post: AH from Israel

AH lives in Israel and is training for the Tiberias Marathon on January 7, 2010. He recently shared some thoughts about running with me. He is allowing me to share his thoughts on the blog. Enjoy.
Thoughts While Running

I started training for the Tiberias Marathon and yesterday I went on my longest long run so far in the program, 21 km (13 mi.) Because I live in a very hilly area (Samaria) I decided that I would run my long-runs near work, in Israel's coastal plain. I park my car by work early in the morning, go for a run, shower at work, and begin working.

My work is located in the town of Petach Tikva. One of the best places to run in the Tel Aviv area is the Yarkon Park, the Israeli equivalent of Central Park. The Yarkon Park is located along the Yarkon river (it's a stream by US standards) and has trails which run the length of the river to the sea. From my work, I run about a kilometer through an industrial park, over railroad tracks, through a citrus (sweeties, I think) orchard, under a highway and then I join the paths of the Yarkon Park. The advantage of running there is that I'm not alone, I always see runners and bikers, no matter what the weather. The positive peer pressure helps me keep going. There are also water fountains along the way, but I generally run with a 2 liter pack on my back.

My pace was pretty good for most of the run (5:45-6:00 min/km) but after about 16 km I was feeling a bit tired, and it was starting to get hot. I was running through trails shaded by Eucalyptus, and all of a sudden, I heard a sound almost like a horse's trot. The "horse" was getting closer, and rather than turning around, I moved to one side of the path, and kept running. As he passed, I realized that he wasn't a horse at all. He was a runner with one leg, and one leg which had been amputated above the knee, and substituted with a prosthetic device with a spring-like foot. He must have been going much faster than me because he was out of sight and earshot within less than a minute.

About 2 months ago, I fell while running and went to the ER to be stitched up, and later found out that I had "water on the knee" which prevented me from running for about 6 weeks. I was quite upset and angry at myself for such a "stupid" injury. Seeing someone without a knee run faster than I could, really put things into proportion again. I'm grateful for the fact that I have two knees (even though I'm not that fast...) and that the healing process is almost complete.

Seeing that runner was inspiring - I even picked up my pace a bit and finished the 21 km faster than I had expected.

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