This and That

Random bits of my life

Jerusalem-to-Sea Relay Race (Yam2Yam)

Posted by Avital Pinnick on April 22, 2015

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Last week, on April 16, 2015, I ran an overnight 144 km relay race, Yam-le-Yam (Jerusalem to sea). I was part of a 6-member team, along with Barry Leff, our team captain, Jacob Ner-David (Barry’s friend), Israel Friedman (Cisco), Sharon Yakobovich (Cisco), and Ouriel Gottlieb (Cisco).  I hadn’t planned to do this race. In fact, I hadn’t trained at all; I agreed to fill in at the last minute for Barry’s daughter, who had shin splints.

We ran the 144 km in 17 hours, starting at 7 pm. I ran a total of 25 km, in three segments, with about 2 hours’ sleep in the back seat of a car at a 24-hour gas station, around 1:30 a.m. I took a DSLR along but honestly I was too tired most of the time to take photos and when you’ve seen one station, you’ve seen them all–bright lights, a couple tables with food, a couple volunteers recording team numbers as runners come in and go out. The photo above was taken at Sataf, a park with some gorgeous hiking paths. This man was making shakshouka (eggs poached in tomato sauce) on a portable gas stove for his team. The ground was still wet and soft from severe thunderstorms, rain, and hail the night before.

My first section (#5 of 16) was 8 km, from Ramat Raziel to Eshtaol. It was a downhill run in a dark forest for the first 7 km or so. I wore a headlamp and had an easy road to follow (dirt road in very thick forest), but multi-focal glasses are not ideal, so the road was slightly out of focus where it was lit up. Oh, well, old age is no picnic…. I was nervous at first but I could see a couple runners about 30 m. ahead of me. As long as I could see their lights, I knew I wasn’t lost. At one point the dirt road changed to pavement. I saw something glowing by the side of the road and thought, “Did someone drop a headlamp”? Then I tripped and nearly fell head-over-heels over a speed bump. My light had been reflecting off one of the square metal bumps that marks a speed bump. After that experience I kept my eyes open for those little metal squares.

The road leveled off at a construction site, where I ran into mud for the first time. Literally ran into mud. I stepped in a bulldozer rut filled with water. At the traffic lights, about six of us crossed together because the lights changed so infrequently. We trotted, in a bunch, through another road construction site, then fanned out into single file when the road turned into a hiking trail, up and down, up and down. At one point I noticed a lot of crunching, looked down, and saw lots of broken glass, plastic plates, and garbage. Ewww. Here I am, running up out of the forest to the station at Eshtaol (photo taken by Shvoong photographer).
Me running in the Y2Y relay race

After a couple hours of sleep, my next segment (#12 of 16) was at dawn, from Elad to Park Afek (photo below taken with my LG G2 smartphone).

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Dawn runs are tough because it’s fairly dark and cold when you begin, but the weather can turn hot within 20 minutes. Of course, I hadn’t bothered with sunglasses or water! It was 8.7 km to Park Afek, running along a gravel road (tough surface, slippery), with absolutely no shade. Everything looked the same–lots of peach trees, lots of tomato plant. I’m really glad I ordered a Garmin GPS watch for future runs, because it’s hard to pull out a smartphone when you’re running to check the distance and it’s difficult to judge distance when running in unfamiliar areas. You would think a run through agricultural areas would be quiet and peaceful, but I passed a large army base with two firing ranges, both in use. There were a few puddles and muddy areas but they’re much easier to avoid in the day time. I started the run around 6:30 and had to really push myself. It’s not easy doing two runs close together. When I reached the station, the sun was quite hot and young, muscular guys with perfect bodies were stripping down to low-slung running tights (no, no, I’m not complaining….).

The last section (#16 of 16) was from the Reading power station, down the boardwalk along the beach, to the old Jaffa port. That was a lot of fun (or at least it would have been if I hadn’t been so tired!). I managed to run the whole way, albeit, at a slower speed than usual. (Finish line photo taken with my smartphone.)

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It felt surreal to be wearing a racing number and water bottle belt, running through crowds of strollers, shoppers, leisurely joggers, people drinking coffee at cafes. I really enjoyed all the Kol hakavods (= kudos) I received from strangers, along with a few comments like, “Good to see women doing this!” I’ve seen the Tel Aviv coast many times, but never from this perspective. A cool breeze (had to hold on to my sun hat) was blowing in from the sea at the new Tel Aviv port. I counted the hotels as I ran past the Carlton, Hilton, David, then the office buildings. It wasn’t easy running on slippery pebble-paved pedestrian paths, so sometimes I ran on the paved bike path and jumped out of the way when cyclists came along. After the office buildings, I was in the much less populated area leading to the Jaffa port. Barry, who had only done 2 segments, joined me half-way so I would have company. Israel and Ouriel joined us about half a kilometer before the finish line (Sharon and Jacob had to leave early) and we crossed the finish line around noon.

Next week I have a much bigger relay, M2V–Mountain-to-Valley (Har le-Emez). Eight of us, all from Cisco, will run 255 km from Tel Hai to Kfar haHoresh!

 

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