This and That

Random bits of my life

Jerusalem-to-Sea Relay Race (Yam2Yam)

Posted by Avital Pinnick on April 22, 2015

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).


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.)


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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Shadow of the Dome

Posted by Avital Pinnick on April 20, 2015

Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum. I was wondering what a black dome would look like, so I stood on the side that was in the shade.

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Posted by Avital Pinnick on April 20, 2015

A different look at Robert Indiana’s iconic “Ahava” sculpture.

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Posted by Avital Pinnick on April 20, 2015

I was trying to turn the reflection into twin sun flares. I liked this shot because the seated woman shows the scale of the sculpture. She appears to be contemplating the reflections but she’s actually watching over a toddler playing on the other side of the sculpture.

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Pillars of Water

Posted by Avital Pinnick on April 20, 2015

Israel Museum in Jerusalem. I like playing with unfamiliar views of familiar objects.

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Rama 18, Jerusalem

Posted by Avital Pinnick on March 31, 2015

Rama 18, Jerusalem

I photographed this doorway a couple days ago for a book cover, at the request of a small publisher in the UK. The book is about house numbers (what else?). The house is on Rama Street in the Nahlaot neighbourhood of Jerusalem. The alley is quite narrow and I wanted to include the door and window; I almost regretted not having brought a wide angle lens, but in the end I managed to get the shot. The photo was taken around 9 a.m., so the numbers were in the shade and the light wasn’t too intense (just before we moved the clocks to summer time).

Hebrew numbers are represented by letters, and the number 18 is considered auspicious because it represents “chaim” or life. Blue is also an auspicious colour in Mediterranean cultures, so this is a very lucky doorway!

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Passover Is Coming….

Posted by Avital Pinnick on March 31, 2015

Passover is coming...

One of the signs of Passover is green garlic in the shuk. I’ve seen piles of garlic, braids of garlic, but I’ve never seen it as it is delivered! Layers of garlic bulbs are stacked in a cube and wrapped with nylon netting. That must be quite a trick!

Photo taken in Mahane Yehuda, while rushing to Nahlaot.


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Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 4, 2015


I’ve been pretty quiet for a couple months because a lot has happened. The biggest event in our lives was our son’s wedding! I didn’t bring a big camera with me to the wedding, so most of these photos were taken by a coworker.

Other stuff was work-related: on Nov. 2, my birthday according to the civil calendar, I was laid off at work. Three days later, on my Hebrew birthday, my layoff was cancelled. In a nutshell: My boss and his boss fought for to keep me.

Binyamin standing between the fathers (taken with my smartphone).

Groom and Fathers

Binyamin with his grandmother, aunt, and cousin (also taken with my smartphone).

Son with relatives from England

The bride, Ayala, on her way to the chuppah. She’s a lovely girl and we’re very pleased with the match.


She comes from a very large family. She is the youngest of 8, and her 7 siblings are all married with children. We think that’s a very good thing, because if anything were to happen to us, Binyamin would still have family in the country.


The hall, Eretz Kedem, was gorgeous. It’s in the middle of nowhere–Park Britannia in the Beit Shemesh region (taken with my smartphone).

Eretz Kedem Hall

Near the end of the evening my son sang with the band. Photo taken with my smartphone.

Son singing with the band

The chuppah was mobbed with friends and relatives. I briefly contemplated climbing over the barrier, but it was a bit high, my coworker was there with his camera, and I didn’t want to ruin the dress….


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Dancing House, Prague

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 20, 2014

Dancing House, Prague

[Oct. 8, 2013] Obligatory HDR photo of one of the Dancing House, Prague’s weirdest building. It was originally named Fred and Ginger, after Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I think it looks like a Dalek trying to camouflage itself as an apartment building. Lots of people have done far better HDR images of this building, but I thought I’d give it a try. Handheld, processed with Adobe Photoshop CS6.

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Fairy Glen near Betws-y-Coed

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 20, 2014


[May 16, 2014] Fairy Glen is a local beauty spot near Betys-Y-Coed. Admission is half a pound. A lot of people complain about the charge on TripAdvisor, but when you consider the size of the park and the cost of maintaining the paths and fences, you understand why it’s not free. Wear good hiking boots. The stones are wet and slippery and you have some steep steps to descent to reach the glen itself. When we were coming out of the gorge, we met a couple older English tourists waiting on a bench for a younger couple, who were climbing down. They were very grateful when I showed them my photos.




The paths in the park lead to a confluence of two rivers, with a lot of fishing cottages.



I love the chocolate sheep!


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