Monday, February 25, 2013

Shalom! My Return to Tel Aviv

When I think back on the 2011 Tel Aviv Marathon, several memories come to mind:

* The lack of water provided by organizers between miles 18-21, and how upset I was at that fact because of how thirsty I was at that point.  I actually spotted an unusual-looking water fountain during that stretch, right along the course, but the water was hot.  That sucked!

* Starting at about Mile 22, for the next mile or two, there were several water stations.  Horrible planning!

* Meeting Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai the night before the race, as well as Zahava Roden, a fellow runner from New York City, who I again saw as she crossed the Finish Line.  I cherish the photos I have with each, and hope to see each again.

* After finishing the 26.2 miles with my still-Personal Record (PR) time, I started walking back to my hotel but then, as I looked to my left, I saw the Mediterranean Sea – with countless people lounging on the beach.  No need to walk 20 or 30 minutes to the hotel just to shower; the Mediterranean would cool me off, kinda clean me up, at least for the time being.  I lounged on the beach, jumped in the frigid water and still remember the joy of that Friday afternoon.  Pictures were plentiful that day, and my smile never disappeared.

It’s now time for the 2013 Tel Aviv Marathon, which I am running on Friday morning, March 15.  This will be my 19th marathon in about 5 ½ years.  Still amazed, still astonished, and still smiling at those numbers.
I had so much fun before, during, and after the 2011 Tel Aviv Marathon – and am sure this year’s run through the streets of Tel Aviv will be just as memorable.  As long as I don’t get the triple interrogation, again, as I did entering Israel for the 2011 race.
Ironically, picking Tel Aviv as a destination marathon at the start of 2011 was not my first choice.  In fact, I’ll admit that Tel Aviv probably was No. 10 on my list of cities to run.  I quickly trimmed that list down, and before I knew it, Tel Aviv was the only city still standing.  One quick online search about Tel Aviv, and I was sold.
The fact Tel Aviv is a beach city convinced me.
I couldn’t be happier picking Tel Aviv … though I still can’t stand the sound of matkot constantly being played on the beach.  (Google “matkot,” if you’ve never heard of Israel’s unofficial national sport.)
Much the way Honolulu is my annual December marathon, and I will be running that Hawaii marathon for the sixth consecutive year at the end of 2013, Tel Aviv is one that I’m thrilled to tackle again.  The locals are exceptionally nice and welcoming, the course was memorable – mostly in a favorable way.
I just hope I can find enough pancakes.
This past December, in Honolulu, I learned that pancakes do the trick for me in those carb-loading days before hitting the Starting Line.  I don’t like pasta, though I have endured it in the past.  I would just rather carb-load with pancakes.
Hopefully I also can find a Yogurtland in Israel because, as David Munar will attest, there’s no better post-race refresher than mixing your own personal favorite treats with multiple yogurt flavors.
Here’s hoping the 2013 Tel Aviv Marathon is as memorable as the 2011 race was, though that leads to one of the biggest questions in my marathon running career:  What’s next, after Tel Aviv, because that will be my 20th – so it’s gotta be a memorable experience … suggestions?  Thanks,
With NBA legend Dennis Rodman

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