April 3, 2012: Tel Aviv Marathon – The Sun Comes Out

I know, I know. You’re not supposed to run two marathons so close together. You’re supposed to let your body rest for a few weeks. And in normal times, that would be sound advice.

But we’re not in normal times now. So as long as Stella is feeling alright, I’m going to keep on running. We both want to focus on what is possible, even when it is difficult.

The Race

Between losing an hour with setting the clocks back and having to get to Tel Aviv by 5:30, there wasn’t much sleep to be had the night before. But at this point, I know very well that one can get by without much sleep when emotions keep you alert.

Unlike the Jerusalem Marathon, I really had no specific plan for running. I didn’t want to go crazy, but I also had no one to pace me at a slower pace. So I decided to just run and let my body set its own pace.

Now I had imagined that Tel Aviv would be nice and warm and completely flat, especially when compared to running through the Monsoon of the Jerusalem Marathon. But what I found is that it was neither warm nor flat. And the wind off the sea could be quite a challenge.

The route twisted and turned and hit all the scenic points of the city. Running in Tel Aviv, you get a real understanding of the difference between the city and Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, everyone is motivated by a cause. They are motivated by religion, politics, ideology, you name it. Runners and spectators alike all seemed to want to be part of something meaningful.

In Tel Aviv, people are motivated to party. The motto of the race was “Non Stop Party.” With bands and DJs along the route and raucous volunteers eager to douse runners with all manner of beverages, it indeed was a bit of a party.

As we hit the halfway point, I was following a consistent pace and felt good. Although I did carry a worry that I was going too fast and would hit the wall and end up in a world of hurt by the last ten kilometers.

It’s been awhile, but anyone who has ever imploded at the end of a marathon will never forget the feeling. It comes from either running too fast or drinking too little or a combination of the two. And it’s not just beginners who make the mistake. L

But, after doing a little mental body check, I decided to take the risk and continue the pace. I told myself to worry about the last few kilometers when I got there. And to be honest, it felt good. By kilometer 39 I was still running strong and ready to hit the finish line.

The sun came out for the last bit and it felt nice to be finally running outside in sunshine.

I surprised myself with my second fastest marathon time (3:27) and felt great surrounded by friends at the finish.

But I didn’t really write this piece to talk about the Tel Aviv Marathon.

Stella always tells me that I don’t have to connect every post with her condition, but the fact of the matter is…I do.

Because she is my motivation for everything I do. And about the same time that the sun came out and warmed me up out on the streets of Tel Aviv, she turned a corner and looked and felt like her old self. And I believe her smile is just as bright as the sun.

Sure she has lost a lot of weight, but she is feeling good and, IMHO, looking great.

We know that after Passover we need to have another chemo treatment, but that will be just one day closer to the day that we will hear the Doctor say that the cancer is completely gone.

And while we could worry about that treatment and anything that will happen in a few weeks, I think the wiser course of action is to “worry about the last few kilometers when we get there.”

For now, we are going to enjoy the sun and the nice warm weather.

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