For the past 6 months, I have been training to run a 5K. Last week I actually reached my goal and yesterday I ran my first official race. While the race wasn't a full 5K (it was a 4.2K), it was the perfect first race for me.
The Tel Aviv Marathon is a pretty big deal. There were thousands of participants all running different distances--the full marathon, half marathon, 10K and 10% (4.2K) races. We woke up bright and early and donned our race shirts, which were pretty sweet, and the rest of our running gear.
We arrived in Tel Aviv just under an hour before our race's start time. Luckily, we didn't hit any traffic and had no problems finding parking. The long distance races had already begun and as we made our way to the Pre-Start Zone we played "Frogger" crossing the race route.
As we waited for our group to be called to the Start line, I was a bit nervous. Although I've already run longer distances than this race, I assumed we'd hit some hills because our route took us south into Jaffa. I wasn't sure how difficult that would make it. I also got the achy I-feel-like-I-might-be-getting-sick feeling, which didn't help. Nerves and achiness aside, I was still pretty excited. The loud, up-tempo music (that made me want to fist pump like I was on Jersey Shore) helped boost me up.
Let me take a minute to clarify what "racing" meant for us. Because this 10% race was part of a much larger and more prestigious marathon, we didn't have timing chips so there was no official recorded time for our race. Most people ran, but lots walked and many people took short cuts on the semi-confusing route.
The race route took us through the Jaffa Port and it was beautiful. It was an area Ron and I had not been to yet and it was neat to see new surroundings. It wasn't nearly as hilly as I expected and most of the way we were shaded by the buildings.
He took the above picture just before he crossed and I crossed about 10 seconds later. Minus the 16 seconds it took me to cross the Start line, my time was approximately 31:05. It was a bit slower than my average pace during my training runs, but that's to be expected with the crowds. I'm happy with it and honestly, I'm just glad that I was able to complete it without walking and I didn't come in last.