Jerusalem Half Marathon

I may have mentioned it before, but I am lucky enough to have a really awesome job.  I get to travel to interesting places that most people would never think of going (Iraq, Yemen….) and occasionally I’m able to squeeze in some fun on the way home.  This is even more important to me since I moved from DC (where I could easily fly to Europe for a long weekend) to Portland, here it seems like it takes an entire weekend just to get to Europe!!! I’ve been particularly lucky in being able to add on side trips to international race destinations in the past year (Edinburgh and Nice) and most recently (as in today!) Jerusalem. Well, actually, this time, Jerusalem was actually the destination for my work trip. 

The race itself was on a Friday.  And the race went quite well! Or at last it did once I got there. I woke up around 5:15-30ish, and went down to the lobby around 6 where I was expecting to see a bunch of the other runners I had seen at the hotel last night. Instead, it was dead quiet! Kind of weird. I realized I was cutting it a little close (race started at 6:45am), but figured I still had plenty of time.  So I asked the guy at the front desk to call a taxi.  He called, talked for a while, and then hung up and told me that no cabs could come because the roads were closed already for the race. I started to panic! The starting line was quite far from the hotel, and there would be no way I could walk there in time! It would probably be another half marathon just to get there! So I pleaded for him to call again or if there was anyone at the hotel who could get me at least somewhat close to the start. He called, talked for a little while again, and then hung up and said 5 minutes. I was so relieved! (although granted I didn’t really believe him to be honest).   But thankfully in about 5 minutes, a cab pulled up! I got in the front seat and was just so relieved that I didn’t even notice that there were 2 girls in the back seat at first! Turns out they were staying at a hotel nearby and were also going to the race!  I was seriously so happy.  The one girl was from Sweden and the other from Germany.  So we finally got as close to the start as we could and the cab dropped us off. It was nice to have someone to walk to the race with (and to take a picture of me at the start!)  They were nice girls who were also there for the race. Looking back I’m kicking myself for not exchanging info with them! Obviously they’re awesome girls who travel for races, so we should be friends 🙂

 

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 Anyways, I felt pretty good throughout the entire race. There were some serious hills though! Especially at the end. Talk about cruel. I’m just thankful I was only running the half and not the full.  We went through some neat neighborhoods and actually ran through part of the Old City. That was pretty neat.

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I ended up finishing the race much faster than I would have expected! I think I came in just around 2:10. Not too bad for not having really trained for it that much.  Afterwards, I walked around a bit seeing if I could find the girls from the taxi (hoping we could share a taxi on the way back!)  but no luck. I sat and stretched and enjoyed the sun for a bit, and then started trying to figure out how I was going to get home!!! I ended up walking to a hotel and found a cab, who charged me a crazy amount (well about $20, but it seemed crazy). And, I’m pretty sure he was crazy.  He was driving like a maniac, asking all sorts of questions, was mumbling to himself “why, why, why” anytime he something. And then we couldn’t get to my hotel because the roads were closed. So at one point he stopped, pointed and said, “there your hotel is up there. just walk up and it’ll be on the left”.  It didn’t look anywhere close to where I thought the hotel was, so I said fine, but I’m only going to pay you 50 (he wanted 80 ILS). Apparently that was unacceptable, so he ended up driving around again for about 10 minutes and then got to a point again where it was close, but not to the hotel. I told him I wasn’t going to pay the full amount because he didn’t take me to the hotel where we agreed on! He started throwing a fit. I ended up paying 75 just to get out.  I was sort of mad, and was trying to explain to him that I had just run for over 2 hours, the last thing I wanted to do was walk up a hill!!! He didn’t seem to care. Oh well, can’t win them all!

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Overall it was a great experience and I’m so glad I was able to run it!  It’s definitely not nearly as much fun doing a race alone as it is with friends, but sadly I wasn’t able to convince anyone to come with me for this one.  Maybe next time! Well, actually definitely next time! Next race is next weekend.  I have a mandatory layover in Frankfurt on my way home (it takes just about a weekend to get home from Europe too!).  I emailed my friend who lives near Frankfurt to see if she’d be in town (she will be!) so figured I’d extend my layover one day and see her. And then….I just happened to be looking at races, and saw that there was one that weekend, not far from Frankfurt!!! Talk about perfect! Unfortunately the half was already sold out, but we were able to sign up for the full and can switch to the half during the race. And if that wasn’t perfect enough, the race is in wine country in Germany! I’m so excited. Last time I visited my friend, we went to a beer festival, so it seems only appropriate to do something wine themed, and even better something win running too! We ran the Rock n Roll Las Vegas half in November to celebrate her birthday (again, another logistical coincidence that worked out great!) See the birthday girl in the middle (obviously!) and one of the best photobombs ever (guy in the American flag shorts to the right)

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More details and pictures of that race to come next week!

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