My father; “Don’t be afraid, it’s my turn to chase the monsters away”

It is almost a month since my father closed his eyes for the last time. My beautiful father. This post is a bit different, not much running, more about memories and what’s important in life. So this is what I wrote and read in the funeral:

“On the way, driving, I heard a song saying “Abraham, do not touch that child…” and I asked too, but it did not work. A so, like king David, you went out to the yard to open the gate, and he found you there. David.

My father, a child on the laps of a Romanian girl in the village. On a wagon, deported. Walks along the room walls to avoid his dead grandma. Runs with grandpa between the bombs, seeking shelter in the trenches. Hiding in the toilets with Ezra your brother, to eat the cake grandma sent. Crossing the continent after the war by train just to catch the buns at the window in Amsterdam railway station.

Excited to see Haifa harbor lights after a week at sea. Charming mother by the water fountain in the steaming Beit Shean valley. Firing a “fiat” rocket in your army training, and remembering Leibowitz hat floating in the river as you crossed it. Building your home in kibbutz Tel Amal, work night and days out in the fields, saving young gazelle hiding in the growing wheat.

Celebrates and happy with his children, mourns the loss of his first boy, so young… over fifty years ago, seems like today. Leaves the kibbutz, build a home in the city,  a warm and hugging family nest, with diverse neighbors, and kids with bread and jam on the grass. Hikes and travel with us across the country, knowing every farmer in the fields and the mountains. Teaching me to know each soil, row and furrow. 

You, who came back from this horrible war in 1973 and sworn not to shave until peace comes. That when Sharon entered our home with her head shaved, and mother stood there jaw dropped, you said: “you look great”. That let us fall a rise and respected our will to be independent. That welcomed your guests wearing gallabieh and serving steaming coffee. You, that kept complaining that the painful back stands between the head and the bottoms, but agreed with me that the alternative is sanitary questionable. That somehow, Afula was the center of the world for you, and that your eyes shined when you talked about your grand and grand-grand children. That they remember with love how you said that each person is born what he is, and so do gay people, so why making such a big deal about this.  That of all the things you could tell my daughter when she traveled to see the camps in Poland, you asked her to contribute to the society and the community.

Dad. That I was smart enough to start telling you how much I love you two years ago. So here, one more time: I love you.

Kisses and a big hug. Rest in peace.” 

 

And all along this week, this touching song of James Blunt played again and again in my head.

“Monsters” by James Blunt

Monsters (James Blunt)
Oh, before they turn off all the lights
I won’t read you your wrongs or your rights
The time has gone
I’ll tell you goodnight, close the door
Tell you I love you once more
The time has gone
So here it is
I’m not your son, you’re not my father
We’re just two grown men saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you’re sleeping, I’ll try to make you proud
So daddy, won’t you just close your eyes?
Don’t be afraid, it’s my turn
To chase the monsters away
Oh, well I’ll read a story to you
Only difference is this one is true
The time has gone
I folded your clothes on the chair
I hope you sleep well, don’t be scared
The time has gone
So here it is
I’m not your son, you’re not my father
We’re just two grown men saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you’re sleeping, I’ll try to make you proud
So daddy, won’t you just close your eyes?
Don’t be afraid, it’s my turn
To chase the monsters away
Sleep a lifetime
Yes, and breathe a last word
You can feel my hand on your own
I will be the last one, so I’ll leave a light on
Let there be no darkness in your heart
But I’m not your son, you’re not my father
We’re just two grown men saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you’re sleeping, I’ll try to make you proud
So daddy, won’t you just close your eyes?
Don’t be afraid, it’s my turn
To chase the monsters away

Thoughts for a long distance race: what works for you?

77020008_10216473372852886_6786247042931884032_oNot a psychologist or therapist, but as most long distance runners know – mental strength is definitely part of the game. Recently, during my long runs, I started thinking of the depth you reach in while competing in a long race. Particularly, I was trying to recall specific thoughts and classify them. Being an engineer, the urge of putting things in some logical order is impossible to control.

First, I tried to think of the axes along which the thoughts align. Many ideas came up, but I made the choice to define them based on my thoughts rather than reading other papers that may fit many people. This is because it is important for me to define these for my future personal experiences. The axes I chose are time and “positive-negative” scales. For simplicity I divided these axes to minimum number of categories. Time scales goes from “past” to “future” through “here and now’. The “positive-negative” scale is even more simple and split to “negative” and “positive”. Now that there is a map, it was time to place the thoughts on this matrix.

Placing the thoughts on the map seemed to be easy when they came up as I was running, but as I set in front of it in my living room the thoughts were hard to find and recall… not giving up on the concept, I did collect examples and placed them on this matrix. Figuratively I think it could look like this:

thoughts in a race

Now that I got my thoughts in some kind of logic order, my question was: where do I find myself spending more time? which part of this matrix works better for me? Honestly, “future” thoughts are not very productive for me, fantasizing on the future during the run put long term goals that I find often very useful during training are frustrating me during a race. Here and now – this is a very operational part of the race, helps me to be functional, overcome here-and-now problems and crisis. Surprisingly (or not?) what works best for me are thoughts that take me to the extreme: bring me to tears OR make me burst laughing. Deep dark memories, traumatic ones, may pop into my thoughts and somehow drive my run. Similarly, on the very end of the “happiness” scale (just invented it now…) I find laughing so helpful. This relieving laugh comes many times when I try to fool/cheat myself by thinking “it is almost over”, and then thinking how stupid I think I am…. Oh, and one that I really like is simply telling myself jokes…

And how about you?

If you got all the way down to this end, share with me: What are your thoughts? what helps you during the race?

Till then: see ya on the trails!

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Here we go again! Namib Race!

Time to follow the next dream, time for new fears, new gaps in the knowledge, new doubts, time to re-find the inner strength, time for a new search. No worries, I am not quitting my great job, only choosing my new running adventure. A couple of months ago, I decided to challenge myself with a second “4 Deserts” race, this time in Namibia. A “yellow-brown” race, unlike the green horizons of Mongolia last summer. After building the base, December 1st marks the beginning of the “official” training period for the start line on April 26, 2020.

The more I think of it I understand that this race is a completely different challenge. The more I understand this – the more I am excited to confront the challenge and test myself again. I remind myself that the best moments of running in pouring rain is spreading your hands while running through the howling wind and the thunderstorm!

This one will be different for several reasons. The first is the new territory, the unknown terrain, climate, people.  Second is the training. Now I know what it takes, I know the pain, appreciate the dedication required and the sacrifice; will I find it again? Third, I am more experienced, I know better the food and the equipment that I need… am I? did I learn what really matters? is it relevant to this race?. And then… the race itself. I learned and experienced how a “racing the planet” race goes, but also how tough it can be, remember the small victories along the way, but also how deep I had to dig in to overcome it – do I have what it takes to do it again?

So I re-embark upon this journey, to find the answers to my doubts along the way. And for sure I will.

Till then, see you on the trails.

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New Year’s, birthday, new resolutions. שנה חדשה, יום הולדת, החלטות חדשות

  (English below) שנה חדשה, יום הולדת, החלטות חדשות70626463_10215772192803823_5468484268302794752_nככה יצא שראש השנה התערבב עם יום ההולדת שלי ובלי לשים לב המחשבות על השנה החדשה מתערבבות עם המחשבות על השנה ה-56 שלי על הכדור. יש מן נטייה כזו לעשות סיכומים ומהם להתחיל לדבר על העתיד, אבל אותי זה קצת פחות מעניין. יש לנו עיניים בחזית הראש, ולכן טבעי יותר להסתכל קדימה. אז מה קדימה?

ללא ספק האתגרים האישיים והמקצועיים מתערבבים, כי קצת קשה להפריד ממה שמרכיב בסופו של דבר את מכלול החיים. קשה לי גם קצת להפריד בין השניים, כי גם ברמה המקצועית אני עובד טוב יותר כשיש מטרה (purpose). בזמן האחרון אני מוצא שהחיבור בין האישי והמקצועי מתחדד ומתעצם. בעיקר מתוך האהבה לטבע ולמרחבים שמוציאה אותי החותה לשטח לשעות ארוכות. ההערכה למה שיש סביבנו, ההכרה בחיבור בין בני אדם לבין עצמם, ובעיקר המשפחה. ועם אלה מתחזקת ההכרה שצריך לעבוד יותר קשה ויותר מהר כדי להפוך את העולם שלנו למקום קצת יותר טוב. משהו מאד יהודי לטעמי – תיקון עולם.

משימות כמו אוכל טוב יותר ליותר אנשים, וקיימות במובן הכי עמוק שלה הופכות להיות מרכזיות. ומכאן המשימות המרכזיות להמשך:

הראשונה היא דווקא המרוץ הבא. שעות ארוכות בשטח שמזכירות לי בכל פעם את כל היופי הזה שמסביב, עד כמה אני אוהב אותו ורוצה לשמור עליו. ובאותה מידה מזכירות לי בכל פעם כמה שביים אנחנו, ברי חלוף, רק חלק מאקוסיסטם אחד ענק. אנחנו אולי היצור הכי מתקדם בעולם, אבל אנחנו תלויים מאד בכל היצורים שסביבנו. והמרוץ הבא, בארץ שלא ראיתי, בתנאים שלא חוויתי, יהיו עבורי פרק חדש בהערכה לטבע.

השנייה היא האישית והמקצועית. אוכל טוב, בזבוז מזון, אנרגיה, אריזות, כולם רכיבים של קיימות שאני נוגע בהם בעשיה היומיומית המקצועית שלי. השנה הזו מסמנת עבורי משימת על שמחברת את כולם. כל אלה הם בסופו של דבר משרשרת מעגלית שבמרכזה האדם וסביבתו. אלה יהיו רכיב מרכזי בחשיבה שלי השנה, מתוך ההבנה שאסור לחכות לכך שמישהו אחר יחוקק, יבצע, יציע – אלא צריך לעשות מעשה. כל אחד בחלקתו הקטנה או הגדולה.

ובתוך כל אלה המשפחה שלי, הקרובה, הרחוקה, החברים, המכרים… ולכולם מגיע טוב. מקום טוב יותר, עולם טוב יותר. נאיבי יהיה לחשוב שהרע יעלם, אבל בלתי נמנע לדעת שידו של הטוב חייבת להיות על העליונה.

אני יכול רק לאחל לעצמי שהשנה הקרובה תהיה התחלה טובה לבאות אחריה. שנה טובה!

 

New Year’s, birthday, new resolutions.

So, it came out that Rosh Hashanah (Jewish new year) had mixed up with my birthday and the thoughts of the new year mixed with thoughts about my 56 year on earth. It is common to make summaries and from them to start talking about the future, but for me is a little less interesting. We have eyes in front of the head, so it is more natural to look forward. So, what’s going on?

Undoubtedly, the personal and professional challenges have been mixed up, because it is a little difficult to separate the components of life. I also have a little difficulty separating the two, because even at the professional level I am better at the point of having a purpose. Lately I find that the connection between the personal and the professional is being strengthened. Especially from the love of nature that pushes me to the hills for long hours. Appreciation for what we have around us, recognizing the connection between people and themselves, and especially the family. And with these, the consciousness that we need to work harder and faster to make our world to a better place. Something very Jewish – “Tikun Olam”.

Hence the main tasks are:

The first is the next race. Long hours in the field that remind me every time all this beauty around, how much I love it and want to keep it. And as much as it reminds me every time that we are only a part of one giant ecosystem. We may be the most advanced creature in the world, but we are very dependent on all the creatures around us. And the next race, in a country I have not seen, in conditions I have not experienced, will be a new chapter of appreciation for Nature.

The second is personal and professional. Good food, waste of food, energy, packaging, all elements of sustainability that I touch in my professional daily doing. This year marks a mission for me for connecting them together. All of these are ultimately from a circular chain centered on the people and their surroundings. It’s going to be central to my thinking this year, out of the understanding that we can’t wait for someone else to be doing it, to offer. It is up to us to get it done.

And within these, my family, the friends… and they all deserve well. A better place, a better world. Naive would be to think that the evil would be gone, but inevitably knowing that the good must be on top.

I can only wish that the coming year would be a good start for the years to come. Happy new year!

What an amazing race! Gobi March 2019!

I have no air, my head turns, and it feels like almost fainting. I’ve been fighting every step for the last 15 minutes. It cannot be that after only 20 km I will be the first to withdraw from the race… On the other hand, I have a family to get back to,  and what is this race anyway? Sit, relax, try to figure out what’s going on. So I sat down, face to the valley from which I came and the contestants who were passing me one by one. I quickly realized I didn’t take food on time and I had a severe sugar drop. Pack of candies, 20 minutes to let the sugar be absorbed, get up, slowly, and start to climb up slowly over the steep slope. This is how my iconic event appeared in the race, and this is probably why I also finished.

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In fact the affair with the running started at the age of 8 but on this a few words at the end… My serious romance with running started about nine years ago. At first several kilometers in the Ramot Menashe, and slowly I went out to the hills. With the enjoyment of running in the area comes the appetite, and from there the way was short to the marathon. There I realized that me and urban running is not a love story, and what really fills me up is the time in nature, on the trails, day, night, and so on in the rain and mud. Here I discovered the world of the ultramarathon – hours on the hours of nature, of a personal challenge, of exploring the physical and mental borders. As “smart” said “running long distances 90% is mental and all the rest in the head”.

A year and a half ago I sat down for coffee with a Pano Koter, and told him about my idea of running the Gobi-March, a 250 km race consisting of 6 stages, 4 of about 40 kilometers, one of 70 kilometers, and 10 kilometers at the end. A significant challenge for amateur runner and not particularly outstanding as I am. The format is self-supported so you have to carry everything on your back. The route in Mongolia passes through a variety of mountain and flat landscapes, forests, rivers, dunes, when the weather can move below zero to over 50 degrees centigrade. The competitors only get water, a tent at the end of the day, and a bonfire. The race is part of The 4 Deserts Race Series: Gobi in Mongolia, Namibia in Africa, Atacama in Chile and Antarctica. At the end of the conversation, he said to me, “sounds absolutely possible.” Just like that, my coach says.

The preparation for the race was physical, material, and mental. Pano split the preparation into two parts: 9 months of base and nine for the race itself. The first part was done with 66km in the “Sovev emek” race, and two weeks later, another 90 on the Carmel-Trail route along with Orna Altman. The focus of the material preparation was the choice of equipment. Each runner is required to carry a mandatory list of 35 items. This significant part of the preparation ended in my backpack with 9.2 kg before water. The mental preparation was constructed naturally by long training hours on the legs and countless back-to-back runs. Also, my goals in the race have proven itself: 1. Stand on the starting line, 2. A healthy finish with a smile, and 3. For the ego – not to be last…

To Ulaanbator, the capital of Mongolia, where the gathering and briefings are held, I arrived two days before heading out to the area on a flight through Moscow. I used the time for walking tours in the city, to know it, but also to reset the biological clock. At the same time, I arranged the backpack according to the race program – the food was divided into days from the bottom up, the electrolytes in the side pocket, the clothes equipment and the gear in the back pocket. The sleeping bag and the mattress have been compressed in turn to another the side pockets, and the warm clothing above the food in the main pocket. Then, on Saturday morning the race process began to roll.

In the morning we gathered for the briefing, all looking right and left to understand with whom they will spend the next week. Some are familiar from past races, jokes, hugs. Then a careful inspection of equipment, boarding six small yellow buses and heading out towards the first camp race near the KHAR BUKH BALGAS fortress. Like rookies we went through the red camp gate with the sign “GOBI MARCH 2019”. Then we met the tent partners. Tent 14: Beth from Kenya, Nicolaj of Hungary, Nuria and Albert of Catalonia, the American Libby from Seoul, and me. First night, irregular sleep, crazy stars, then morning comes. Quiet alert of organizing, final briefing, and underway!

The first part started great and just at the pace I imagined. The road is half sandy half-white, low bushes and a strong scent of lavender in the air. Around us endless spaces and sky in depth and unperceived width. I’m passing through a Mongol nomads tent and a local family waving peace, crossing a stream and advancing. After 15 km begins pain in the right shoulder – “It’s probably not sitting well, I’ll straighten up” I’m conning myself. I am way ahead the “cut-off” beyond the 20th kilometer to the beginning of the great ascent. Then all of a sudden, the air, the fall of sugar, after I chew candies, I remind myself to listen to the body and like any other ultra race to adapt to the track and its demands… Getting to the end line of the day is happy, and I am sitting to eat with Renzo, the oldest participant – 71. I eat freeze-dried food, and the experienced veteran, like a good Italian, prepares for a tortellini with fragrant sauce and Parmesan cheese… Only the wine was missing.

To the second day, we wake up after a rainy storm and crazy winds all night. It’s cold, wet, but they’re all smiling. A rough day of meadows and countless climbs . Rain almost nonstop throughout the majority of 45 kilometers with fierce winds. With mild hypothermia I reach the finish line at the opening of a big Gerr camp. How good it is to make a night in a warm gerr. From here every morning I was taping  the fingers that were suspected of developing blisters.

The “warm-up” at the beginning of the third day comes in the form of climbing about 2 km up a steep bolder ridge. From the summit, there is a lovely single in a blooming landscape that looks like a Japanese postcard down to the monastery of Erdene Khamba. The second aid station I am asked to take extra water as we go into the dunes. How beautiful and blooming they are. As I entered them unfocused, I lose the calm in the dunes. After almost seven kilometers and a moment before I “Lose it”, I threw the backpack over a bush and stopped to refocus myself and reset it. The exit from the dunes was easier. I completed the part with a great sense of relief. At night in the tent I planned the next stage strategy, the Long March.

For the 77 kilometers of the Long March, I made a decision to move very slow. Because of fatigue and because of the forecast of over 35 degrees, I chose to control my energy. After 20 km caught up with Varun that was severely limping. After a brief inquiry, he agreed that I would take care of him. I picked up his kneecap by taping and he started to walk better. The control point in the middle of the distance is celebrated by providing cold soda cans to the competitors, delight!  The endless and flat-out scenery and the sandy nature of the road make you lose the sense of time. I was very happy to get to the fourth aid station, where there were also hot water. I pulled out a personalized package of coffee and a snack, a little rest before the night. Because at night it is only permissible to move in couples, I went out with Mike and Alfonso. After 200 meters, Mike did not feel well and I helped him back to a little bit of sleep, from here on it’s just Alfonso and me. Very quickly it turns out that this fellow is a cardiologist from Sicily – “Good to have one with me” I smile. Alfonso asks that I draw him, and I agree with a smile with one condition: that we stop at midnight, turn off our flashlights and listen to “A Whiter Shade of Pale” under the stars in the Gobi. And so it was. Unaware that in Israel lilach is “climbing the walls” since the race website crashed, I was happy to finish after 18 hours and go to sleep. Tomorrow’s rest day…

The last long day (stage 5) consisted of multiple crossings of the Orkhon River. The Orkhon valley is full of flocks of horses galloping, and endless fields of lavender flowering. After about at third of the way, we started climbing up a river that was drenched in flowering and scattered cedar trees that became the forest at the end. Many parts of it felt like a hallucination with purple and pink flowers. After reaching the peak altitude, we rolled down towards the last crossing of the floating Orkhon river, passing the hairy yaks in the pasture. The spirit of the special race brought about everyone who had already arrived and a large part of the volunteers and the dedicated medical staff who accompanied us to the river to applaud the coming. I couldn’t help but be excited about the tears of the Anjeles, a gifted runner, with tears in her eyes when she saw the last of the runners coming.

The last day of the race started early. We crossed the river, and after a few kilometers of a moderate climb the village of the town of Karakorum. On the way to the end in Erdene Zuu stands Josephine the volunteer and cries of emotions, and just before the entrance gate to the monastery I also have tears in my eyes… The passage through the finish gate feels like a movie, as if I wasn’t there, as if there were not 250 kilometers between me and the starting point. With the last battery percentages I called to wake Lilach and rejoice together. Without her, it wouldn’t have happened.

One does not run a race like this alone. You run with the family in your heart, with the support of your friends, and a lot with yourself. And also with the poems that Lilach gave me, and mostly read to myself, but I also translated to my friends in the tent and to the staff (Abraham Chalfi was the star). I was also encouraged by the fact that I am exploiting the race to promote two organizations that are very important to me: “Yadid-Lachinuch (A Friend for education)” and the Perthes Kids Foundation. The feeling of being able is something that stays with you the rest of your life, and as a child who could not step on the left foot for three years, I am fortunate to support other children as well. Even a 54-year-old child is allowed to dream.

To the next challenge.

With love.

Eyal

 

*** Do not forget to support Yadid Lachinuch the the Perthes Kids Foundation

This is it… time to go

Time flies, and its time to pack, board the plane and start the final part of this journey. Nothing much to add but the excitement, butterflies in my stomach, much anticipation for this adventure. Can not wait to see the place, smell the air, feel the soil under my feet.

Along the way, Lilach “fed” me with weekly poetry for the journey, and this one came today. In respect to the original written in Hebrew – the original follows the translation (did my best…):

“Successful journey never ends,

the kilometers do.

But time in carved in you,

becomes part of you.

In the end of the journey I do not feel victorious,

rather grateful.

As if the road passed through me, not me in it”

(Abraham Halfi)

מסע מוצלח לא מסתיים לעולם,
הקילומטרים כן.
אך הזמן נשאר חקוק בתוכך
הופך חלק ממך.
בסוף המסע אינני מרגיש מנצח,
אלא יותר אסיר תודה.
כאילו שהדרך עברה בתוכי ולא אני בתוכה.

(אברהם חלפי)

DO not forget to support Yadid Lachinuch the the Perthes Kids Foundation,

Simple, The journey of a child…

We lived at the end of town, up on Mt Carmel, where the shepherds used to come with their sheep and goat herds to the hills by our neighborhood. I remember long days of strolling on these hills, trying to figure out the animals visiting at night by their tracks. Watching the seasons changing the colors, the smells, the texture of the soil under my feet. Walking these trails by our home and across Israel are my best early childhood memories.

This post is about what really matters, the journey. A journey of a child, as old as almost 55. A child who was lucky to have parents who never said you can’t. Who had the right orthopedist telling him that he will. Will be able to walk and run like everyone else. Just keep the discipline and use his left leg the way he is asked to… This same discipline is probably also behind the ~5,500 km ran and ~80,000 m climbed while training toward this race.It all started about 10 years ago when I started running on a regular basis a few times a week. I always loved it when I was running, but never got serious into doing it. So much been earned and learned along the many hours and miles on the way. So many cliché are said about long distance running, surprisingly, the more and longer you run you find out most of them are true. On the Gobimarch website it says “we refer to the 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series as a series of self-supported rough-country endurance footraces which can be completed by running or walking.” My translation to this was more time out there, a new opportunity to explore my boundaries, and a new opportunity to win the inner competition. And it is also about comradeship of runners… I have this memory from my first half marathon, when I saw the winners back on the 19-20th kilometer, cheering for the runners. People like myself who took over 2 hrs to finish, and were simply happy to complete the run. That spirit is what I love in this sport, the brotherhood of runners, the mutual support, the appreciation of the personal effort – no matter if you are the winner, or the last person to cross the finish line (especially me being closer the second one… :-)).

So, as already said, when at the end of July 2019, I will be standing at the starting line of the GobiMarch, a 250-km race in Mongolia, I will prove myself that everything is possible, and this is exactly what thousands of Yadid Lachinuch volunteers do. This is also my message to Perthes kids and their families. Join me and support Yadid Lachinuch the the Perthes Kids Foundation, and enable us reaching more kids, show them that anything is possible, in tolerance and the love of man. And to support each of this kids in his own journey. It is that simple…

Simple (Raymond Carver)

A break in the clouds.

The blue outline of the mountains.
Dark yellow of the fields.
Black river.

What am I doing here, lonely and filled with remorse?

I go on casually eating from the bowl of raspberries.

If I were dead, I remind myself, I wouldn’t be eating them. It’s not so simple.
It is that simple.

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So what’s the “big deal”? Big plan, small donation

If you feel like ‘like’ or ‘comment’ at the end of the post, then instead, go to Yadid Lachinuch Eng. / עברית OR PERTHES KIDS FOUNDATION and spend this short time to support and donate 1 dollar or more to these great activities.

Thirty (30) days to Gobi March 2019… wow!

So my head deals with “the plan”, how should I handle the race, each day, every moment of it. How to cope with changing circumstances and situations. Trying to predict all the unexpected. As much as I do so I understand that it all comes down to some very basic decisions based on the most important things for me when I first thought about taking part in this race. What really made me so excited about training and hopefully participating in it?

It all started with looking for something exciting that involves running, preferably somewhere I did not been to before. A multi-day ultra-marathon event was on the agenda, since I did want to cover more landscape and be more time outside while doing such a race. Googling things, brought me to the racingtheplanet website, and from there the way quickly indicated the Gobi March is the leading candidate.

So what’s the plan? 1st, Start; I guess this in itself is kind of an achievement, being there after the long training journey. Then, 2nd, Enjoy; why am I here for if not to enjoy the time out there, the unknown land, the heat, the night, the climbs… And 3rd, Finish healthy; critical point, keeping the race in the right proportion, pushing only to the extent that is needed to serve the “enjoy” goal. I bet that if i can only follow these basic rules – it will be a great race!

Will keep sharing the excitement and the preps in following posts…

If you read thus far, then please support: PERTHES KIDS FOUNDATION & Yadid Lachinuch Eng. / עברית

Some highlights of the 2018 race:

To follow up the race that starts on July 28th, simply go to the race “results” page, or update from the race IG of 4Deserts and Racing the planet or FB page of the RTP. Some updates may also show up on my personal FB or IG page.

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It is only 36 days away…

The GobiMarch2019 is only 36 days away. As much as I was excited think of this race, planning, training, dreaming… 36 days feels like NOW. This journey started as a very personal one… and evolved into raising awareness for two organizations, Yadid Lachinuch and the Perthes Kids Foundation. Now, when the start line seems at reach, I wanted to take a look of the way to date.

Since the idea to participate in the Gobi-march came to my mind, and the actual start of the long term planning and training, it has been almost 18 months. Looking back I find that since January 1st 2018, I already covered run/hike of 4,944 km, climbing over 74,500 meters, in 365 activities.  These long hours and miles were accompanied by photographs of the great trails I explored (see some from June at the end of this post), and some blog posts, trying to reach as many people as possible. Yet, my plans for the race remain modest: Start, Enjoy, Finish healthy. 

Back to impact… so I took the time to analyze where did my words get to. The map below shows the coverage of the globe – yet many parts uncovered 🙂 . Nevertheless, so many people follow, including many unknown friends from Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, USA, UK, Ukraine, and Venezuela.

map

To follow up the race that starts on July 28th, simply go to the race “results” page, or update from the race IG of 4Deserts and Racing the planet or FB page of the RTP. Some updates may also show up on my personal FB or IG page.

Do not forget to support: PERTHES KIDS FOUNDATION & Yadid Lachinuch Eng. / עברית

Eye of the storm, a place to be

Training for long distance runs requires allocating significant time, and people often ask “how do you do this?” or “why?” or “where do you find motivation?” and a bunch of other questions. There is probably no single and clear answer to this, and it is probably very different from one person to the other. To me, at least in part, it is the eye of the storm.

If you say that someone or something is at the eye of the storm, you mean they are the main subject of a public disagreement, or a least the heart of some conflict or unrest (https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/the-eye-of-the-storm). This however does not really fit the real nature of the phenomenon.

The eye is a region of mostly calm weather at the center of strong tropical cyclones. It is a roughly circular area, typically 30–65 km (20–40 miles) in diameter. It is surrounded by the eye wall, a ring of towering thunderstorms where the most severe weather and highest winds occur (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_(cyclone)).

The Eye Wall, a hurricane’s most devastating region, is located just outside of the eye . This is the location within a hurricane where the most damaging winds and intense rainfall is found. … At the surface, the winds are rushing towards the center of a hurricane — forcing air upwards at the center (ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/(gh)/guides/mtr/hurr/stages/cane/eye.rxml).

The eye is so calm because the now strong surface winds that converge towards the center never reach it. The Coriolis force deflects the wind slightly away from the center, causing the wind to rotate around the center of the hurricane (the eye wall), leaving the exact center (the eye) calm.

The long hours out there on the trails, the changing views, the different colors of the seasons, the lights of the day and darkness of nights, the music I listen to, the time to think and to not think, the focus on the next step, in and out of the daily rush – this is part of what running is for me. An eye in the storm, only me, challenging myself and pushing my boundaries, leaning how to listen to my self, plan in detail and change everything just to re-plan, focus and refocus at will, succeed and fail, keep on pushing forward, live.

Below are some peaceful shots from the runs, enjoy – and do not forget to support: PERTHES KIDS FOUNDATION & Yadid Lachinuch Eng. / עברית