Initially, I thought that the Jerusalem 10K would be my last race before I leave Israel in mid-April. But the problem is…I wanted to race more!
finding a race
Thanks to my obsessive searching for races, I found *4* races that weekend! The Savyon Race and Lod Race were road races outside of Tel Aviv, the Tzahala Race was a part road/part trail race in northeast Tel Aviv (like…wayyyy out there), and the last was a Mud Run in Tel Aviv’s Park Hayarkon. Although the Mud Run was by far the most accessible (and I didn’t have to wake up early to participate), I nixed it first. The only way I’ll run an obstacle course race is if I can convince friends to join the suffering fun. In the end, I chose the Tzahala Race.
Earlier this week, I received a text notifying me that the race is postponed due to weather. When it’s projected to be rainy, many smaller races in Israel are postponed. This happened with the Ramat Gan Safari Run, and it wasn’t an issue. However, I already have plans outside of Tel Aviv next Saturday, so that was a no-go. I contacted the organization hosting the race, and requested a refund, which they gave.
finding a replacement race
This was easy: I still didn’t want to do the Mud Run, and registration for the Lod Race was already closed…so Savyon Race, it was!
The only thing I knew about Savyon prior to the race was that it was a pretty small place, near Kiryat Ono. And I only know about Kiryat Ono because I’ve had to go there for work. I checked the elevation chart and it didn’t seem extreme, and the race was listed as being easy.
As far as training goes, I’ve been doing some of the adidas Runners workouts…usually the interval training. Then, on Tuesday when I missed the AR workout, I went on my own and ran 5km in 27:40…nowhere near my fastest, but it was at a challenging pace, with the last kilometer an all-out effort at what used to be my 10K race pace. This was promising, and showed me that I could run a faster 10K than I’ve been doing lately…
…then I went out with friends the night before the race. And Israel had daylight savings time, meaning that I lost an hour of sleep…so I woke up at 5am, after 3-4 hours of sleep, a bit hungover. I was this close to going back to sleep. In the end, I decided that I’d go through with the race, and play things by ear.
Price: 120 shekel/$33. Not terrible…and this was the late registration. If I’d registered earlier, I would have paid 100 shekel/$27.50. Value for money: A-
Website: All in Hebrew, very standard. Website: B
Publicity: I found info about the race very easily, on the main site I use to search for races. I also received targeted Facebook ads/posts from the race site’s Facebook page. Publicity: A
Transportation to race: Bus. Google maps and Waze were being finicky, but eventually I found a route that involved only one bus, and it left from a convenient/not sketchy location. This was great, since the bus left a bit after 6am, and it was still dark outside. There was no traffic, so even though the bus driver kicked us out a stop early, I arrived 50 minutes before the race started.
Cute sign at the entrance of the town
Unlike the Ra’anana 10K, no major roads were closed, so I found the bus stop with ease. Unfortunately, I just missed my bus home…so I had to wait around for 45 minutes. It wasn’t the end of the world…and at least my monthly bus pass worked! There was plenty of parking, so if you have a car, this is definitely the preferred way to go. Transportation: B
Sign pointing the way to civilization
Weather: 50s, overcast, and a bit humid. I needed my fleece jacket before and after the race. The humidity meant I was pretty sweaty by the time I finished. Still, I prefer cold + humid over heat any day! Weather: B
Time: 7:50am. Since I don’t trust the buses, I woke up at 5am, groaned/hated my life, then left my apartment around 5:45am, to get to the bus stop with plenty of time. Honestly, the race could have started at 8:30…but if it was a hot day, I’d definitely appreciate the earlier start time. Time: B
Start/finish area: This was a sports club area, with plenty of space and indoor bathrooms. It was pretty nice, and there was also a small expo. Start/finish: A
Packet pick-up: At the start area, very easy. Packet pick-up: A
Race shirt: I’m a big fan of this shirt and can’t wait to wear it! Shirt: A
The cut looks similar to the Givatayim 10K shirt, so I’m happy.
What I wore: adidas Runners shirt, leggings. I could have gotten away with shorts, but it was fine. After the race, I realized that I’d worn my sports bra inside out…but no chafing!
Bag drop: Not offered. I was bummed. I have a fleece zip-up that was not expensive, but I love it. However, there were dozens of bags of people’s stuff laying around, so I decided to chance it. I found an empty locker in the sports club and put my jacket and race shirt inside. When I returned, they were still there. Bag drop: C…not ideal, but I made it work.
Course: I took no pictures, but during the race, I learned something about Savyon…it’s a haven for rich people. It’s a lush suburb, filled with mansions and lots of plants and trees…very different from Tel Aviv! Had I known there would be so many plants/trees/pollen, I might have taken some extra allergy meds, but in the end it was okay.
I felt okay, so I decided to race, with the goal of running sub-1 hour. I decided I’d run the first 5K at an easy effort (but around 6:00min/km), and would pick up the pace for the last 5K. Here’s how that turned out:
I felt amazing during the first kilometer, and since it was pretty downhill, I ran much faster than anticipated. Kilometers 2-5 were more on goal. I then pushed the pace, and felt pretty good! Towards the end, all I could focus on was the fact that my butt was very sweaty and it was a bit tough to breathe…but I knew that if I purposely slowed down, I’d be disappointed in my time.
My only complaint is that the kilometer signs were not always accurate. For KM 7, 8, and 8, they were .25km late. I tried to run the tangents (not run extra distance), but races typically run a bit long. The extra .25km seemed a bit much for a 10K race, but it was within the realm of possibility. In the end, the course was 10.01km, according to my Garmin. This messed with me a bit, but man, was I thrilled to not have to run the extra .25km!
I ran the race in 57:07, making it the fastest 10K I’ve run since making Aliyah! While the course did have some small hills, it wasn’t too bad. I’d say this is a pretty good course to run if you’re trying to be fast.
Water stations: There were 3, about every 2.5km. I took water at each stop, because I felt a bit dehydrated. The water stops were frequent enough, and as always, the teenagers running the water stations were wonderful. Water stations: A+
Bathrooms: None on the course. Womp womp. Bathrooms: F
Pictures: They only had pictures of people crossing the finish line, and I couldn’t find mine. Oh well. Pictures: D
Medal: The medal is super basic. I do like that it’s only in Hebrew (aside from Saucony, the sponsor), but they could have made it a little less lame. Medal: C
Back: This is actually way cuter!
Front: Super basic
If you want a flashy medal, skip this race. Other than that, I loved this race! That being said, if I hadn’t run a fast time or raced smart, I might be singing a different tune. I’d run this race again, but it’s not a must.