Are there any elevators with no buttons? Does women fly? How to sanctify a medal? How to make plaster legs? Why nobody complains at Wailing Wall?
In preparation for the ultra-marathon, the marathon turns into a routine workout. But if you run the marathon 40 minutes slower than usually, it will turn into a fabulous holiday!
When we arrived, it turned out that Tel Aviv is a big, bustling city. Very young, by the way, born in 1909. And it seemed to me, quite boring. I do not want to offend anyone, but there is almost nothing to see. Though it is quite different when we talk about Jerusalem!
Touch the walls – and you feel the history. Noise, bazaars, tourists, orthodox Jews, sellers encouraging you to buy something (everything is quite expensive, actually). It seems that only sellers and churches have not changed at all during the 3000 years of history of this city.
And of course the Jews in their traditional clothes with hats, side curls, black coats and beard. I imagined how would orthodox Jewish Marathon look like:
And now guess, who catches the eye in Israel even more frequently, than any of antiquity? Wrong, the military. Beautiful girls on the beach, sunbathing next to their rifles do not surprise anyone already.
In fact, Judaism for me is a very weird religion. I think that because of its antiquity, it has acquired a large number of obscure rituals, taboos and paradoxes. Taking only the Sabbath – the day of Saturday. It starts on Friday evening and ends also in the evening, but already on Saturday. And the Jews are strictly forbidden to work on that day.
The ancient rules in the modern world are playing a cruel joke with the Jews. Poor things quite seriously argue on the forums, whether switching on the air conditioner after someone came into the room is considered work or not! And it is happening in 2016!
You can not pat a cat, you can not turn on or turn off the TV, take photos, light a fire. It is forbidden to wash yourself, take something in your hands outside your home, prepare meals, get a haircut, write, and more other stuff. Even the elevators in their homes ride on their own and stop at each floor (you can not press the buttons, since it’s also work!) on Shabbat.
Meeting with the Ambassador of Moldova
Earlier this year, we have developed a strategy to restore ties with Moldavian Diaspora in different countries to attract runners for the running/swimming competitions in Moldova.
First on the list was Israel and the ambassador of Moldova – Gabriela Moraru. In the course of the conversation, we exchanged views on amateur sport in Moldova and Israel. The ambassador turned to be a very open person, imbued with the idea of our Marathon, Sporter Travel and Wine Run (reference to 7 Underground Kings), and promised to support all of our current and future initiatives in Israel.
We talked about our new campaign “Run home” – for all Moldovans, working abroad, Sporter provides free participation in all our activities. The participation in the Chisinau marathon is a good excuse to visit relatives and friends. And not to forget about their homeland. It sounds a little pompous, but honestly and from the heart. We want to give them hope that our country has a chance, and that they should go back to have someone to raise the new Moldova.
At the end of the meeting, we made a couple of shots, as required by the diplomatic protocol, and slowly went to the Expo.
This time I was not only a visitor to the expo, but also a participant, along with Sasha Mechin, our sporter manager of the events. We agreed with the organizers of the Jerusalem marathon and put on their Expo our booth of Chisinau marathon and WineRun. There were many people interested in the marathon, but the most popular was the unexpected question: – Moldova? Where is it? The next time we will make a huge map with Moldova underlined, bring souvenirs with a new branding, booklets of Moldova, and will have to replace Chisinau by Kishinau – I’m sick abd tired of hearing every time “Chi-zi-na-u? Where is it?” We got a lot of compliments for our medal and style.
Also there, in the expo, a meeting took place with the Marketing Director of Jerusalem Marathon – Ronen Krumholtz. He shared some of the secrets of the organization, sponsors promotion, structure of budgeting and public relations. Something was new to us. Ronen was surprised with the statistics of our first marathon – they had as much people in the year, but this is the holy land, and not our black earth. We, in turn, promised them free slots for Israelis for the following year, and free participation in the expo. Cool and cheerful guy. In short, we have another marathon brother.
At the exhibition, we met with the organizer of the Kiev marathon – Ivan Tretyakov. We discussed the dates, so as we do not get crossed, the equipment, organization, possibilities of mutual aid, the neighbors should be helping each other, after all. Kievans told us how they had to fight for the route through the city from the Kiev mayor’s office, and we about our difficult way with the chronometer system.
Expo is not so big, everything’s as usual: running brands, shoes, food… The only thing that interested us was the handmade insoles for runners. While thinking, whether I should or not get a pair, my wife paid for the coolest ones. Thrusting my feet in some special foam rubber plastic and discussing my desires, the next day I received fancy insoles and, as a bonus, my legs in plaster version.
In the evening of the same day, next to the Expo, we enjoyed the pasta, which is assumed for all the runners that run 42km. I want to note that this event was one of the best pasta-party, where I’ve been. 4 kinds of pasta, a lot of salads, drinks, desserts – all in unlimited amounts.
Yes, and live music, as well! By counting in mind such party costs, I realized that Chisinau will have to wait a couple of years.
Before going to bed, I established the running installation with favorite candies ‘romanitsa’ and calmly went to bed, because tomorrow it will be an easy, cheerful and stress-free day…
Up at 6 am, classic pre-marathon breakfast – huge sandwiches with jam and tea. After yesterday’s pasta-party, I was not hungry at all, but I have decided as follows: full marathon still has to be fed. We walked 2 km, and here we are with my beloved at the start.
Of course, you can not compare the organization of Tokyo and Jerusalem marathons, but my memories are still too fresh. Therefore, in my opinion, the start line looking too modest – one shed, countdown and we start running. The only thing that I liked at the start of the race – costumed characters on stilts. The weather is beautiful: 7 degrees, no wind.
We are pushed at the start with Octavian Botesku, my beloved is waving with a handkerchief, and I remember how, after Tokyo, I was scolded by the coach for not eating anything during all 42 km. I thought it was a successfully completed experiment – I was running with ease.
But I did not realize at the time that “glycogen depletion and reduction in blood glucose levels (which inevitably takes place after the 30-32 km of marathon) is an incentive for the launch of gluconeogenesis from amino acids of muscles, and this implies the deterioration of part of the muscle protein. All this is a strong stress for the body, loading the hormonal system, and primarily the chain “hypothalamic – pituitary – adrenal glands.”
After reading this email a few times, I let the saliva flow, and believed his words. Therefore, I am running through Jerusalem based on such a plan:
The first 3 km I am starting in a very quiet warm-up pace, then run around 5.10-5.30, depending on the path profile. Pulse not higher than 150. Feeding – 100-120 kcal for every 5 km.
After 32 km, I slow down to walking pace, or go on foot, and start eating more serious, including the required protein-carbohydrate bar with BCAA (amino acids). But carbohydrates – in the first place. For the remaining 10 km I should be eating not less than 400 kcal. I am keeping an average heart rate of about 135. After the finish I am looking for massage therapists.
In short, the Marathon promises to be fun and easy. Meanwhile…
– Eser, Teisha, Shmone…. Start!
We are running with Octavian, chatting, but he has his own plan, so on the 7th km he runs away. And I with my heart rate of 150, without stressing physical or spiritual forces, finally have the opportunity to see where am I actually running? In the conventional high-speed races, when you are stomped and rocked, you think only about the finish, and there are no forces to consider sights, other runners, animators and fans. But today is not one of these days!
For more than 4 hours I managed to take photos with the giants, ask volunteers to feed me, run with the children’s group, make funny poses for the fans – as if I am going to die now, supported the dying ones, stopped to take photos of the Sprinkle, chronometer system, fences, feeding stations. And, of course, I was admired the old town and fierce nature.
I did not like that there were very few fans. This is probably due to the long route – one giant circle around the city.
Throughout the track I met only 2 feeding stations – really not enough! But the water was plenty – you could literally swim, every 2-3 km.
And the animation, in my opinion, was also weak: some 2 music bands + I once met stilted giants. Costumed runners, we also very little in number – well, maybe a couple to 27 000 people. Modestly… Although I am spoiled by the big marathons, majors, multi-million dollar budgets, cult races with a long history. While as the Jerusalem marathon is young – it’s only 7 years old, so everything’s still to come stem.
We, as the organizers of Chisinau marathon, also have much to learn from the Israelis, but to tell you the truth, in some areas of the organization and the track; we give Jerusalem a huge head start.
At 32 km (2:40) I understand that I can run out of 4 hours (psychological mark), but continue running/walking by the slow plan, filling my mouth with bars, bananas and everything that comes my way, without forcing th events.
And here is a beautiful finish track, like at the Ironman, the fans roar victoriously, I pull out the flag, straighten it and run to the finish. Dude at the arch announces my name into the microphone, it feels nice (we’ll take this to note). 4:08. I didn’t get out of four, but that’s okay. The main thing is a great feeling and a smooth pulse. Feels like I ran 30km not so fast.
I never finished with girls flying near me – the dude with the Israeli flag literally dragged his beloved across the finish line. Watch the video!
Hugs with wife, photos with runners-Moldovans, flags, medals, finishing noise, to cut it short.
I find the massage. They massage my calf muscles in a funny way – very cute girls are stroking me like a cat. And when I explain to them that I did not come for petting and love, they are trying to make a “harsh” massage, but it is still more like flirting. We shall consider this at the finish of our marathon, as well. By the way, I want to present the main Dr. Doolittle of Chisinau Marathon – Vladimir Botezatu – a five star kinesiotherapist and specialist in sports injuries. It will be him and his team, who will take care of our calves, feet, thighs and knees at the finish.
Spirit of Jerusalem
Hotel, shower, half-hour rest, and again back to the battle, because in a few hours the Sabbath begins – everything closes, and we have to manage wandering around the city. We have Mechin Sasha with us – he lived here for a year, so we just could not find a better guide. For the start, we go to the central market Shook Ben Yehuda.
Piata Centrala (Central Market) in Jerusalem on Friday is something unbelievable. Jews hurry to stock up food for Saturday: if you don’t manage to buy now – tomorrow you will be sucking your paw like bears in winter. Crowds of people here and there, people are running with bags in their hands, pushed, stuffing bales with food, everyone runs somewhere, trading, screaming. The feeling is that in a couple of hours comes the flood and there will never again be any food, and Noah will float away without us.
We calmly bought the right ‘market’ shawarma, various pies, stuffed cabbage, chicken, hummus, and some other weird stuff, after which we sat down and started covering the carbohydrate window, which was opened in the morning. For dessert, we took a couple of kilos of strawberries and happily went to the Old City.
First, we went to the Wailing Wall – one of the most famous Jewish shrines. This Wall is the only thing left from the main temple of the kingdom of Israel, which was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 BC. And then we went separate ways: Vicka went to the women’s side, and we – to the men’s side.
The time is 4 pm, the sun is setting, shadow slowly creeps onto the wall, Shabbat comes into force, Jews from all over the city are beginning to gather up to the wall. Placing my hand on the wall, I felt such an inner peace that I smiled at the setting sun. So I was standing about twenty minutes, smiling stupidly, until the shadow covered me, as well. In short, “the darkness that came from the Mediterranean Sea covered the city hated by the procurator”.
Sasha, wearing the cap by sporter, also freezes, staring at the wall … Having shaken, we picked up high-spirited Vicka and went through some dark labyrinth of stairs in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
I do not know how it happened, but we have come exactly at the beginning of the service. 48 days go after the start of Lent before Easter, and every day the priests hold special worship services. This is a very strong event.
We followed them and went inside. And here we are facing the plate (also known as the Stone of Anointing), where Jesus once lay, when he was taken off from the cross. I am far from Christianity, but the place is energetically very powerful – everything inside of me started trembling, Sanya had a headache, and Vicka seemed to be lighting from within.
Of course, the way to God is not through the temple, and you may come to Him at home, sitting on a mat. But millions of sincere believers, who come in such iconic places of power to throw out their faith and love, fill with such a strong energy, that it is impossible not to feel it physically.
The service started, Vicka, listening to the singing priests, lit candles in front of the navel of the earth – this is a bowl, which indicates the place, where, according to the legend, the first man was created – Adam. Interestingly, the cup is very light, and it is specially fixed with a chain, so that the tourists do not move it. A sort of a center of the world on a leash.
And while my wife tasted spiritual food, I overheard a tour guide, who told us about the technique of consecrating different things. The technology is very simple – you put a cross, a ring or anything else on the Stone of Anointing, where Jesus was laying after his Descent from the Cross,… and that’s it. You now have the holy cross. It took me 5 seconds to understand what exactly I want to consecrate:
We went from the Christian church at dawn, under the sounds of prayers, coming from a Muslim mosque, and silently went with the Jews through the dark corridors of the Old City, thinking about the same: nowhere in the world may we find the same mix of religions and sanctities density per square meter. Immersed in thoughts, we silently reached the hotel. And in the hotel, my wife politely but strongly rejected me. My advice is not taking women to churches, if you have plans for the evening.
Israel is a unique, expensive and, as they say, unsafe. Marathon is hard, hilly, a little boring, BUT … I will definitely recommend to run it, at least in order to comprehend this surprisingly different from all the rest country, fill yourself with the energy of holy sites and shrines, and, most importantly, take a ride on Shabbat elevator.