Tag Archives: review

Race Recap – Aviv 10K – 45:40


Official Results:
Time: 45:40
Overall Place: 102 out of 629
Women’s Place: 9 out of 171
Category (35-44) place: 1 out of 82


Race Morning:
I woke up at 5:30, about an hour before I had to leave, enough for a quiet breakfast and getting ready.

Brooks Pure Cadence 2, Pro Compression Marathon socks, Athleta Presto bermuda, Moving Confort Fiona sports bra, Athleta Double Take Tank, Ironman Commit sunglasses.


Traffic and Parking:
Because this race was on a Saturday, a quiet day in Israel traffic wise, I got to the race fairly quickly and was lucky enough to find street parking a block from the start/finish line. Great for going back to the car to leave my warm clothes before the race, and to pick up my water bottle and snacks after the race. Oh the perks of small races.

The race fell on a warm day, about 16C/61F degrees at the race start time of 8:15, too late in my opinion. It certainly felt like a late start closer to finishing, when it was a few degrees warmer.

I arrived to the race site around 07:00. 1:15 hours before race start time is a bit early, but I like to take it easy, being stressed before a race goes against my beliefs. 🙂


The race was at the city of Ramat Hasharon, and start/finish was by one of the city’s athletic facilities. Bib pickup was at the stadium gym, so I did that first, and took the chance to go pee, better at the gym restrooms than at the porta potties.


Then I met a couple of friends, chatted for a few minutes, and went back to my car to put on my running shoes (I was wearing flip flops) and to leave my long pants and jacket.
Time flies when you are having fun and by now it was 07:45, so I sat for a few minutes, and then went to do my warm up, 5 minute walk and 3KM run at a slow pace, or about 17 minutes.

Start Line:
I made it to the start line with basically 2 minutes to spare, which is what it took me to find my way to the front of the pack, about 5th or 6th row of people. I wanted to use the porta potties by the start line, but that was out of the question, no time. I had a GU although I’m not sure I needed it, and we were off right on time.

Course and Running:
The best thing about this race, especially after running 2 large races, was that it wasn’t crowded. A few people passed me and I passed a few people, sure, but at no point I had to slow down because of others. Doesn’t reading this make you run small races only?
The course went through the city of Ramat Hasharon, nothing special or remarkable, streets, houses, a post office… 🙂 Blah at most. Oh add to that a couple uphills, and let’s blame them for a minute off my PR, thank you.
Not for the first time, I started out too fast and was beat by the half point. My splits are like one of those games for kids where you give them numbers in a random order and they have to arrange them in the right order… I should give my splits to my 5 year old and see how he does.


The 2nd half of the way had a relatively big uphill around the 8th KM, and it was getting pretty warm by this time. Excuses, excuses.


Here I am at the finish line, and look at the guy next to me, doesn’t it look like it was a hard race for him too?


Post Race:
Always the best part of a race, right?
They set up a nice post race area at the track of the athletic facilities, they had vendor booths, inflatables for children, and a band playing.


Later on there was a short race for toddlers, as well as a circus performance, and the awards ceremony at the end.
My husband and kids met me post-race, first time they came to a race, well actually post-race, there was no point in them coming too early and just sitting around.
We hang out for a bit while the kids played, and then we all ran the toddler race together.
The kids got a bag of snacks and candy for running, and they ate it all while watching the circus performance and the awards ceremony.


Since I got 1st place in my age category, they got to watch me go up the podium, which was nice for me. I do hope they become runners one day.


They really have this right, everything went so smooth.
Almost no lines for bib pickup and restrooms, the course distance was marked perfectly each KM (according to my Garmin), lots of volunteers both on course and before/after, nice after race snacks (bananas, oranges, crackers, pretzels), nice after party, race started right on time… A+.


Race Bling:
Nothing-special-about-me medal, OK award (it says 1st place women on the bottom but it fails to mention the word “age category”, which is not OK). Best race shirt ever!!! Light and small and a fun color, finally!!


A bit of history about this race:
This was the 30th year anniversary of the Aviv race, which at some point in time became a race organized in memory of Gal Levinson, a 21 year old soldier who was killed during his service in the army (1994).
His parents are a big part of the race’s organization, and they also contribute to the city of Ramat Hasharon by sponsoring local young athletes, not something that is too common in Israel. To me that alone is worth running and paying for this race.




Tel Aviv Half Marathon Review

A few days ago I posted a recap of my personal experience at the Tel Aviv Half Marathon.
Because this is one of the, if not the, biggest races in Israel, I want to do a review of what I thought of the race itself.
So you know, when you consider running it next year, even if it means a 12 hour flight, you can check my review and make a final decision.
There were also a marathon distance, a 10K, and a 5K. Although I’m reviewing the half marathon, a lot of aspects reviewed are the same for all distances.


Overall I give it a 4 out of 5 starts, taking into consideration how big the race is, making it so much more difficult in terms of logistics, that’s pretty good.

I’m dividing the review in sections, and keeping each one short.

Bib Pickup / Race Expo:
I didn’t pick up my bib or go to the expo (heard it was great though), so there’s only one thing I can say for myself, and it’s a negative: when you have a race this big, there should be more options for bib pickup than an expo in downtown Tel Aviv (read crazy traffic and crazy parking). Basically everyone who doesn’t live or work in Tel Aviv doesn’t want to go there just to pick up a race bib. If race day bib pickup is not possible, a mail option that is not crazy expensive should be available, same as pick up in a few more locations throughout the country, where you’d advise at registration at which location you will pick up your bib.

The race’s website listed the parking lots that would be available to park at around the race area, which was very useful. Still, parking was an issue, especially for those with later start times (10K/5K distances). Can’t blame race organizers for this, but something to keep in mind.

The race’s start and finish line was at a big boulevard (Rokach) right by Park Hayarkon, with the after party being at the park. I really liked this location, broad avenue is great for a start line, and the park right next to it made it perfect for the after party and hanging out after the race.


Start Line:
The entrance to the corral was fenced and well organized, the fact that they had 4 different groups for the half marathon made life so much easier, it didn’t feel crowded.
There were volunteers by the start line collecting throw away clothes, which is something I had never seen before. I was happy to (potentially) be able to give my warm hardly worn cardigan to someone who needs it, instead of just leaving it on the side of the road.
We started running exactly at 08:00 AM like we were supposed to, impressive.


Although my only entertainment while running is my IPod, I appreciate the effort of the organizers, there were music stands, DJs, and bands at different points through the course. Live bands on a race are just so cool. I think I even paused my IPod for a few seconds.



I don't think he was formal entertainment, but he got a smile out of me.
I don’t think he was formal entertainment, but he got a smile out of me.

Lots of reporters and photographers mainly at the start/finish lines and also through the course. This is a big event in Israel and it was exciting to be part of it.

I loved the course of the half marathon, I love Tel Aviv and I’m used to running through parts of it. The course went by the boardwalk which was nice, then we turned into part of downtown Tel Aviv, not as nice in terms of sightseeing, but still a cool place, and I hold dear memories about those streets (I used to live and work in downtown Tel Aviv in my previous life before marriage/kids).
The course was well marked, the KM signs were visible and clear, and it was flat for the most part with little hills here and there.
My one BIG problem with the course: merging different distances, we merged with the marathoners at some point (fine, there weren’t many) and later on with the 10K’ers which was hell. Adding 18000 to my route at the 15th KM of a half marathon is not cool. This is a deal breaker for me, I will studying the courses and start times of future big races, and will not be running one where merging happens.


Aid Stations:
There were plenty, and they were well stocked on each station I went by. There would be many runners behind me (from the 10K/5K distances) so I can’t say what happened later.


Race Bling:
We got a race shirt, which is nice and light, and a medal which is worthless and not pretty. I don’t have a use for medals so maybe someone who actually likes them feels different.


Race After Party:
The park by the finish line was were the after party was held. There were booths for different vendors (I didn’t even look, I had no money on me so there was no point), music, massage chairs, and lots of space to walk or stretch. I don’t know if it was just the endorphins or if it actually was a great after party, but I was having fun.


Food/Drink After the Race:
BAD BAD BAD. OK there were a lot of water bottles, at least that.
But no food except for one truck where they were giving away yogurt. First of all, one truck? In that big area, I didn’t see it until someone pointed it out to me. Second, nothing besides yogurt? I wouldn’t eat yogurt after running 21K if my life depended on it, can you imagine how that might seat on your stomach? I’m not taking that risk. Please give me carbs: bread, crackers, bananas, little balls of sand… give me something damn it. I’m hungry after a race. No food is inexcusable. Minus 5 points for you!

Life in Tel Aviv during the race:
A lot of the roads in Tel Aviv were closed due to the race, which of course as a runner I do not only appreciate but demand (I’m not running a race if the streets aren’t closed, that’s crazy).
However, I can imagine the trouble that caused to many residents of the city, especially on a Friday morning, which is the time when a lot of religious people get ready for the Sabbath.
Also, because the streets were closed and there was no public transportation in parts of the city, they called schools off (no school or kindergarten), which I’d personally be very upset about if I lived in Tel Aviv.

I am impressed by how quickly the results were published online, and how they kept updating them through the weekend to show only chip time (at first they were posted by finish line time), include splits, update ranks, and/or disqualify runners who didn’t run the race themselves.



An average person/runner’s review of a Running GPS Watch – Garmin FR220

I recently bought a running GPS watch, my first, a Garmin FR220, and want to share my opinion as seen through the eyes of a non-technical person, average runner: me.

Just so you know, I am really liking the watch, so this is a positive review, but I’m noting a few things that I wish were better.

Boxed Garmin Forerunner 220 - Purple

Garmin ForeRunner 220 Purple





The good:

· Pretty and purple! (don’t worry, they have a red/black model as well).

· Light: 41 gr./1.45 oz.

· Very comfortable to wear, the strap fits well, and my wrist doesn’t get sweaty from it.

Garmin ForeRunner 220 Purple - Strap

· Big buttons, you need them when trying to operate a watch or switch between screens and running at the same time (maybe with a GU in your mouth?).


Garmin ForeRunner 220 Purple - Buttons

Big buttons, for easy pressing

· Strong backlight, for those pitch black night runs.

· Big enough display numbers, so you don’t need to bring the watch all the way to your nose to actually see them.


The bad:

· It is a big watch, but in my opinion it’s worth it to have a big display and big buttons. Still, ideally I would prefer the watch to be smaller in size.




The FR220 is a mid-range watch in terms of price, so it has some great advanced features, (really, everything you would probably want?), but there are higher priced models that will give you even more detail.


The good:

· 2 personalized screens with 3 stat fields each.

· Lots of stats to choose from: timer, distance, pace, lap pace, speed, heart rate, etc.


Garmin Forerunner 220 - Data Screen 1

My First Data Screen (Distance, Pace, Lap Pace (1KM))

Garmin Forerunner 220 - Data Screen 2

My Second Data Screen (Speed, Time, Lap Time)

· Auto scroll, so the watch can alternate between the 2 screens (and a clock screen if you wish) while you run (I have auto scroll off and just scroll with a button if I want, but usually stay at the 1st screen).

· Splits (auto lap) distance and alert: this is my favorite feature, you can set the watch to auto lap at any distance you want (I have it set for 1 KM) and the watch will calculate your average pace for each split, and also alert you every time you finish a lap and show a special screen with the lap number (in my case how many KM I have ran) and the average pace for that lap.

Garmin FR 220 - Lap

This is not exactly the screen it shows you (this is from the history menu) but it’s something like that, lap number and average pace for that lap

· Auto stop: you can set the watch to auto stop (and auto resume) when you stop running or if you go below a certain speed. I think this is a great feature so your data isn’t affected by traffic light stops or slowing down due to crowds, etc.

· Alerts for going above/below a certain pace: I’ve only used this feature once and mainly to try it out, but I think it’s great to help you stay within the pace you want.

· Personal Settings, the watch is highly customizable for things such as time format (12/24hr), KM/Miles (speed and pace), alerts with noise/vibration/both, and many more.

· Fast GPS connection, I had read reviews were people would stand for 15+ seconds waiting for a GPS, and I read for this watch it’s much faster (about 5 seconds) which in my case I can confirm.

· Heart rate / foot pod, you can buy accessories such as a heart rate strap and a foot pod to measure other stats (I bought the heart rate strap but haven’t tried it yet).

· Personal records: the watch will calculate your best times for a 1K, 1Mile, 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Marathon (even if you run longer, you don’t need to run exactly 5K for the watch to give you the best 5K time). It will also show a personal record of your longest run.

There are many other features that I’m not writing about here, and probably about a million more than I don’t even know about.. as I said, my needs are pretty average.


The bad:

· I only have one “bad” thing to say, which is not even that bad, but I wish on of the displayed stats were Lap Speed, and not only Lap Pace (I’m used to running by speed, not pace, although I’m learning, thanks for that Garmin).



THE WEBSITE: Garmin Connect


The good:

· Details of your workout that you don’t see on the watch (anything you could possible want to know) and the map of your route.


Garmin Connect Summary

Lots of data

· A player of your run, on a graph and on a map, showing your time, distance, pace, cadence, and elevation.

Garmin Connect Player

You hit the play button and it takes you through your run, no kidding

· Create workouts online (by time, distance, pace, route, etc.) and send to watch, then you can access the workouts menu on your watch and chose which one you want to perform.

· Smartphone/Tablet app, with many of your workout stats (not as detailed as the website but good enough)

Garmin Connect Smartphone App

On my IPhone

· Online Training plans for different races and running levels


The bad:

· Even though the website was easy to access and set up (you sign up and chose your watch model), it took me some time to figure out that I needed 2 plug ins to actually make it work with my watch, the Garmin Fit, which is what uploads the data from your watch to the website (this was very frustrating at first when my first run wasn’t showing up online and I couldn’t figure out why), and another plug in for software updates.

· No tablet version, the tablet app is the smartphone app and looks small on the tablet. I think Garmin could do some kind of middle ground app for the tablet, not as detailed as the website, but with more features than the smartphone app.


I think a running watch (whichever brand or model) is a very useful running gear to own.

If you are considering purchasing a running GPS watch and want to read a more comprehensive review, I really recommend this guy’s blog, DC Rainmaker, I’m linking his review section, you will find very detailed reviews of the main brands of GPS watches (and other gadgets as well). I pretty much made the decision of which watch to get based on his reviews.

This is it, once again, I am loving running with the watch and the data it gives me back is incredible to me. Even though a high range model with even more features would be nice to have, I am more than satisfied with all I am getting from this particular model. I can honestly say this watch became (fast!) my number one running gear, yes, even surpassed running shoes.