Tag Archives: Tel Aviv Half Marathon

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.




Race Recap – Tel Aviv Half Marathon – PR 01:38:57

Today I’m posting about my race experience in the Tel Aviv Half Marathon, just my running, and soon I’ll do a general race review.

I had a pretty easy night the night before the race, except for a little someone keeping me up for an hour in the middle of the night.
Still, I managed to wake up refreshed and energetic.

I wasn’t planning on getting up extremely early, just an hour before I had to leave the house, but ended up getting up about 2 hours in advance. I think this was positive, and will take it into consideration for next race, it was good to be up and done with eating and drinking earlier.

I left the house around 6:15, I had to laugh at myself, not looking like I’m about to run a race, at all:


What I actually wore to the race:
Mizuno Wave Rider 16, Red
Marathon Pro Compression Socks
Athleta Presto Shorts
Nike Tank
IPod Shuffle
Ironman Sunglasses

The race’s website had listed a few parking lots around the race area, and I went straight to one of the closest ones and it was already packed. I didn’t look for parking for long and figured it would be a waste of time anyway, better go (and fast) to next one. So I went and found parking easily.

I walked/ran to the race site, about 2KM/1.2M, got there about 7:30. My start time was 8:00 so that’s pretty good. Since I had already warmed up on my way there, I just took my time getting through to my corral, walking around a bit, and using the restrooms at the gas station right by the start line.
By then it was about 7:50, I stood in place, ate a GU (salted caramel, finally I tried it and it was delicious), and by exactly 8:00 we were off.

Warming up before the start:
Tel Aviv Half Marathon Warm Up

I had stood around the middle lines of the pack of people at the start, I know a lot of the people in my corral would run faster than me. I also don’t want to be that annoying runner stuck in the middle that everyone has to pass.

I started running easy, although I had a lot of people in front of me, and some people passing me as well. I knew what paces I wanted to run, and I wasn’t about to go out too fast, not the first few KMs for sure. I like to shut off in races, not compete with anyone, go by my watch.

Half Marathoners first group start. I’m there somewhere towards the back.
Start Half Marathon

By the 5th KM I was pushing a bit too much. Nothing major, but I was gaining a few seconds to my goal pace every KM. I didn’t feel it in my legs but I saw it in my watch, and wondered if it would affect me in the end.


I ate a 2nd gel at the 9th KM, and knew the second half of the race was “push” time. Not as fast as I can go, but as fast as I should go for a half marathon distance. I think I had a good plan in terms of paces.
By now the roads weren’t as crowded with runners, and I also started to pass people. I saw that with every KM that went by, I was running more comfortably, with less people around. I knew I still had about 7KM to go, at a hard pace to keep, but I was in a good place mentally, feeling good, great weather, not a lot of people around me.. all I had to do was keep it up.

TLV Half 2

And then, like I posted after the race, the big setback of the race happened, we merged with the 10K’ers. Thousands of them. Seriously, this was tough. I was weaving like crazy, I had to slow down, and I didn’t know I was still in the right course because there were markers but who knows, maybe I missed one? With all those people, I lost sight of the few half marathoners that I’d seen around me earlier.

I never came back from that. I kept it up as much as I could but it took a toll on me. I slowed down and I wasn’t feeling great anymore. The last 2KMs were the worst, look at those splits below, crazy slow down.

I can’t say exactly what was that made me slow down, definitely merging with so many people late in the race played a big part, but there were a couple other mistakes I made that might have played a part, I ran faster than I intended from the 3rd KM until the 9th, and I also didn’t drink. I don’t drink during long runs of the half marathon distance, but then a long run is not at the same effort as an actual race. My side was hurting the last 2KMs and I think that’s a sign of dehydration. Lesson learned, I will drink water in my next half marathon.

I crossed the finish line basically beat. I even forgot to turn off my watch right away. We had to keep walking for about 200 mtrs to the ‘after race’ area, and I couldn’t. I sat on the side of the road to breathe and calm down, my side was hurting and I felt dizzy.

Garmin TLV Half

TLV Half Marathon Splits

I sat for a few minutes and then continued walking, since I was desperate for water. I had 3 half litter (16 fl. oz.) bottles, one right after the other.
The after area was nice, it was in the park and there were stands of merchandise (I didn’t even look, the usual race expo stands), water, yogurt. I didn’t see any food besides the yogurt, weird and big time bad. Please, give me food. I just ran a half marathon for god’s sake.


There were lots of people coming by as the half marathoners and the 10K’ers were finishing pretty much together. I was lucky enough to find a few of my friends, so we stayed talking and walking around for about an hour before going home.

I really like the atmosphere at races, being surrounded by people who love to run, who like to exercise and be healthy, I just love it. I know I could randomly start talking to any of those people and we’d have something in common to talk about. How cool is that.

Official Time: 01:38:57
Overall Place: 586 out of 7569
Women’s Place: 25 out of 1665
Category (35-39) place: 7 out of 287

TLV Half Marathon Res

Overall, the whole race went by fast, and well. This was only my 2nd half marathon, and it was nothing like my first, this time it seemed so much easier.
For good or bad, there were a lot more people here, more energy, awesome route (I love Tel Aviv), and I also have a few more long runs under my belt, so it played well.
It wasn’t perfect, but a good race for me, despite the end, and even the bad I’ll take as a good learning experience.




Race Day Means Dinning Out Night

This has to become some kind of tradition, having dinner at our favorite restaurant after a race.


Today’s race was tough for me, mentally more than physically.
Of course I will do a full review, soon.

But in the meantime I’ll just tell you this.
After trying hard to get away from people, to keep my paces, to pass some girls that I’ve seen on other races (and they are fast for me), after having everything go great… at about the 14 KM mark we merged with all the 10K’ers.

There were a lot of them, and it was demoralizing to have so many people in front of me again, to start weaving again. I wasn’t sure we would stay on the same course until the end and I was afraid of missing a turn and going the wrong way. A lot of mental energy went into all of this, at a point in the race that I didn’t have much mental energy left.

This is a bit before the 14K mark, if I recognize the area correctly.. see there’s not a lot of people around me.

Tel Aviv Half Marathon - 14K

This is around the 18K… look at the masses! Tough shit.
I don’t know why I put my glasses up, everything was bothering me by now.

Tel Aviv Half Marathon - 18K

I still managed to PR, I know that. I don’t know what my official result is yet, but my Garmin’s time is 01:39:10 and it took me a few seconds to turn it off, so I’m a little below that. Garmin distance was 21.26, but that’s close enough, the difference is all corners and weaving.
Now if my official result could be 01:38:xx that would be awesome. Even 01:38:59.

Just so you know, I was hoping for 01:38:37, how random is that number. It came from the splits I was hoping for (05:10, 05:00, 4:55..) and the last .1 KM made the final time I was hoping for kind of funny. That result is not happening, but that’s OK.

It was a great race overall, I am so happy I ran it. It was well organized and everything went smoothly, including parking, start line (not as crowded as I feared), great energy, lots of aid stations, DJ’s, music bands.. quite an event. I want you all here next year!



Have you raced an international race? Would you consider running one?



Ready, Set, Go!

I was hoping to have a quiet ‘before race’ evening last night, but of course I knew better.
Normal evening routine of a boring mom who works full time includes:



Not pictured: bath time, arrange groceries, pick up about five hundred thousand toys, unstick stickers from the floor, two toddlers running away from a fly.. fun times.

But my babies were in bed by 8:00 PM so I had it pretty easy anyway.

I got my gear for today’s race ready:

TLV Half Gear

And I was probably in bed by 08:30 PM, watched a couple episodes of Seinfeld, and was asleep by 9:30. Which was nice.
Lucky I went to sleep early because around 12:00 AM my 5 year old son came to my bed and couldn’t fall asleep because he was still afraid of that fly from earlier. I never knew a fly could make my life so miserable. I was up with him until about 1:15.

And then because my internal clock works so well, I was up at 4:30, the usual. I’m leaving home at 06:30 so I could have slept a bit longer, but nah.

I made my usual breakfast, coffee extra strong because I have a race to run.

I thought I’d be reading some blogs but my mind is not focused. Writing is easier sometimes, it just kind of comes out, no thinking. If this post sucks now you know why.

I’m surprised how easy this last week went by, no stress from tapering, no stress from the race. Maybe I’m starting to get used to this.
The only things on my mind are finding parking and a porta potty before the race starts.


Now it’s time to go.



I Know What Will Make You Run Faster on Your Next Race: Your Playlist!

Tape Playlist

Last month I did my first playlist post, after criticizing them (so nice of me), and I must admit I enjoyed posting it, sharing the songs that make me move, and especially the great suggestions I got in the comments, most of them made it to my running playlist.
Never in my life I had added so many new songs at once, my body was in shock!

Here’s my playlist for tomorrow’s half marathon, 15 minutes worth of warm up songs, and 1:40 worth of race time songs… I guess that means I’m optimistic about tomorrow’s race.  Better add 1 or 2 more songs just in case.

Playlist - Half Marathon Tel Aviv

Some of the songs on this playlist I already posted in my January’s post, so I’m adding YouTube links only for the new songs:

Links to YouTube:




















Song suggestions are always welcome!