Friday, December 29, 2006

Change of Blog Name Yes/No ?

I just looked back to my first entry in this blog entitled "Left Right Repeat" in fact for the first few days of writing my running & exercise blog it was in fact called " Left Right Repeat "

Here is this first entry from January 3rd 2006 for youu so that you do not have to go back through the archives .....

"Running is simply a matter of moving your feet , first the left then the right and repeating this as many times as you can for as long as you can till you get to where you want to get too.

Once you are there you are a runner, can anything be simpler in life. No matter how far we go or how fast we do it we are all runners.

Over time and (diistance) you will get to know me and how I became a runner, from the man who could not run around a flat suburban block in Sydney Australia to crossing the finishing line in Central Park in New York.

It is not rocket science , just left right repeat"

I am thinking now that given that I still have trouble remembering how to actually write out .1of1% in the http thing line where we write www's should I try and change the name back to left right repeat or do you like the .1 name

If you feel like weighing in on my name procrastinations feel free to write a comment back to me

Countdown to Tiberius Marathon

The Tiberius Marathon is less than a week away now, and the taper should be in full swing. The trouble is that since NYC Marathon back in November I have had very little chance to run seriously given the work schedule that has had me in Turkey & Iraq. Running has been very limited not due to my willingness.
And not to mention the very serious operation I managed to survive whilst in Iraq, where I had an ingrown toe nail removed and I was so brave given the battlefield operating theatre.
Last Saturday I did a 20km run which given that I ran 17 km with wet shoes I was pleased, but this morning I hit the dreaded Yarkon Park for an easy 15km just to gently move the legs and relax. Also I wanted to make sure that all the working bits were pain free as I have the option to switch and run a 10km instead of the marathon. Not that I want to not run the marathon.
So I set off with Chaim and his brother in law who is new to running which was perfect for an easy pace with pressure.
I felt fantastic, one of those runs where it just all clicks and by 10 km the pace was around 1:02:00 not bad but the engine kicked in and I took off I felt absolutely charged and ran the next 5km in 24 minutes , my pace was rocking down to 4:30 minute/km
A great run leading up to Tiberius
Tomorrow the Saturday morning run with the gang , going to hold back and just enjoy the fun knowing that today was a great prep for the marathon next week.

This Link Thing

Finally I think I have mastered the fine art of linking thanks to persistence and many failed attempts of frustration and code things that you have to cut and paste and insert in html whilst standing on one leg and running up a hill.
That being said I would really link now to start being able to add your link to my page, part of that we are all one family thing.
So PLEASE if you read my blog and you too foolishly put fingers to the qwerty machine on occasion let me know and I can add you to the links

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Running Music

So on those days when I want to run long what do I listen too?
To be honest I actually enjoy listening to Podcasts on running and nothing beats Steve Runner and Phedippidations , if you have not come across this running gem log onto or look up itunes.

But I do have a generic list of tunes I enjoy running to and for the sake of everyone knowing what music I listen to hear are some of my favorites

Be warned you may shake your head in disbelief at my tastes

Make your own kind of Music - Mama Cass Elliott
Sorry - Madonna
Pretty Vegas - INXS (The Rockstar Edition from the TV show)
Lola - Dave Matthews Band
Voodoo Child - Rogue Traders
Its a beautiful life - Ace of Base
Ooh la la - Faces
Heart go faster - Davey Brothers
Ring of fire - Social Distortion
Let me entertain you - Robbie Williams
Lyla - Oasis
Because of You - kelly Clarkson (remix)
Somebody told me - The Killers (mylo remix)
Point of View - DB Boulevard
Throw Your Arms Around Me - Peral jam & Ben Harper
Start me Up - Rolling Stones
Downtown - Petulia Clarke
Cups - Underworld
Aint that a Shame - Cheap Trick Live
What You Need - Inxs
Everlasting Love - Glori Estafan
Things Can Only get Better - Howard Jones
I'm Walking on Sunshine - Katrina & the Waves
Always Something There To Remember - Naked Eyes
Spirit in the Sky - T Rex
Vertigo - U2
Pure Shores - All Saints
Feel the Beat - Darube
I am the Ressurection - The Stone Roses
Push the Button - Sugababes
Elevation - U2
Mexican Radio - Wall of Voodoo
Beautiful Day - U2
Love Generation - Club Mix Bob Sinclair
You take My Breath Away - DJ Tiesto
Get Ready for this - Sports
You're the Best Thing - The Style Council
Live & let Die - Guns and Roses
Devil Inside - INXS
Breathless - The Corrs
Lido Shuffle - Boz Skaggs
Bad Day - Daniel Porter
Drop the Pilot - Joan Armatrading
City of Blinding Lights - U2

These are in no specific order and I mix and match according to what type of training I am doing on the day

The thing is to figure out and guess which is the track I have listened to the most?

Another Pictoral gem from the past

So people doubt that at times I do not run seriously have been looking back on old computers for running photos and came across this gem from the Ein Gedi Half marathon a few years back , run along the Dead Sea the lowest place on Earth 450ft below Sea level. This was from memory my first half and was run in a howling sand storm

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

New York Marathon 2006 Photos

Thanks to Chaim, my running buddy a couple of pictures from the NY Marathon last November , In the first picture we are on the left hand side with our arms up and you can see my name on my shirt.

The Crossing the line picture we are bottom right, our actual time was 4:27:16

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Twas the day before Christmas

Now the trouble is that when I come back home to Israel after Assignment I am basically bored on my days off, at least when i am working I know I have stuff to do when I am here and almost everyone is away there is nothing to do, So basically I train in the morning go home get bored so train again in the late afternoon as thus today actually looked like this

7 am Spin Class - Crap Instructor all in Hebrew he arrives late as usual with bad music , cardio OK workout
8 am Core Class - a good 15 minute workout of the stomach and core
8:15 am Weights Gym - Upper Body Sets Shoulders Chest Arms
9:00 am Steam Room

pay rent, get ripped off by landlord , nothing new here but anyone who claims to be a millionaire and then chases me up for what he did just sucks , instant ruined relationship end of story. Going to make him buy a new toilet seat tomorrow for the apartment

go grocery shopping , buy new fabric softener as the other woman in the aisle agreed it smelt the best after opening ten other.

Go home unpack , find out what I thought was cottage cheese is in fact not cottage cheese , so why the hell do they put a cottage on the front like they do on cottage cheese

Watch a movie get bored decide to head back to Gym

4:45 Weights - Upper Arms
5:00 pm Core Class again
5:15 pm Eliptical half hour cross country course
6:00 pm swim 500 m
6:20 pm Jacuzzi

Then up to the cafe in the gym as I have internet here which I do not have at home apart from my blackberry

And thus was my Xmas Eve 2006

Pumping Iron Reposted

Now that I have a high speed internet access again was checking back thru the blog and realised that somehow "Pumping Iron in Ramadi" had been posted 5 times. Now I know you enjoy reading (sometimes) my words but here I must of in frustration hit the POST button more than once as the connection in Ramadi was not the best.
Anyway that said have added some photos and deleted multiple duplicate entries

What is this wet stuff falling from the sky?

Saturday Dec 23rd 2006

One of the better things about living in the Middle East and there are not many positives to be honest, in fact you could count the positives on the fingers of one hand and still have change.

One thing that it is hard to complain about as an “athlete” is that the weather is almost always great for training, of course in summer it is hot but if you get up early normally you can beat the worst of the heat. The average summer training session takes places in temperatures from 24 to 32 degrees Celsius.

Which brings me back to this morning, it is raining cold (probably around 11 C.) miserable and given that I have a marathon to run on January 4th, less than two weeks away and that I am coming off a lay off with being in Iraq.

Do I go out and run in this miserable cold wet weather or go to the gym, do a spin class in a few hours and some weights and then swim all sounds good and noble, but I still am wracked with the thought that I should be out running. What if on marathon morning it is raining and I will look back on this morning and curse the chance I had to run in rain.

Then again I can run long tomorrow and enjoy the gym this morning and have a short hash run this afternoon. Hash running is not real running but a chance to get out for a few hours run and drink beer and plan my long run for tomorrow.

The rain is getting worse.

08:00 am

Oh fear not that they may think of me as a fair weather runner.

I have procrastinated to a point where the weather looks like it is improving and after a second cup of coffee I start to prepare to go out and run.

Before you think I have sat around doing nothing-fellow athlete for the last hour please I note that I have done a load of laundry as well as drink coffee and type this entry.

10:30 am

20 km later time 1:53:17, negative split run, aim was to run as many at 5:40 pace which was successful and given the fact that 17km of the 20 were done with wet training shoes. At the 3km mark a large puddle marked the trail, and given that the area is mainly sand I took to the side of the trail and stepped into knee high water with both legs into freezing cold water.
Now I could of turned and jogged back home, claiming defeat and that it was a run that was not meant to be, so I pushed on at the 7km mark. Can life get any worse my mp3 battery dies and I am left with nothing to listen too. I prefer to listen to pod cast when I am running alone and thus I was now facing the double joy of cold wet feet, grey skies, and nothing to listen too.

I pushed on focusing my anger inwards and concentrating on upcoming events in my life and arguing cases back and forth.

I did push far harder on the second half, as the course is primarily an out and back loop.

Protein shake at home and a lazy day the rain started as I started to walk my cool down so maybe someone up there was looking after me.


Hash run over, best to say that with even walking to the start and back I barely nudged 5 km but was actually good to shake the legs out to a degree, as they were tight from the morning run

6:30pm Day Review

Total km today: 25km. Not bad considering what might have been given the weather, want to get the sense of how my body is prepared for the Tiberius Marathon on January 4th 2007. The only thing that will preclude me now is that if I have to go down to Gaza for more than a day if rumors are true then the word is that I may be back down there. That being, Tiberius is out of the question I just have to get through a few days without being assigned to Gaza, no one cares and I question why we would even contemplate sending a team down there. With no feasible back up, the ramifications of going there are too scary to contemplate.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Good to be running again

It has been a long time since I could walk out the door and just run, so i look at my time in Iraq as my seasonal break, enforced by other than good intentions. Also I was a "wuz" in Iraq and it was too cold too run all I had was my running singlet and shorts and with the temperature in the low c's and 40's f .
I decided that I was allowed to skip running and pump iron with the Marines, well OK i did weights and the Marines Pumped Iron it is scary to be next to young guys 18 - 22 in a Gym three hours a day.
I am about two weeks out from the Tiberius Marathon on Jan 4, which I am doing for fun taking it easy and just cruising along still debating whether to try the Galloway Run 9 min Walk 1 min , in my other 4 marathons I have always bonked somewhere between 19 and 23 miles and have found my splits just awful with dead legs.
Has anyone else been there and tried Galloway without training Galloway at all?
Today a nice ten km , very easy low heart rate average 113 max 135 (up small hill) time around 57 minutes, given it was first run back after Iraq felt good , right knee had been very sore for last few days which I must of cracked? in the Marines Gym in Iraq
Looking forward to hearing back from anyone re Galloway Idea


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fear Not - A New world approaches

Out of Iraq
Minus half a toe nail but good
Have not run for weeks - good - need the rest
Looking forward to getting back into training - good again
Lots more News and stories to come
About to leave Frankfurt after an overnight decompress
More to come
And as always leave comments that way i know I am not talking to myself LOL

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pumping Iron in Ramadi Iraq

There is no lycra and no women, no one is fat or overweight, there are no rows of pristine treadmills and elliptical machines with multi channel TV’s attached, there is no reception area where your membership card is swiped. There is no membership fees or promotions, no changing room, showers, toilets, lockers or sauna bath. You are more likely to hear heavy metal or rap than you are to It is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and your membership is valid for four years. (*1). But it has more weights than any other gym I have ever seen, more plates upon plates of weights and bars.

There is no natural light, in fact any windows, the entrance way is sandbagged and you walk past the drop off point for dirty laundry (Laundry is picked up at 6:30am Tuesdays and Fridays by a seven ton armored truck, back on the next run). Eight fluorescent lights strung up and the rumble of the heater that manages to warm the air in front of three machines enhances the atmosphere in the gym.

Most benches and surfaces have some duct tape holding them together. There is dust and cobwebs in corners, in fact most surfaces have dust, it should be noted that almost everything in this part of the country has dust on it if left for more than 30 minutes.

And yet for all its faults, its negatives the Gym here on the Marine Base at Hurricane Point, Ramadi, Iraq has what any gym in the world wants close to 100% of the community belong. Virtually every Marine works out, and they work out hard, heavy and tough. In a realm where the Alpha male rises to the top, he who bench presses the most per body weight is held aloft.

I use the gym here everyday, one because I like going to the gym, two because it is far too dusty to run my usual trail, inches of dust does not make for conducive times let alone ruining a pair of good running shoes, three it is too cold to run here in the morning with the running clothes I bought, and lastly I had an operation on my big toe last night. (More on that later, the big toe that is.)

In the Corps, discipline and respect are the cornerstones of their world. You do not see Marines walking around the Camp here endlessly saluting or standing to attention. But you do see respect and honor.

In the Gym every Marine is equal, because they all want to be the best, no one wears any insignia of rank in the Gym everyone has the same sweats, everyone has the same haircut and everyone wants to be better.

The gym here will never win any trendy award, the old broken treadmill in the corner will still be gathering dust in six months. However today, tomorrow and for every day there after, the Hurricane Point Gym will have close to 100% of the population walk past the sandbags and push open the door.

(*1) When you enlist in the Marines it is for four years.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Trademark of Death

Yesterday it was sitting in the armored Humvee’s getting shot at by RPG’s, today a sniper decided to try and take a shot at us.

The worst thing is that there is no warning, no sense of impending danger all that you experience is the sound. The air simply cracks, one single round the trademark of a sniper.

We were down at the Government Center, well to use the term Government and Center together is an oxymoron. Because whilst it may be known as the Government Center, certainly no administration has taken place there for a while. On previous trips it was always where you met the Provincial powerbrokers, but that was before six major bombing attacks on the building compound and a daily assault from mortars, rpgs and snipers.

It is now a shell, cold stark and with tables and chairs covered with dust, no heating exists and the cold in the rooms reflects what is left of the town. Across the road from the GC there used to be shops and building, now there is rubble. The buildings were leveled first by 500 lb bombs then by demolition teams, as they had become a haven for terrorists from which to attack the Government Center.

This morning we went there with the Marines who had escorted a local contractor and his foremen whose job it will be to remove the rubble from outside and make the area suitable for a car park for the GC and planners even have ideas for a park. Now given that no parks exist in this city it seems an ambitious urban planning scheme to say the least.

So whilst the Marines were escorting the contractors out thru the safe back way to the alley and then to the street so that they could assess the task ahead, we tagged along wanting to shoot a segment link for the War Stories Special.

We had a couple of takes in the camera and moved to change angle with the camera rolling Ollie was just about to start when the sniper “sniped”. It shakes you up for a second or two and Ollie headed for the wall, I just ducked down and waited for the inevitable gunfight, but the discipline of the Marines is such that locating the position from which the shot was fired is more important than blasting away.

The site survey did not last much longer and we moved back into the safety (sic) of the Govt Center and spent time filming Xmas Greetings with Marines even then the cracks in the air continued on and off. Just another day in Ramadi.

Monday, December 11, 2006

in Memory of a Fallen Runner

There is nothing sadder than attending a Memorial Service for fallen soldiers in the field. It is hard not to hold your emotions in during the final minutes, it is not the service or the firing of the salute rifles outside the mess, it is the sight of and sound of fellow soldiers and marines on their knees as they reach out and touch the dog tags. It is not a loud sound but the soft sound of two dogs tags touching each other. Two small pieces of metal that contain the heart and soul of a friend.

They played a song that I never have heard before, a country and western ballad “ American Soldier” I do not know who wrote or sang it. It will forever be in my heart, because one of the fallen was a Marine I knew.

A reservist who came here and paid the ultimate price in the name of freedom and liberty. This is not the time or the place to debate the merits of the war here. We all have opinions and thoughts as to the rights and wrongs of what is happening. But for families who have lost sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, know that out here when a comrade falls the entire community weeps with you and your loss is shared all, in the dust and heat, cold and mud they are never forgotten.

When I run my next marathon I will have on my arm the name of a friend who will be remembered because she like me liked to run marathons.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Training In Iraq

By the banks of the Euphrates, 135 km west of Baghdad in the city of Ramadi. Not sure whether it is a sunni stronghold or a shia frontline, but the consensus is that it is a stronghold of Al Qaida and other foreign militants whose sole job is to prevent my training to proceed as in a normal day back in the real world, also it may have to do with the thousands of US troops based here trying to rebuild Iraq and stop civil war.

have just found out it is a "sunni stronghold" and that the shia's would have trouble fielding a football team here, so the sunni's are to blame for my lack of training facilities, it is hard to run laps on the streets here, well you cannot so my training is restricted to the bases here, Camp Ramadi the main camp here is big enough to run in but the potholes and tank tracks make it a dangerous place, oh and the threat of mortars also make it les than an ideal location. That being said I did manage a nice 5 and half km run yesterday , hence the photo of running with the tanks as i approached the halfway turn around point a US tank was screaming up the road. If you think a crazed person on a SUV constitutes a life and death prospect, then avoid a 80 ton tank going full pitch towards the same intersection, I slowed down to allow him to pass before turning back.

I have promised Simply Stu (podcaster of Simply Stu a photo of a T shirt he sent me for competing in his inaugral worldwide triathlon last year - so Stu there you have it , Simply Stu's worldwide tri now includes Iraq.

This morning it was to the gym and that is the subject of my next blog later


Ramadi Iraq - Running with the tanks

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The View to Asia

It is a joy of travel that allows me to run in some incredible places, and the run this morning on the banks of the Bosphorous River saw me running in Europe and looking into Asia, albeight thru very grey and cloudy skies, past palaces that are hundreds of years old and cobbled alleyways.
This must be one of the few places in the world where you could possibly run in two continents, that is if you can get accross a very large and heavily traffic congested bridge.
On any quiet Saturday morning in a city of 15 million people you would expect to see other runners, I saw one other runner out this morning and the universal smile is the same the world over.r
Sometimes it is nice just to have the smile returned and know that you can share your joy with someone else who you might never see again.

Looking Accross the River to Asia in the Dark of Dawn

Waiting for daylight to come so that I can get a long run along the Bosphorous River, the dividing line between Europe and Asia. If I could figure out a way to get onto the bridge without becoming a traffic statistic I would be tempted as then I would have the bragging rights of saying that my long run took in two continents.
Woke up at 6am to listen to the mosque call to prayer in the distance, the call sounds nice at a distance but the novelty of it wears off if you happen to have a mosque next to your hotel, 5 times a day .... allah akbar gets on your nerves.
One thing about being on the road travelling and running is preparing yourself to go out as you would at home, the trouble is that sometimes things can get lost in translation, or the attempt of a hotel to "go that little bit further"
Before my long run I like to have a banana and coffee. So I call up room service and ask for a coffee and a simple banana, coffee no problem .. but banana thanks for trying guys but I did not need three banana peeled sliced laid out on a plate with garnishings, a simple banana on a plate that all that I needed
Still pitch black outside and thus will have to wait, gives the coffee the time to do its thing