My friends at the Florida Jewish Journal (Randall Lieberman and team) always do such a great job covering the local Jewish scene, and the Maccabiah Games of course.
They did it again by recapping the 20th World Maccabiah Games with a story on me and Rylee Pustilnik, a junior track and field athlete and also a star member of the Spanish River Cross Country and Track teams.
Read the full article below, which highlights both of our experiences in Israel and the bigger meaning of the whole games!
Rylee Pustilnik and Melissa Perlman are at very different stages of their running careers.
However, the two Delray Beach women share in common winning bronze medals at the 20th Maccabiah Games (Jewish Olympics) in Jerusalem this past July.
The Maccabiah Games is the third-largest sporting event in the world (after the Olympics and Pan-American Games) — with nearly 10,000 Jewish athletes representing about 80 countries competing in 45 sports in four distinct divisions: Juniors, Open, Masters and Disabled.
Pustilnik, 15, won three bronze medals in the Junior Girls Track-and-Field competition in her first trip to Israel for the Maccabiah Games — placing third in the 800-meter run, the 1500-meter run and the 3000-meter run.
Meanwhile, Perlman, 35, won one bronze medal in the Open Women’s Half-Marathon in her fourth trip to the Maccabiah Games as an athlete.
Life is busy. Between work, home, responsibilities, family, exercising and “other,” it’s amazing that any of us getting any sleep or even find time to “enjoy.” Often finishing in last place on the long list of “to do” items is your relationship with your spouse or significant other.
For many of us, scheduling a “date night” becomes critical. If not, time together will fall through the cracks. For most of us, a date night of dinner and a movie, dancing, etc. is sufficient. For other’s it is not.
For my boyfriend and I, we take OTF classes together, we go on long walks with the dog, or bike rides alone. We start runs together. We cook together, eat together and watch specific shows together. We try to keep our time together focused and enjoyable.
For this NYC couple, they made their “date night” all about exercising. And it works for them – as it has gotten them back in shape and brought back the passion.
I returned from Israel just a couple of days ago and I am just coming up for air! The jet lag combined with time spent catching up on work, sleep, family/friends and my puppy has kept me pretty busy…and honestly SLEEP has dominated everything else (sorry!).
So I truly apologize for the lack of posting here on the site. I planned to post throughout the games as I travelled through Israel with Team USA but the schedule (between travel and training) was rough!
The best I can do is catch you up here on the last three weeks! And then I’ll gradually share snippets in the coming weeks and months! So read on…and let me know if there are specifics that you want me to follow-up on! I learned a lot, I saw a lot and I’ve definitely got a lot to share!
I went in with hopes and plans to run sub 1:29 for the half marathon. I trained for that and was confident I could do it. That was until we arrived in Jerusalem and I saw the Jerusalem terrain and specifically the Half Marathon course. It was HILLY – and when I say HILLY I mean MOUNTAINOUS. (So hilly, in fact, that I ran on the treadmill the week leading up the race in an effort to keep my confidence up and avoid as many hills outside the hotel we were staying in that I could!)
Coming from Florida, anything with hills is probably a little outside my comfort zone. But I try to be pretty relaxed when it comes to racing these days and figured ‘hey, all competitors will be facing the same course’ and moved on.
The race started at just before 9:00pm Israel time and I went in with the following strategy: Go out conservative, stay relaxed, stay aerobic (per Doug) and don’t let those hills kill your legs too early on. From walking the Jerusalem hills the week prior, I knew what they could do to my legs pretty quickly…and I promised myself I would take it easy and not allow the lactic acid to build up too early on. (I wanted this to be an enjoyable race…and not unnecessarily painful.)
Mile one was just over 7 minutes (7:03 to be exact). The first 800 meters was up hill and I took it easy. I’d say 70% of the field probably passed me at this point…but I kept reminding myself: ‘this is a 13.1 mile race’ and I’ll catch them later. Same for mile two (7:07). I think it was mile three that I started to feel my rhythm, get comfortable and develop my race plan .
Stay relaxed on the hills and get up them with small rapid steps. Allow the body to lean in and move up easily. Do not let the body go anaerobic or let the lactic acid build up in the legs.
Attack the down hills (which I personally love) and let the body go, the stride expand and the arms / upper body relax. Boy did I love those down hills (except where it got super windy).
And on the few areas of flat ground (honestly – probably adding up to two miles total), pick up the speed!
The race was two loops that repeated so the constant up hill, down hill, flat, up hill, down hill, flat course became the norm and made the race go by super fast. I was spending so much time looking forward to the down hill and flat areas, that before I knew it we were at 10miles in.
I pretty much ran alone or just behind a few Israeli guys – who chatted with me every so often (where was I from, what was my race goal, etc.). While I tried to keep the chatter to a minimum, one of those guys ended up being a life saver later on – giving me the heads up in the last 3.1 miles on upcoming hills, sharp turns, and more. (Thanks David! David had run this course many times prior.)
The last three miles was where I really wanted to pick up the pace and be aggressive with catching up to some of the leaders ahead of me. I felt great at this point…but I also had a tough 3.1 miles ahead of me. Lots of up hills, lots of tight turns and a 1k through the Old City (on slippery cobblestone, etc.). My total time for that last 5k was just under 22 minutes, which was solid, but not enough to catch me up.
With under 1k left in the race, as we ran down the final Old City hill and onto the Mamilla straightaway, I remember looking to my left over the city of Jerusalem – and thinking this is truly beautiful, and this experience has been amazing. I then finished up my last 800 or so meters wishing the end was closer (as always), and focusing on my form so I could finish strong.
My final finish: 1:33 and change and a third place in Maccabiah Open competition (fourth place overall – including a Master’s woman). But most importantly, I ran proud, strong, and happy. Another Maccabiah, another amazing experience.
Thank you to my teammates who were out there with me; Doug and Coach Rothman for the advice; Leah for the training plan; my family for cheering me on on the course – I LOVE having you out there just like my high school days; Lauren for the extra support and goo/water on hand; and Mark for the “strong” statements and goo at halfway mark!
Love this concept!!! Running & therapy! I could totally go for this!
There are so many times that I personally use running and listening to music as my own personal therapy and mental release…but there are just as many times that I go running with a friend just to talk, listen and once again…get that mental release.
The idea of meeting my therapist for a run (or walk) seems so simple…yet brilliant. What do you think?
“Run Walk Talk”: Running with the therapist while discussing life’s problems
By Robin Abcarian, Los Angeles Times
REDONDO BEACH, Calif. — The psychotherapist was in running gear: black tank top, black leggings and black shoes. Her hair was pulled back. She carried only her phone.
Leaving her office in Redondo Beach, Sepideh Saremi crossed a couple of streets, walked down a sloping path to the beach, then began to run north, toward the pier.
Had I been her patient, that’s when our session would have begun.
As we ran along the edge of the ocean, Saremi periodically asked me if I was OK, if the pace was good, if I was comfortable. I had a feeling that she was also reminding me that we were not pals, which struck me as entirely appropriate.
My running partner, Lauren, and I have had some pretty tough training runs over the past few weeks…so under the advisement of her boyfriend Zach, Lauren stepped into an ice bath for her very first time! As she told me today on our run…it was the absolute worst experience ever! I had to giggle as I know the pain all too well! Few can handle the ice bath, but those who do benefit!
(Photos of me in my own ice bath today; as well as Lauren eating pizza to make the time go by faster in hers!)
The general theory behind this cold therapy is that the exposure to cold helps to combat the microtrauma (small tears) in muscle fibers and resultant soreness caused by intense or repetitive exercise.
After a workout, your body needs to “repair” itself to prepare for the next training session.
It does so with the help of blood vessels that bring oxygen to your muscle tissue while removing waste products of exercise — the most common being lactic acid.
Too much lactic acid build-up can cause your muscles to function poorly and will often lead to fatigue.
An ice bath will immediately reduce swelling while flushing lactic acid out of your body.
When you sit in an ice bath — or when you rub a cup of ice on the muscles you just trained — the cold causes your blood vessels to tighten.
This helps drain the lactic acid out of your tired muscles.
When you get out of the bath, your muscle tissue warms back up, causing a return of oxygenated blood to help your muscles recover.
So next time you are need of some relief for your sore muscles, try out your very own ice bath. Directs as follows:
Pick up at least two or three 20lb ice bags
Fill bath up with cold water about 50%
Dump in ice baths
Jump in yourself and force yourself to stay in there for 10 minutes
Tips: Go in fast…the slower you do it, the longer it takes for your legs to go numb. Wear a sweatshirt or towel on your upper body to keep you warm / bite when you need to scream!
I talk a lot about acupuncture on this blog…mainly because I am a fan! It has worked numerous times throughout my running career – when I thought all bets were off on an injury.
It has come to the point, as of late, that I get acupuncture treatments on the regular to keep all aches and pains at bay. If you are wondering if acupuncture is for you, here is more information on the treatment (courtesy of my acupuncturist Carlos Restrepo):
“Acupuncture improves balance and removes energy (Qi) blockages. When applied to an specific area increases the blood flow in the tissues promoting the body’s self healing process.”
Great article from the NY Times with detailed research and studies
on what tactics seem to work best in “cooling” the body prior to a run in the summer heat.
I personally have introduced Hot Yoga (90 minute classes) to my workout routine this summer…and not only seen the stretch benefits during/after class but also the ability to adapt to the heat during my runs easier as well!
The takeaway for those to busy to read the full article:
“The upshot of these results is that “you will receive a bigger bang for your buck from acclimating to the heat rather than by temporarily cooling yourself down” with chilled clothing and such…
On the other hand, precooling can be a useful stopgap measure when temperatures suddenly rise and you do not have time to acclimate before a looming competition, he says. “Throw your ice vest and cooling shorts into the freezer” and wear them for about 20 minutes before your event, he advises.
Acclimation demands far more time and planning. During your first workouts in summer heat, he says, reduce the time you spend outside and go at a gentler pace than normal, slowly ramping up your effort as the exertion begins to feel more tolerable, which can require anywhere from four or five days to two weeks, depending on your current fitness and heat tolerance. Be sure to drink plenty of water, too, he says, since you will start to sweat more profusely.”
Twenty years after my first trip to Israel with team USA as part of the World Maccabiah Games, I am heading back during the Summer of 2017. Its the 20th Games and its 20 years since my first foray into Maccabi. I have been to numerous games since, including the 2013 Maccabi Games and the 2015 European Games, but I am super excited to go back to where it all got started!
Join me on my journey back as I blog my training plan, fundraising journey, and excitement right here. Only 150 days to go!
I will be representing the Women’s Open Half Marathon Team and will compete in mid-July in Jerusalem, Israel. Feel free to ask questions, leave comments, and join me as I prepare!
It’s the third year of Run Republic Running Camp and I can’t wait! If you are a high school student, a runner, and like to travel, this is the trip made just for you! We run, we hike, we kayak, we see the amazing beauty of the United States, and we have a lot of fun! Learn more and join me and my crew on one of two amazing planned Summer 2017 trips.
2017 Summer Trips have been announced and include:
California Adventure (June 9-16, 2017): Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, Visit Alcatraz, White Water Rafting, Kayak Lake Tahoe, Hike Yosemite Park, and Explore Monterey and Silicon Valley.
Carolina Trails (August 1-8, 2017):Segway tour of the City of Atlanta, Explore Stone Mountain, White Water Rafting and Zip Lining, Hike through DuPont Forest to Waterfalls, and Explore French-inspired Biltmore Estate.
Past Run Republic Running Camp trips have included the following destinations:
Colorado and Utah (Summer 2015): Snowshoeing in Loveland Pass, UT; Water rafting in Glenwood Springs, CO; Hiking Zion and Arches National Parks; and Frisbee and Zip Lining in Park City, UT.
Nevada, Colorado and Utah (Summer 2016):
Oregon, Washington (Summer 2016): Track Olympic Trials in Eugene, OR and Weekend in Seattle, WA and along the Northwest Pacific Coast.
About Run Republic Running Camp Run Republic Running Camp was created by two current high school cross country and track coaches with the goal of merging the typical college-campus based summer running camp with the modern, mobile and exciting teen tour. At the core of Run Republic is running. But beyond that, it offers participants mentorship, training, travel, adventure, friendship, education, fun and excitement. The Run Republic mission is to create memories, experiences and bonds that go beyond running and will last a lifetime!
Last sumer, seven student-athletes from Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton, Florida, traveled to the beautiful mountains, trails and valleys of Colorado and Utah to run, build up their summer mileage for fall cross country and experience the United States’ unparalleled mountain region – all while having an awesome, fun time!
It was all a part of the inaugural Run Republic Running Camp for high school students, which merges the concept of a typical summer running camp (running multiple times a day, bonding with peers, and learning new skills, while staying in the dorms at a college campus) with the super successful and adventurous teen tour (which keeps campers on the go constantly and involves lots of exciting adventure).
“We believe we have created a running camp experience unlike any other,” said Run Republic Running Camp co-founder Doug Horn. “At the core of Run Republic is running. But beyond that, we offer our participants mentorship, training, travel, adventure, friendship, education, fun and excitement. Our goal is to create memories, experiences and bonds during our trips…that go beyond running and truly will last a lifetime!”
Horn, who is the head coach of the Spanish River High School cross country and track teams, founded Run Republic Running Camp with his assistant coach Melissa Perlman. Both Horn and Perlman are accomplished mid- and long-distance runners who ran in high school and college and continue to compete today.
Summer 2015 attendee Andres Parada, a senior at Spanish River High School added: “I’ve been on several teen tours throughout the U.S. and Canada, and Run Republic was by far the best. It was very similar to other teen tours, but when you add in the running, closer friendships are built and the experience somehow means so much more!”
While the summer of 2015 trip featured an itinerary that ranged from snowshoeing in Loveland Pass and water rafting in Glenwood Springs, Colorado to hiking Zion and Arches National Parks and playing Frisbee in Park City, Utah, the 2016 summer trip selection promises to be even more diverse and exciting.
Trips for the summer of 2016, which are open to all high school cross country student-athletes, are as follows:
Colorado, Arizona, Nevada (June 10-20, 2016)
Track Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon and Weekend in Seattle, Washington (June 30-July 10, 2016)
North Carolina Trails (August 2016-dates to be finalized soon)
Itineraries, dates, and costs are posted at www.runrepubliccamp.com. According to the founders, spots are limited, so sign up TODAY!