When I was in high school in Israel, like many other students I participated in gym classes and did fairly well in athletic events but by no means did I consider myself an athlete. This changed for me around 2010 when my doctor wanted to put me on some pills for high blood pressure. Of course I did not want to take them and I asked what I might do instead? He said, walk. Next thing I know I was walking and running and joined the running club in my area and started participating in several 5K (3 miles) races and even other events such the Mt Wachusett race.
Being part of the running club was a significant part of being an athlete. The support, encouragement and camaraderie is what keeps you motivated to improve yourself and encourage others. Aside from running I started to volunteer with some events because I felt I wanted to give back to all the I received from Central Mass Striders.
In 20013 my running took a crazy turn once I met my partner who encouraged me to run my first 1/2 marathon in 2014, a marathon in 2015, an Ultra marathon in 2018 and I keep going. I have traveled with her to run The Inca Trail 30K ( she ran the entire marathon) where our finish line was the magical site of Machu Pichu and just last year we ran 260 km ( 162 miles) in 8 days around Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Prior to Covid19 I was training to run 60 mile Ultra in October.
In 2017, I decided to ride for charity and sign up to bike 150 miles in two days during the Cape Cod MS Ride. Riding 75 miles a day at the time was a major feat for me. The day of the ride it rained nearly the entire ride but I did not want to stop because I raised a good amount of money for the organization and was determined to see the ride through. One of my coworkers at Tri County RVTHS told me about a bike ride that she did from Bedford MA to Okemo resort in VT. The ride was 133 Miles with 8,000 ft of elevation.
I was ready for my next challenge! That year, 2018, a little before the race, the director notified us of road construction and the route will be readjusted to 149 miles and 10,000 ft of elevation. We were in and ready for the challenge. All the time that I was training with my co worker and her friends we had lots of fun and great camaraderie. The miles seemed to just pass by without notice. This year I was all set to ride the B2VT again and was training at about 750 miles a month on my indoor trainer and outdoor rides. But the pandemic changes those plans as well.
Currently I belong to the Greater Neponsett Running Club and am surrounded by like minded people who are a mix of different abilities but are my extended family. I help out by serving on the board. Each year we travel and race in another state and socialize often but more often we run, cycle, swim and more.
My running club has been there for me many times and I have learned so much from the people there how to become a better athlete. One example is that in my running club people will train with you just to help you get ready for an event or come run with you the event. Some people drive Mt. Washington Rd. It is 7 miles straight up. I ran it in a race with a good friend from my running club.However, the people in the club are the warmest people who I consider my friends. Aside from my wife who has challenged me to overcome amazing obstacles, they have taught me to take time off, heal, forgive yourself, and that you don’t always achieve that PR and it’s OK. I have to remember that as someone who has now completed 5 marathons since 2015 and 3 Ultra marathons I am in a unique group that there are less than 2 percent of the world’s population that fall into this group.