Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Average X-minute one mile, and the Un-at-Ease-Holiday

I wanted to do a one-mile walking test, to compare the time it takes to QUICKLY walk a mile, to the last time I did this test, in the end of September. (THEN I did the 1 mile in 16 minutes.) The best location to attempt to record my "best time" is in the "Yarkon" park, it being just about the only place nearby where the path is basically level and smooth enough. My first effort to do this now was Thursday afternoon. However on Thursday, after traipsing all the way from my house to the park, the walkers'  application on my phone simply wouldn't log onto my GPS. So In desperation, I used the application to time, and my smartphone's fitbit app to see when I had gone a mile. But in order to see the display, I had to keep fiddling with the phone, the result being that I tripped once. (Luckily I did not get hurt, but I was SCARED. I don't need any MORE torn ligaments!) My time was 15m:57sec . (However, the path I took was different than the time in September.)  
     Yesterday the walking app was cooperating, and I managed to squeeze in the time to get to the Yarkon. So I re-did the test ( hoping to avoid skewing the results by stumbling over my own two feet) for a fantastic 15m:25sec  1-mile time.  That put me in the "good" range not only for my age range (which I am at the younger range of), but in the "good" range for 50-59 year olds as well! This second time I took the same path as in September, and it seemed that the end point was slightly nearer, but I chalked that up to poor recollection.
    Today is Israeli independence day, a day when the popular custom is to go to your local park and have a picnic lunch/barbecue.
[image: Israeli picnickers in the Yarkon Park.]

 So I decided that if I wanted to take a long walk as I usually do on Tuesdays, I better get out early in order to beat the crowds. [For those readers who wonder why I wasn't out celebrating, I have no one to go out with. My older kids do not participate in Independence day celebrations, my younger ones, who do, are all in the USA.] So I decided to walk from my house to the Tel Aviv port via the Yarkon Park, and from there to the bus stop, a distance of over 7 miles. Upon reaching the Yarkon Park I realized that today would be a great chance to check what my REGULAR aerobic walking speed is, when I am NOT trying to beat my record. So starting where I did yesterday, and with the app thankfully working, I did a mile…. But in so doing, I discovered that the "mile" I did YESTERDAY was 0.07 miles too short. And this time it matched my recollection from September. If so, my time yesterday for a fastest-speed-mile should have been only 16 minutes and 30 seconds. That's slower than in September and only "average". [And here of course my inner voice protests, that with all my walking, is my fitness level only average!?!? Hard for me to believe and/or swallow.]
    I question also just how accurate this test is. Perhaps one day I have more will to push myself than another. But I am clearly in the 16m -16m:30 sec range.

      [NOTE:A few of my readers may not know about how in Israel, Israeli independence day is preceded, on the previous day, by Israel's memorial day. [This is sometimes difficult for families of fallen soldiers, to make the switch….although I suspect that for them ANY day is overshadowed by their loss.]
[image: Monument in the Yarkon Park  to soldiers who fell between the Yom Kipper War in 1973 and the 1982 Lebanon War. ]

    As I was walking today (luckily, AFTER my timed mile) I suddenly heard the noise of 2 large helicopters. I quickly glanced in the direction of the racket, and saw 2 army helicopters flying in the direction of Tel HaShomer hospital. My instinctive reaction, after often seeing these helicopters flying wounded soldiers in for top-notch treatment, was a sinking feeling in my gut. Had there been a terror attack at an army base? WHAT was going on? My eyes misted up a bit as I thought of the mother or wife who would hear that her loved one had been wounded. But maybe it was something else?  I opened my cell phone and logged on to check the news. No mention of anything. About a half hour later, again I rechecked the news, and was relieved that all seemed quiet. I relaxed.  Then an hour later, as I neared the Tel Aviv beach, again I heard the clamor of the rotors, and I started to tense up……. but suddenly relaxed, realizing that this must be part of the traditional Independence Day fly-over. And sure enough, over the next several minutes I saw various formations of planes overhead.
[image: One group of planes flying in formation overhead.]

[image: People gathered near the beachfront, watching the flyover.]

     But the point is this. Here in Israel, we take Memorial Day seriously. It is NOT a day for picnics and outings. Most Israelis have lost someone they know personally either to war or a terror attack. We are EXTREMELY conscious that our existence on this tiny strip of the Middle East is due to the Grace of G-d, and bought with the blood of our brothers. May we never forget that.

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