Run Around the World With GOTRSTL!
Staff Member Emilie Fan takes her training to Israel!
Waking up at 5am is not something I would typically do at home in St. Louis, and was certainly not something I thought I would do my first day in Israel. But the combination of jet lag and the need to stretch out my legs after over 15 hours on an airplane compounded, and somehow I convinced myself to set my alarm for 5am, and laying out my running clothes. After some complaining as I tied my shoes that first chilly morning in Israel, I took a page from the Girls on the Run curriculum and plugged in the positive cord, took a deep breath and took off. It also helped that with the time difference, I pictured the girls I am coaching this season at Gateway Science Academy South at practice and figured, time to make up for missing practice with them!
As I made my way down the pier in Tel Aviv, I was mesmerized by the waves crashing into the rocks, the sun starting to rise over Jaffa, a historic town on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, and the fact that I was living the theme of this year’s Girls on the Run St. Louis race – Run Around the World. As I took in the fresh air and stretched my legs from the airplane, I noticed that everyone in Tel Aviv was out enjoying the morning. As foreign as the Hebrew signs looked as I ran by, I was comforted by the camaraderie I felt with the other early morning Tel Avivians running along the pier.
The trip to Israel was almost two weeks, and most days we walked a good six miles throughout the Old City of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and in the Galilee, but on those few brisk mornings that I was able to fit in a run, it reminded me how special it is to be able to run, walk, or bike somewhere, providing a whole new way to see a city, that most tourists don’t have the chance to experience.
On one of my last mornings in Israel, we were staying at a kibbutz, a traditional community farm and I decided to push myself to explore the grounds that morning. As I jogged through the farm, I saw families starting their day, sheep, cows and chickens waking up, and had perfect strangers greeting me, “Boker Tov”(Good morning). What a way to start the day and a great reminder that we can “Run Around the World” in our own backyard, exploring new paths around St. Louis, greeting people and taking the time to take in the scenery.