Showing posts from 2009

J'lm Marathon Training #10

Thursday, 23 December 2009 Injury. I suppose it had to happen sooner or later. Here's the story: Delay after delay, I was unable to leave the house until 10pm, an hour after my scheduled start. This could not possibly be good. But despite that, I began well, getting into the rhythm, finding a good breathing pattern, and running at a good pace. After exactly 11 minutes I reached the daunting incline of HaYarden Street. I sucked it in and pushed my way upwards. Reaching the top, I was surprised to realize that I was in very good shape - no stitch, no ache, plenty of energy. I decided that for the rest of the course I would go for it - If I tried, I was in a good position to smash my time and reach my medium-term goal of "10km in 55 minutes" sooner than expected. Reaching just over the half-way mark, the clock rolled its digits to 29 minutes. I was going to have to put the pedal to the metal on this one. But I felt good. I was going to make it. My body knew that the 1

Channukah 2009: Karp-Style

Jl'm Marathon Training #9

This post includes 3 entries - the latest appears last . Wednesday, 16 December 2009 During the course of the day I neglected to psych myself up for running, like I usually do. In fact, I almost forgot that I was to go for a jog in the evening. I didn't prepare by drinking water during the day, although I did keep to a light lunch and no snacking in the afternoon - but that's become the norm, rather than the exception. At about 7pm I remembered that I was supposed to train that evening. I had that niggling feeling in the pit of my stomach that it really isn't a good idea. I should put it off. But I forced myself to go. Discipline must prevail. Certain that I was not going to do well, I set off at about 9pm. I started off just fine, but a stitch had me in its evil clutches for approximately 4km. It was tough, but I kept working at altering my breathing patterns and doing the other breathing tricks I learned about on the wise Internet. The stitch eventually faded, bu

Jl'm Marathon Training #8

I have been dieting really hard, sticking to my no-sweets, no-beer, no-junk food diet with the fervor of a religious fanatic who, very (very) occasionally sneaks a peanut butter sandwich. I have not been training as hard as I should. On average, I do my 10.3km run twice a week, instead of my planned three-times a week. But I am improving. In fact, I completely slashed my time tonight, as you will read in the remainder of this post, which I call: The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. Monday, 14 December 2009 The Good I completed my 10.3km run in a record 58:34. This puts me right on track to complete the Jerusalem marathon 10km event before the organizers finish packing up. I felt absolutely fantastic the whole way (save for a stitch or two, which I worked through and overcame). I ran solidly, and I took on the tough uphills with gusto and determination (I would have taken on the uphills with zeal, as well, but he was too busy flirting with passion and spirit.) How did I manage to fin

New Blood

Here is my latest short story. I entered it into a competition where the requirements were: - No more than 1,500 words - Any topic - Must be bold, brilliant and brief Here it is:

Jl'm Marathon Training #7

Motzei Shabbat, 28 November 2009 As promised I went for a short run this evening. I wasn't going to go, though. I had decided that I wouldn't and was looking forward to settling down to some relaxing activities, like putting away the dishes. Turns out that my son, Shimi, remembered that I told him he could come along with me on a run. He would bike and I would shlep myself behind him. How could I give up quality father/son time? So we plotted out a route that didn't include so many hills and we set off at about 8.30pm. I pushed myself harder than usual and I did a bit of sprinting, which is something I don't do on a 10km run. I enjoyed the time and Shimi was great. 4.5km and 28 minutes later I put the pedal to the metal and powered on home. I don't think I've ever run as fast as that. It only took me about 20 minutes to recover. The time was a bit disappointing, but I put it down to cholent. Oh, and when I finally recovered, I did put away the dishes ;

Jl'm Marathon Training #6

Wednesday, 25 November 2009 I must be a masochist. I decided that my previous route, which involved running a particular course and then backtracking, was too boring. If I was running on a treadmill, the scenery would be the same. But since I'm running out on the street, why see the same thing twice? So on Wednesday evening, I sat down in front of Google Earth with my eldest son and we planned out a new course, according to these guidelines: At least 10km Avoid running through certain communities Not too many long downhills Include the killer Nahar HaYarden uphill Include the 1.22km Yarkon uphill Avoid backtracking as much as possible The route we came up with is very complicated, but fulfills all criteria. It is actually 10.3km and involves only a few short backtracks. It is also about 80% uphill! OK, I exaggerate, but there are a lot more uphills than in my previous routes. I completed the course in about 1 hour and 20 minutes, although I'm not entirely sure be

Jl'm Marathon Training #5

Sunday, 22 November 2009 I went out for my first run in over a week. The flu kept me indoors, but I was itching to get out there again. I did my first big 10k run, which included nearly 4k of hills, some of them pretty steep. I completed the route in 1:10:00. I didn't start out well. I got a stitch in the first three minutes and my hamstrings decided to make themselves heard just as I headed off. Things settled down in short order, but the niggling pains at the beginning were a little disconcerting. I guess it was the body's way of waking up after a long vacation. I thought that it was a relatively solid run, albeit a bit slow. So far I have been concentrating on distance. I think I've got that. Now I need to challenge the clock. Despite the minor muscle complaints, one thing was for certain: my feet were well taken care of. This past week I purchased a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 9s . They are by far the most comf ortable running shoes I've ever worn - no c

Jl'm Marathon Training #4

Really Early Morning, Friday, 13 November 2009 Set out on a jog in the wee hours of the morning at 12.20am. I decided to run a more challenging route than my usual 6 times around Dolev, AKA "The Peanut". The route I took ended up being only approximately 7.66km, but it was very hard: 1. From my home to the corner of Ayalon and Kishon (about 0.83km - mostly downhill) 2. From Kishon/Yarkon to the corner of Yarden (approx 1.22km of solid incline) 3. From corner Yarkon/Yarden to the corner Kishon/Yarden (total approx 1.78km - lots of ups and downs plus one huge downhill) Then turn around and do it in reverse (that huge downhill becomes one killer uphill). I did it in just over an hour and five minutes. I'm pretty happy with that, given the difficulty of the terrain. It's a very challenging course, so I hope to improve next time. But my biggest accomplishment so far is that I didn't get eaten by a jackal on the way.

Jl'm Marathon Training #3

Tuesday, 10 November 2009 I needed a day's break to recover from the 10km I did on Sunday. In retrospect, I should have gone cycling, which is a great cross-training activity. But I didn't. Going out this evening was difficult. I started the run at 10.15pm. I had a stitch for the first 4kms - a minor one, but it niggled at me. I started grunting at around the 3km mark. That's not good. I usually don't start grunting until somewhere towards the end. My feet started to hurt at around 5km - turns out my two smallest toes on my left foot were bleeding. I guess that means its time to hunt for better shoes. I'm certain that all these factors caused me to slow down considerably. But I had to overcome these setbacks and finish the 10km no matter what. I managed my breathing, corrected my posture and rallied over the last few kms to make the run worthwhile. I made sure that, no matter how tired I was feeling, I powered up the one hill on my route each time I reached it.

Jl'm Marathon Training #2

Wednesday, 4 November 2009: As previously blogged, I decided to ditch the treadmill and run out on the road. I was advised to go for distance to build stamina, rather than time, at this stage (thanks, especially to Chaim and Rafi of the Beit Shemesh Running Club - I still intend to join up, I would just prefer to wait until I have a chance of keeping up a little bit with you guys!) I took a leisurely jog to Rechov Nachal Dolev (getting there and back cost me 1.7km). Dolev is a 1500m circular street in Ramat Beit Shemesh (well, it's actually peanut-shaped, but you know what I mean) and is relatively flat, with one hill that goes for about 3 0m-50m. I thought that I'd take it easy on my first time out. I completed my initial lap easily and was getting into the groove when I started my second. I debated with myself the whole third lap and decided to go for a fourth. Why not? I stumbled out of Dolev after four times around and jogged back to my apartment. The 7.7km ordeal took

Jl'm Marathon Training #1

Jumblerant (good one, Mr. G.) challenged me to post about my progress with training for the Jerusalem Marathon 10k event in March 2010. So here we go: Sunday, 1 November 2009: Started training. Knowing that I have never run 10k before, I decided to concentrate on distance rather than speed. My usual run is 4.5k and I wanted to start with something easy. I ran a comfortable 5k at a constant speed of 13km/h. I got off the treadmill and felt really good. I figured that next time I'll go for 6k and build up from there. I also decided that 13km/h is a good pace so I'll try and maintain it, even as I increase the distance. Tuesday, 3 November 2009: I hit the treadmill at about 9.20pm. I was tired and fighting a cold. I read on a website today that to start seriously training for a 10k race you have to be able to run 30 minutes without stopping. I had previously promised myself to run 6k, so I decided not to alter my plan - I psyched myself up all day for the 6k and I didn&#

60th Post Bonus

For my 60th Blog Post I thought I'd give you all a bonus. Here is a story I submitted to a competition. The story is called "A Talented Man." I won't know the result of the competition until March 2010. Enjoy, Yossi Karp

Quit While You're Ahead

Why don't people quit while they're ahead? When the late-great Michael Jackson was the King of Pop in the 80s, he should have hung up his glove and become an accountant or something. Look what happened to him. Not to mention Elvis Presley and Judy Garland, among others. What makes people so ambitious that they feel it necessary to attempt to revive their glorious past? Unless you are Rocky Balboa, comebacks are rarely successful. Tastes change and the competition gets younger, more agile and more energetic. There comes a point where you have to say, "Look buddy, don't push your luck. You've had a good run, you've achieved fame and fortune, you've given it your all. Now go and do something else." In an amazingly unprecedented feat of brilliance, last week I smashed my 4.5k record of 20:00, running the distance in 18:31. That's an average of 14.6km/h. About seven months ago I started out running 4.5k in 30 minutes, so reducing it to 18:31 is an ama

What I Know About Baseball

I had an email exchange with a co-worker today about Aussie Rules football. I have worked with him for over 5 years and so it wasn't a surprise when he replied to one of my jargon-filled emails "I even understood some of that". He then asked me if I would like to learn about baseball. I replied with a list of all I know about the great American game: Create a World Series competition and only invite North America. Wear tight-fitting, striped, knee-length pants. Eat peanuts and crackerjacks. Sing the American anthem. Cover yourself with padding, wear a vision-obscuring helmet, and signal rudely to the pitcher. Shout "Strike One!", "Ball!" and "Safe!" at random moments during the game. In a gravelly voice, saliva spitting from your mouth, yell the words "you're" and "out" so that it sounds like "YEROUT!" while pointing to any player. Wear one oversized glove. Chew gum, spit generously and swear at the umpires.

Placebo Buttons

A placebo button is a button that, when pushed, does nothing other than make the button pusher feel like he has effected change. A famous example is the "close door" button in an elevator. Does pushing it actually close the doors, or do the doors close according to their programmed cycle, anyway? Certainly, pushing the button makes you feel like you have done something, but whether you actually have or not can only be determined by experimentation. The Museum of Hoaxes blog busts the myth that all cross-walk buttons are placebos. Some are, some aren't, some never were but are now. This whole thing got me thinking: What other things do we do that are really just placebos, dummy deeds we do to make ourselves feel in control? Just how much of our lives is rigged? Are we all being manipulated? Is there some great super-governmental force out there giving us the illusion that our opinions count? Here's a few things that might really be placebos: Half the operations w


I've been spending my time collecting witty phrases to share with you. Some are from the Internet, others I made up. Enjoy: This device is cuter than a box of puppies The back seat is harder to get into than MIT Cheaper than pirated software If your tumor were any more minor it would need a hardhat with a light on it The engine guzzles more than a college student at spring break It's uglier than an Elton John outfit It's sexier than a 1973 Porche He's more washed out than a room full of Maytags He's as washed up as an oil-covered duck As useless as a chocolate kettle He's brighter than Hiroshima He's as dim as a 40 watt bulb The grinding noise it makes is louder than an American tourist More persistent than a tabloid journalist This perfume smells worse than a political cover-up This supermarket has more isles than the Hawaiian Archipelago More distracting than a teenager with a cell phone This thing has more wires than a coathanger factory A heater that be

Eating While Driving

Wired's Autopia Magazine quotes a study by that lists the top 10 most dangerous foods to eat while driving (I like no.9 the best!): 1. Coffee. It's hot. It can spill. That's bad. That said, we're guilty of this. So are you. Admit it. 2. Hot soup. It's hot. It can spill. That's bad. 3. Tacos. Very messy. 4. Chili. It's hot. It can spill. That's bad. And it's very messy. 5. Hamburgers. Greasy hands and a steering wheel do not mix. 6. Barbecued food. Um, that should go without saying. 7. Fried chicken. You think burgers are greasy? 8. Jelly or cream-filled donuts. Ever bitten into one and not had it squirt all over the place? 9. Soft drinks. Big threat of spillage, says, and unacceptable risk of "fizz up your nose." Huh? 10. Chocolate. It melts on your fingers, which makes a mess on the steering wheel. A while ago I presented a list of foods most likely to make you flatulate. Keep the roads safe. Don't com

Mid-Life Crisis

I just want to know when I am entitled to have a mid-life crisis. Is it possible to actually calculate how long I am going to live and then time my crises to occur exactly at middle age? According to Wikipedia : Middle age is the period of life beyond young adulthood but before the onset of old age. Various attempts have been made to define this age, which is around the third quarter of the average life span of human beings. So I looked up the average life-expectancy of males and found that in Israel, that age is 76.46, at least according to the CIA World Factbook Estimates, 2008, as quoted in Wikipedia . So that schedules my mid-life crisis at between 38-57 years old. I don't know if I can wait that long. I'm quite stressed out now and only 35. Actually, it's worse than that. Since I am from Australia, where the average life expectancy of males is supposed to be 77.8 years, I shouldn't have my mid-life crisis until I'm between 39-58 years old. So this begs the q

Things That Make You Go Boom

A non-exhaustive list of flatulence-causing foods. Add more in the comments! Looks like nothing is safe! Source: The Internet Apricots Artichokes Asparagus Baked beans Bananas Bagels Bean salads Beer Beets Black-eyed peas Bog beans Bread Broad beans Broccoli Brussel sprouts Cabbage Carrots Cauliflower Celery Cereals Cheese Chickpeas Chili Corn Cucumbers Dressings Eggplant Field beans Fruits Garlic Ice cream You fall within the normal scale if you produce between 1 to 4 pints of gas per day. Kohlrabi Leeks Lettuce Onions Parsley Peppers, sweet Seeds Lentils Lima beans Mung beans Peanut butter Peanuts Peas Pinto beans Most individuals release a little burst of air through the rear quarters approximately 14 to 23 times each and every day. Potatoes Pretzels Prunes Raisins Red kidney beans Sauerkraut Sodas Soybeans Barley Breakfast cereals Granola Oat bran Oat flour Pasta Pistachios Rice Rice bran Rye Sesame flour Cows actually burp and toot so frequently that they are responsible for

Hairdressers and Taxi Drivers

Everyone tries to be smart. Everyone wants to be clever. Everyone wants to get ahead. So you read newspapers, magazine articles and blogs to get to know what the pundits are saying about the latest economic data. You study the consumer reviews to make sure that you buy only the best value; and you work hard to obtain the right information to make the most informed decisions possible. You just want to get that edge over the rest of the crowd. So the name of the game is to keep all good ideas to yourself. Here's an example: Last time I went to vote I had to wait in line for a really long time. A friend of mine hobbled up next to me on his crutches. I was number 688 and he was number 734. Since they were only up to number 465, we both had a long wait ahead of us. Not so. Once they saw his crutches, Dave was given VIP Gold-Club, Presidential treatment. He was in and out of the voting booth in about five minutes. Next time they hold elections, I’m going in with a pair of crutches. Lo

Relaxing, the Hard Way

In the movie " The Pursuit of Happyness " [sic] the protagonist describes a period of his life as "Riding the Bus", where he seems to constantly be going somewhere on the bus or chasing after it as it pulls away from the curb. Right now I am writing this blog while on a bus. And I am also running up against a deadline - my battery is only at 17% and I have to finish this before the battery light flashes orange and the short, determined beeps signal an imminent shutdown. But is forcing a shutdown so bad? Sometimes, during the hectic life I seem to lead, it is good to "shutdown" once in a while. By that I don't mean collapsing in a heap on the couch, unable to move because every bone in your body aches. Nor do I mean the type of shutdown that comes at the end of one's life. I'm talking about the type of shutdown that is followed by a "restart". Thinking about it, it is probably a good idea to turn off, once in a while; to detach your

A Hairy Situation

As you can see from my profile picture, I used to have a beard. It was a good beard. A thick, solid, bushy thing. That beard and I spent many years together. It kept me warm and was an amusement for children. But now it is gone and I am beardless. It was a snap decision that I mulled over for a number of weeks. One morning I decided to trim my beard and then I just couldn't help myself - I went too far and there was no going back. Everyone says that I now look 20 years younger. Someone mistook me for my younger brother. My daughter's friend didn't recognize me. It's like a new lease on life. They may say that the clothes maketh the man, but I think it's the facial hair. In fact, it may be so fashionable to "mow the lawn" that some don't stop at the face. They keep going north. According to Wikipedia, "Head shaving is much more common among men. It is often associated with religious practice, the armed forces and some competitive sports such as

The Man from Down Under Goes Down Under

I went kayaking the other day. Although the circumstances around how the boat capsized may be entertaining, I will keep them aside in my dubious collection of heroic stories to tell my children and grandchildren. But the truth of the matter is that the kayak overturning took me completely by surprise. One moment I was quite happily paddling along in a boat with a crew of four and the next moment I found myself under the water. Thinking back on that event, I realize that when accidents happen you really are quite unprepared for them. Let's analyze my little dip in the river. Firstly, I remember very clearly that the boat was suddenly no longer underneath me, the place where it was supposed to be. In a few microseconds my brain processed the fact that I was under water and so my eyes shut automatically, like "shields up" on the Starship Enterprise. I held my breath and I kicked my legs, expecting to surface. I shot myself upwards, my head colliding with the upturned boat.

The Soft Sell

I remember that when I was a kid we were honored by a visit from an encyclopedia salesman. One evening he came to our house and sat himself at our dining room table. I remember thinking that he was a young fellow, or at least he seemed so. Clean cut, jacket and tie, pearly white smile and shiny black brogue shoes. I also remember that he was a smooth talker. He was a great salesman. Pitching the Encyclopedia Britannica couldn't be easy, but it was the 1980s and Wikipedia didn't yet exist. He spoke with great honesty about all the benefits of the 20-volume set to a family with teen and pre-teen kids. "And what would you use it for?" he asked me as I leaned awkwardly against the piano, fidgeting the way a 9-year-old does. "For school work, I guess". The salesman smiled and spread out his hands, palms open, gesturing at the children. He beamed. I'm sure that my parents didn't hear the spiel. I'm positive that they were oblivious to the salesman

The Name Game

Let's say that you wanted to open a new business. Whatever name you choose for your business will have to say a lot about it in only one or two words. For example, choosing a name like "Nik's Cakes" does tell consumers that you sell cakes, but why is "Nik's Cakes" better or worse than "Bob's Cakes"? It's boring, unimaginative and not very sexy. Go to and you will get lots of good advice about choosing a business name: Curl Up and Dye may sound cute now, but after six months, you and your customers will become very weary of the joke. Yeah, especially if you sell cakes. If choosing a name for your business is hard, how difficult it must be to choose a name for yourself. Imagine that you had just ratted on a mafia boss and were taken into the witness protection program. You get to live in a new location with a new job, new life and, of course, a new name. What are you goin

Creative Journalism

I am the first to admit that my level of mathematics is not top notch. Numbers make me dizzy. I once had to be quietly escorted out of a 67th floor elevator. The night-janitor found me curled up in the corner in the fetal position, softly calling for Mamma. All those buttons. All those numbers. So when I posted my last blog , I didn't really look too carefully into my sources. In fact, as soon as I saw numbers and formulae, my eyes began to glaze over. Digits danced before me in a hazy cloud of fog. If the author says there is a 2.5 billion to one chance of winning the lottery, then that is good enough for me. Subsequent to that post, I was made aware that I should have done the math myself. It seems I could have increased my chances of winning by 720 times. I was told that if I had read my source's entire article, not just the one paragraph, I would have come to a different conclusion. I didn't have the patience or the inclination to delve into the intricacies of the ma

Playing With My Mind

G-d is playing with my mind. A few months ago my wife and I decided to buy a lottery ticket. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision. What irked me was knowing, not so very deep in my heart, that I was flushing money down the drain. I mean, what are the odds? According to this site on Lottery Math, The odds of a "Lotto" style lottery can be found with the formula: n! / (n - r)! r! where n is the highest numbered ball and r is the number of balls chosen. This is called in math a combination . An easier way to think about it is if there are 40 balls and 6 are chosen, there are 40 possible numbers that can come up first, leaving 39 that can come up second, then 38, 37, 36, and finally 35 on the final number. To find out how many numbers that is you multiply 40 ×39 ×38 ×37 ×36 × 35 = 2,763,633,600 making the odds 2 and a half billion to one. Two and a half billion to one?! The money spent on the ticket could easily have gone to purchasing at least one bottle of beer with a 100% c