Last weekend I had an adventure in Israel at the Dead Sea. I was fortunate to be part of a 20 person group from my multi-nation base that went to Israel to take part in the Peace run 1/2 marathon and 10K. The Sea is a beautiful turquoise color from a distance and clear as can be up close. It is that way because absolutely NOTHING can live in it due to the incredible salt content(10 x more salinity than ocean water in the first 200ft depth) The lake/sea is very large and is 1000ft deep. It is so salty that the floor of the sea is not mud/rocks/or sand...rather.. pure salt and hunks of salt the size of golf balls are found both on the bottom and along the shore. And for the first time in my life even I COULD FLOAT! It was impossible to sink in this water. Water was a bit cold, but not bad as the air temps were in the 80's.
The dead sea is the lowest place on Earth an amazing 1300 feet BELOW sea level. (Badwater-Death Valley, CA is 245 ft below) Surrounding the sea are mountains that are all rocky and look just like the NewMexico/Arizona mts.
In the two race 1600 runners took part with some Ethiopians winning in an amazing 1:0x something. It was an out and back course on the road parallel to the Dead sea and was a bit rolling hills, but not bad. Wind at your back on the way out(although I couldn't feel it) then turned around in to a head wind to come home. I started conservatively 5K-21:10 and moved well...I am not that fast anymore unfortunately :-(, but my halfway split was 44:24. I tried to really run hard coming back and continually moved up. I felt like I was flying and passed probably 20 people in that second half but my splits were basically even. I ended up finishing in 32nd place in 1:28:35. Now I know my lactate threshold is 6:45 pace and will be doing some tempo runs at that pace for a while. It was a great get away from base (4 hour drive) and an incredibly unique experience.