Friday, August 31, 2012

Looking back, a note to myself

If there were a way to communicate with my former self, my self from 5 years ago, this is what I would like to say....


Dear Zahida,

I want you to know that your world is about to change dramatically. Everything you currently know, is going to get flipped on its head.

Don't fear. Don't shrink away. You are strong. Like everything else in life, you will face it, head on. And you will overcome.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Holiday Road

I've had a great summer. Period. On so many levels I am happy, I am truly living life, and enjoying every moment. I've had three long weekends in a condensed amount of time where I've been able to travel and get to know well some new places. I'm very fortunate to have had these opportunities to travel, even though none of the trips have been for very long (nothing over 3 nights), and not far or exotic by how some people would measure it. No, I didn't leave the country. No, I didn't go anywhere I've never seen before. No, I didn't have more than a couple days in each location to look around. But for me, I've always been one (or have at least tried to be one) to appreciate the little things in life. These little trips have been a treat for me, on so many levels. A sweet addition to a beautiful summer.

One of the biggest reasons why this summer has been so memorable has been the running. All of the several hours of exertion, sweat, tears, and hard work. Running 4-5 days a week while training for a marathon can be grueling. But I truly think more so mentally than physically. My body is strong to handle the physical stuff, but sometimes my brain questions if I'm getting bored or not. It isn't boredom with the action of running itself, but with the same old roads and routes close to home that I know and run all the time. They're pretty, but when it's almost everyday, it quickly loses its charm.

But this current season of marathon training has NOT been boring at all because of the holiday road. And really, what better way to see a new place while on holiday, than on foot running. What better way to celebrate my love for running than getting excited to wake up early to run in a city unknown before the city wakes up and see it in such an invigorating way. And what better way to enjoy running than just to go with no goal aside from enjoying the workout and the views along the way.  Who says training for a marathon has to be boring or too much hard work. It's been hard yes, but a holiday at the same time. You'll see what I mean soon, I promise. Keep reading! :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Marathon Training Update!

My math may be serving me wrong, but I believe I'm 50 days away from my next marathon, the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon in October. That sounds both insanely close, and uncomfortably far away at the same time. I've been working hard, I want the pay off now. But I have so much more work to do to ensure I'm at my prime by race day.

Training has been going super well. I'm excited about it. I feel a real difference in me. And I'm actually seeing real results. It is so satisfying to see that the hard work is making a difference. It's not just theoretical, what one must do to prepare for a marathon. It actually makes a difference. I expect I should be able to finish strong.

So what do I mean about seeing results?
  • I see the results when I look in the mirror and see muscle definition where I didn't before.
  • I see the results when I log my mileage on DailyMile and compare it with runs of similar distances from before.
  • I see the results when I need to add weight onto one of my strength workouts to make it more challenging.
  • I see the results when I can go faster than ever before while keeping within my heart rate zone 1.
  • I see results in my attitude about the long distances. Last time I prepared for my first 32km training run, I was terrified. I'm running that distance tomorrow, and I'm waiting in eager anticipation

Friday, August 10, 2012

Canada’s Olympic Marathon Team

What could possibly be more inspiring as an athlete than watching the world’s greatest athletes competing at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London?! I have not been able to catch much of the action, but try to at every opportunity I can get. It doesn’t matter what sport I am watching during the Games, but seeing the determination, strength, speed, grace, and all-round amazingness is a reminder of just what is possible when you put your mind and body to work. Greatness indeed can be achieved.

So naturally all running events I find particularly interesting, but I am eagerly anticipating watching an Olympic Marathon. Unfortunately, I missed the women’s marathon event that took place this past Sunday as I was out of town and remiss to program the PVR. But I have already programmed it to record the men’s marathon event this coming Sunday, August 12th – one of the final and signature events of the Olympic Games.

 Now I know what you’re thinking….isn’t watching people running for two hours boring? My response is, absolutely not. I think anyone can appreciate athletic greatness. Anyone who’s ever ran can appreciate running greatness. But someone in love with running as much as I am, can truly appreciate just how spectacular marathon greatness is. Marathon greatness combines speed, endurance, drive, determination and grace into an amazing just-over-two-hour package. As someone who recently completed a marathon, is training for her next, and has completed several half marathons, I cannot fathom the strength it requires these athletes to complete a marathon in the way they do. They can run a marathon in just a bit more than it takes me to run half the distance. It’s incredible in the purest meaning of the word – it is absolutely not believable for my body which works hard to train to do what it does, nor is it believable for my mind as it understands just how long 26.2 miles really is. But it is true indeed. And this truth must be witnessed.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2 months to go!

It's well past my bedtime, so I'm going to keep this real short. I had to write something though, as I came to the realization this morning that it's exactly 2 months now until my next marathon - The GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon on October 7, 2012! For so long now, it's seemed incredibly far away. This is especially because for a few months, I had a race every month to look forward to. My last race was only about a week ago, but somehow it being August now, makes October feel so much closer.

What gets me is how I feel about the marathon this time around. Last time I was nervously excited at the prospect of running the distance. There were so many unknowns. I knew it would be hard, but I was excited for testing myself to see if I could achieve the seemingly impossible. Now I have the first one out of the way and experience on my side. I'm continuing to get faster and stronger, and have been training hard and smart. I've focused on getting stronger and building my endurance. And so, I am looking ahead at the marathon with more knowledge on what to expect, confidence that I'm even more capable than ever to complete the distance in good time, and eager expectation that I'm going to get 'er done, and get 'er done strong. Real strong.

More soon!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Race Report: Kamloops Marathon

This past Sunday I ran my 4th race of the year. It wasn't my best race, that's for sure. But I enjoyed it nonetheless.

I ran the half marathon that's part of the 1st Annual Kamloops Marathon, in support of the Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Wolfpack Track & Field team. This race was an exciting race weekend that included a 5K and 10K on Saturday, followed by a community BBQ and running expo at the University. On Sunday, runners arrived at McArthur Island Park at 6am to beat the heat and run the half and full marathon on a flat and fast route showcasing some really gorgeous areas along the rivers around Kamloops. 

For an inaugural race, registration went very well, attracting about 500 runners - excellent for a new race. The weather was perfect, the expo and BBQ was fun, the shirts and medals were pretty. An overall good race weekend with the potential to become something really great in the coming years as awareness and participation grow. 

At the running expo
I was also very excited at TRU's support of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, allowing us to have a booth at the running expo. We got lots of interest for Team In Training and got to talk to many awesome people.