Friday, January 25, 2013

A Story of Hope

Just a very quick note here to direct you to an awesome article (about me!) that was published on the popular Vancouver blog, Vancity Buzz. Thank you so much to Karm, for featuring Team In Training today via a story about my personal journey and what led me to training for my next marathon while fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada.

Please take a moment to read the article here, and don't be shy about commenting, or spreading the word to your networks on social media:

A Story of Hope - Vancity Buzz

Friday, January 18, 2013

January, you have been kind. No mean girl drama here!

After a tough December of running injured, this has been a very kind January indeed. Back on track, feeling good, feeling strong, feeling like me again and ready to race.

Two injuries, low mileage, and not eating what I normally would because of holidays meant for a tough December of running (but an otherwise fun and awesome month). I'm back where I want to be, and back to feeling confident about my 2013 racing plans. It was an awesome transition from pain to zero pain: not the usual gradual improvement, but a sudden change that blessed me one morning, was awesomely noticeable, and acted as a big lift to me as a result.

The one good thing about the injury period was that I worked harder cross-training. Since starting resistance training in the summer I've always enjoyed it. But now it seems I'm getting better at it, and loving it even more. I lose track of time and just love the feeling of a good burn toughing out a workout, and getting down and dirty pushing myself. Progress strength training is easy to see, especially because I write down the weight I used and the number of reps I achieve, and pat myself on the back when next time I am able to do a bit more. And I've read a lot about how women should be lifting heavier weights than most tend to do (out of fear of bulking up) and I have now gotten to a point where I am that girl who lifts heavy and is reaping the benefits. I have definitely earned the respect of some of the guys I see at the gym regularly who've had to, at times, lower the weight on the machines after I'm done using it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 in review

After my first marathon
January 1st, 2013: as good a day as any to reflect on the past year. 2012 was one heckuva year, perhaps the one year I am most proud of as a runner. When I started out the year, I was unsure what it would bring. I was registered for the BMO Vancouver Marathon, which would be my first ever full marathon, beginning my training on Jan 1st, 2012 with a 10km run. I do recall a bit of a nervousness about starting to train for such a distance. I couldn't imagine doing those 30km+ training runs, let alone the race itself. I knew I'd be OK with a good friend of mine training with me with the same goal. Life circumstances changed and she could no longer train with me, so I was all on my own, training for my marathon all by myself.

 But I was committed to the idea, and set myself to make it happen. Little did I know that I would not only succeed in that race, but I would go on to complete a second full marathon a few months later. In fact, I have plans for more in 2013, and have a confidence about it that I would have found hard to believe a year ago.

April Fool's Half Marathon
2012 brought me 6 races - 4 half marathons and 2 full marathons. My entire life prior to 2012 didn't have that many races. I had run only 3 half marathons in all my years prior to 2012. I blew that out of the water and didn't look back. I didn't keep track of mileage previous years, but I'm certain the 2012km I covered in 2012 (no, that figure is not coincidental nor a typo...) was well above what I could have ever imagined in previous years. What happened?

Second time marathoner
I think more than anything, my outlook shifted. Yes, I am fitter and stronger than I have ever been in my life. But it's more than that. It's an attitude I have now that enables me to work hard, train hard, and achieve more. It's an "I can do anything" attitude. It's me forgetting that girl who was always too shy to try, too scared to be seen failing, too embarrassed about her body. It's about me boldly looking in the mirror, liking who I see, not caring what others think of me, and saying "yes" to myself. It's about me realizing that I am indeed an athlete. Becoming a marathoner officially certainly helped me realize this: helped me to see that I am indeed capable of whatever I want to do. It shouldn't have been necessary to run a marathon to see this, but it being such a huge tangible accomplishment is a reason I can hang onto. And something I'll always be proud of achieving.

2012 also had me starting a full fitness program, not just running. To be stronger, fitter, healthier and less injury-prone, it was evident I needed to add variety into my routine. In July I started strength training in consultation with a personal trainer and have seen huge results in my overall fitness, strength, and confidence. I love how it's helping me look, and I'm astonished at how much I love the rush of a good session of heavy weightlifting.

After the Kamloops Marathon
And 2012 also was a great year for enhancing my running community. Through my new career with Team In Training, I have met the most incredible friends and athletes. When I'm seeking community, I'm never without someone to run with. There's always someone to invite, and I've been so fortunate to get to know some incredible fellow runners as a result. 

So I'm positive that 2013 will be epic! Keep in touch here to see how it unfolds.

To my faithful readers and friends, may 2013 be a wonderful year for you, filled with success, positivity, friendships, and memories. Thank you for all your support and encouragement

- Zahida