Friday, October 23, 2015

I'm Baaaaaaaaaaaaack!!

Hello world, it's Zahida. Remember me? You know - that girl who talks about running all the time - it's me. I know it's been a very long while, but I assure you, this isn't going to happen again. I haven't forgotten about you, even if maybe you've forgotten about me?

I could go on about where I've been the past 6 months, but I won't. I will just say that while those 6 months were challenging on a lot of levels, they weren't entirely bad. A lot of good happened in that time. But part of the bad was a lack of running, a lack of talking about running, a lack of writing about running, and therefore a lack of Zahida being "Zahida the runner-girl".

What's more important to discuss than where I've been is WHERE I AM. Like I said, I AM BACK. Zahida, the runner-girl that once was, is once again. She has returned in all her glory. She has some catching up to do, but she's ready and eager to do it.

The results of the last 6 months means that I began October with some setbacks to overcome. Thankfully my first task of the month of October was going on an amazing holiday with my husband to Disneyland. It meant lots of walking, every day, miles and miles of walking, which was more exercise than my legs had seen in weeks. It also meant constant fun and quality time with my husband which was so healing for my soul. While I was there too, I received a job offer for something entirely new to do in my "grown-up" life, which I excitedly accepted. With that, the mouse-ears on my head, the good company in my corner, and the screamin' my guts out on thrilling rides, stress that had been accumulating and leaving a heavy weight on my shoulders magically lifted off.

Aside from stress, I have had some injury to deal with and a tad of weight-gain. In September I had some of the worst back-pain I've had in years. This time the pain was caused by my hips because of being seated for too many hours at work. I was in a pretty intense rehab regime, spending hundreds of dollars I didn't have on therapies my health insurance couldn't cover, and wearing an uncomfortable compression belt 24/7 to mimic the hip stability I no longer had naturally. But it all helped and after 8 weeks of being "on the mend", I'm just about there! My twice a week resistance workouts at the gym have been focused on stabilization and rehab rather than strength/muscle gain, but I'll get there in due time.

I'm about 12lbs heavier than I'd like to be, and losing this will boost my energy even more plus make me faster as a runner. It's not so bad because it was originally 15lbs I had to lose when my new journey began 2 weeks ago, so clearly progress is now underway. I will uncover my fit self soon.

My new work gig has me working better hours (37.5/week like a regular person), plus I can set my own schedule really since I work primarily from home - it is not a typical 9 to 5 if I don't want it to be. I have been at it only 2 weeks now but I have taken advantage of my new arrangement and sudden onslaught of free time to make a training schedule for myself. I'm determined to get Zahida back, so I am not going to waste this precious time I now have. My schedule is all the workouts I plan to do each week, and I am now filling it up with races I may run starting in 2016. I have joined a gym close to home I can walk to and I go there twice a week, I am running 3x/week now, and I am starting to schedule a 6th weekly workout which is just for fun - whatever I feel like in the moment, whether it be a swim, a hike, a fitness class, or another run or gym workout.

This week I went for a lap swim at the rec centre across the road. This is where I swam 3x/week for the few years of my weight-loss journey and is what I credit my weight-loss to. Once I started running, I cut back on swimming. When I started going to the gym, I didn't need the swimming anymore (or so I thought). But I have missed it. It felt so good to be back in the pool this week, physically and mentally, a reminder of where my fitness journey began, that I think I am going to go more often. It's also a fantastic workout for rest days as there's zero impact, but a great cardio-vascular and upper-body workout.

Today I ran 6km without any discomfort, and without any need to take a walk-break. I am back indeed. So I'm starting to schedule out my workouts for the rest of 2015 to help me build up my base mileage and get my Sunday long runs LONGER. But I am also starting to think through my plan for races I might do in 2016. No races for 2015 as I need to focus on regaining my fitness and endurance and losing the weight I have gained. When January rolls around, I can re-join my interval clinic, focus on getting fast, and let racing season begin!

What I need to figure out is what distances I want to focus my training and racing on. But I have lots of time to figure that out. Gut instinct is to stick to 5km,8km, and 10km races (my favourite!) but have a couple halfs in the year to work up to - count me in for the April Fools again (of course). I'll definitely be doing more races from the Lower Mainland Road Race Series. It's a great way to challenge oneself to do your best and this year, I placed 4th in my category for the races I completed between Jan-Jun 2015. I placed for the 2nd year in a row and maybe I could again if I work at it. :-)

Now I want to hear from you - what are your plans/goals for the remainder of 2015's racing season? Have you started to think about 2016?