Sunday, October 2, 2016

For the LOVE of the Run - 5 Years and Counting

Oh no, I've done it again, waited too long to write....again. My excuse this time is that school is back on, so my work/life routine hit a reset at the end of August. I kept calendaring "write a blog post" but something would always get in the way. Finally, I am here.

It seems senseless, now that two weeks has passed, to write a full on race report for the Vancouver Eastside 10K that I ran on September 17th, on my birthday. But I thought I'd fill you in on that run and some other run related reflections (excuse my alliteration) from the past month-and-a-bit, and an important 5 year milestone that's around the corner for me.

And that's where the title of this post comes into play. This last while, I have certainly reconnected with my love for running. I have never stopped loving it, don't get me wrong. It's just that at times, the focus of running has been on other things - achievement, weight loss, getting faster/fitter, recovering from injury, a goal race, etc. But right now, simply LOVING to run has been enough. Here's what I mean by this.

1) Vancouver Eastside 10K
This race fell on the very same day as my birthday this year. So naturally, I chose to run this as my way to celebrate my day. If I didn't love running, I wouldn't have chosen to wake up early and do this on my special day. And to boot, I invited all my friends and some chose to run with me, others chose to just join me for brunch. At one point I realized how funny it is that I see running as a party now. The old me wouldn't believe that this is who I've become. Ha!

And to make it even that much more hardcore, we did all this in the absolute most pouring rain imaginable. If I didn't love the sport, I would have bailed! But I am so glad that I didn't, because I ran really well that day, meeting my goal for the event. Despite the rain, I had fun!

Getting drenched running with my "birthday girl" bib, and feeling hardcore.
With some girlfriends who braved the rain with me, all of us drenched at the finish line.

2) Lower Mainland Road Race Series
For the 3rd year in a row, I made the effort to participate in multiple events as part of the Lower Mainland Road Race Series, and I managed to squeak in an award too, also for the 3rd year in row. So again, when you think about it, the old me would be shaking her head - I did all kinds of races this year and ran well enough to get an award? And I chose the location of my birthday brunch to be the same location as the awards ceremony so that my friends who were also getting awards and I could collect them more easily. I am good at running? I love it enough to do it voluntarily and pay to race often? And my friends run too? Who am I?! 

But really, what I love about the LMRRS is that it's about competing with oneself and with our peers. It's not about the speedy elite runners I can't ever come close to. It's about recreational runners here who are good enough and serious enough to be well above average, and for us to have incentive to do our best in multiple events. I definitely chose my events carefully, knowing which ones I could score points in, and which ones I didn't have a chance in because of the competitive field. I always ran the best I could, and am proud of my year in running. The awards are in September, culminating the races you've done so far in the year, and forcing you to reflect on how you've done. It's nice to be rewarded for all the work put into it since January, at the end of the summer season! Makes me feel good and ready to tackle my next events.

Friends posing with LMRRS awards and Eastside 10K race medals
3) Run Clinic Instructor
I have been working part time at the Running Room for about 5 years now, but had not previously ever signed on as a run instructor. A lot of it had to do with time commitments being focused elsewhere. But this summer, a 10K clinic instructor was needed and I stepped up the plate. It was a small group, but I had fun, fun enough that I have now signed up to coach the 5K and Learn To Run clinics this fall. There are many things I love about coaching. You get to share your knowledge, get in some extra workouts, etc., but the most pleasurable part of it all is the energy return you get from the participants. When I get feedback about something they learned, the improvement they've noticed in their own ability, the fun they are having in a session, how activity is impacting their life, this gives me great joy. It's incredibly rewarding and I hope that I have something to do with, some sort of lasting influence, however small, in someone remaining active and healthy, and with a long-term love for running themselves. Maybe someone I coach ends up reading this!

4) The Victoria Half Marathon - 5 years and counting!
And a week from now, I run the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Half Marathon. This is the very event, 5 years ago, that started this whole blogging adventure. I was training for this half marathon and was encouraged to start this blog. It was this event 5 years ago that I trained for after losing all that weight (the 130lbs) and getting my health on track. It was 5 years ago that I crossed that finish line and my passion / addiction for this sport was born. I can't believe it's been that long, or that it's only been that long, but you know, regardless of how long 5 years is, I have to acknowledge it. You may recall reading my post on my blogiversary - the milestone marking when I starting writing. This to me is even bigger though, because this marks when I actually DID IT!

At the finish line of the Victoria Half in 2011.

Since starting out in 2011, I have participated in this event in Victoria every year. Well, last year I didn't, although I was registered to (we were in Disneyland....). But I have run the marathon once, the half marathon twice, and the 8K once. I love the event as it's at Thanksgiving so lends itself nicely to a visit with family. It's also big, exciting, with a huge turnout, nice swag, and big expo, etc. It was a no-brainer to sign up this year, although I wasn't sure I wanted to do another half.

But when I realized that this event would mark a 5-year milestone, I had to sign up and train for it. For reasons very personal and very real, I have to mark my milestone. And now, this event will be my 24th lifetime half marathon. To me, that's pretty darn awesome, and I am very proud to acknowledge how far I've come in these 5 years. 24 halfs. 2 dozen! And when I cross the finish line this year, I have a feeling it might get emotional! :) If I remember to, I plan to wear my finisher shirt from this event in 2011.

Thank you, always for your kindness and support. 
<3 Zahida


  1. Im so excited for you to run this half ... next weekend already?! My next half is 2 weeks away! Can't wait for a update after your race!! And Im so happy you're enjoying coaching -- what lucky people in your clinic!!

    1. Sorry for my tardy response. I've had a busy week! But I am so thankful for your support, Monnie! :) I just posted my race report. Enjoy! <3