So as I mentioned earlier, the past month has been a whirlwind of events left and right, and I tried my utmost best to manage it all. Let me start with the first event the kick-started the month of March: Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.
Months earlier, I saw a volunteer sign-up for the Lit Fest, and I figured, why not?
So I signed up, and a few weeks before the event I got the details about a volunteer meeting. I debated with myself if I wanted to take part of it or not and eventually I decided I’d give it a try. I was feeling pretty lazy about it honestly and was pretty tired on the day of the meet, but figured I might regret it later and that if I didn’t push myself to go for it now, I’d probably bail on all the other events I had lined up. I do have a habit of bailing on something once it seems like it may cost me a lot of money, effort and time. But heck, I went for it anyway…then I got lost on the way and didn’t make it to the meeting at all.
The point is, I eventually put a wee bit of effort into the whole process and got it sorted out. I’m glad I did, because I had a really good time!
The event took place at the start of last month and a lot has happened since then, thus, many little details have been forgotten, but the general gist of it is still in my head a little. SO! Here are some of my thoughts and experiences on EOFL.
- I was followed by a girl who would literally say O.M.G to everything. I didn’t know whether she was being sarcastic or not.
- Almost everyone there was British. It seemed like only British-accented people like to read books.
- The best way to get out of something you don’t want to do: claim that you were assigned as a floater. You are able to attend the sessions you want under the pretense of helping out.
- Tweeting about work will always always be fun. Especially when you blatantly hashtag the company’s name #EOFL
- One of the many perks of volunteering means that get the deets before anyone else does and are able to beat people into the queue for the Anthony Horowitz signing session. Okay, I didn’t beat everyone, I was the tenth in line with OMG hanging around me, but at least I wasn’t the 60th, because someone was that, and I wasn’t. So, perks.
- Then, I actually got to meet ANTHONY FREAKIN’ HOROWITZ! I’m a big fan. When I met him, it was pretty funny actually. I acted like a complete ditz. Who’da thunk I was that kinda gal? I’m a blabberer apparently. It was so embarrassing when I look back at that incident. But whatever, I met him! And he was so nice!
- I got a free lunch voucher and free snacks
- I met a guy who was quite the sweet-talker. This meant that he did the sweet-talking with the supervisors in the volunteer lounge, thus giving me the opportunity to steal snacks from the lounge and take it outside with me. He got away with grabbing the entire cookie jar and walking away with it. Good guy. Fun times.
- I had to wake up at 6a.m. everyday to report to duty at 7:30a.m. for the morning briefing. Not fun.
- You don’t want to be a marshal. It’s boring. I was a marshal, for an hour, and then I bailed on that to become a floater once again.
- Making a good impression on the supervisor pays off because she will take pity on you and promote you to a room, which trumps marshaling and floating.
- You always know which sessions are going to be packed because of someone famous (e.g. Jeffery Archer, Anthony Horowitz) and which ones to avoid.
- There’s always that one room that has all the interesting sessions that you have to fight to get into.
- You get to meet a lot of nice people. I met some really nice people. I really did. They were genuinely nice.
I had a good time at EOFL. I must confess that I didn’t think I would. Volunteering for this event made me feel like I was actually doing something even when it was something as simple as standing at the door checking tickets with a “Hello! Enjoy!” at everyone. Just being a part of it meant that I was doing something with my time, and in a way, it somehow helped take my mind of things because I was so busy keeping myself busy. I feel like I did obtain some kind of experience even if it wasn’t exactly a life-altering experience. It felt like good. I got to meet a lot of nice people, famous people, people who liked books as much as I do and people who were different.
During the break right before the semester started, I got into the habit of spending a lot of time in the coffee shop under my house with my laptop in tow. What I didn’t really expect was to get crazy productive in a pleasantly surprising way.
Now I know I haven’t blogged in a while and the last thing I’d posted were my running failures (and, honestly, nothing’s changed in that department since then. I stopped running) but I have so much to blog about since that gap because one of the main reasons I haven’t dedicated the time to blog was the fact that I was too preoccupied with the happenings of my life. If you remember, I have a post about the upcoming events of March, and while I wasn’t too optimistic about participating in all of them, I was surprised to find that I did manage to take part in most of them and you know what, I had the time of my life! I’ve been too busy having great life experiences to actually sit and try to express them in sentences and paragraphs, but I want to, and I will. It’s spring break (yay!) and I can do it now. Right here. In my coffee shop state of mind.
So I’m here now, sipping on my coffee with my laptop in front of me, and I feel like now I’ll be able to produce the writing that has long been overdue. So I apologize in advance if I happen to post several posts in one day. Bear with me.
A friend of mine recently posted a link on my wall because he knew I’d appreciate it and I thought I’d share it right here because it’s relevant.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
First whole song
Made it in two songs and a half
Didn’t have the energy for the run
Didn’t feel like it
Wednesday, Feb. 27
Thursday, Feb. 28
Rest of the week: no running whatsoever
As you can probably tell, I’ve slacked off plenty this past week. I’m not proud of it, but it is what it is. I’ve lost all motivation to even rile myself up into running. Admittedly, I do have a flimsy excuse; I’ve just been too busy to sum up the energy that running requires, both mentally and physically. So much is happening at the same time that at the end of the day, I’m just too tired to get out there. I mean, I was already having a pretty hard time towards the end staying consistent and motivated. It’s sad, really. I was doing so well for a while.
I keep telling myself that I’m going to go out there again. Today’s the day. But no, not really. But I will, eventually! I’ll keep the faith. Maybe when I’m not feeling so overwhelmed by life. And no, I haven’t exactly experienced the whole lose-yourself-in-your-thoughts kinda run. Unless you consider the try-not-to-collapse thoughts that usually fill my head, in that case, yes, I guess it doesn’t distract me momentarily.
Until next time, I suppose.
I promise you I’m not just a running blogger. It’s just that when I have a theme or a topic that I happen to live by, I tend to stick to it and actively blog about it, like my previous internship.
So, this month is almost over and an exciting event-filled March month is waiting a couple of days from now. The month of March will include talks, art fairs, literature festivals, and unlimited exposure to creativity. It will present exciting opportunities to go out and be a part of something big.
Dubai and Sharjah both have seriously outdone themselves in establishing their names artistically and culturally. This ever-growing art hub taking place RIGHT HERE in the UAE is the presentation of something new and creative. It has become a meeting point for all of the artists of the world to show up and present their work somewhere near and dear to me.
I’m not sure how involved I’m going to be in some of these events. All I know is that they’re exciting and interesting and inspiring and, at the end of the day, I’d like to experience it all in some way. I live in Abu Dhabi, and as soon as I graduate, I’ll move back there. Therefore, I would like to take every opportunity to try and make the best out of this semester and out of my stay here while it lasts.
For some of these events, I’ll attend for my viewing pleasure, some of them I will participate in, some I will volunteer at, and some I will intern with, and some I might not be able to attend at all.
But oh, March. What an excitingly busy month you’ll be!
Gulf Photo Plus 2013: March 1 – 8
BoldTalks 2013: March 2
Art4Sight Competition: deadline March 5
Emirates Literature Festival: March 5 – 9
Dubai Lynx 2013: March 10 – 13
Sikka Art Fair 2012: March 14 – 24
Sharjah Biennial 11: March 13 – 17
Dubai Design Days 2013: March 17 – 21
Visual Arabia 2013: March 20
Art Dubai 2013: March 20 – 23
I’ve already landed two interview dates for an internship opportunity with the Sharjah Biennial and Dubai Art Fair, purchased the ticket to Visual Arabia, and got a volunteer opportunity with the Emirates Literature Festival. I hope it goes well!
Monday, Feb 26
I treadmilled it today, but I can explain.
I was feeling pretty tired and hungry at the end of the day, so I went out with a couple of friends for a quick drink of karak, some Chips Oman Paratha and a Lemon Chicken sandwich. Then, I realized that it started to get late, and I still had to run, but I had a full stomach at that point, which meant waiting for a couple of hours before embarking on a run. So I decided to stay in the dorms and treadmill it instead. Oh the price of a social life!
Anyway, so my dorm treadmill experience was interesting to say the least. First of all, it meant that I didn’t have to be all decked out and covered up in clothes. I was quite comfortable in my attire and not as stifled as I usually am. Also, I now understand why they make us sign that “fitness room” waiver at the start of the semester. That treadmill was out to get me.
I started out as usual with the same ol’ songs and I was going for it at my jogging speed (I mostly jogged) and then suddenly the machine would control the speed for me and take me from a full jog to an incredibly slow walk, and it kept doing that again and again! I had to adjust the speed on it every time. I realized it was on some program, but by then I was almost done with my first song and didn’t want to have to stop and adjust the settings. I wanted to see how long I would last on the pace I was at without stopping. The treadmill, however, had other ideas. After almost falling off for the fifth time, I decided to stop and fix the settings again. But it was pointless; the damned treadmill had a mind of its own. So, I stayed at it for a while adjusting the speed whenever it went down and tried to get used to it. Then, at some point, my ipod flew out of my hand and slid across the room (thankfully it’s still okay), so I had to stop and get it halfway through the second song. Then I fiddled with the settings once more and I think I pretty much managed to almost fix it. Sometimes it would do its regular speed thing, but it didn’t resist me for too long. Oh, and did I mention that the whole time I was jogging it sounded like the treadmill was going to break and collapse under my feet in a heap? Well, it did. That waiver. Makes so much sense now.
Anyway, so when I got that settled I ran consistently for a couple more songs and it was all pretty good. It was an overall good run, I power-walked a couple of times and, honestly, the only reason I did was because I was genuinely surprised at how continuous my running was. There weren’t any chest pains or tummy cramps. I means my knees started to hurt a little (which is a new symptom and one that I hear of a lot but hadn’t experience until now) and I think I might’ve sprained my ankle a little bit during the run from the day before because the ankle pain is a little more prominent now, but other than that and the ever-so unrestricted flow of sweat dripping down my forehead, it was pretty good. It felt kind of awesome swiping all that sweat off my brow. I felt pretty’ badass. I didn’t exactly feel like my heart was racing at an uncontrollable speed that I couldn’t bear but it felt pretty good. I’m quite happy with it. After the second song, when the treadmill started to calculate the measurements better, my distance was 1.346 miles (2.16 km) and for 15:54 minutes. But in reality, add 3 more minutes to that and maybe a few more meters and it would be closer to accurate in order to make up for the first song and a half that it didn’t measure. And it was the same number of songs that I run for two laps. 5 songs, so yay!
A riveting story, I know. I don’t know why I chose to share that separately, but I did, it’s out there, so deal with it. And it’s a different experience than the usual. Gosh!
This is what it felt like when the treadmill took control. Thankfully, I was alone in the “Fitness Room”. Now I understand why.
*Pardon the dreadful pun
There have been some developments and some downgrades this week. How fun I like to make things! To save some of you the trouble of reading through the entire running log, here is what you need to know:
- I had my first runners nod with another runner, it was pretty incredible
- I took an additional rest day for no reason other than the fact that I was flat-out lazy and couldn’t be bothered (missed my treadmill day)
- To make up for that, I started to run two laps (yay!) which is equivalent to around 2.7km (according to google maps)
- I consistently suffer from running tummy cramps for some reason
As for those of you who would like to delve in deeper, carry on reading about the details of my runs.
Monday, Feb. 18
- One lap
- Made it in just about less than three songs
- Ran first song straight took small walk breaks in the 2nd song and by the third had an almost continuous jog.
- No chest pains, a little bit of a side pain but not too bad
Tuesday, Feb. 19
- One lap
- Ran very badly
- Had stabby pain in me belly within the first song
- Had of half run half walk
- Walked mostly (admittedly)
- Lasted into the fourth song
Wednesday, Feb. 20
- One lap
- 3 songs
- Ran one whole song
- Got tired afterwards
- Walked some
- Cramps in me belly at some point but minor
Next goal: run two laps
Thursday, Feb. 21
Friday, Feb. 22
LAZY REST DAY
Saturday, Feb 23
- Two laps
- First lap seemed heroic compared to second lap
- Ran through 3 songs for first lap
- Ran straight through 1 and a half song, half a lap continuous without stopping
- Then walking and jogging started to alternate
- Had my first runner’s nod to another fellow runner, it was cool
- Took a break between the two laps
- Ran through 3 songs in lap two, including the break
- Around a 20-ish minutes run in total I think
- Had some tummy cramps
- Also realized I needed to pee the moment I started
- I look like I ran on upside down on my hands; my face is throbbingly red. People must think I was championing through my run like a boss.
- Walked through a lot of the second lap
Sunday, Feb. 24
- Two laps
- 25 minutes
- Made the first lap in 2 and a half songs
- First song and then some continuously
- First lap was pretty good
- Ran proper when I did, not the old lady jog, a run run
- Walked some though, took a break between the two laps to collect my breath proper, not too long a break
- Second lap was problematic
- Had some pretty intense tummy cramps
- The entire two laps in 5 and a half songs courtesy of the almost success of the first lap
- Second lap walked a lot. Quite the struggle to survive it.
So yeah! I do two laps now, poorly but surely
I wonder what those tummy cramps are all about though? Anyone got any idea regarding this particular issue that I face whilst running? I mean it’s a recurring symptom that burdens my running track record. They’re like proper lower tummy cramps, not the side-stitches kind. I was literally groaning loudly at some point. I got a few looks. Didn’t know them, didn’t matter.
And how funny is it when you try not to make eye contact with passing cars? I keep thinking, no Farah no, keep your eyes on the road, look ahead and look macho, but I always give in slyly look into a passing car, tinted windows or not, in the hopes that it isn’t someone I know who’s watching me run funny. And that’s the thing, ladies and gentlemen, it’s no secret to me, but for your information, I run funny. I have a funny run. It’s quite embarrassing but I do (I also happen to have a funny walk that translates badly during the transition to a run).
Every time I see an approaching car, I fix my running posture and try to look intense as I run, like I wasn’t just now clutching my tummy in pain as I walked crookedly. Nay, never, not me, not I.
The song list is still the same for the first lap:
- Ain’t She Sweet – The Beatles
- The Rhythm - The Cat Empire
- Champion Sound – The Crystal Fighters
The additional songs for the second lap
Go Outside – The Cults
Carry on – Fun. (without the slow piano solo at the beginning)
Life of the Party – Jackson 5
So I’m still running. It’s a good sign, right?
In terms of improvement, I find that I don’t quite labor through one lap like before. The distance suddenly doesn’t seem as unbearably long and tedious. What am I saying? It’s still tedious, of course, but there is less suffrage involved (but then again it depends on the mood and state I’m in). I’ve made it my mission to run through the first song and a half continuously, and that is A LOT more than I could do last week. Improvement. Slowly, but surely.
I find that keeping this “running diary” helps, because whenever I feel like giving up and skipping out on a day, I find myself sighing in regret of the day I decided to post my first running blog entry. I mean, come on, I know most of you don’t even care and aren’t waiting on bated breath to find out what happens next in my adventures of running-dom, but hey, it’s out there and I’m embarrassed to stop now. I also sort of do this thing where I brag about my newfound running hobby to EVERYONE I know.
And here’s another thing that I found helped me a lot. When you start running, and it’s this new foreign experience for you, it’s always great to share it with someone who also feels the same alien sensation of running. You’re both sort of on the same level, thus, the competitive spirit of beginners running takes over. It’s a good thing!
Monday, Feb. 11
- Ran the 3 songs barely
- One lap
- Had a back ache so running was slightly half-assed
- Walked quite a bit but made sure I ran a lot more
Tuesday, Feb. 12
- 12 minutes
- One lap
- Almost less than 3 songs
- Almost continuous running, very few and short walk breaks
- Chest still tightening
Wednesday, Feb. 13
- One lap
- Still stopped to catch my breath
- Much better performance
- Almost two songs and a half
- Had longer stretches of continuous running
- Didn’t feel that bad a chest ache
- Must be because I had a proper meal before running
- Yay! Almost success.
Thursday, Feb. 14
- REST DAY
Friday, Feb. 15
- Treadmilled it
- Distance: 2.01
- Time: 15:48
- Two songs straight at 9.5 speed
- 5 songs in total
- Powerwalks at 6.0
- Better shoes I guess
Saturday, Feb. 16
- 12-ish minutes
- 1 and a half song continuously
- Half a lap continuous
- Later on took breaks and ran a little
- Walked once
- One lap
- Made it in just about less than 3 songs
- Better running may be because of better shoes
- Got pretty tired towards the end but running was alright, just needed to keep pushing myself
Sunday, Feb. 17
- One lap
- First song ran continuous
- 2nd song sprinted some and walked some
- By the third song I was dying
- Did a couple more sprints
- Had a sharp pain in my side so didn’t go all out and running was infrequent
- Barely made it in 3 songs
Playlist (in correct order)
Not exactly the most conventional running music, but hey, to each his/her own.
Song 1: Ain’t She Sweet – The Beatles
Song 2: The Rhythm – The Cat Empire
Song 3: Champion Sound – The Crystal Fighters
Song 4: Go Outside – The Cults
So bam! Week 3, here I come.
I am a self-proclaimed unfit person who has negative points in stamina. So I thought to myself, hey Farah, how would you like to kill yourself everyday by running, just for kicks. It’ll be a laugh!
So I did. For a week. I ran and I ran.
People always tell you that it’s very hard at first and it gets better the more you do it. When people say that, I’m usually left under the impression that that suffocating chest-tightening feeling goes away and your running becomes seamless and more comfortable. Well, a week later, I’ve yet to experience that ease in running that doesn’t make me feel like a gasping wheezing idiot as I run in public.
I sort of kept a record of everyday running. Just to keep track of my improvement. This is a very futile track record because it doesn’t include kilometers ran and proper numbers and whatnot for a correct measurement of my improvement. But hey, it’s something.
Sunday, Feb. 3
- Ran for approx. 15 minutes max
- Three songs
- Around the free parking
- Alternatively ran and walk
- After running the first stretch of road my legs were already aching
- I sat for a bit
- My head was pounding, my legs aching and oh god, my chest was so tight I could hardly breathe
- I tried to slow down the pace and it was only just a little bit better
Monday, Feb 4
- Leg cramps
- Ran for approx. 20 minutes
- 4 songs
- Took 3 breaks
- Walked a lot
- Around free parking
- Performance was worse than he day before
- Felt tummy cramps
Tuesday, Feb 5
- Leg cramps
- Ran for approx 15 min
- 4 songs
- Didn’t take breaks
- Walked in between
- Took the path around half-campus in a circle rather than free parking
- Felt performance was a little better
- Still very exhausting
- Tummy pain a little, hard to breathe, pukey feeling
Wednesday, Feb 6
- Leg cramps
- A better run than most
- One lap
- 4 songs
- Midnight running
- Got done in 15 minutes
Thursday, Feb. 7
- No muscle cramps – Rest Day
Friday, Feb 8
- 13:30 minutes some power-walking some running
- So exhausting and difficult
- Took a break (5-10 minutes, just chilled out)
- Then 15 minutes running and power walk
- The next 15 minutes were easier not to die through
- Speed: 6 (walking) – 9/10/11 (running/jogging)
- Overall distance around 2.5 or 3.0, I think
Saturday, Feb 9
- Ran for 15 minutes
- One lap
- It was hard and tiring but not so bad
- There was some walking involved
- Went by a little faster than usual according to my songs
Sunday, Feb 10
- Ran one lap
- Around 13 minutes
- 3 songs
- There were some breaks where I stopped to chitchat to familiar passer-byers
- Walked a little
- It was faster and easier than usual
- Felt the usual stitches
Not bad for a first try I think. Knowing me. I will admit that I now go through distances longer before I start to feel suffocated. So that should be reassuring in some way for a better performance in the future. So for all you beginners out there who want to start running, try it. But don’t give up for a week. Just one single week. I think it gets better. I’ve yet to find out myself, but something about it seems worth it for me.
Goal: run one lap around the half-campus without stopping for a nice little walk in-between.