Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Whole New World

Hello, everybody!

I started this blog as a continuation of my now-defunct blog, Salaam wa Hubb. Salaam wa Hubb was a travel blog I kept from 2008 to 2011, while I followed my passion for Africa from Morocco to Egypt, studying and living abroad.  In late 2010, I made the extremely difficult decision to move back to Tuscaloosa, Alabama and finish my degree in International Studies at the University of Alabama to, among other things, be with my fiance, a competitive cyclist.  The first several months I was back in America were rocky; I was living with the love of my life but some element of adventure was missing. I sank deep into a depression, desperate for some new challenge to conquer. Finally, in a last-ditch attempt to fix myself, I took up running.

I have never been particularly gifted when it comes to running. I grew up in ballet, gymnastics, and eventually dedicated myself to competitive cheerleading. I was the captain of a three-time national champion squad my senior year of high school, and I loved everything about it: the way it made my body look, the way it made me feel, the sassy outfits, and of course, the thrill of winning competitions- of throwing stunts and tumbling passes that could kill you, and making them look easy.  I was hellbent on cheering in college, but near the end of my senior season, an unpleasant surprise came my way: I tore my ACL, MCL, and medial meniscus in competition.

I directed my attentions to new challenges and learned Arabic, and then followed that passion to North Africa. When I came back, I was hungry for something else that would seem impossible. Even in top physical shape, nearly five years ago, I could barely tough out a mile with my squad. After my knee surgery, I thought there was no way my body could handle running. And yet, as I've eased into it, I've learned to love it, and the pain the accompanies it.

Tonight I grit my teeth through a tough run- 2.25 miles nonstop, something I've never done in my life. I know that doesn't sound like much, but the euphoria from that accomplishment has carried me along all night. Hopefully in several months, I'll look back on this post and laugh at how far I've come.

This blog will chronicle my new athletic adventure. I'm starting from the ground-up and believe me, I'm terrified. But I'm also ridiculously excited. I can't wait to conquer this new mountain. Over the next year or so, I have three goals:

1. Finish a half-marathon
2. Compete in my first triathlon
3. Bike the US for MS with my fiance

This will not be purely a running blog, obviously. I'm going to be training for three separate events that span three sports, and I'm sure to have a lot to say about all of it. So, if you want to follow along to track my progress, be my personal cheerleader, or simply laugh at my mistakes, you're welcome here. Hopefully we'll be seeing a lot more of each other.