One of the most irritating discoveries is to know that you were fully capable of doing something, but now physically unable to do it. That’s me and running. 2011 was my most accomplished year in running, with 2 half marathons (13.1 miles) and a full (26.2 miles). I anticipated my return to the States, by irrationally signing up for untrained races. You never forget how to ride a bike, they say. Well I’m here to tell you that the same logic doesn’t apply to running. I have forgotten how to breathe, how to push through pain, how to adjust for hills. Today, I get winded after ½ a mile and feel utter exhaustion after 3. My year abroad has temporarily sabotaged my endurance. So, I have to start from scratch to be able to run next year’s Raleigh Rock n’ Roll Marathon (April 13, 2014). http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/Raleigh
I have spent hours looking for the perfect running schedule to get me into marathon shape. And since I couldn’t find a couch to marathon program with more focus on the “couch”, I’ve combined 5 of my favorite workout plans. I’ve adjusted some according to my preferences. Back to back, they add up to a one-year training plan, in hopes to get me to the finish line in 4 hours 30 min. Wish me luck!!
Next week, I WILL be buying my treadmill!!! I’m so excited to get back moving, that price is no longer a factor… In this immobile country, it’s quite easy for the first 10lb weight gain to come unnoticed. So far, I’m going up a 1lb per week. There are 52 weeks in a year…O_o
So… I’ve decided that along w/ 3 months of P90X, I’ll tack on 3 miles per day. As silly as it may look, I am strongly considering going for a run outside in my abaya, before it gets too hot.. and before I lose the guts to be a total oddball. But I’m sure the Saudis think foreigners are a weird bunch, anyway. I have 2 others who are up for this challenge. The most the police can do is ask us to walk.
Hopefully, all of this will combat this Saudi diet of shawarma in white, floured pita bread, stuffed with French fries. Or the university food that can be compared to elementary cafeteria lunches, in the US.. I’ll do my once a week cheat meal, since that’s worked for me in the past. And I finished my last juice and soda, yesterday. I’m slowly getting back into the habit of cooking my own food, even though I’m having a harder time finding all of the variations of turkey meat, as I like it. But, NO Excuses.. If I can manage to stay in shape here, I can anywhere.
To keep the validity of my posts… I must update and say that yesterday, I have found my dumbbells and yoga mat at a different mall 🙂 They also sell treadmills O_O (hmmmm…) … and lastly, I have been given free access to one of the compounds to use their private gym 🙂 🙂 … I think I’ll make it out here!
I fell into a little rut today.. And realizing that it’s totally understandable of why the culture shock hits you early here.
Unlike Korea, where you can find multiple Americanized food chains on every corner, natives with a similar sense of style, and same rules/restrictions…Saudi Arabia is the total opposite. Abiding by a strict way of living, being gender segregated, living in a new language, around new people, being away from loved ones, and starting a new job… perhaps, I could have brought a Xanax or two. I was reading the stages of culture shock on Wikipedia, and this “negotiation phase” is supposed to hit you on month 3. I’m on day 5… BUT, instead of looking at this negatively, I have high hopes that the “adjustment phase” will come early as well. I can see many personal, professional, and financial benefits that will come from this experience, it’s just a lot to take in at once! I also don’t to want to make this KSA blog all nice and frilly. Gotta keep it real. So with all that said, I will definitely have my moments here.. I’ll just have to find ways to keep my life as close to what I’m used to, try to understand their culture, and realize that they will not change for me.. aka: I must Adapt! Here’s the plan:
Figure out what the health-conscious Saudis eat.. It doesn’t seem like turkey is as easily available and can easily go into carb overload.
Drop expectations! Being a control-freak, especially with time/planning, this will be the hardest one.
Get a schedule of their 5 daily prayers, because everything shuts down for 45min prayer. To wisely use of this time, avoid shopping and replace with an indoor activity
Buy a treadmill!!! With the prices of the limited female gyms, and it being near impossible to run outside.. in an abaya and hijab.. w/o someone assuming you stole something, perhaps its beneficial to build an at-home gym. Thank God, I brought my P90X and Insanity!
Do things to make life feel “normal”.. Although this country seems to operate thanks to the abundance of servicemen and women, I found that maybe I prefer to do my own cleaning, taking in of own groceries, picking up my own food orders.
Make connections with expats: Find groups that fit all of my interests, whether its physical activities or social gatherings
Make connections with natives: This could help with language exchange and a better understanding of the culture.