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Thursday, February 06, 2014

The 10K and the Biggest Loser Challenge

The Dubai Marathon

I participated in the Dubai Marathon a few weeks ago. That's a sentence I never thought I would say!

Back in November, a colleague sent out an email asking if anyone would like to register as a team. A few of us signed up, and I thought to myself, "Why not?" It seemed like a great opportunity! There was an option of a 3K "fun run", a 10 K, or the full marathon. After a bit of persuading, I agreed to sign up for the 10K run in January.

Please note that I had never "gone for a run" in my life outside of gym class. 

Even though I had no previous experience with running, I still used to be in great shape. In high school, I used to be a very serious dancer, dancing up to 15 hours a week. In university, I found enjoyment working out with cardio machines, group classes, and weights, but "running" never interested me. Since moving to Dubai, I've found fitness and my lifestyle to be a bit of a struggle (more on this later), so I agreed to sign up for the run!

I downloaded the wonderful "Couch to 5K" app (check it out here if you are unfamiliar with it!) and began to "train" for the race. A few weeks later, I only had a few "runs" under my belt, and I began to be discouraged. The weeks leading up to Christmas Break were crazy and busy, and I neglected my training plan. I travelled within the UAE and to England for a few weeks, and still neglected the plan.

When we came back to school in January, I had been hoping the race would somewhat just disappear. It didn't. Through endless email chains, it became apparent that there was still space to sign up, and my teammates wanted me to register. I did, and I finally got back into running the week before the race.

I completed the 10K. I certainly didn't run the 10K, but that's okay. One of my friends stayed with me the entire time, and we alternated brisk walking with jogging (which is the premise of the Couch to 5K app - I just hadn't completed it in time, or doubled it for a 10K!).

I had fun. It was unexpected.

After the start line, we could finally RUN!

I found myself enjoying the race - I enjoyed the feeling of moving, I enjoyed the stunning scenery (see below), chatting with my friend, and seeing the thousands and thousands of participants.

We ran right by the Burj Al Arab!

My absolute favourite part of the race? Running into a tunnel. Everyone was cheering and the echoes bounced off the wall, encouraging me to keep running.

Heading into the tunnel
I finished the 10K with a rather slow time, but that's completely fine. I'm excited to break my PR next time (fancy runner talk for personal record!). I am planning on completing at least one or two more races in Dubai this year, and a few next fall.

At the finish line!

I think I'm becoming a runner. 
That's surprising, for someone who has avoided running all her life. 

The most supportive colleagues - that's only half of them!
 I plan on completing the Couch to 5K app and buying the Couch to 10K app to properly train for my next race. I am still on the alternating cycle of walking and jogging, but I'll soon be up to jogging a 5K!

With my medal :)

The Biggest Loser

I am really trying to balance a healthy lifestyle as a first-year teacher, but it's difficult! I'm working on staying active, eating healthier, getting lots of sleep, managing stress and my workload, etc.

I'm proud and excited to say that today marks the beginning of a 12-week "Biggest Loser" challenge at school, and I've signed up.  Over 20 staff members are committing to a healthier lifestyle, and the person who loses the highest percentage of weight at the end wins a lot of money! I had my first weigh-in this morning, and I am currently at my heaviest weight. Ever. I'm not surprised, but I am encouraged to kickstart a healthier lifestyle.

I'm not necessarily trying to "lose weight", but I am trying to feel better and more in shape. I'm committing to being more physically active, trying to get more sleep, cut down on electronic uses, taking my vitamins, continuing to cook healthy meals, and avoiding mindless snacking.

I'm excited for the next 12-weeks, and I will continue to update my progress in the weeks to come!

Any ideas or tips for running or feeling more in shape? Let me know!


  1. The Biggest Loser has always been one of my favorites shows, and I've always wanted to participate in one of those challenges. Right now I'm about to do Beachbody Insanity for the second time, as I've gone a long time without doing workouts due to the business of life. Like you, I don't really care if I lose weight, as I usually stay in a certain range. For me it was always staying in shape, and that wonderful feeling I get when I walk around knowing my body is healthy and fine tuned! Good luck with the challenge, Emma...

  2. Well done Emma on participating the the Dubai Marathon! Must have been a great achievement for you. Have never yet participated myself, not sure I have the stamina... hey maybe next year :)

  3. It's amazing to know the Dubai Marathon can bring such a change in one's life.
    Thanks! for sharing and best of luck for the next race.
    It's good to see that festivals and events in Dubai are not just about cultural and entertainment programmes, but can bring change in one's life in a very positive way.
    Things just keep adding on my list of things to do in Dubai.

    Thanks & Bests,
    Sally :)