About Weekend Runner

Ainaa Samsudin // Athlete Wannabe // Ultramarathon Finisher // Occasional Traveler // FurMommy to a Kitty // Corporate Ladder Climber

5 tips on how to wake up early to work out

I admit I am not a morning person. On my off days I could stay in bed all morning and my only motivation to wake up is a good breakfast. However, through out the years, I have learnt that I need to manage my time better and appreciate that we get only 24 hours in a day. There is so much to do in so little time.

I have also learnt that there is no “right time” to work out. I prefer to work out first thing in the morning before I go to work. One of the benefits of working out early is that you get it out of the way as soon as possible, freeing up time for you to proceed with your daily routine, such as going to work, run errands, or spending time with family and friends. I have also noticed that I will feel more energized after working out. My mind is more alert and I will be in a happier mood.

However, you do need to sacrifice other aspects. I had to give up watching TV at night and I am not hooked on to any TV series, so I do feel a little bit left out when people talk about Game of Thrones or the latest Korean dramas. I have also sacrificed my late night ‘lepak’ time because I am just too sleepy to socialize and eat at 10pm.

In the end, it is all worth it. Fitness is a lifestyle, not a trend or a seasonal thing. In the long run, I trust that I will be able to reap the health benefits and work towards my fitness goals. So how do you wake up early and still feel like a champ?

4 lessons learnt from 2017

As we approach the 3rd day of a brand new year, it is still not too late to reflect on 2017.

This post is not a race review or a performance recap, but an avenue for me to share what do I need to improve on to make me into a better person for 2018. Also, let’s not forget that we also need to know what went right in 2017, so we look forward to achieve even more in the future.

Lesson 1: Experiences are more valuable than medals

Lesson 2: I have realized that the location of an event matters to me, and I am willing to travel just to run

Lesson 3: Growing up does not mean growing apart, because we still share a common goal

Lesson 4: Do whatever that makes you happy

I have definitely grown and learnt a lot in such a short period of one year. I look forward to the challenges and what 2018 has in store for me, and may it make me into a better person in the future.

How Janda Baik Ultra has helped to overcome my fear of trail running again

I used to be able to do long distance run and I used to be an avid trail runner. However, for the past few months I only managed to run a few 10km-15km on the road. After running TMBT and not being able to complete it, I was scared about going off-road again. I could not face running in the dark, the muddy routes, the self-doubts…in short, I was traumatized.

Soon enough I realized that I could not allow my fears to overcome me. It could not suppress my need to be off-grid once in a while, spending hours totally to myself, and seeking new routes and adventures. I had to face my fears about trail running again. It’s time to show who is the boss here. I decided to go ahead with Janda Baik Ultra and use it as a ‘therapy’ to gain my confidence about long distance running and trail running. I went for the shortest distance available: 30km, with elevation of over 1,200m

Here are 5 points on how I used Janda Baik Ultra to overcome my fear of trail running again:

  1. Acknowledge that I have to face my fears

30km? I prefer to look at it as 5km runs, done over 6 rounds. Now, that distance sounds a lot more manageable compared to 30km

  • Denying your fears will not help to resolve it
  • It is ok to admit that you are nervous. Vent, tell to someone who is willing to listen, then let go.
  • Realize that if you can overcome this, you can overcome bigger challenges in life
  • If your fear is too big, break it up into smaller milestones. I set smaller goals by ensuring that I reach the aid stations first, so there were 5 milestones for me to reach my end goal of 30km. Now, 30km seems a whole lot bearable.
  1. Set a realistic expectation

  • The easiest goal would be aiming to finish within the cut off time. But where’s the fun, if there is nothing challenging about it? So strike a balance between being challenging and being realistic.
  • For example: Don’t try to aim for a sub 6 hour for a 30km trail run when your best timing for 30km road race is 4 hours 30 mins
  1. Be over-prepared, physically

Most of the things that I packed in that hydration bag were not mandatory items, but it bought great comfort and helped me to complete the run, such as my hat

  • Train for it! There is no short cut to building your endurance, except to condition your body to get used to it. Strengthen your glutes and quads for the elevation with weight training.
  • Double check your mandatory items. You don’t want to be denied getting into the race pen just because you forgot a whistle or water bottle. In addition to the mandatory items, think about anything you might need based on the weather condition and route. I bought poles, waterproof jacket, and a hat even though it was not mandatory.
  • Study the route. Be aware of the distances between water stations and the elevation profile to make sure you pack enough water. Check the weather forecast too.
  1. Be over-prepared, mentally

Keep calm and run tomorrow

  • Get enough sleep for a peace of mind
  • Talk yourself through it – Plant and visualize in your mind that you MUST FINISH IT. You’ve trained hard for this!
  • Find ways to keep yourself positive and uplifted. I have a few phrases that I say to myself when it gets tough, and a playlist of songs on my phone.
  1. Focus on the bright side of the challenge

The most rewarding part of a trail run is the view. No medals can replace that feeling

 

  • Enjoy the view. You can never get to see the vast open greenery if you are running on the road
  • Take in the fresh air. No traffic, no cars, and almost no pollution.
  • Have fun during the “runcation”. After all, you are on a holiday!

    More runcations, please!

    I hope my tips will help you to overcome your fears to be able to live life to the fullest. Fear should not get in the way to enjoy the things you love, and it will slowly become easy if you try.

    Share with us a scary experience, and how did you overcome it?

Your Nashata traveling essentials

It’s almost the end of the year, and that means holiday season is here for most people. Regardless of where you are heading to, don’t forget to pack a piece of Nashata into your suitcase!

Nashata was designed with the athlete in mind, but that also means the pieces are versatile. You can wear it in almost any casual situation – while exploring cities, boarding a flight, lounging at the beach, or my favourite, “runcations”.

Here’s how to pack your Nashata traveling essentials, based on your type of vacation:

URBAN EXPLORER

Your vacation will most likely revolve around discovering modern cities, or walking to museums, or cafe-hopping. It’s going to get hot and humid with all that walking and navigating around the city, so opt for some sun protection like a sunglasses and hat. A quick-dry top will keep the sweaty smell at bay. Keep it casual and presentable in with a pair of jeans.

FREQUENT FLIER

Crossing different timezones is a normal thing for you. That long haul flight is going to get chilly, so layer up a hoodie to keep your warm and give you privacy so you can sleep. Don’t forget some entertainment to keep you occupied on that 10 hour flight – it’s the perfect time to catch up on a tv show or finish a book.

ISLAND ESCAPE

Sun, sand, and sea – it’s about to get wet! But that does not mean you have to compromise your modesty. Swim to your heart’s content in the Sibaha. Who says you can’t have fun under the sun while covering up?

THE RUNCATION

Another weekend, another run, another city. Don’t forget your race gear, you don’t want to be stuck in an unfamiliar city looking for a top, pants, or worst, shoes! Also, soothe that tanned skin after hours in the sun with some natural remedy.

So where will you be travelling to? Don’t forget to post your OOTD and tag us!

We can help you to be a smart consumer

Facing a tight budget, but you need to replace a pair of pants? Unsure about what is modest activewear all about?  Should you compromise between quality and price? Worry not, Nashata is here to help you make sound choices based on your budget and needs.

Here I have listed 4 situations or problems, and how we can assist to solve them. However, we understand that there are different price point for every individual, hence we suggest an alternative product that will work too.

Some people call the alternative as ‘entry-level’ price point. However, I would like to call the alternatives as ‘aspiration pieces’. Thanks to the affordable price points for the alternative, you will now get a preview on what Nashata is all about, and be a smart consumer to decide on the best product to suit your budget

 

In the long run, you might still need to ‘invest’ in products that can last for a few years and possibly, a lifetime such as the Heather range. They might be expensive initially but thanks to the good quality one top can last for a long time, hence you get ‘returns’ by saving since you don’t have to replace a top over and over again. The cost per wear will reduce over time, since you wear the top repeatedly.

The heather range. This top has served me well over the past few years

Ladies, the power is in your hands. Make the right decision that will benefit you in the future, and make your money worth every single cent!

An event that protected and cared my underarms

I was delighted when I was invited to participate in Nivea Care Run 2017 as one of the media and bloggers. Nivea was one of the brands that is close to my heart – I have been using Nivea for years, I am sure at one point in our life we had used a bottle of Nivea deodorant.

Proof that taking care of your underams can be fun too!

However, this newly launched Protect & Care deodorant is definitely different and special. Not only must we be concerned about the cleanliness of our underarms, we must protect and care about the skin too. Just because our underarms are covered most of the time, it does not mean that we should pay less attention to it or neglect it. Thanks to the special Nivea Creme ingredient in this deodorant, my skin felt smoother and appeared lighter too.

I’m sure I was the only one who wished these giant deodorants weren’t just replicas!

In conclusion, it was a fun and informative run. I get to learn a lot of tips on taking care of my underarms, along with the generous goodie bag. Many thanks to Janet and Nivea for the slot!

Read up on the official press release below:

NIVEA PROTECT & CARE BRINGS MALAYSIANS TOGETHER TO CARE FOR THEMSELVES AND THOSE IN NEED

Putrajaya, 29 October 2017 – Almost 2,500 Malaysians gathered at Putrajaya for the NIVEA Care Run, hosted by NIVEA Protect & Care, a gentle yet long-lasting deodorant designed to care for the underarm skin. Expanding on its theme, ‘Protects What You Care’ to include care to the community, a contribution of RM20,000 from the run was also donated to Yayasan Budi Penyayang Malaysia (Penyayang), an established charity organisation that supports Malaysians in need.

 

Pic 1: NIVEA Care Run flag-off (from far left): Celebrity guest Siti Saleha; Ms Shirley Toh, Sales Director of Beiersdorf Malaysia; Mr Ng Hock Guan, Country Manager of Beiersdorf Malaysia & Singapore and Mr Cheong Wai Lun, Head of Marketing of Beiersdorf Malaysia.

Pic 2: About 2,500 NIVEA Care Run participants start their run after the flag-off by the NIVEA management team and celebrity guest Siti Saleha

NIVEA Protect & Care deodorant uses an alcohol-free formula that is tough on sweat, offering up to 48 hours of protection, while its skin-friendly ingredients leave underarms skin softer and smoother.  Enriched with the essence of NIVEA Crème, it nourishes and cares for the underarms with its distinctive ingredients and delicate scent.

 

“NIVEA Protect & Care is privileged to collaborate with PENYAYANG in their efforts to support Malaysians in need,” said Ng Hock Guan, Country Manager for Beiersdorf Malaysia & Singapore. “Today’s run is closely aligned with our brand proposition for NIVEA Protect & Care deodorant, where protection and care come hand in hand. Hence, we are also very grateful to all our partners and sponsors for working together with us to support this cause. We are also very proud that so many Malaysians have come forth to support the NIVEA Care Run. Each participant has played a role in today’s success.”

 

To raise further awareness about underarm care, participants of the NIVEA Care Run were presented with plenty of skin facts such as the extent of skin damage caused by shaving and tweezing and how debris removed during shaving may contain up to 36% of skin*, shown via a skin test demonstration.

Pic 3: A contribution of RM20,000 from NIVEA Care Run was presented to Yayasan Budi Penyayang Malaysia (PENYAYANG) to support Malaysians in need.
[From L-R] Mr Ng Hock Guan, Country Manager for Beiersdorf Malaysia & Singapore, Mr Cheong Wai Lun, Head of Marketing of Beiersdorf Malaysia, Dato’ Leela Mohd Ali, Chief Executive Officer of Yayasan Budi Penyayang and En. Ariff Farhan, General Manager of Yayasan Budi Penyayang.

Other activities at the run included a “Protect & Care” pledge wall where participants could leave messages to express their care for loved ones, a PENYAYANG booth, lucky draws and photo booths, with the presence of local celebrities Siti Saleha, Nadia Heng and Fiqrie.

Pic 4: Participants pledge messages of “protect & care” for their loved ones at NIVEA Care Run.

With great support from runners, sponsors and partners, the NIVEA Care Run was a resounding success, achieving its objective to raise awareness about underarm care while raising funds to help protect and care for others.

Pic 5: Siti Saleha shares her underarm care tips with NIVEA Care Run participants

NIVEA Protect & Care deodorant is available in 50ml roll-on bottles at RM11.30 and 150ml sprays at RM17.50 (West & East Malaysia) at all leading stores and pharmacies nationwide.

 

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/mynivea to find out more about NIVEA products.

3 Simplified Tips for Self-Defense

With the ladies who floated like butterflies but stung like bees

Self-defense skills is an asset that all ladies should have, yet hope to never use. However, danger can lurk in any corner and women must be prepared. Having self-defense skills does not guarantee that you will be unhurt or unscathed in an attack, however it can increase your chance of surviving. Besides having the right skills, learning self-defense can boost your confidence level, improve your fitness level in a fight-or-flight situation (if you need to outrun your attacker), and makes you more coordinated when fighting back.

Self-defense does not have to be complicated. You don’t need a black belt to try to save yourself. Here are 3 simplified tips I learnt from today’s class at Hammerfist Fight Club, in Cyberjaya:

  • Punch with the correct technique

The knuckles on your second and middle finger is the hardest. Use that to punch instead of focusing on the whole fist.

You can also use the base of your palms to jab the upper body like the throat. The bottom part of your palms just before your wrist is actually stronger than your fist.

The tips of your fingers are powerful too. Use it to poke the eyes using all 4 finger tips. Aim for only one eye, and this is enough to distract your attacker.

Elbows are strong and sharp tools too. Keep it close to your side when punching to block kicks or attacks from the side that can harm the ribs and chest.

Getting as close to your attacker as possible to deliver the most powerful punch

  • Find weak points on the body.

They are:

Eyes, throat, the middle of the chest, stomach, groin, mid thighs, knees, shins, ankles.

These points are most vulnerable as it can inflict the most amount of pain to the attacker. So aim for these body parts when attacked.

Here is a brief video that contains information on how to use these weak points, but with slight variation from what we learnt today:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsjXVGhDuFU

  • Act swiftly

When facing an attacker, a split second can make a difference. Hesitation gives a window for the attacker to make his next move. Plus, acting swiftly gives the impression that you are confident and not a vulnerable victim.

I hope that these tips are useful for women when they are forced to face an attacker. For a full list of skills, it is best to enroll in a martial arts class where a certified instructor can help to polish your techniques.

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4 Techniques to Free Yourself

For more info on Kick Boxing, you can read Sarah’s experience here

 

What I learnt when I did not finish a race

I’ve been delaying this entry for more than a week since I came back from “The Most Beautiful Thing” (TMBT) Ultra Trail held in Sabah. If you have been following me on my social media channels, you would have already known that I did not finish the race. I did not put this entry off because I was ashamed there is a glaring “DID NOT FINISH” in the results list, but because I have been thinking really hard about what I learnt when I did not finish a race.

So here are 3 lessons that I learnt when I did not finish TMBT 2017:

  • There is no shame is not being able to finish a 50km race.

When I signed up for the 50km category, I knew that I had embarked on an adventure that I could not possibly forget. It requires physical training and mental preparation. I built up the mileage needed, consistently did LSD (Long Slow Distance) runs every weekend, and trained for the elevation. In fact, I was mentally worn out from doing the same thing every week.

I can hardly recognize my own feet at 48km.

  • No two trails are the same

I am not a stranger to the world of ultra running. This is my 3rd ultra marathon, and I have ran in several long distance trail events. Yet, I was naive enough to think that since I have completed Cameron Trail Ultramarathon 50km last year, I could pull off TMBT, when in fact, TMBT was a totally different game. Mother Nature is unpredictable. TMBT was the race that I have experienced various types of weather: scalding hot and shivering cold temperatures, bright sunny hours and torrential downpours, all in 16 hours. The only thing missing was probably snow and ice. And weather conditions affects the trail – it can be muddy, dusty, slippery, etc

TMBT – The Most Beautiful Thing or The Most Brutal Trail? I choose to believe in both

Hanging bridges like these seemed to be a permanent part of the route. I have never experienced anything quite like this in other trail runs

  • Never underestimate the mandatory items

I utilized everything listed in the mandatory items, except for the emergency blanket. I was especially grateful for the waterproof jacket, headlamp, and blinkers.

Also, never skimp on anything that you think might become useful in a race. Think thoroughly while packing. Personally, an item that I underestimated its usefulness were tissues (wet and regular tissues) and money. Why?

Tissues – You might never know when you need to go. Decent toilets were available at every checkpoint, but for your own comfort and hygiene purposes you will be glad that you carry a tissue. It is also handy when you need to wipe your muddy hands to eat and drink in the trail.

A typical water station checkpoint. At least there were flushable toilets in mini halls like this.

Taking shelter from the heavy rain in one of the checkpoints. Although there were no designated praying areas, at least halls like this was convenient enough for us to pray.

Money – These villagers were really entrepreneurial! Along the route there were villagers ready with cartons of drinks in ice boxes. There were also food too (eat this at your own risk!). Although I packed enough isotonic drink mix and water, but after a long and hard climb a bottle of cold Coke was very tempting, even if it costs more than RM3.00.

How everyone refuels. Only mineral water was provided, because along the way villagers will set up ‘booths’ selling soft drinks.

 

TMBT will be one of the races that I will never forget. I was happy that I was able to participate in it, even though I did not finish it. If you are up for the challenge and a big fan of trial runs, this route is a must.

 

Product Review: Sibaha Swimwear (Bodysuit) for Water Polo

Everyone knows that Nashata’s swimwear is designed with performance in mind, tested by active women who are serious about sports yet still want to remain modest. It has proven to be great for swimming in the pool, and also for the open sea. So for this week, I tested the swimwear for a different water sport: Water Polo.

This review written is entirely my own experience based on my beginner’s knowledge on water polo. I am not an experienced water polo athlete, but I do swim regularly.

If you have no experience in water polo, the easiest way for me to explain is that it is like a game of netball in the water, but the only difference was that you are allowed to move with the ball as long as you are swimming. Therefore, besides swimming, it involves a lot of quick movements such as jumping, diving, passing or blocking the ball.

Here’s how to body suit looks like without my top on top of it:

How the body suit looks like. To cover up, I used my own long sleeve swimming top

The body suit from the front

So how did the body suit fare? I have listed down 3 points on what I think about the body suit:

  • Black is a universally flattering colour and it is easy to match

The body suit comes in black only (However, the Sibaha swim wear sold separately comes in a variety of colours). Black is a slimming colour. I feel less self-conscious walking around in a tight suit especially when I walk out of the water and everything clings to your wet clothes. Black is also easy to match. If you prefer wearing your own top (like I did), you can mix and match with the body suit and have endless of options

Plus point: It has chest and crotch lining so your underwear is not visible despite having those areas stretched out. It is also best worn with a sports bra.

I am at the most left. The body suit is underneath my top, and goes down to my ankles. The top and swimming cap is my own.

  • I am more focused on the game

I am not distracted about any potential wardrobe mishaps that might happen. Through out the game I have witnessed a few unfortunate incidents of ladies tugging or adjusting their clothes to keep their modesty, or having their clothes get in the way of giving their 100% performance. I did not have to stop playing to tuck in my top  or were unable to raise my hands as high as I needed to to catch a ball for fearing my swim wear might float up (which was the case for most modest swim wear).

The body suit in action. Unlike most modest swim wear, I am not worried is the top floats up when I swim or jump or dive because I am covered underneath. No wardrobe mishaps!

  • Stretchable and streamlined

Despite being tight, it is very stretchable. Swim wears are meant to be body-hugging anyways, because that will allow for fast movements in the water. However, for a more modest look, you can always buy the Sibaha swim wear (sold separately) and use it on top of the body suit.

Unlike other modest swim wear that came with unnecessary piping or seams, or skirts that did not serve any function, this swim wear is streamlined. As it was designed with the athlete’s performance in mind, it does not include “frills” or decorative designs that might add weight to the swim wear, which will affect the swimmer’s speed or strokes. I love that it is a single piece with only a zipper at the top, so water can smoothly glide over my arms and legs without any hindrance.

Ready to make my sprinting swim to make sure I get first possession of the ball. Thanks to it’s streamlined design, I can swim as fast as I could.

In conclusion, thanks to this body suit, women who would like to remain modest have no excuses or hindrance to swim and enjoy the water. So, what other water-based activities should I try in this swim wear?

Friendly hills in parks around Selangor/KL

For this week I decided to try something different and hit some elevation instead. This will hopefully make me a stronger runner to hit the hills and add variety to my training plan.

Day 1: Bukit Sapu Tangan, Taman Botani Shah Alam

Total elevation: 230m

Total distance: 6km (Entrance – peak – entrance)

Difficulty level: 2/5 (Very easy)

In a bid to encourage my colleagues to adopt a healthier lifestyle and support my employer’s outdoor event, I found myself back in Taman Botani Shah Alam again for a “hike” at Bukit Sapu Tangan. Disclaimer: “Hike” is a relative term here – If you have been running or a fairly fit person this small hill is very easy.

Riada pants are perfect for leisurely walks like this

Riada pants are perfect for leisurely walks like this

After some quick warm up we proceeded to walk towards Bukit Sapu Tangan. It was still drizzling, and since the route was paved most people walked with their umbrellas too. Some of my colleagues brought their children along too, as the route was kid-friendly.

What I love most about Taman Botani Shah Alam is that you tend to forget that you are still in the city.

After about 1.8km of walking, we reached the peak. It was easy. Unfortunately, there used to be a lookout post at the peak where you can see the whole city of Shah Alam but that facility has fallen into a sad state of disrepair.

No entry to the look out post

Day 2: Gunung Nuang

Total elevation: 1072m (Entrance – Pacat – Entrance), 301m (Entrance – 3km – Entrance)

Total distance: 16.65km + 6km

Difficulty level: 4/5 (Challenging)

Gunung Nuang has always been my favourite place to train for trail runs. Trail runs are never flat and straight, and some routes are technical, and Gunung Nuang provides the perfect terrain and distance to train for trail runs.

Gunung Nuang was challenging, as always. Despite conquering the peak for 3 times, it never gets easier. Mother Nature always throws unexpected challenges along the way, such as rain, fog, and temperature. I have learnt that this is a part of trail runs, which is one of the main reasons why there are loads of mandatory items when entering a trail run event.

Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the peak as it was slippery and muddy from the rain. After lunch, we descended from Kem Pacat and make our way back to the entrance point. After a quick change of clothes and prayer break, we continued another small 6km loop from the entrance point. So total mileage for that day was around 23km.

A friend we made on our way down

We spotted a bamboo collector. He will sell these to ‘lemang’ stalls for less than RM1 per bamboo