Benefits of Joining a Race – Why pay to torture myself?

Why should we invest time, effort and money to join races?

I have personally received many feedback about how it is wasteful to spend on races. The time and effort spent to train for the races are better off spent on other beneficial things they say. While I respect the opinion of others, I beg to differ.

We study for exams. Undergo training for work.

Should we simply take a chance in life?

Entering a race is like a learning process with many beneficial attributes for this lifetime and the next. Learning should never cease in one’s lifetime regardless of age. One should yearn for lifelong learning and should be willing to spend on beneficial education. Learning is not constrained only within the classroom walls. Learning happens everywhere. We spent most of our time learning through books in the classroom or perhaps reading online. We learn through experience, our own or from others, where it is most beneficial when followed by reflections. We learn best when we are able to apply the theory we learnt into practical exercises where we are able to relay and convert words into productive actions.


How do one learn to speak with confidence? Learn the techniques in theory in a classroom or from a book. Does it end there? Will one automatically develop confidence upon graduating from a theory only course? Definitely no. One needs to go for a series of lessons which includes practical exercises, speaking to the mirror, practice in a mock set up, etc. One will finally be successful when they eventually effectively deliver a talk/speech in front of a life audience.The police force, the armed forces, the fire fighters, the paramedics, doctors don’t become what they are just through books and lectures. They undergo a series of training to be able to perform effectively and efficiently when the time of need arrives. When the bell rings, when the siren sound
off, when the call is made… they are prepared. Prepared due to the practical lessons, intensive training, like it is the real thing and through repetition. And it is imperative because, the preservation of life, depends on them, their capabilities, their abilities to perform under stress.

How do we learn to have tawakkal (reliance on Allah alone)?

How do we practice istiqomah (steadfastness)?

How do we learn to instil discipline in ourselves?

How do we learn to develop sabr (patience)?

How do we foster teamwork, inculcate determination, resilience?

How do we become confident?

When Allah put trials and tribulation in our path,

is He torturing us?

Or training us?

I choose to believe the latter

We usually would wait till the next real life challenge or the next calamity before we
know whether we have any of those qualities and abilities . What if there is a way for us to develop these heaven-worthy qualities through self-imposed challenges? Wouldn’t it be better than to wait for something to happen to see whether we have such abilities?What if we are able to train ourselves purposefully to adopt those qualities? There are many ways… and one way is to enter a race.

Once we are committed to a race, we will have to plan our training schedule. Training must be progressive and adequate with enough time for rest and recovery. A poor plan or failure to follow the plan will result in poor performance or injury. One would definitely suffer throughout the race without proper training. With this knowledge, we instill discipline upon ourselves to keep to the training schedule and meet training objectives in order to compete/complete the race successfully.

A well planned training program is essential. We need to instil discipline to follow the program and to meet the training objectives. This ensures that we do not suffer during the race and not incur any injuries

Discipline and istiqomah Checked.

Race day. How can one not clearly see how completing a race comes with great benefits? The more difficult the race/challenge, the higher quality of benefits attained. Completing a race requires much determination. It not only requires physical strength, it calls upon great mental strength. The long distance, the elevation gain, the inclement weather, the obstacles – man-made and natural, the sheer fatigue are factors which can bring one down to the ground, admit defeat, call it quits, DNF.

Resilience is what drives one to cross the finishing line, jump over the fiery pit. The journey increases one’s level of situational awareness, sportsmanship. One learns to appreciate nature, His creations and ponder over His grace and blessings. Standing at the foot of a mountain makes us timid and humbled at His Magnificence. Standing at the summit will make us prostrate in gratitude, awed at its beauty. Racing in a team will foster teamwork, spirit of altruism, unity, patience. Promotes social wellness. Free falling requires one to embrace the essence of tawakkal. With landing knowledge in hand, safety checked, one surrenders to Allah as the feet land safely to the ground (or not). Wall/rock climbing promotes problem-solving skills, enhances coordination, increases strength. Completing the race/challenge brings a bout of newly attained confidence, increases one’s self- esteem, negates one’s uncertainties over her own abilities, upon His Mercy and Might.

There are some things that we simply cannot learn just from books

Determination, Resilience, Social Wellness, Environmental Wellness, Physical Wellness, Emotional Wellness, Spiritual Wellness, Sabr, Tawakkal, Confidence Checked.

Forging of camaraderie through hard times

The above mentioned qualities are probably less than 50% of the total wholesome benefits of completing a race/ challenge. Not to mentioned the health benefits it claims as made obligatory (wajib) in the deen. The best thing is, all these qualities and benefits does not end at the finishing line. It transforms us. Whatever we attained in that one challenge is applicable in real life as well! Tadaaaa.. (Surprising meh?) Having overcome such hardships willingly, in a controlled environment, we will be able to face anything that crosses our path in syaa Allah. What is a mere life’s obstacle when you have climbed mountains and touched the clouds, when you have jumped over walls, tumble through grit, run through pain and fatigue, swim across the ocean… Believe me, you will automatically apply the qualities you attained and reap the benefits. Our everyday chores becomes simpler, dreams and goals becomes more achievable, trials and tribulations becomes more palatable. Consider races and challenges you sign up for as simulations of a real life challenge. With the knowledge, you have made the effort and play your part to prepare yourself, when the real thing happens, you take action then you let go and let God.

He told us that life is nothing but trials and tribulation. Each one to prepare us for the next and every struggles is never in vain. Every hardship is a stepping stone and we get stronger at every successful step. He said knowledge is the key to paradise. Successful are those who bears patience and is grateful. We can choose to wait and see or work hard to prepare ourselves. We study for exams. Undergo training for work. Should we simply take a chance in life?

Lets calculate. (ROI vs Opportunity Cost)

  • $100 x 12 local races = $1200 spent on races (It’s not much for an lifetime investment)
  • 2hrs of training x 6 days x 52 weeks = 624 hours / 8760 hours in a year (7% of your total time!)
  • 624 x 500 = 312 000 calories loss (Is this not beneficial?)

A 1 hour walk will burn between 1.6 and 2.4 calories for every pound of your weight, depending on speed. That’s 250 to 350 calories for the average person walking pace

We all have 24hrs each day. 2 hours of training leaves us with 22 hours to do everything else. Sleep, rest, eat, work/attend school, attend religious classes, pray, housework, read, practice a hobby, meet friends, cook, spend time with family and much more. There is definitely much to gain than to lose. Need I say more?

In conclusion, being committed to a race will not only increases one’s physical strength but also mental, emotional and spiritual strength (with the right intentions and proper execution). It builds character, qualities one requires not only to complete a race but to overcome challenges in our everyday lives.

Disclaimer: To fully reap the benefits with barokah (His blessings), one must practice this within the stipulated laws of syariah and in moderation like everything else we do.

S T R O N G E R

“Life at its best is a series of challenges. A big enough challenge will bring out strength and abilities you never knew you had. Take on challenges and you will bring yourself to life.”

Physical Courage is bravery in the face of physical pain, hardship, death or threat of death while moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, discouragement or personal loss.

Mental strength is the ability to regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts and behave in a positive manner despite your circumstances. Developing mental strength is about finding the courage to live according to your values and being bold enough to create your own definition of success. Mental strength involves more than willpower; it requires hard work and commitment. It’s about establishing healthy habits and choosing to devote your time and energy to self-improvement. Although it’s easier to feel mentally strong when life seems simple, often, true mental strength becomes most apparent in the midst of tragedy. Choosing to develop skills that increases your mental strength is the best way to prepare for life’s inevitable obstacles.

Although it’s easier to feel mentally strong when life seems simple, often, true mental strength becomes most apparent in the midst of tragedy.

“The Brave is not one who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Developing mental strength is a work in progress. It may even take a lifetime of learning. At times it will seem more difficult than other times. How do the toughest people summon the will to keep going? In the book Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges, the authors studied resilient people for over 20 years. They spoke with Vietnam prisoner of war, Special Forces instructors and civilian who dealt with terrible experiences like medical problems, abuse and trauma. This is a few pointers of what they learnt…

  1. Be Optimistic. Truly resilient people who need to survive the harshest situations and still accomplish goals, balance a positive outlook with a realistic view of the world. But what about when your optimism gets tested and things gets scary
  2. Face your Fears. Neuroscience says there’s only one real way to deal with fear: you need to face it, head on. This is what most resilient people do. When we avoid scary things we become more scared. When you face your fears, they become less frightening. To extinguish a fear-conditioned memory, one must be exposed to the fear-inducing stimulus in a safe environment and this exposure needs to last long enough for the brain to form a new memory which conveys that the fear-conditioned stimulus is no longer dangerous in the present environment.
  3. Have a Moral Compass. They found that the emotional resilient people all had a strong sense of right and wrong. Despite being in situations that could threaten their lives, they always thought about others, not just themselves. They possessed a keen sense of right and wrong that strengthened them during periods of extreme stress and afterward, as they adjusted to life following trauma. Altruism often stood as a pillar of their value system.
  4. Practice Spirituality. This was the #1 thing that one researcher found when studying people who overcame tragedy. He found that religious belief among survivors to be the single most powerful force in explaining the tragedy and in explaining survival.
  5. Social Support. Our brains need social support to function optimally. Connection with others releases oxytocin which calms your mind and reduces stress.
  6. Have Resilient Role Models. Resilient individuals have role models whose beliefs, attitudes and behaviours inspire them. However, often enough, they have bad role models instead – people who provide an example of what they don’t want to be.
  7. Maintain Physical Fitness. Those who are resilient believe that staying fit has helped them both during their traumatic ordeal and during their recovery. The stress of exercise helps us adapt to the stress we will feel when life challenges us. Researchers believe that during vigorous exercise, the “anxiety-sensitive” person is forced to tolerate many of the symptoms (rapid heart rate, sweating, rapid breathing) that frighten them during periods of anxiety. Over time, the “anxiety-sensitive” individuals who continues to exercise vigorously can learn that these symptoms of arousal are typically not dangerous and the fear that these symptoms trigger gradually decreases in intensity (Salmon, 2001).
  8. Keep your Brain Strong. Resilient people are very often lifelong learners. They keep growing their mind, learning to learn and adapting to new information about the world. They continually seek opportunities to become more mentally fit.

“The Brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all. For now, you are travelling the road between who you think you are and who you can be”

What is GEMS: Grundy + POPWOW Empower ME Series?

GEMS is a series of fun and easy challenges across different elements, especially tailored to simulate life’s obstacles. GEMS hopes to EMPOWER participants with essential life skills, help to identify and remove any mental obstacles, bring clarity and complete with renewed confidence in themselves and their ability to make decisions and conquer life’s challenges. Participants will learn to enhance their spiritual practice, develop a heightened self-awareness and expand their comfort zone. All they have to do is participate in the activities and collect as many Gems as possible. The more Gems they collect, the more skills they will attain and more confidence garnered. All activities will be conducted as a group to foster social support with command opportunities to develop leadership skills. Don’t worry, no creepy crawlies in included in this series!

GEMS is brought to you by Nashata Active Singapore. Register here : https://shop.nashata.com/en/134-active

WOW RUN (Singapore) 2019

Bismillah

WOW RUN is back for the 4th season! This year we will be running at Coney Island amidst the beautiful pine trees along the beach. You will definitely enjoy the scenic route! The theme this year is “You’re a Gem!”

Runners’ Entitlement 2019

NASHATA Ultra Top – WOW RUN 2019 Limited Edition
Awesome Medal
Cool Race Pack

HISTORY OF WOW RUN

WOW RUN was first conceptualized by a group of active ladies who are passionate about fitness and women’s wellness in 2013. They were concerned about the state of health of Malay women in Singapore. Since 2010, there is an increased no. of obesity and obesity-related disease within the community. Findings from an independent study show that sedentary lifestyles, food culture and lack of awareness (of activities available) are amongst the most popular reasons for the cause of increase. Most women also express low self-esteem and feel shy to exercise in public even though they are keen and desperate to lead a more active lifestyle.

We are kids friendly!

Together We are Stronger – WOW RUN 2014 @ Marina Barrage

WOW RUN 2017 Podium Winners

OBJECTIVES

The objective of this event is to continue to encourage fellow ladies to participate in sports and fitness, and engage in an active lifestyle. The intention is to nullify the common beliefs that health and fitness is a chore and to raise awareness of the unlimited variety of activities they can engage in, and the variety of modest sports apparel readily available in the market now. Nashata provides an affordable and impressive variety of apparels for all kinds of activities.

Why target the Malays? In lieu of the increasing numbers of obesity and obesity-related illness and the recent increase in kidney failure patients within the community, the run is a great platform to advocate and educate about healthier choices. The event is open to all ladies but is targeted at Malays mostly, to address the current social health issue.

Why Women? We hope to empower women to take charge of their health and fitness to secure a brighter future for themselves and their family. A healthy home starts from us (women). Through this fun run, we strive to provide a wonderful and fun experience and convey a positive note towards health and fitness.

“In addition, we should focus a lot more on the women as they are the ones that plan and cook for the family” – President Halimah Yaacob

Meet the ladies behind WR19

WOW RUN 2019 is a non-profitable event organised by volunteers. We are a mix of full-time professionals, homemakers and business owners who are active and is passionate about sharing the benefits of being active. We dedicate a part of our time and effort amidst our hectic schedule and responsibilities to bring forward a meaningful event for the community. We hope that you will enjoy and benefit from this as much as we have.

All proceeds after operating cost will go to our appointed beneficiary and to fund future programs for the community.

WOW RUN 2019 EXCO (Executive Committee)

Join us for an amazing journey with running clinics, daily workouts by #teamfitsg and weekly/monthly activities by GEMS starting from April 2019. Don’t wait any longer, call your sisters and running kakis and sign up now!

WOW RUN 2019 is proudly brought to you by Nashata ACTIVE

REGISTER HERE: https://www.townscript.com/e/wow-run-2019-103132

3 Reasons Why you should Join Spartan and 4 Steps to Train for the race

I first embarked on my Spartan Race in Nov 2015  at its inaugural race in Singapore. I was hooked the first time. I love running but after a few marathons i got a bit bored and was seeking a more challenging race to keep me motivated and on my toes. Spartan Race was a dream come true. I have participated in 12 Spartan races since then, held in Singapore and Malaysia. I hope to be able to take part in more Spartan races overseas to experience the different terrains and weather. I ran alone for all the races except the last Super (Oct 2018) and the latest, first ever Stadion Race in Asia last January 2019. Crossing the finishing line was fulfilling i thought, but crossing the line with 22 others (first time Spartans) brought “fulfilling” to a whole new level. We trained together for about 4 months and they started with much fears and concerns. I met so many others who desired to participated but fear kept them at bay. These 22 faced theirs fears and fought through their personal demons to achieve something they never thought they could.

We are STRONG alone but TOGETHER, we are STRONGER!

Alhamdulillah.. No women left behind. Look at our muddy attire!

WHAT IS SPARTAN RACE? 
(Taken from Spartan Website)

Three Main Race Types

  • Sprint 3 mi / 5 km, 20 Obstacles
    The Spartan Sprint puts endurance aside and tests your quickness through 5 km loaded with 20 Obstacles. A great starter distance for beginners, or a perfect test against time for the more advanced racer.
  • Super 8 mi / 13 km, 25 Obstacles
    The Spartan Super is as much mental as it is physical, spanning over 13 km that are just as unforgiving as the 25 Obstacles that litter the distance.
  • Beast 13 mi / 21 km, 30 Obstacles
    The Spartan Beast is just plain hard. This is the longest and most difficult race out of our three main race types and is aptly named for its brutal 21 km circuit with 30 Obstacles that try to keep you from your finish line.

ENDURANCE EVENTS

Ultra (30 mi / 50 km, 60 Obstacles) – replaced Ultra Beast, Hurricane Heat (3-4 hours of grueling team building), Hurricane Heat 12 Hour (12 hours of physically and mentally draining team and individual challenges), or the Agoge, a 60-hour event that builds physical, tactical, mental, and team-based strength through training, testing and evaluation.

3 Reasons Why You Should Join Spartan Race

  1. Holistic Challenge. As per most OCR (Obstacles Course Races) , the race not only requires one to be able to run. It demands a total full-body commitment, from strength to agility, balance, skills, endurance, ruggedness and mental resilience. The abilities to overcome the obstacles stretches you beyond your comfort zone. One needs to not only run the distance but, climb over walls, crawl through mud and tunnels, swim across waters, beat lateral walls, carry weights over undulating terrains, throw spear, hang, swing, roll, jump… you name it, they have it. What it means is that one has to train nearly every muscle in the body!
  2. Test One’s Limit. The race is a true test of one’s limit. The different obstacles, undulating terrain, surprise elements, the harshness of the outdoors and the weather forces you to perform at your best and then some. Going through the training and completing the race will make one humbled yet confident to be able to overcome any hurdle life may cast upon you in syaa Allah. Like life itself, every obstacle represents the challenges we face in our daily life.We all know how one gets stronger ONLY through difficulty. It’s a test of physical strength, mental resilience and GUTS.
  3. Camaraderie Forged. The race is like a battle and the racers like soldiers. Even when running alone, i never felt lonely. The positive spirit of each Spartan is so infectious, the stranger next to you will not leave you to in the ditch. A hand is always ready to pull you up the wall or through the mud. A battlefield where no one gets left behind. Going through the race as a team, the camaraderie forged as we overcome the obstacles together is beyond words. At the last Spartan ULTRA at Iskandar Putri, i jumped through the fire hand in hand with new found friends from Taiwan, Indonesia and Philippines with our own story to remember for the rest of our lives.

Too difficult? Our 59-year-old Cik Sumarne can do it. What’s your excuse?

Their first Spartan Race! 13km 25 Obstacles. The most senior in our team was Cik Sumarne 59 years old (most right). Check out her smile!

Olympus – The rain poured just as we crossed the Start Line and continued to bless us with coolness and mud! Yeaaay

Spear Throw

Crossing water obstacle at Sentosa Beach.

Final Obstacle – Fire Jump

Dunking Station

Since you have no excuse, cast aside your fears. Bury the worry and  burn away the jitters. Go sign up for a race already. There! First step done… Good job!

4 Steps to Train for Spartan Race

  1. Prepare Well. Plan your training. You don’t want to suffer on course and call it quits. To finish strong, you must plan for every training, endurance, building up strengths and learning skills and techniques to overcome obstacles. You can follow Spartan’s Workout of the Day or subscribe to a training program with them. Read up! there is plenty of resources online to teach and show you how to train up. Look up the different obstacles you need to train for, rope climbing, swing trainer, hurdles, spear throw, etc. Watch the demonstration videos and training tips from the pros. Penalty for every failed obstacle is 30 burpees. The number of burpees you do, depends on your training.
  2. Commit and Be Discipline. Set goals and keep to the plan. Commit yourself to the training and don’t falter. Treat yourself sometimes too after a good workout or once you finish a cycle. Consistency is always best. Push yourself but also rest and recover well.
  3. Make Training fun!Include variety in your training. Train at different places, run a new route, venture new venues. Use different props/equipment while training. Embrace the sweat and soreness and learn to enjoy the training. Remember, its a process, you need to savour the journey to taste the sweetness at the finishing line.
  4. Train Together. Gather your kakis. Having great company while training is always awesome. Join the Spartan Community where they will provide free training or find a community near you who are as enthusiastic as you. Motivate one another during training and help each other to achieve the training goals. Together, you are definitely stronger.

My Spartan Journey – 12 races since 2015

A satisfying finish with the team

The Z Wall

Inverted Wall

Join me at the next race on 02 March 2019 at Semenyih – Spartan Super/Sprint!

My Inspirations

Assalaamualaikum… I am feeling exceptionally grateful today so I decided to write about my Inspirations.

“Your ONLY limit is YOU”

Like every other souls in this temporary platform, the journey of life has presented itself with trials and challenges as promised. Each with its own uniqueness and timing. And like many others, I am bestowed with gifts at every pitfalls and crossroads (as promised!) and often, it comes in the form of a human being who came to shine light to my darkness. Because sometimes, we only need a little nudge or a hand to hold, to get back up on own feet and continue the run. Someone who inspires you. In my fitness journey, they are my inspirations…

First and foremost, meet mummy dearest. Mdm Mahlia, 62, homemaker, mother of 3 beautiful girls (ahem.. me being the middle child thank you) 41, 37 and 32. As a young girl, i don’t remember Mak ever being involved in sports but she was always busy helping my auntie, baking cakes or at home sewing curtains, clothes and bedsheets and making hand-crafted flowers to decorate our home. Our home is always beautiful and bright. Although not sporty, Mak is very sporting! She loves thrill rides like the Triple Looper @ Genting and banana boat rides (unlike Abah who will graciously decline to participate and volunteer to “jaga” our belongings instead). I know who i inherited my fearlessness from!

As the years passed, Mak put on quite a lot of weight (which she blames me for). When she was diagnosed with Diabetes and Hypertension a few years back, she took it upon herself to opt for a lifestyle change. She did not complain nor lament at her plight. She religiously followed the doctor’s advise, took care of her food intake, put in effort to reduce her weight and started to exercise. She did not really plan a workout schedule but incorporated them in her daily routine. She would sometimes cycle to my sister’s place (10km to and fro) or stop by the Fitness Corner at her neighbourhood for a 20-30mins workout before heading home to continue her duties.

Mak overcame her fear of swimming and joined me for class!

Today, Mak is actively involved in fitness activities organised by the mosques and community centres. She continues her daily routine and has loss nearly 15kg since she started. Her blood pressure and blood sugar level has also improved tremendously. When she got injured and tore a tendon in her right foot, she did not let that injury deter her one bit. We were slightly worried about her safety but I am amazed by her tenacity and determination to recover and get back in shape. I see that in her, all my life. That stubborness and never give up attitude. And it is that strength that got me through adversities and life’s worst moments especially during my time in the armed forces.

Mak… you are always my inspiration!

 

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Our favourite past time – Chilling by the beach. Mak never wasted any opportunity to get wet and enjoy the waves

Meet Mdm Hayati, 52, homemaker, mother of 3 (23, 22 and 16). I love her bubbly-ness! There was never a dull moment when16807477_10155023304164680_982816217414646884_n she is around. Kak B, as we lovingly call her, did not like any sports before. She hates getting sweaty she said but when she sustained a slipped disc and was immobilized for a month, she knew she had to do something.

“I do not want to die like this”.

Upon recovery, Kak B tried slow jogging but found it too strenuous for her due to her health condition. So she tried swimming as recommended by a friend. But she did not know how to swim. I met Kak B at the pool during one of my lessons in 2015. She approached us and requested to join our class. Allah definitely is the Best Planner! I think I learnt more from her than she did, ma shaa Allah. It’s always interesting and beneficial to hear these veterans talk about life and sharing their motherhood experiences. Makes one feel so humble yet excited for what more lies ahead.

“I feel more alive, healthier mentally and physically. Don’t let age be an obstacle for you to be active again. It is never too late to start.”

Today, Kak B swims 30 laps every week. She continues to amaze me with her constant cheerfulness and is always keen to learn more. She diligently listens to my instructions and continues to improve her strokes weekly. She can tread water for more than 5mins without breaking a sweat! I’m dying after just 2mins! Sometimes we had to pull her out of the water because while the rest is pancit after 20 laps, she is still smiling through 30… AMAZING!

Last but certainly not the least, meet my Iron ladies! They say “Friends who work out together, stays together”. And they prove it right. These ladies not only work out together but they eat together, attend religious classes and bakes together.

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Kak Has and Kak Normah were both part of their school’s athletic club (donkey years ago)  but sheepishly admitted that they stopped being active after marriage and having children. By 40, both commented that they became overweight and started to feel the strains due to the weight and inactivity. It was Kak Has who took up the challenge and participated in a “Lose to Win” programme organised by the Health Promotion Board (Singapore). She definitely loss weight but she also rediscovered the zeal of an active life again. Since then, Kak Has remains active with weekly programmes and participating in races. She completed Swissotel Vertical Marathon tau! Something I myself malas nak attempt hehehe… She then encouraged Kak Normah and Kak Mus to join her weekly activities. Kak Mus who has always been active ( you can tell by her sturdy posture and strong look) represented her school in hockey, badminton and softball. She continued being active doing brisk walking during her stint as a bus driver. She says she needs to do this because she wants to be able to keep up with her 11 -year-old daughter.

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Now these iron ladies swims every Tuesdays/ Fridays. They also have Aquarobics on Thursdays and group training on Sundays. POWER kan! Of course, while being active, they never neglect their duties. They attend religious class on every other day and they are wonderful cooks and terrific mums+wives. They are always up and about attending new classes and searching for new makan places. Who dare says that we women cannot do everything?? All 3 agrees that being active makes them feel more energetic unlike their comrades who leads a more sedentary lifestyle. They say they are able to perform their ibadah and daily routines much better with a healthy body and mind.

“People sometimes laugh at us. Maybe they think its funny that we makcik-makcik is exercising. Tak pe…

Instead of talking so much or laughing at us, I think they should join us”  – Kak Mustakizah

These 5 gems have definitely created a great impact in my life. Not only am I inspired to continue this fitness journey till I’m wrinkled and old, I learnt so much from them in other aspects of life  as well, as a mothers, daughter, wife and friend. May Allah bless them with strength and perseverance to continues this journey.

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Sunday Group Training @ Sengkang Park with Coach Hayya (FitFab)

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Our Hong Kong Trekking Adventures

My new year began with a promising trip to Hong Kong for an overseas assignment. Needless to say, we immediately planned for new terrains to explore, to be inserted in-between assignments. Why waste an overseas opportunity right? Surprisingly there were many highly recommended ones. One would not normally associate “Hiking” with Hong Kong you see. We finally decided to indulge in two of the more popular sites, The Dragon’s Back Trail and Ng Tung Chai Waterfall.

The Dragon’s Back is a popular escape that deservedly gets regular mentions in travel guidebooks. A short hop from the bustle of Hong Kong East, the trail provides stunning views of Shek O, Tai Long Wan, Stanley, Tai Tam, and the South China Sea. The Dragon’s Back is a path connecting Wan Cham Shan (226m) and Shek O Peak (284m), stretching vertically over D’Aguilar Peninsula. The path undulates between these hill tops, reminiscent of the shape of a dragon’s backbone.

The Dragon's Back  - 8.5km undulating path of connecting hills

The Dragon’s Back – 8.5km undulating path of connecting hills

The Start Point - Shek O Wan

The Start Point – Shek O Wan

We started in the late morning after a good breakfast and completing my first assignment. The start point was easily accessible by bus but we took a cab since we were residing at Repulse Bay which was quite near. Do note that cab fares are rather high in Hong Kong. It was a sunny day and the temperature was between 14-15 degree Celsius. We dressed lightly and traveled light with just water, some energy boosters (chocolates and nuts!) and warm clothing just in case. A caution we took because the wind could be icy cold they say.

The initial climb up was a steep 60-75 degree elevation, mostly steps. We were surrounded by mainly shrubs and the view was awesome. It became magnificent as we reached the first peak. Do pardon us Singaporeans as the little red dot is although rich in other things, we are not blessed with natural monuments which our neighbours have aplenty. We get dumbstruck at the first sight of natural beauty hehe. We were struck first by the biting coldness of the wind which was blowing us off-balance!

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                                              The journey ahead from the first peak

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The view of South China Sea

We continue the hike along the undulating hill tops that made up the dragon’s back, enjoying the fantastic view of the beaches, islands and South China Sea. Back in the army, walking along the ridgeline was a big mistake. I’m sure glad to be here today as a tourist! The highest peak was at 284 metres and it took us about 45mins. We stayed awhile to admire His wonderful creations, refuel and continue the remaining 7km towards the end point which is Big Wave Bay.

Difficulty level : 3/10 Beginners Total time Taken : 3hrs  Satisfaction level : 100%

The peak at 284m

The peak at 284m

Look at the wind!

Look at the wind!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Two days later, we set off again across mainland Hong Kong towards the north.

Ng Tung Chai Waterfall is the best-known and biggest waterfall in Hong Kong. Located at the northern side of Tai Mo Shan, Ng Tung Chai Waterfall consists of 4 waterfalls at different altitudes. From bottom to top, you will see Bottom Fall (Fall under the well), Middle Fall (Horse Tail Fall), Main Fall (Long Fall) and Scatter Fall. The steady flow of water of Ng Tung Chai Waterfall comes from Tai Mo Shan and irrigates the farmlands around Lam Tsuen River, and ends at Tolo Harbour.

The scenic route towards the first fall

The scenic route towards the first fall 

We took the MTR to Tai Poi Market Station followed by Bus 64k to the start point. It was drizzling and temperature was between 16-18 degree Celcius. My last visit to a waterfall was donkey years ago, so i was really excited for this trip. Again, do keep in mind that we are Singaporeans and there are no natural waterfalls here. Do excuse my raging excitement. The journey to the start point took nearly 2hrs. We started climbing around 3pm knowing that we had to start descending before dark which was by 6pm due to winter.

The initial climb was a series of steep winding slopes through a village, a cemetery, many dogs and a monastery. I would be kidding if i said that I did not feel frightened at all. I was! Kecut kejab jantung akak! I was well-trained in the army to somehow mask the expression and keep the fear in control. Fortunately, I have my partner to protect me Yeaaay! If I have long nails, it would have cut into his poor hands… (Good for him that I don’t).

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Are we there yet??

Anyway, the ground was wet. The mud and slippery rocks made the climb much harder than it was and it took longer. We took great caution throughout as I remind myself that I was here in Hong Kong for work so, I couldn’t afford to get injured.  Looking up and welcomed by more steps and up-slopes, the sight began to suck the life out of me. These are moments when I question myself why..Efah? Why did I choose to do this? (This usually happens around the 30km mark of a marathon, halfway through a round-island canoeing expedition and the likes. When your energy level in nearly used up and motivation is down low). However, the sounds of the roaring fall and snippet sights of its magnificence amidst the beautiful canopy, propelled us to continue climbing regardless of the exhaustion.

Alas, the first fall came into view. It was love at first sight. The sun was still shining and the reflection from the water made it magical. Allahu Akbar!

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The Bottom Fall

I was reluctant to leave but I knew we were short for time. The Middle Fall was not too far away and it was more awesome ma shaa Allah. As darkness slowly looms above, we took a few moment to admire its magnificence before we hike on towards the last fall.

The Middle Fall

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The Main Fall – We took a dip! If you can see my face, it was all frozen from the cold. I couldn’t feel my legs!

We took a wrong turn and had to retrace our steps. I was actually quite concern about time but I knew I had to reach the Main Fall regardless. The last one was much further than expected and I was totally exhausted but the view that welcomed us was worth every ounce of pain and effort! We performed Asr by the fall which was totally invigorating. The experience brought khusyuk and gratitude towards the blessings of the AlMighty to a whole different level.

Darkness falls and out came the headlamps! We changed and made our way down the same path. The trek continues to the peak of Tai Mo Shan but we only planned to visit the falls so down we go, back to reality.

Descending was easier of course but much tougher for our aged and torn knees. After “swimming” in the icy cold water, I couldn’t feel my toes so my shoes felt empty. It was rocky, muddy and slippery from the rain so it was doubly hard to get down. Every step was a calculated one. I slipped a few times, heart dropping moments as I see the steep fall below.

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As we stride towards the last stretch, hand in hand, (limbs no longer cooperating), I reflected on the journey we took. Like life itself, I know that in my best and toughest moments, He will always be there and He gives me the best company always.

To more adventures!

Difficulty level: 5/10   Satisfaction level : 100%   Total Time Taken : 4hrs

Things to note: Wearing the right attire is of utmost important to ensure safety and comfort throughout the whole journey. I am glad I have on comfortable and modest ones. Ensure you have sufficient water and food to sustain and replenish your energy. Do read about the destination, heed warnings and check the weather condition especially if you are going up by yourself. Get a great buddy for your trips! Enjoy and be safe!

Love, Efah Anuar