Nashata #hijabirunners at SCKLM 2019

In a couple of weeks the Standard Charted KL Marathon (SCKLM) will be back again. It is the biggest running event in Malaysia and the most anticipated marathon by runners from Malaysia and overseas. The event is held annually since 1989. It starts on 29th of September in Kuala Lumpur this year, with an estimated forty thousand participants.There are several categoriest: Full Marathon (FM) with a distance of 42.2km, Half Marathon(HM), with a distance of 21km, 10km and 5km.

We are very excited for this event this year as Nashata celebrates hijabi runners who are taking up the challenge be it the first time or repeatedly running a marathon. Here are the nine hijabi runners who will be running the FM at the SCKLM, InsyaAllah. Three of them will be running their very first full marathon and the other six – repeated marathon runners.

Meet the nine of the Nashata Runners who will be running the FM at #SCKLM2019.

1.  FARHATI

Farhati started running in year 2018. She loves running as she finds it as a free prescription for happy hormones. She is finisher of eight Half Marathon and she will be running her 1st Full Marathon at SCKLM 2019. She ran her personal best for 5KM and completed her recent Half Marathon in Nashata Sports Robe 

“Since it’ll be my very first FM, I hope that I would be able to survive it”, says Farhati

#prayforfarhati

She runs in Nashata : Sports Robe, Ultra Top and Hooda Sports Hijab

2.  INTAN SIZA

Intan Siza is a mother of two kids. An active lady since young, Intan started running in 2014. She loves running and stays active to catch up with her kids’ energy and also to gain back her stamina. She will be running her 5th Full Marathon at the SCKLM2019 and has finished running 50km races twice.

She said “This 5th FM will mean a lot to me because I will run together with my friend for her Virgin FM as a birthday gift for her. I will support her to finish the race within the cut of time”.

She runs in Nashata Ultra Top, Hooda Ellipse Sports Hijab & Fitness Leggings

3.  INTAN SURAYA

Intan Suraya is a veteran marathon and ultra runner. She started running at 33 and has been running over a decade. Other than running she supports and helps many runners too. SCKLM2019 would be her 12th Full Marathon and her 9th year running at the SCKLM. She runs to maintain her body weight, improve stamina and to stay fit and healthy.

“I am prepared and training hard for this event, I would like to finish the race before the cut of time but if I can break my personal best, it’s a bonus for me”, shares Intan who tries not to miss running at SCKLM.

She runs in Nashata Head to toe all the time

4.  LAILI MARDZIAH

Due to blood sugar test that indicates pre-diabetic condition, Laili chooses to practice a healthy lifestyle. So in 2018, she started running and will be running her first Full Marathon at the SCKLM2019.

“I am a very busy mom and running is the best workout for me. I can run alone, anytime and anywhere without involved with any team, it’s just myself for me time. SCKLM 2019 is very meaningful to me, because this would be my 1st Full Marathon. I will try my best to finish the race within the cut of time without any injuries”, says Laili.

She runs in Nashata Ellipse Sports Hijab

5. NOR BAIZATUL AKMAL

Nor Baizatul Akmal or better known as Apeng is a Ultramarathoner,  a six times finisher of 100km category.  She started running in 2011.  At first, she ran to lose weight, keep healthy and be fit.  Nowadays, she wants to challenge herself to run long distances races. 

“I wish to complete my FM at SCKLM 2019 within the cut of time since it’s been a while since the last time I race a full marathon”.

She runs in Nashata Ultra Tops

6.  NUR AZYAN

Nur Azyan is a mother of a lovely girl, loves to run for weight loss and  to keep her healthy and fit.  She said “When I run with my friends, I get some ‘me-time’ for myself away from work and home stresses”  She loves to challenge herself and for now her longest distance is 90km, and planning to achieve 100km races.

“SCKLM is very meaningful to me because my 1st race event was at SCKLM 2010 in 5km fun run category,  I broke my virgin full marathon at SCKLM 2011, and my still-holding personal best record for FM is at SCKLM 2012. SCKLM 2019 will be my 8th FM, I will try my best to finish the race within the cut of time without any injuries.”

She runs in Nashata Ultra Tops, Hooda Ellipse Sports Hijab, Crop Top

7.  SITI NOR ALIZA

Siti Nor Aliza is a mother of two daughters. She started running in 2014.  She loves to run as a way to stay fit and healthy and to inspire all mothers out there. “In my opinion, every mother should always be healthy and fit to look after their children. So, as a mother, we need to find time to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle”. 

“I broke my virgin full marathon last year at Malaysia Women Marathon but for SCKLM 2019, it would be my 1st full marathon as I signed up for half marathon category previous year.  I will try my best to complete the race within the cut of time without any injuries”, Aliza shares excitedly.

She runs in Nashata Ultra Tops, Hooda Ellipse and Riada Salasa Pants

8.  SYARIZA

Syariza, started running in 2017.  She loves running to maintain her body weight. She said “Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams”

InsyaAllah, she will break her virgin full marathon at SCKLM 2019.

Celebrating my 42nd birthday on the day by successfully completing the 42km run. It will be the best birthday gift that I could give to myself”, says Syariza

She runs in Nashata Leia Top, Hooda Ellipse Sports Hijab and Riada Salasa Pants

9.  ZAMZAMIAH

Zamzamiah, started running in late 2014. She also loves trail run and hiking to challenge herself. An ultramarathoner and finisher 100km in few races, she says “I dare to challenge myself and push myself beyond the limit. We are all the same, but the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. If I can do it, so do you !”

She added, “Achieving a Personal Best timing is always a bonus for me. I hope I’m in the best form to run in SCKLM2019 with no injury and that I will be able to smile towards the finishing line. Apart from that, I look forward to see more competitive hijabi runners in SCKLM2019.”

She runs in Nashata Ultra Tops, Hooda Ellipse and Racerback Sports Hijab and Compression Skirt Pants

 

For those who will be running – All the best for your run and enjoy it.
If you see #NashataRunners and any other runners, smile and say hello. All runners are awesome!  So do support and cheer each other for trying the best and for finishing the race with alhamdulillah. See you on the 29th September 2019.

Follow #nashatarunners on Instagram to follow their updates

I LEFT MY LEG ON THE HIGHWAY – SUNDAY NIGHT AT BESRAYA HIGHWAY CHALLENGE

This was my first attempt running the Besraya Highway Challenge. I was unable to join  the first and second edition (2017 & 2018), because I made prior commitments for other races. The 3rd edition was different from the first two because it was held at night (1st and 2nd was held in the morning)

It was easy for participants to get to the event side as they can take the LRT. However, I went by car and parked at the VIVA shopping mall. Soon after I parked my car, I followed the crowd heading for the highway that lead us to the starting point.

walking to the race site..freedom to walk without any cars..nak baring tengah jalan pun boleh.. 🙂

There were three categories at the race 26 km, 13 km and relay. All categories started at the Loke Yew Toll Plaza. The 26 km participants were flagged off at 9.15 pm and the 13 km category participants were flag off at 9.40 pm. Due to technical problems, there was a slight delay from the original schedule.

Flag off 26km categories

I’m familiar with this highway because I used to drive on it to get to my previous office. I had never realized that the easy drive was much challenging when I run on it.  The road was a bit hilly, up and down and I had to run through several bends and u-turns. I was mentally challenged when I had to go through the u-turn because I had to see other runners passing by. It made me feel a bit depressed.  I started talking to myself –  “Where is the turning point and how far is it?”
As I passed the turning point, I smiled at the runner on the side and thought if they had the same thought as I did earlier. Hahahah! 🙂

How far to turning point? (mental epidermic) :)))

Dragging the feet, at KM8

There were 3 U-turns that I had to deal with. At the 6th kilometer, the 1st runner of the 26km men’s race passed me for his 2nd loop. Just imagine how cool he was. And here I was – running around dragging my feet, thinking 13km was too far. Haha!

Signage was placed at every kilometer. Every water stations served chilled mineral water and isotonic drinks.  There was ample paramedics throughout the run and they were very helpful.

big signage, visible from far. I was lucky I meet the signage once ..hehe..

 

Many water stations with mineral water and isotonic drink

I felt grateful as I was reaching back to Loke Yew Toll Plaza to finish the run; without any cars and not to pay the toll fees!!!!  I was thankful for running the 13km category only. As for the 26k runners, they needed to run another loop. Yeyy habis lari!!!

Semangat merdeka! We were wearing Malaysia Hijab. I was (right) wearing Hooda Ellipse Malaysia by nashata.com

Finisher 13KM medal

Congratulations to all finishers!

Sea Expedition – Kelong Jump & Mangrove Kayaking

It was another great day out at sea ma syaa Allah. This is our 2nd run of Sea Expedition as part of GEMS Movement – Grundy+POPWOW Empowering Me Series. The weather was perfect and the company was simpply AWESOME!

Objectives

  1. Instill confidence in the open water
  2. Learn to work together (kayaking) against the natural elements
  3. Overcome fear of uncertainties (Kelong Jump)
  4. Increase awareness about the importance of affects of pollution in the sea, how kelong works, history of Pulau Ubin

We completed the mission!

We met early morning at Changi Point Ferry Terminal and boarded our chartered boat to Peers Outdoor Kelong. All 14 of us were so nervous yet excited to face the challenges ahead. The refreshing boat ride did calm their nerves as we travelled about 15mins to reach the kelong. We were warmly greeted by Sky and Dini, the intructors in-charge of our fate today hahaha.

Kelong Jump

Our first challenge was Kelong Jump. It didn’t look so scary at first but as one ascend to the top of the platform (about 1.5m above sea) and faces the open water, legs started to feel like jelly. Uncle Lee is ready in the safety boat about 20 metres away. Sky stood by our side to ensure that we adopt the proper jumping position while the rest of us cheered. The motivation and support from everyone definitely helped. The scene is set, we knew what to do, adopted the proper skill, safety measures- personal life jacket, safety boat, safety personnel in pos… all we had to do was tawakkal and take the plunge. A hundred question started to creep into our minds. We didn’t know how deep the water was, what lurks underwater, how strong the current was. Am I going to be swept way? Am I going to drown? While some even thought of sharks and loch ness monsters, i thought about Nemo and Dory and Spongebob hehehe… Some of us took a lil bit longer on the platform to compose ourselves but one by one, all 14 of us took the challenge and battled our fears to jump.  I was so proud of everyone!

Sarah bracing for Kelong Jump

Dini and Sky motivating Nasreen for her jump

Pulau Ubin Mangrove Kayaking 

Next Challenge! Mangrove Kayaking on double kayaks. It was important to delegate the partners correctly according to size and experience. Sky conducted a safety brief and a short lesson on kayaking. We learnt how to paddle, how to communicate with our partners and the whole team with the use of signals by whistle blows and use of paddles. We learnt the jargons – “break raft” and reminded of how to look out for one another. We identified the patners, collected our equipment and head on out to sea.

Kayaking was definitely not as simple and smooth sailing as it seems. There are many elements at play. Cooperation and communication is of utmost importance between partners. While we work together as a duo, we also need to work as a team with other kayaks to ensure that all is present and well. We did a few challenges in the water, kayak along the beautiful mangroves swamps of Pulau Ubin. The tide was going down.It was more difficult to paddle in but the outflow of sea water made it easier for us to glide back out into the sea.

In the midst of the expedition, we mantained  a single file while keeping our silence to enjoy the serenity and to look out for the familiar creatures. We would huddle and Sky would tell us about how the mangrove works, the history of Pulau Ubin and the kelongs. Mangrove forests are an extremely productive ecosystems that provide numerous good and services both to the marine environment and people. Being homes to a large variety of sea creatures, the dense root systems of mangrove forests also trap sediments flowing down rivers and off the land. This helps stabilises the coastline and prevents erosion from waves and storms.

We kayak from Jelutong Campsite, through the straits of Ketam Island and into RUM Site 2

It took us about 3 hours to finally complete the expedition. We were exhausted but definitely fullfiled and satisfied! Back at the kelong, while drying off, we conductd a post-activity debrief session where every member shared their learning points.

Learning Points – The different elements and how it applies to our daily life

  1. The Tools – In this scenario, the tools we have is the PSD (Personal Safety Device – lifejacket), paddle, kayak and ourselves. These are elements we can control. It is our responsibilities to learn how best to use these tools for our benefits, learn how to manourver, how to work with and not against the tools we have in our lives. We can choose not to adhere to safety regulations and endanger ourselves and others. We can choose to be lazy and let ourselves drift away expecting others to steer the boat for us. We can choose to throw away the paddle and not benefit from it. Or we can ensure our personal safety, work hard and smart to learn to paddle and manouver the boat to get to our destination and benefit from the tools we have and the experience we gained. Like all other tools we have in our lives. The pen and paper, our smartphones, our laptops, our kitchen, our education… we can choose how these tools benefit us. These tools are at our disposal and it is within our control to put in the effort and learn how to use these tools positively.
  2. Forces of Nature – As we kayak, we work with or against the natural elements like the sea, the current and tides, the wind, the weather- rain or shine.  We can predict and forecast but can never control. We can choose to complain, berate and curse at the “bad” weather or lament at every difficulty. Or we can choose to embrace and learn how to work best in any condition. As we paddle upstream against the tide, we paddled harder. It is tough but if we presevere, we will get to our destination and we know at the end of the day, “What doesn’t kill us, just makes us stronger.” We definitely went back with stronger arms and fitter upper bodies! As we went downstream, clouds were coming in, we relaxed and enjoyed ourselves as we went with the tide, light rain cooled us after the harsh heat of the sun and the winds pushed us towards the kelong. “Indeed, With difficulty, there is ease”. Our life is nothing but trials and tribulations. It is through these simulated experiences that we learn to deal and cope with challenges and difficulties. We sometimes land in conditions beyond our control, like the elements we faced today, we can choose to drift away or drown in our own desperation or work hard to overcome the challenge. We can always choose to look at the brighter side of things. As we paddled up, through the heat, our laughter made it easy. The beautiful scenery and awesome sights made it all worth it. We return humbled and full of gratitude.
  3. Social Wellness (Other people) – Social Wellness is the relationship we have with other people. In this case, our kayak partner, other members of the team and our Instructor. This is where effective communication plays an integral part in our safety and well-being. Effective communication includes LISTENING and giving proper instructions where patience, empathy (understanding the emotions) and sense of awareness also plays a role. One steers and one guides. Both paddle left and right together. Keeping in formation. No one left behind. We can choose not to listen to instructions and then panic because we don’t know how to use the paddle and we are not moving in the direction we want. We can choose to be lazy and let our partner do most of the work. We can choose to be selfish and leave others behind. Or we can choose to work together, listen and learn and look out for one another. Like all other relationships we have in our lives. In marriage with our spouses, with neighbbours and colleagues and family members. We can be selfish and excel ourselves or we can work together to ensure the well-being of our society and community is being taken care of. We can learn to listen and be empathetic to preserve our relationships or not. We can help or not. We can be vigilant or ignorant. At the end of the day, we will definitely reap thhe benefits or face the consequences of our choices. If we expect kindness from others, let ourselves be kind.

Effective communication includes LISTENING and giving proper instructions where patience, empathy (understanding the emotions) and sense of awareness also plays a role

Alhamdulillah, at the end of the day, we achieved all the objectives set for this activity. We gained much insights about oursleves, our comrades, the kelongs in Singapore, Pulau Ubin and the mangrove swamps. After the kelong jump, 3hrs of paddling, debrief session, reflections and sharings, we each takeaway some valuable lessons and experience, that we will never gain through books. Parallel life skills, lessons that we hope will benefit them in their daily lives and which will be used to benefit others. In syaa Allah…

 

To more adventures! Look out for our next blog about our Caving Experience and Waterfall Abseiling at Gunung Muntahak.

Love,

Efah Anuar

All Smiles at the Score Marathon Run The Day

The Score Marathon has definitely made my running in the city of Kuala Lumpur a marvelous experience. The route for the half marathon, 21 km took me around the heart of KL, starting from the Berjaya Time Square. What I like most about the run is the route – scenic features of the city skyline, parks and undulating hills of the city.  The route is similar to the Standard Charted KL Marathon, but lesser crowd. There were about 3,500 half marathon runners, 2,700 ten KM runners among the 13,000 participants at the Score Marathon.

I was glad the organiser moved the venue from Bukit Jalil to Berjaya Time Square. Running in the city was truly a lovely experience.

Score Marathon

The roads were well-managed and I felt safe running throughout. There were water stations serving 100 plus and water at every 3 km with one serving banana a few kilometers before the finish line. The run started at 5am and the roads were well lighted with many marshals on motorbikes. I felt safe although it was quite dark until the sun rose at about 7am.

Some of the iconic buildings that I passed were National Mosque, Islamic Museum, Merdeka Square, POS Malaysia, Sasana Kijang, PWTC, Pavilion KL, Bursa Malaysia and close enough to see the KL Tower and KLCC Twin Towers. The runners passed the National Mosque at KM 8, and it was well suited for morning prayers. Most muslim runners stopped at the mosque for prayers.

Towards the finish line – Photo by Marlina Ibrahim

I was not certain if the distance was accurate or not as my Garmin watch recorded a distance of 24 km and so did many of the other Garmin users with extra mileage. GPS can be inaccurate in city area with tall buildings. It was a bit tough to do a personal best due to the famous hilly routes. I was accompanying a friend, Farhani who ran her 1st half marathon and our goal was to finish and enjoy the run. Indeed we did. We took many pictures to cherish her 1st half marathon. She trained really hard for this. Ladies who plan to take up long distance running be it half or full marathon can join .Nashata  Weekend Training

It was a thumbs up experience at the Score Marathon 2019 – from registering the run, picking up the race kit, running and finishing run.

Now, some pictures of the runners and the city of Kuala Lumpur!

Our 1st stop – Sultan Abdul Samad Building

Cool and hilly route, well lighted

Run like a tourist

 

The KL Tower on the backdrop as we cruise on Jalan Sultan Ismail

On Jalan Kuching Photo Credit : Score Marathon

At this point, it was about 2 more KM to go with KLCC Tower on the backdrop

The running sisters – Farhani and Farhati ran the half marathon

With brother and cousin who finished their half marathon

 

 

Hiking @ Bukit Batu Lebah Recreational Forest, Melaka

If you are in Jasin, there is a lovely hiking spot 20 minutes drive away from the city. You get to experience rainforest wilderness, huge rocks, caves and rich biodiverdity at Bukit Batu Lebah, Melaka. You would drive through beautiful kampung sites decorated with durian, rambutan and fruit trees by the roads.

Once you arrive, you need to register with the rangers at the Eko-Rimba Park. There are a few chalets and huts for rent and you can plan to stay for a night if you want to check out the area more. When I arrive at the park, there is no guide at the office and I presume they are out with a group  hiking. I plan to take my 14 and 17 year old teenagers for an hour hike or a walk around the area. So we walk around.

In Gua Kelambu with Ranger Nik

There are three trails at Bukit Batu Lebah. However, there are no trail maps and detail information about hiking trails around the area. We just walk pass a gate that we see from afar, presuming it is the start point of the trail. We hear a few motorbikes passing by a couple of times not far from us and we just walk towards the sound. As we walk along the trail, we have to decide to either take a left or right turn. We take two left steeper turns, hoping they would lead us to the peak. The pathway is about 2 meters wide and as we hike, it gets smaller and smaller. More butterflies fly around us until we reach a transmission tower.

We walk pass the tower towards a flight of steps going uphill. The climb after that is quite difficult. The hiking path is not clearly defined and covered by dead leaves. It is a hot and dry day and the dirt is powdery and dry. It is important to wear hiking boots when you hike here as the trail is quite slippery. We keep climbing up until we see two big rocks, called the Ikan Paus (Whale Rocks). At this point, we are showered by gliding javan cucumber seeds. Many are already covering the ground and they look like papery version of bulls eye eggs.

  • Entrance Bukit Batu Lebah Recreational Forest
  • Initial Pathway as made two left turns from the gate (start point)
  • Transmission Tower
  • Steps after you pass Transmission Tower
  • Pathway covered by leaves
  • Some rope work as you clim to Batu Paus
  • Batu Paus and Laluan Paus
  • The view from peak Bukit Batu Lebah
  • Alsomitra Macrocarpa or Javan Cucumber
  • Gua Kelambu
  • Gua Kelambu

From there, we hear sounds of a group cheering and laughing. So, the three of us continue climbing  to get closer to the group. The passage is not clear, so you really need a guide if you want to be safe. We take our chances and keep climbing and luckily a few minutes later, we reach a huge rock hosting dozens of climbers, taking pictures of the view.

A group of hikers at the peak

A few of them are shockrd to see us. There are six ranger accompanying the group, and one of them volunteers to descend with us. Ranger Nik is knowledgeable and kind. He takes us to a big rock resembling an elephant and Gua Kelambu that resembles a bed covered with a mosquito net. We descend pretty quick and completed the hike of about 2km within 1 hour and 15 mins.

The area has rich wilderness. Unlike the other hiking trails that I have been to, the Bukit Batu Lebah gives a more adventurous experience – there are many interesting rocks and caves to explore. There are no directional signs on the trail and you can easily get lost. Be warned – you are not supposed to hike at Batu Lebah without a guide. The trail is not straight forward and many have lost their way.

If you plan to explore Bukit Batu Lebah, allocate at least 6 hours to go through a full trail.  They have a 6 hours open hiking trips scheduled end of this month and on the weekend of Merdeka Day.

You can find out more at their facebook page, official page or contact Nik Zaiman at 0189189102.

Walking in nature increases my sense of curiosity

 

 

Runners, These Are Some Important Stretches to Include In Your Routine

Salam Sisters,

I pray that your Ramadan and your Eid was full of blessings, family time and prayers.
InshAllah all of your prayers will be answered and your wishes will be granted.

Now that Eid is done, it is time to go back on track with our exercise routine.
Nashata has a great runners community. I wanted to share this quick video to help you with your stretching routine to keep you injury free and keep your legs running pain free inshAllah.

Let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to see a specific video.

Keep it Healthy,
Nura

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUsbESlS1mUp-2veiEc1iew

Legs/Hips stretch – Good for Acheiving Splits

Salam Sisters,

This is a quick 9 min stretch for the legs and hips.
Take advantage during Ramadan and do it when you can. It will help kick away any stagnant feelings in your muscles.
If you want better results, try to hold each pose for 30 sec to one minute. 

Let me know if you have any questions or if you want any specific workout videos.

Peace and Love
Nura

Use Code “Nura” for a 10% discount on any Nashata products <3 

FullBody Workout – 4 Sets – NO Equipment Needed

Salam Sisters,

Here is a new video in the NO Equipment Series.
Today it No Equipment FULLBODY Workout.
All you need is your energy and some space.

How to use this video?
I have 4 sets of full body workout out. Pick which ones you want to do and repeat each move 10-15 times. Then repeat them 3 times.

Workout Outfits Details: 

Sports Hijab:
– Hooda Ellipse in Black

Modest Sports Tops: 
– Ultra Top II in Pink
– Ultra Hoodie Gen in Gold and White
– Zipper Hoodie in Grey

Leggings: 
– Riada Training Pants II
– Riada Sweat Pants II

Use Code “NURA’ for 10% discount from Nashata.com 

Keep It Healthy,
Nura

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