BMW Berlin Marathon 2018

It was sheer luck that I got to ballot as a team with Zamzamiah or better known as Amie for the BMW Berlin Marathon 2018. It was a last minute opportunity and Amie submitted our ballot in November ’17. When I found out about winning the ballot in January, I was shocked. Never had I dream about winning the ballot, what more running at one of the the Abbott World Marathon Majors.

To prepare for the Berlin Marathon, I registered and ran for the Malaysia Women Marathon 2018 in March ’18 and Standard Charted KL Marathon in April ’18.

The Expo

I took a 15 hour flight from Malaysia and arrived Berlin on a Friday, 14th Sept, two days before the race. Amie who was already on a solo backpack travel met up with me that morning and we headed to the Race Expo.

There were many exhibits at the entrance; safety cars, displays of the medals from 6 major marathons, list of runners who have raced in the 6 major marathons and many more. I managed to scribble my name on a small spot.

  • Hijabi Finishers at the BMW Berlin Marathon 2018
  • Malaysian Finishers at the BMW Berlin Marathon 2018
  • Zamzamiah did her personal best!
  • The Race Band, the Medal
  • The cute Adidas cup
  • The entrance of Race Expo
  • BMW Berlin Marathon Expo
  • A drive by Adidas to reduce plastic cup use
  • The medal for abbott world marathon majors six star finishers
  • The medals of the six major Abbot marathons
  • Malaysian runners who are Abbott world marathon majors six star finishers

 

As we walked further, there was a checkpoint for runners. A few volunteers were providing race bands for runners. As we walked in further, we saw many booths of merchandisers and running organisers, mostly from Europe. The booth to pick up the race kit was at the very end but there was no queue. We were given our race number and timing chip swiftly.The queue to pick up pre-order finisher tee was already long and we waited patiently for about 30 minutes.

The Adidas booth was always full. Runners and visitors were busy purchasing the event tee. It was selling like hot cakes for Euro30 each. We came back to get more the day after and they were already gone. So do your shopping early if you see a good bargain. We picked up the adidas drinking cup that we could use for the race – in support of their effort to reduce plastic use.

Outside of the booth area were more car display, BMW hot-air balloons and an old plane.

The Race

On the race day, which was two days after, we took the train to the race area at 7:30am. The crowd started to build up. The flag off was done in 3 waves ; 9:15am, 9:30am and 10am.

 

At the start line, everyone was bumped up by the music. As the minutes get closer to the 10am flag off, some just loose their sweaters on the streets and dash.

It was a perfect day to run. The sun was out and the weather was simply beautiful.

The routes were nice and flat. I loved checking out the city on foot and enjoyed the crowd cheering and playing music along the way. I think there were close to a dozen of performers playing music along the way and outside of cafes. At 1pm we were told about the new world record set by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge at 2:01:39.

  • Putting on the Race Band at Expo
  • The main Expo Hall
  • The Route
  • All excited to start
  • More Halls
  • Scribble your name on it

There were many volunteers providing peeled and cut bananas & apples at designated water stations and later ultra sports energy gels.  You can choose to fuel up with water, hot tea and energy drink.

I was happy to be able to finish the 42.195km run with more than 40,000 other runners and receive the medal for my son. It was my worst timing, but I was grateful. I wasn’t in my best state of health.

Congrats to finishers & May the Abbot Major Marathons be with you!

Slave Route Challenge 2018 – Cape Town

Rizq is when the city you travel to has a race that co-indices with travel dates. The Slave Route Challenge was held on 13th May, Mother’s Day in Cape Town, and I thought it was a good way to check out the city and get to know the community, so I registered for the 21km run. Cape Town is the oldest town in South Africa, also known as the Mother City

Climbing the Pentz Road, Bo Kaap Area with the city center at the backdrop. Picture courtesy of ABPHOTOZA

The registration was done online and the experience was smooth. I collected the bib and race license at the Castle of Good Hope a day before the run. It was autumn coming to winter in Cape Town and the weather was lovely with blue skies throughout my trip.

The run started sharp at 7am in front of the City Hall with three thousand participants in the half marathon category, followed by 10km and 5km every 15 minutes after. The runners were diverse and many runners in hijab ran along with me. What I like about running in hijab is getting the salams and greetings from other fellow muslims along the way. I look like many of them – the Cape Malays.

The 21km route took me along the beautiful neighborhood in the city of Cape Town with the sunrise shining upon gorgeous Table Mountain on the backdrop, Company Garden with a bit of a incline the first 5km. It was followed by a steep climb on Pentz Road 8km onward up to the top of Bo Kaap neighborhood. The runners were cheered by the residents, volunteers and locals along the way, serving local delicacies till the top of the climb. The run continued on flat roads towards the Stadium, Green Point area along the waterfront and back to the City Hall.

  • Castle of Good Hope
    Castle of Good Hope
    Castle of Good Hope
  • Volunteers at Castle of Good Hope
    Volunteers at Castle of Good Hope
  • Race Kit Collection at Castle of Good Hope
    Race Kit Collection at Castle of Good Hope
  • The start and finish point - The City Hall
    The start and finish point - The City Hall
  • The first mosque I spotted. First 2 km of the run
    The first mosque I spotted. First 2 km of the run
  • Entertainment along the way - this at Company Garden
    Entertainment along the way - this at Company Garden
  • Lovely buildnings at Company Garden
    Lovely buildnings at Company Garden
  • Mini water bags at water stations - Cute!
    Mini water bags at water stations - Cute!
  • Climbing the Bo Kaap area
    Climbing the Bo Kaap area
    Climbing the Bo Kaap area
  • At the top of BoKaap area
    At the top of BoKaap area
  • Table Mountain at the backdrop
    Table Mountain at the backdrop
  • At the top of Pentz Street, Bo Kaap
    At the top of Pentz Street, Bo Kaap
  • Colorful houses at Bo Kaap
    Colorful houses at Bo Kaap
    Colorful houses at Bo Kaap
  • Ran Around the Stadium
    Ran Around the Stadium

What I enjoyed most about the race :

  • Supportive community
    There were volunteers every 100 meters, cheering and managing the traffic throughout the run!  They dressed up in tutus, skirts and other fancy attires. Not only that, the residents at Bo Kaap area came out from their homes and cheer! The runners were close knit and friendly. Alhamdulillah, I felt at home and made new friends at the run.
  • Coke at water stations
    A coke lover like me would just find the drinks super refreshing. They even had coke zero at water stations. There was a water shortage in Cape Town and they provided drinking water packed in small green and blue plastic bags. Only coke was served in cups.

    Coke Lover was happy

  • Opportunity to check out the city on foot
    The route took me along historical and tourist sites on foot.It was a lovely and relaxing morning run. The cut off time was 3 hours 30 minutes and I took my time to finish the race. I stopped many times to capture beautiful moments. I spotted four mosques and suraus along the run. Even the race kit area was held at a historical site – Castle of Good Hope. All runners received free entrance ticket to District Six, also a historical site.

Here are more pictures!

Mosque at Bo Kaap

Mosque at Bo Kaap

Mosque at Bo Kaap

Mosque at Bo Kaap

 

Many pleas to protect Bo Kaap as Heritage Site

The Medal

I would love to run again at Cape Town! It was simply an amazing experience!

 

Tips and Tools: Run Safely at Any Time of Day

Trying to squeeze a run into today’s modern and often busy schedule can be difficult, especially if you are limiting yourself to only daylight hours due to safety concerns. At times I’ve started a run before the sun came up and finished only as it began to rise or started my run after after the kids are tucked in and feel the need for a little “me time”. Both instances require me to be aware of my surroundings and use certain safety precautions to ensure that I come home safe and sound.

pexels-photo-796545.jpeg

Know your route. Running when others are likely still in bed is not the time to be adventurous and try out a new route. Use a well established running route that is both well-lit and well-traveled. Stay to the outside of parks and other locations that can obscure the view of passersby and that could provide cover for those up to no good. When planning a route, try driving it at night or early morning and take note of street lights or the lack of lighting and anything that can obstruct the available lighting.

Let someone know where you are. While most people won’t appreciate you waking them up in the wee hours of the morning to notify them you are going out for a run, there are other ways you can notify loved ones where you are and where your are going. Using the RoadID app (available on iPhone and Android), you can send a customized message to any cellphone you decide (i.e. “going for a quick 4 mile run, should take 45 minutes”) and then the app sends location updates if you should stop moving longer than 10 seconds. 10 seconds of no forward progression will sound a warning alert to you to either click that you are fine within the app or if you do nothing, everyone you’ve determined will receive a message that you have not moved and your last known location. Also, if you go over your predetermined finish time, a warning will sound that you can disable. If you do not let the app know you are okay, your contact/s will be notified and your last known location will be sent as well.

Protect yourself. There are many items on the market that are discrete, easy to carry ways to protect yourself. One of my absolute favorites is a Stun Ring. This small device is a ring that goes around your finger, with a high voltage stunner at the top and the trigger fits nicely in the palm of your hand. In case you are picturing yourself inadvertently stunning yourself and laying seizing on the ground, there is a safety switch that you have to enable before you can even activate the trigger. I keep it switched off most times but when I encounter an uncomfortable situation, an large off-leash dog or even an environment that suddenly makes me on-guard I switch that safety off so that I can act without hesitation. Please note: I consider this a last resort defense tool. It can be used against animals, however many report that the sound of the device without contact is disturbing to most animals and they will likely retreat without harm.

See and be seen. Being visible to others that may be also on foot, on bike or car is so very important. I nearly hit a pedestrian at 10 o’clock at night who was dressed in all black, socks and shoes included. This individual thought it was a great idea to illegally cross the road when I had the right-of-way. What saved him was the small reflected decal on his shoes! I saw these moving decals and at the last moment realized they were attached to a person. Reflective gear is a staple in my wardrobe. Nike makes a highly visible reflective running vest, Aeroloft Flash which has all reflective detailing and there are other reflective wear in the Nike Aeroloft Flash line. Movement also catches driver’s attention, so I use a lithium battery-operated, LED flashing slap-style bracelets on my upper arm and ankle. Seeing is just as important and being seen. I love this awesome headlamp that actually does both. The front of the lamp is adjustable in light positioning as well as brightness. The strap is adjustable to fit many head shapes and sizes or fit over hijabs and hats. As an added safety feature, there is a highly visible red light on the back of the head strap. The best thing about this headlamp is that it is rechargeable so no worries about purchasing batteries.

Keep some form of identification with you. Thankfully, the Nashata brand sportswear that I use has lots of thoughtfully designed, small pockets that can hold identification cards or emergency contact information. However, consider if you are involved in an accident or faint due to exhaustion; you don’t want someone searching all through your small pockets to find an identification card, which in most cases won’t have contact or medical information. Identification bracelets such as RoadID contain identifying information, emergency contact information and important medical information. I don’t use the bracelet (yet) but I do use their phone app which has a wonderful feature. The app displays this very important information on your cellphone lock screen. You can display the contact information for up to three contacts and put certain information such as allergies or medical conditions or instructions. Most emergency personnel look for a phone or wallet when they find a person incapacitated . Providing contact information and medical conditions could actually save your life.

The best way to stay safe is to do as many as these safety tips as possible. Layer your reflective wear, stay alert, travel on visible paths and let your loved ones know where your going and when you are expected back. As wiith every run, the goal is to come home safe and if you feel something is not quite right, err on the side of caution and follow your safety protocols. No run is worth risking your safety.

Sir Bani Yas Challenge (29-30 March 2018)

Marwa Al Wadhahi, a young Omani lady who is enthusiastic about sports and adventure shares her experience at the Sir Bani Yas Challenge 2018. She loves challenges, pushing her limits and experiencing new things. She works in the Oil & Gas industry during the day and passionately practices sports in the evening and holidays. 

Marwa Al Wadhahi

I was very excited when I saw the announcement of Sir Bani Yas Challenge which was originally consisting of 3 km of kayaking, 10 km of trail running and 37 km of cycling. I was excited because I never cycled and kayaked these distances, I’ve never been to Sir Bani Yas and I’ve never done a 50 km challenge in single day. Basically the challenge had a variety of activities and in a unique and exciting venue.

Wildlife at Sir Bani Yas

Sir Bani Yas Island in the Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, was the venue of the challenge. The island was one of the first “Greening of the Desert” projects established by Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1971. Over the years it became one of the UAE largest animal reserves and is home to over 15,000 free roaming animals and birds.

Due to circumstances out of control, the cycling was cancelled and the challenge was modified to become a total of +33 km of an amazing hike on & between mountains, fun kayaking and a long trail run.

The challenge was tough, we started at 6.30 am where the weather was foggy and nice then it got hotter as time passed approaching noon. I personally absolutely loved the hike and the kayaking, I found the trail run (which was the majority of the race) fun at the beginning but then it was really torturous due to the heat, strong pulsing cramps and trail that felt like infinity as the long distance was new to me.

I pushed myself hard, I felt like crying, I felt like giving up, I thought to myself “What made me do this? What was I thinking” I literally felt physically and mentally exhausted. However, because I signed up for the challenge with a mindset and goal to finish as a minimum and despite all the pain and torture I felt, I was absolutely determined to finish, I limped, I walked, I jogged with pain until the finish line.

Husaak Support Stations

On the other hand, the organisers, Husaak Adventures, and fellow participants along the way were very supportive which injected me with positive energy amid the suffering, I smiled to them, felt positive and said to myself that I can do it and I should not give up even though I felt like it! Giving up was just not an option for me. I had fun chatting with some participants along the way and cheering others to continue as well which really makes a difference and pushes people further. Organizers were at the water/food stations and also driving back and forth with cars cheering, checking on us and supplying water

Hiking Trail Views

With a few hundred people participating, Alhamdulillah I’m proud to finish 4th out of more than a 100 female participants, and 33th Overall out of almost 300 male & female participants 🏁 I really pushed myself that day. I haven’t had specific training for this event, just my regular gym training. So I was basically fit but not really trained for this kind of long distance running.

Trail Run

I believe if I hydrated more in the weeks leading to the event and practiced long runs, it would have went even better. Maybe I wasn’t trained enough or ready to go at the pace I was going at but the experience was definitely enriching. The feeling of true struggle that I haven’t felt in a long time, but pushing hard and fighting pain & fatigue to reach the finish line was priceless.

6 Reasons Why You Don’t Want To Miss The Next SCKLM

  1. SCKLM is the Premier Running Event in Malaysia 
    More than 38,000 runners descended on Dataran Merdeka to take part in and celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Standard Chartered KL Marathon (SCKLM) 2018 and its popularity continues to grow, as evidenced by its race slots selling out in a day when public registrations opened.
  2. Lovely routes of Kuala Lumpur
    At the SCKLM’s 10th Anniversary, the organiser incorporated new routes for the Full and Half Marathons which took in more of KL’s iconic landmarks but remained as challenging as usual with its route undulations. The hilly stretch beginning from Km32 was especially grueling for a lot of runners. But worry not, there were supporters along the tough route. For example, there was a group of supporters cheering runners and offering Malaysian popsicles at the first hilly route at Bukit Tunku.
  3. Supportive and Committed Pacers
    Pacers not only brought runners back on time, but they also cheered and supported the runners. They were cheerful and went over and beyond. I saw a few pacers running back to motivate and support runners a few hundred meters before finish line and repeated the process. They were incredible!

    Pacers at SCKLM

    Fazu supporting runners. Whatever it takes to motivate &  cheer runners up!

  4. Various Categories to Suit all Ages and Type of Runners
    SCKLM is for both serious and social runners. Out of 38,000 runners, more than 10,000 took part in the Full Marathon and 11,000 in the Half Marathon categories. The rest were 10km, 5km, friendship run for social runners, as well as 1km and 3km Kids Dash for the first time. There were also several categories like the Corporate Challenge, Media Challenge, Universities Challenge and Ministries Challenge to either raise money for charity or provide friendly competition and confer bragging rights to the eventual winners.

    Runners who raced at all 10 editions of SCKLM get Special honour

    Runners who raced at all 10 editions of SCKLM get special honour

  5. Well Organised & Safe for Runners
    Over 1,600 volunteers, paramedics, supporters and staffs of the organiser making sure the  routes were secured, runners were safe and hydrated throughout the run. You do not have to worry about a moving vehicle coming from your back or heading towards you.

    the full marathon started and ended with confetti blasts

    Essential information about the run was provided and communicated well in the runner’s guide.There were many spots where you can rest and relax and catch up with running friends before & after your run. You could use the SCKLM mobile App to check running buddy updates and cheer for them as they approach the finish line. The app was pretty cool with a feature that adds your pictures  taken by strategic cameras along the routes.

  6. Prayer-Friendly for Muslim Runners
    This year the organiser included location for suraus along the Full and Half Marathon on the runner’s guide. Not only that, signboards of suraus were placed at these areas so that runners know the location while running.

    Signage for Suraus

So, don’t miss the next SCKLM in 2019! You get to meet new runners, make friends and enjoy a good run!

Lastly, here are some happy faces of running ladies at the Standard Charted KL Marathon 2018.

Nashsuhah finished her 14th Full Marathon under 5 hours

#NOEXCUSE because 'Anda Hebat! '

#NOEXCUSE because ‘Anda Hebat! ‘

Intan Siza and the Full Marathon Finisher Tee  #omaksukarunning

Running shoes: Minimalist VS Normal

Do you feel overwhelmed by choices when choosing running shoes? Should you go for cushioned shoes? Or light-weight shoes? How do you choose what type of shoes are right for you? Do you have various types of shoes in your closet, yet unsure about which shoes should you wear for this weekend’s big race?

Based on my general observation, there are 2 types of running shoes in the market: Minimalist shoes or regular, cushioned shoes. Regular shoes are equipped with the padding and support required to cushion the impact of running. Their soles are thick. While minimalist running shoes are the exact opposite – they are very light, thin, and flexible. Minimalist shoes mimic the feeling of running barefoot with almost no cushioning.

Traditionally, people have been running barefoot for years. From that ideology, running professionals and designers came up with the idea for minimalist shoes. For every research and data that supports minimalist shoes, there are equal papers and numbers that shows otherwise. Some say that cushioned shoes prevent injury, allows you to run longer, and it is ‘safer’. However, I have also observed fellow runners that still complain from ITB, knee pains, and twisted ankles from wearing highly cushioned shoes. Therefore, I conclude that there is no right or wrong answer. It depends on various factors, such as the condition of your feet, experiences in running, running condition, distance, etc.

I have both types of shoes in my collection. So, how do I decide which shoes should I wear for this weekend’s big race? Personally, this how I decide what type of shoes should I wear for Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2018 (SCKLM), or any other run. Please feel free to follow this guideline when purchasing new shoes too:

SCKLM: Suraus for Muslim Runners

Standard Chartered KL Marathon is only a few days left and we want you to go through the smoothest experience you’ve ever had. This time round we would like to help all the muslims to feel at ease performing prayers during the running period.

Here are the routes provided by the organizer:

Half Marathon Route Map

For half marathon, the suggested prayer area is located at the side road of the Lebuhraya Duta – Ulu Kelang (DUKE) when you’ve reached 11km, slightly after you pass the water station. Though there is only one surau suggested here, there are also few mosque along the road.

The first mosque you’ll pass through is the Masjid Jamek before you hit 1km running. After 14km running, you’ll meet another mosque Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan. If you can make it on time, at the end of the route, you’ll see the last mosque which is Masjid Negara.

 

Full Marathon Route Map

As for Full Marathon, more suraus are suggested here. The first surau you’re going to pass is at 14km running (close to Tabung Haji & water station). Then, you’ll see a surau by the road side of Jalan Ampang after 15km run. After Kompleks Sukan Datuk Keramat and LRT Jelatek you’ll find another surau located at the road side of Jalan Jelatek. At 19km run, the surau is located close to the checkpoint by the road of Jalan Setiawangsa. The last surau that is suggested for marathoner is close to the checkpoint is at the DUKE road, that is after 26km running.

Just to inform, the mosque available near the route is the same as what the half marathoner will pass: Masjid Jamek, Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan and Masjid Negara.

Few tips on prayer guidance:

  1. Don’t forget your prayers even when you’re running
  2. Jangan lupa solat walaupun bersukan berjam-jam! (in bahasa Malaysia)

Hope this helps! Share it with others so they can also schedule their prayers early before the run! 🙂

SCKLM’s 10TH ANNIVERSARY SET TO SIZZLE!

Top Malaysian Runner’s Gather Pace Before The Big Event

KUALA LUMPUR, March 2018: The 10th Anniversary of the Standard Chartered KL Marathon (SCKLM) is expected to be a hotly contested event in several categories. The Malaysian Men’s Full Marathon category in particular will see intense competition amongst several Malaysians who have been posting increasingly fast times in the lead up to Malaysia’s premier running event. The Full Marathon Open category and the Malaysian Women’s Full Marathon category are also expected to be hard fought affairs. We at Nashata supports female runners to woman up. It is a tough battle to even run, what more to win. But there is #NOEXCUSE not to try harder and push the boundaries.

SCKLM2018’s Malaysian Men’s Full Marathon category will see an intriguing battle between a few runners in particular, namely Muhaizar Mohamad, Leo Tan, Nik Fakaruddin and Ow Yong Jin Kuang. Muhaizar, Leo and Nik recently competed in the Tokyo Marathon and finished spectacularly by breaking their own personal bests. Leo Tan, who is an engineer based in Taiwan, was the first to finish and beat his previous personal best of 2:28:19, also posted in Tokyo last year, by recording a blistering 2:25:28, which is unofficially the new national record.

  • Leo Tan ran his heart out in the recent Tokyo Marathon 2018.

Muhaizar, in his first attempt at an overseas marathon also performed admirably despite not being able to travel early to Tokyo to acclimatise and having to run in close to freezing temperatures for the first time in his life. The Armed Forces personnel also bettered his own previous best of 2:31:52 which was posted at the KL S.E.A. Games 2017 and which earned him Malaysia’s first medal in the Marathon for over 44 years. Muhaizar finished the Tokyo Marathon in 2:27:21, which was also faster than the previous national record.

  • Muhaizar Mohamad did his best in Tokyo Marathon 2018.

Nik Fakaruddin, Muhaizar’s colleague in the Armed Forces and training partner, also smashed his previous personal best by almost 10 minutes to post 2:31:01 in his first attempt at an overseas marathon. Ow, who finished in third place behind Muhaizar and Leo at SCKLM2017, could also spring a surprise as his preparation for SCKLM2018 would have been unhindered as compared to the other three runners who ran in the Tokyo Marathon just a few weeks ago. All four runners are in with a shout of claiming victory at SCKLM2018 and the running community will be eagerly waiting to see who emerges as the 2018 Malaysian Men’s Full Marathon champion.

  • Tokyo Marathon 2018. Nik Fakaruddin (in blue in the middle).

“In fact, all top 10 finishers of the Malaysian Men’s Full Marathon category at SCKLM2017 will be back this year” said Rainer Biemans, Director of Dirigo Events and Project Director of SCKLM 2018. “I’m really happy that the fastest marathon runners in Malaysia all look to participate and perform well in SCKLM to see who is the best in Malaysia. The level of quality that we have locally is showing signs of advancement with Muhaizar and Leo’s rivalry in particular creating great interest and encouragement among local runners,” he added.

A couple of other categories at SCKLM2018 will also be generating a lot of interest come Race Day. The Men’s Full Marathon Open category is also expected to see stiff competition between five-time consecutive SCKLM champion Kennedy Kiproo Lilan and the person who upstaged him last year to win, Cosmas Matolo Muteti. Both will be back this year and Kennedy will be eager to reclaim his title from Cosmas.

  • SCKLM2017 FM Men's Open

The Malaysian Women’s Full Marathon category will also see a challenger to perennial champion and national record holder Yuan Yufang. Annie Yee, another Malaysian who performed well at the Tokyo Marathon by posting a personal best of 3:15:00 is expected to give multiple winner Yufang a run for her money this time around and a new champion might yet be crowned this year. Loh Chooi Fern, who finished second behind Yufang in 2017 will also be running this year and hoping to do one better at SCKLM2018. And finally, all eyes will be on the Malaysian Women’s Half Marathon category, where Sheela Samivellu, two-time SCKLM winner and national record holder, will be gunning to see if she can better her own mark of 1:24:44, previously set at SCKLM2016.

  • SCKLM 2017 (Sheela Samivellu smiling with pride in the centre)

“We’re expecting a really competitive SCKLM2018 with a few categories expected to see strong competition between the top contenders, which bodes well for the continued success and relevance of SCKLM,” said Rainer. “It is heartening to note that these runners want to take part in SCKLM because they want to compete against the best, and on a fully certified course. On our part, we will do our best to create the best conditions possible for such contests to take place,” he continued.

Many runners are intrigued to join this huge event and Nashata founder, Eliza Noordin is no exception to that. “I am a slow runner but there’s no excuse for me to not be a part of this exciting run.” Eliza and other women runners like Intan Suraya and Nahsuhah are helping other runners by sharing their tips about running, food, health and routes on Standard Chartered Malaysia Instagram page. These women help to empower women to give their best in spite of their gender. The Standard Chartered KL Marathon has grown to become the premier running event in Malaysia that draws thousands of local and international runners to the country whilst firmly establishing Malaysia in the global running calendar. The 2018 10th Anniversary edition will be the largest yet with more than 38,000 runners taking part, and will once again see sponsorship from Title Sponsor Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia, along with Brooks, Lucozade, Seiko and Pacific Regency.

For more information and updates on SCKLM, please visit:

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/SCKLmarathon
Twitter : www.twitter.com/SCKLmarathon
Instagram : https://instagram.com/SCKLmarathon
Website : www.kl-marathon.com

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?

Jeri Villareal: The Hijabi Iron Woman

Jeri Villareal is a modest and committed triathlete from St. Louis, Missouri. Working in the Information Technology Service Lead, this incredible 41 year-old mother is also an urban farmer. Her races usually include three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines which are swimming, cycling and running or better known as triathlon.

Nashata team regularly received Jeri’s pictures on Instagram account, @nashatadotcom wearing Hooda Sports Hijab while competing in her triathlon events. After following her account @modestlytri.ing for some time we knew that she is one of the amazing sportswomen that could inspire people to live with passion. Let’s follow our interview to learn more about Jeri’s incredible journey.

N: Nashata
J: Jeri

“I hadn’t ridden a bike in over 20 years.”

N: Do you remember your first triathlon? Tell us how you became a triathlete.
J: My very first triathlon was a small local race. It consisted of a 300 yard pool swim, 20 mile bike and 4 mile run. My swim was somewhat slow but steady but I got on my bike and was able to pass a couple of people. Unfortunately, I missed the turn off and ended riding an additional 4 miles. I was so upset but ended up continuing on to the run and finish last. I learned to always review the course before the race. There is nothing worse than getting lost during a competition.

N: What inspires you to become a triathlete?
J: I first started running. Running was something that I never thought I would be any good at. However, I used it as a way to ward off depression that developed for me in the short days of the winter months. Running outside made me happy and in the cool months, my hijab was comfortable. It was a great fit. I found that the more I ran, the better I became and I progressed from running in my neighbourhood, to running a 5K then 10K and half marathons. One day a friend of my family asked me if I had ever considered triathlon. I told her I hadn’t ridden a bike in over 20 years. However she told me that if she could compete at age 60, surely I could compete. I took up the challenge and learned to ride a bike and worked on my swim stroke. 7 months later, I competed in my first triathlon.

N: Where do you usually train?
J: I train at my local gym and also I created a workout room in my basement so there is no excuse for missing my training. I have a treadmill, a bike trainer, rowing machine, resistance bands and weights.

N: Did you have a coach when you first participate in your first triathlon event?
J: At the time of my first event. I did not have a coach. However, I did get a coach soon afterwards.

N: How different is it to train by yourself and with a coach for the event?
J: It is so helpful to train with a coach because they can see the small things that you do that could cause injury or they can make changes to your form so that you are more effective. Also they can give you specific exercises or workout to help improve your particular limitation to help your reach your personal goals quickly.

N: Which is the hardest part of triathlon?
J: For me, it’s open water swim. Especially in a lake. It make me a bit anxious when all I see is darkness in the water. I learned to overcome that fear by swimming in the pool with my eyes closed and only open my eyes when taking a breath. That exercise helps me relax once I get into the murky waters of a lake.

N: How do you tackled getting out of a wetsuit quickly? Is it an issue for a hijabis triathlete?
J: While many triathlons have “wetsuit strippers”, kind volunteers that will assist you in getting out of your wetsuit quickly. I avoid their help with the wetsuit. Their good intentions could result in uncovering more than of your body than you would want. I use a two-piece wetsuit consisting of pants with bibs and then a wetsuit top that goes over that. When I was exiting the water, I can unzip and remove the top without concern of revealing anything and I take the bib straps off of my shoulders. By the time I get to transition, I just have to roll down the pants and slip them over my feet. To me, the two-piece wetsuit is not only easy to get in and out of, it also is less constricting over your chest which can be helpful for those that feel chest constriction with traditional wetsuits.

“The hijab that has truly given me so much freedom in my life.”

N: As a Muslim triathlete who wears a hijab, have you ever experienced bitter moments where people would be prejudice about your religion? Do share your story with us.
J: The triathlon community is a very kind one in general. However I think a very well-meaning woman made a comment that she has seen me at several triathlons and she always “felt sorry for me” because I seems so uncomfortable. I didn’t even know how to respond. The last thing I expected was anyone to pity me for the chose that I made as a Muslim woman to wear hijab. The hijab that has truly given me so much freedom in my life. The comment sat with me for a long time and it really did affect me. I feel sorry for her that she didn’t understand the beauty of hijab.

“A quick conversation upfront can keep you from having a frustrating conversation with race officials on race day.”

N: What is your advice to the other Muslim women who are participating in triathlon event?
J: Speak to the race director to ensure that they are aware that will be competing fully covered. There are sometimes rules about how much of your body you can cover. A quick conversation upfront can keep you from having a frustrating conversation with race officials on race day. You do not need to ask “permission” to practice your religion. This conversation is simply to educate those that may not understand why they can’t write your race number on your leg or your arm. Or why you must cover your legs and arms during the swim when wetsuits are not allowed.

N: When is your upcoming event?
A: I just finished Ironman Cartagena 70.3 on December 3rd. That was my last event of the year. In 2018, I look forward to the local St. Louis Triathlon Olympic distance occurring in May. Later in the summer there is Ironman Steelhead 70.3 and Ironman Brazil 70.3

N: How is your diet like today? Was it different with what you usually have before being a triathlete?
J: Today I follow a fairly paleo diet. I enjoy eating lots of vegetables, some low-sugar fruits, meats and healthy fats but only consume ancient and sprouted grains sparingly me. Sweets are my weakness and I avoid sugar while training for a race. I usually tighten my diet 8 weeks from race day. Before becoming a triathlete I ate so much sugar. It was in everything and I didn’t even realize it. I was always a lover of green leafy vegetables though.

N: Describe the training process for a triathlon. How did you prepare–both mentally and physically?
J: Training for a triathlon means training for 3 sports. Additionally, as an athlete over 40 years old, it is vital to incorporate recovery into my schedule. I have 2-3 weekly swim workouts, 2-3 run workouts and 2-3 bike workouts. One of the workout will be either a speed or strength building workout like hill training or interval speed work. Also one of the workout will be endurance-based like a long run (5+ miles), a long bike (20+ miles) or a straight swim (2,000+ yards). I also do yoga twice per week for recovery and weight training twice per week.
During a heavy training load, 10 hours or more a week, I tend to get deep tissue massages. I also have tried alternative recovery techniques to combat inflammation such as cryotherapy and relaxing in an infrared sauna.

“I wear my Nashata Hooda Sports hijab while biking and running. It is thin and lightweight while keeping me dry.”

N: What do you wear for your triathlon event? Do you prepare specific sports gear for each of the activities?
J: I wear what is called a triathlon kit, which is a one-piece outfit with short-sleeves and shorts. The bottom of this kit includes a thin, waterproof pad for additional comfort on the bike. Under the kit, I have leg coolers and Nashata arm coolers. Each piece is designed for air-flow and a cooling effect. These extra pieces also provide coverage for modesty as well. Outside of the water, I put on a skirt for additional modesty while biking and running.
In the water, I wear polarized, prescription goggles. My vision is poor and these goggles are a lifesaver. While they come in clear and smoke lenses, the smoke lenses are my choice because they keep the sun and glare out my eyes when swimming.
I have bike shoes that have cleats on the bottom to connect my feet to my special bicycle pedals. This allows me to apply for force at a faster rate without fear that my feet will fly off of the pedals. My bike helmet is an extremely lightweight, aerodynamic helmet which is designed for speed and performance.
I wear my Nashata Hooda Sports hijab while biking and running. It is thin and lightweight while keeping me dry. The airflow is perfect for me on the bike because I am usually still wet from the swim.

N: We’ve seen you wearing Hooda Sports Hijab in your Instagram posts. Tell us your favourite Nashata wear.
A: Just one? Honestly, I love all of the options that Nashata provides! However I think Hooda is my favorite because of its practicality. It is also lightweight, quick-drying and provides wonderful airflow. These are all things that are vital to making a triathlete comfortable.

“In Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina, you can practice bike skills such as climbing and descending on the bike.”

N: Where would you suggest new triathletes to go for a practice in The United States? Tell us the nicest spots you’ve ever been to.
A: There are so many options for practicing and building your skills in many areas of the United States. In Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina, you can practice bike skills such as climbing and descending on the bike. This is usually a skill that is built with a lot of practice. The locations have long inclines for triathletes to build their climbing endurance. In Florida, there is an immersive swimming technique class for triathletes that can get them ready for open water swim by practicing certain techniques in the pool. Areas like southern Texas, Florida and California are great locations for triathletes in the rest of the country to practice in the very late or early season due to their mild winters. When it’s snowing in December in Missouri, I can swim outdoors in Orlando, Florida.

“I tried to leave every Colombian I met with a good impression of Muslims, Islam and Muslim women in sports.”

N: Have you ever participated a triathlon in a different country? What was it like?
A: December 3rd, I travelled to Cartagena, Colombia to compete in a Half Ironman. The experience was absolutely amazing. Arriving in the country I immediately noticed that people were very curious about me. They took photos of me and requested that I be in photos with them. The children that watched the race were very fascinated with me and called out to me specifically to cheer me on and told me that they loved me and referred to me as “Aunty”. As a Muslim woman competing in hijab in a foreign and predominantly Christian country, I know I am an ambassador for all Muslims whether I want to be or not. It is an honour that I take very seriously and I tried to leave every Colombian I met with a good impression of Muslims, Islam and Muslim women in sports.

N: What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about triathlon?
J: The challenge of triathlon is so great. I enjoy that fact that there are so many facets to the race. You can have an excellent swim and a difficult bike and turn everything around while running. There are people that are good at all three sports or some that find they excel in one particular sport over the other two. Regardless of your level of skill you will never participate in a triathlon and not hear a perfect stranger cheer for you and say encouraging words. When triathletes see someone struggling, that is they cheer for them the loudest. This sport is kind.

N: What is your advice to the new triathletes?
J: Remember that you don’t have to be better than anyone on the course, just be the best version of yourself. Be better than yesterday and keep moving forward.

N: What do you wish for in the future?
J: I would like to work on improving my swim and run times and work on my climbing skills. I believe I can be a better version of myself and look forward to seeing her very soon.

N: We wish you the best of luck in life! Thank you so much for agreeing to do the interview with us. We gained a lot of information from your wonderful experiences.
J: Thank you so much!

Sometimes we are too busy competing with other people that we overlook what’s truly important, to be the best version of ourselves. Be better than yesterday and keep moving forward. Thank you Jeri for the wonderful reminder!