Riding Dirt Bike for Ladies

You would think a biker you see on a trail is a male, but don’t be surprised to see a pretty face beneath the helmet. Girls ride dirt bikes too and petite hijabi Nazura Ramli is one of them.

Nazura  suits up in Nashata yellow Salasa Pants  and takes her yellow bike for a spin behind her backyard.

She is a bike lover and loves to ride since a kid. An owner of a vespa and now, a dirt bike, she and her husband spend their free time during weekends riding dirt bikes with friends. She enjoys dirt biking as it burns a lot of calories, fun, exploratory and challenging. Here are some useful information if you are exploring this extreme sports.

Nazura and friends at Kemensah Trail

Enroll yourself in a Class or find a Teacher

Learn how to ride from a professional. In Klang Valley, you can explore motorcross providers like HoleShotMotorWear in Shah Alam, Most Fun Gym in Sungai Penchala or MotorManiac in Rawang. You can take classes without gears and motorbike – just rent. You will learn balancing, how to control the bike and turning.

ride and Train

Once you know how to ride, you need to train. If you do not have a bike, you can rent the gears and bike for RM250 only. She recommends to consider a provider in Kemensah, Ampang where you can rent and practice for 3 hours with a guide.

As a bike lover, purchasing a bike is a better option. With a budget of about RM7,000, she has all the gears and a used bike suitable for beginners.

  • Gears (Budget RM2,000)
    • Knee protection
    • Hand guard
    • Chest protector
    • Goggles
    • Riding boots
    • Motorcross Helmet

      The couple biker helmets and boots

  • Bike – Typically, a beginner lady rides a smaller cc bike. She chose a used 150cc Kawasaki bike as her first dirt bike.
  • You can wear moisture wicking long sleeves shirt like the Ultra Top I or II, motocross pants or hiking pants and super lightweight headgear / hijab like the Raazglove.
  • Put on your sunblock!

Since she has the gears and a bike, she practices for 2 hours at open dirt area that is close to where she lives. She trains with her husband and friends, so they typically ride in a group of five in Cyberjaya and Bukit Unggul Dengkil track. Falling off the bike is part of the training, and as long as you are geared well, you should be ok, she says. Other than improving balancing and enjoying the trail, she hopes to do wheelie soon.

A friend who falls off the bike

Why Dirt Biking?

Other than the fun and adventure it has to offer, dirt biking also serves as a passage to motorrace and enduro race. Dirt biking is cheaper and safer compared to superbike. Furthermore, you can also ride these bikes on the road.

The adventure awaits you – Kemensah

She checks the bike every two weeks and typically to change the motor oil.

She finds dirt biking is fun in all weather. She has ridden on different tracks, in the rain, windy and hot weather and even when it gets muddy and dirty, it is super fun and super tiring.

She is one Pretty Hijabi Rider.

 

Climbing Mount Kinabalu with Family

No one is too old or too young to climb a mountain. Climbing a mountain can be a good family activity, especially for children. It fosters team-work, patience, agility and persistence.

My family and I climbed Mount Kinabalu for the first time in 2013, comprising my husband and back then, 11 and 13 year old daughters. Mount Kinabalu is Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site, awarded in year 2000. This year, I decided to take my 13 year old son to conquer the mountain. I owed him this adventure as he was left behind in 2013.

Pinnacle Reflection at Mount Kinabalu

It was the monsoon season (Nov – March) and the weather was unpredictable, mostly cloudy and raining in the afternoon. We had a little bit of training, mostly cardiovascular workouts two weeks before the climb. Typically, a party of 5 climbers gets a guide, but after 2015, the park allocates one guide to a party of 3 climbers under 18.  Since my two children were 13 and 16 years old respectively, we got two guides; one main and another for my 13 year old, at no additional charges. Do check with your agent about this before confirm booking. I was not aware of this until I reached Kinabalu Park and I took it as a bonus.

Our Guides Oni (second right) and SabarYunus (far right)

We reached Kinabalu Park at 9 am, where we completed some paperwork, got our tags and packed lunch. The climb from Timpohon Gate at Kinabalu Park to Low’s Peak (4,095 meters above sea level) was 9 km.  We started the climb at 9:30 am and reached Laban Rata (6km) at 3:30 pm. There were 7 shelters along the way, where we stopped to rest and had lunch. It started to rain heavily after 12:30 pm and we had to walk up steep trails of flowing water in raincoats.  We reached Laban Rata, all soaked and wet. However, the waterproof high ankle hiking shoes we had were really helpful to keep our feet dry and warm.

We had a room consisting of 2 double-decker beds. Every climber was given a towel each upon check-in at Laban Rata. There were shared bathrooms for ladies and gents respectively, equipped with solar-powered water heater. So, no sun, no heater *wink*

Buffet dinner was made available from 4:30 pm – 7 pm. We had early dinner and rested after that.  We woke up at 1:30 am and got ready for 3 km climb to Low’s Peak. We had sweat-wicking long sleeves top on, with a light-weight insulated jacket over. Based on my first experience, it was important not to over-dressed. You would be sweaty while climbing and needed to stay light and dry. We brought some water, energy gels, extra gloves, sun block and medical kit along and left the rest in our room.  Warm supper was served at 2 am and by 2:30 am, we started climbing very steep stairs to the summit. It was cold, windy and slippery along the way. I was at awe looking at the clear night skies with stars, shooting star and constellations visibly bright and clear.  Occasionally, I would look up and back to see the skies and the city lighted up from the mountain. It was too beautiful. If you do not have altitude sickness, the walk from 8 km onwards was quite easy. You need to watch-out for icy surfaces and avoid stepping on the rope. Our guide was very helpful to keep the children safe and to move in good pace. We reached Low’s Peak at 5:30 am, just in time for the sunrise and took lovely shots at the summit. The sky was clear and we could see the ocean and Kota Kinabalu city from the summit. The view was surreal.

Low’s Peak Mount Kinabalu

Once the sun was up, I got heated up fast at the peak. If sunny, you may need to start removing unnecessary layer of clothing and put on sunblock and shades. We descended 3 km quickly after and reached Laban Rata for breakfast at 8:30 am. After a short rest, at 10 am, we continued 6 km journey back to Timpohon Gate. It was misty and cloudy and luck was not with us when it started to rain the last 4 km. It was quite challenging to walk downhill in the rain. Even though I took it super slow, I fell down many times, once on my face. My children were fine and moved quickly. We arrived Timpohon Gate at 3:30 pm, picked up the certificates and had lunch at Balsam Restaurant.

Steps from the Peak to Laban Rata

Climbing Mount Kinabalu was gruesome but totally worth it. It was a 9 km walk (9 hours) in total to the peak from Timpohon Gate and 9 km walk (8.5 hours) down – all within 30 hours. My son was happy to be able to experience what he missed 5 years ago.

We had good guides – SabarYunus and Oni (took many pictures of us voluntarily, highly recommended for children, attentive and caring) . We secured our booking through Best Borneo Tours. The budget per person to climb Mount Kinabalu is RM1500/USD400

Many Ice Formation at Mount Kinabalu. Temperature was under zero degrees.

Some Tips

  • Bring drinking water or purchase at Laban Rata. Avoid drinking spring water along the trail or at Laban Rata if you are not used to drinking it. My family and I suffered from bad water poisoning due to this in 2013.
  • Take Diamox a day before the climb if you have altitude sickness (ask your doctor before taking any) . My children took 2; a day before the climb and the day of the climb.
  • Hiking sticks are useful for descend. You can rent for RM10 at Kinabalu Park.
  • Bring knee and ankle guards. They can be useful for descending
  • Energy gels and energy bars to keep you motivated and going
  • Follow the guide’s pace. Avoid stops, just keep moving.
  • Bring water bottles

Descending Mount Kinabalu with a smile. The experience at the peak is priceless.

Shoes

  • Waterproof shoes are necessary if you hike during monsoon season. You may be walking through streams of water for hours and need your feet dry.
  • Bring extra shoes with toe opening or soft on toes to hike down. I descended using my soft running shoes to reduce impact on my toe nails.
  • All weather sweat-wicking socks

Look for water-proof label on shoes.

Soft-fabric shoes for descending

Clothing

  • Sweat-wicking long-sleeves tops. I wore Nashata Raazglove, Azza Toplectic and Ultra Top II and Stirrup Leggings.
  • Wind-breaker or a jacket (Laban Rata to Low’s Peak)
  • Cap or headwear (Laban Rata to Low’s Peak)
  • Face and neck-gaiter (Laban Rata to Low’s Peak)
  • Neck scarves
  • Water-proof gloves. Bring an extra pair

Must bring gears

  • Waterproof bag
  • Headlamp
  • Raincoat
  • Charger – Many power points in hostel, but no wifi.
  • First aid kit

Cold yet Happy Faces

I am grateful for a mission accomplished – all my three kids at age 11 and 13 conquered Mount Kinabalu safely. Climbing Mount Kinabalu is not only about agility and physical endurance, but more importantly – mental strength.

It gets bright and sunny fast after sunrise

I do not think I want to climb Mount Kinabalu again but perhaps some other mountains. If you are thinking of taking your children or teenagers to climb Mount Kinabalu – It is not easy, but Go For It!

“Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.”

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.

3 Things to do at Teluk Bahang, Penang

Did you know that at the end of Batu Feringghi Road is Teluk Bahang? While Batu Feringghi is famous among tourists and party goers, Teluk Bahang is the place for activity & nature-lover.

The existing ones are Escape Penang, Butterfly Farm, Toy Museum, Penang National Park, Teluk Bahang Dam and Penang Batik.

Here’s a sharing on the 3 things you could do at Teluk Bahang :

1. Escape Water Park

My family and I enjoyed our 1st experience at the Escape Adventureland (dry park) in 2016. See previous blog post about it. We decided to try out the Water Park and a night stay at Escape BaseCamp. We got the BASECAMP 2 Day 1 Night Combo for RM158/person (taxes included). This included 2 day passes at Escape and 1 night camp. One day pass was already RM99.20/person (taxes included), so we figured the BASECAMP combo was value for money (You could save even more with much early booking). After all, none of my children had experience camping out before.

We spent both days at the Waterpark because we enjoyed it more. The water adventure was super fun – you could choose the type that suits your adrenaline mood. I was particularly interested with the 10 meter diving platform. It shared the same 5 meter deep pool as the banana flip, therefore each operated an hour in alternate. Both the diving platform and banana flip were super scary and suitable for adventure seeking minds.  With the banana flip, you would go into a transparent human capsule, and when the timer counted down to zero, the floor collapsed and you would free-fall in the tube. Make sure you exit into the water well to avoid injuries.

  • Banana Flip
    Banana Flip
  •  Tubby Rapids and Tubby Tunnel Family Twister
    Tubby Rapids and Tubby Tunnel Family Twister
  • Wave Ball
    Wave Ball
  • Speed Racer
    Speed Racer
  • AK Academy
    AK Academy

I highly recommend the Tubby Rapids and Tubby Tunnel Family Twister. You could see the Teluk Bahang dam from the top of the Tubby. You just glide down in a tube and you get to enjoy the view of Teluk Bahang. If you just want to relax, on the Lazy River. Just get a tube and enjoy sitting in the slow-moving float. If you want mild exercise in the water, try out the Wave Ball. It is a big pool with a giant ball producing waves in it. You can get a float to just relax and enjoy the wave.

5 meter platform diving in Hooda Ellipse Sports Hijab

Speed Racer and Mega Drop were tolerable. My children enjoyed going down the Speed Racer together repeatedly.While,  AK Academy required a lot of patience of super quick moves. I decided to go slow and glided on the side of it to reach the end.

You could perform prayers anytime at a cabin provided. There were many tents by the side you could rest in. The park closed at 6pm and that was when we headed to the BASECAMP, on the grounds of Escape Adventureland. It is right across the waterpark. The Escape park used pincode and finger print system to manage access to the park. So, you get to go in and out of the dry and wet park according to your package.

The Must Haves & Must Wear:

  • Sunblock
  • Water camera
  • Goggles
  • Waterproof pouch/bags for your phone or camera
  • Proper swimwear

2. Camping at BASECAMP, Escape

You could choose your camp area while booking online. Each camp site was suitable for 5 pax  and it consisted of 2 tents with inflatable pillow and mattress, campfire, a tree swing, a toilet with a shower, a line and camp lanterns. The lower numbered campsites were closer to the main entrance of the park. There were about 20 camp sites at BASECAMP so, you wouldn’t be alone throughout the night.

You could also use the main toilets and praying area at Escape if you needed more space. You could barbecue and enjoy the campfire, but we chose to try out local delicacies at Feringghi for dinner.

We slept well that night, no insect bites. The tent had mosquito net covers to keep insects at bay.

  • 2 Tents at Each Campsite
    2 Tents at Each Campsite
  • The Campsite
    The Campsite
  • Brickwall Toilet at each Campsite
    Brickwall Toilet at each Campsite
  • Locker + Charging Station
    Locker + Charging Station
  • 3 fits comfortably in a tent
    3 fits comfortably in a tent
  • Campfire Lantern provided
    Campfire Lantern provided

The Must Haves:

  • Toileteries
  • Small blanket. No mattress is required. You can bring a small pillow if needed.
  • Towels
  • Torch lights
  • Extension board to charge electronic devices. You will get a locker with a power point located in a cabin, 150 meters away from the camp area.
  • Water & snacks
  • Insect repellent

3. Hiking to Pantai Kerachut

Escape opened at 10am and we had two choices how we could spend our morning. The Penang National Park was 2 km away from Escape while the Teluk Bahang Dam was only 500 meters away. The children chose Pantai Kerachut as they wanted to visit the Turtle Hatchery located by Kerachut beach.

Pantai Kerachut was 3km away from the main entrance of Penang National Park. It took us 45 mins walk to reach Kerachut Beach from the national park main entrance. You would hike up a hill, walk over a few streams and in between huge rocks to reach Kerachut. We booked a boat ride back to the park in advanced at the park entrance for RM10/person .

We were not able to see the baby turtles unfortunately. The center failed to operate during its operational hours. A few other tourists waited at the entrance with us from 10am-10:30am, then we decided to head back. I saw a person in the center, but he did not respond to any of our calls at all. So do call them and check before you go. The hours you see at the center was not realiable

  • As we passed the main entrance
    As we passed the main entrance
  • Many other sites you could go to
    Many other sites you could go to
  • Streams along the way
    Streams along the way
  • The first thing you see as you reach Kerachut
    The first thing you see as you reach Kerachut
  • Meromictic Lake : Salt water below and fresh water on top
    Meromictic Lake : Salt water below and fresh water on top
  • Non-reliable operating hours
    Non-reliable operating hours
  • Turtle Hatchery Area
    Turtle Hatchery Area
  • The jetty by Penang National Park
    The jetty by Penang National Park
  • Turtle Conservation Center
    Turtle Conservation Center
  • Clean beach but not for good for swim. Jelly fishes visible.
    Clean beach but not for good for swim. Jelly fishes visible.

The Must Haves and Must Wear:

  • Money for boat ride (if you wish to take a boat ride  back)
  • Water
  • Snacks / Fruits
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun block

We took a boat ride back and the guide showed us many interesting rocks along the way. We passed by the Monkey Beach and reached the jetty. We had brunch at a Malay store, closest to the entrance. They served delicious roti bom and keutiaw goreng. I gained 2 kg when I checked the next day, but it was totally worth it!  We continued our day at the Escape Waterpark – more diving and fun in the water.

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!

Preparing for Gua Tempurung Adventure

Spending four hours at the historical and majestic Gua Tempurung in Gopeng gives you a fresh perspective of adventure. You get to climb, crawl, wade in a river and admire captivating artistic formations on the walls.

Wear bright colors and reflectors for caving

How much time do you need to explore Gua Tempurung? It ranges from 40 mins to 4 hours depending on the tour you choose. There are 4 types of tour; Golden Flowstone (to the Platform #3), Top of the World (until Platform #5), Top of the World & Short River Adventure, and the Grad Tour. The price for an adult ranges from RM6 – RM22. Malaysians get to enjoy discounted prices with myKad.  No advanced booking is required. The tours start at 9am till 4pm, but if you are planning for Tour 3 or Tour 4, be there before 11am.  Details about the tours can be found  here and  Gua Tempurung Outdoor Camp. Last year, they were closed for a few months for renovation so do call their office or check their info/social sites to get updates of their operating  hours.

My sharing is based on my experiences at Tour 3.

Essentials to bring

  • Headlamps  (must bring as it is pitch dark in the cave)
  • Gloves with grip for Tour 3 & 4 (useful when you crawl in the river)
  • Knee pads (you need to crawl in a river with gravels underneath)
  • Waterproof bag
  • Waterproof camera
  • Extra clothes and slippers/shoes to change to after the Tour

You do not need to bring helmets as they are provided.

  • The Stairs and Climb at Gua Tempurrung
  • Before you reach Platform 3 : Golden Flowstone
  • Sunglasses at Platform 4 - the Wind Tunnel
  • Low ceiling upon reaching Platform 5 - Top of the World
  • Beautiful canopy from Platform 5 - Top of the World

 

What to wear

  • Water-friendly clothing for Tour 3 & 4 cause you will get wet. Long sleeves are good to avoid being grazed by sharp edges.
  • Sports shoes for Tour 1 and 2, but if you are planning for Tour 3 &4, wear rubber shoes or aqua shoes with good grip.
  • Long pants are better for Tour 3 and 4 if you want to avoid grazed by the sharp edges and stones. You’d be sliding down a 9 meter cliff.

Tips:

  • Use lockers to keep your car keys and important belongings. You cannot rely on waterproof bags. Water can leak into the bag and can damage electronic devices
  • There is a toilet and shower area at the entrance. You need to pay 50 sen and RM1 respectively.
  • Tours are managed in groups and you will be assigned to a guide
  • You don’t need to bring too many things with you.
  • Bring water or snacks if you need
  • If you are bringing young children, they will enjoy the adventure in the dark.

What to expect

A canopy of beautiful arts

  • Dried-up Spring at Platform 4, Wind Tunnel
  • Snoopy on the wall, among others
  • Watch out for extra eyes watching you
  • Crystal-shining surfaces at Platform 2
  • Tools from the old mining days in Perak at Platform 2
  • On wet days, water from Spring water flows down the rocks at Platform 3
  • Spring pathway Gua Tempurung
  • The path to the river is through this hole

 

Crawling in a river of cool water.

  • Aqua shoes are useful
  • Keep headlamps out of water
  • Low ceiling of stalactites throughout
  • Nashata Luke Top suitable for wet activities
  • Water flows down through these stalactites into the river

 

 

My family and I enjoyed the adventure and would definitely go again. Afterall, it is only a half day affordable yet captivating adventure. I loved the fact that I could bask on the rocks, with water flowing on my back, and I didn’t have to put on the sunblock. The water was super clean and the rocks were non-slippery. Cave tourism must expand further!

Wear It Pink October


I started running pink early October wherever I go.

In this essential month of October, we have launched programmes to spread awareness in conjunction of Pink October Breast Cancer Awareness. Our main highlights was to promote self-defense among ladies. On the 21st. October we held a free Kickboxing class for our customers at the Hammerfist Fight Club to promote health awareness on breast cancer. To pay respect for the breast cancer survivors, we showed support and care by wearing pink on that day. We limited the number of participants to 20 people as the fight studio isn’t that big. Many people showed up more than we expected and most importantly, they were all in pink! Frankly, we could not not help feeling a little bit moved to see how dedicated the supporters were that day. Kudos to people who care!

Here are some pictures of our participants showing their pink spirit.

Sisters standing up for each other. We gotcha’ back sis!



Having fun learning self defense with our trainer, Benny.


Give up or give it all you’ve got! We chose the latter.

Here are some short clips of us giving our best in spite of zero experience in kickboxing.

We highlighted our pink coloured products and encouraged our customers to share their post on instagram wearing pink to show support through social media.

Amin Sports Hijab in fuschia. Riada Nahl in pink.
Tron 2 Ultra Top streaked in hot pink.
Our dear customer, Azzie Mohd showed support wearing full Nashata items in pink.

Until the end of the month, even our founder, Eliza Noordin portrayed endless support by wearing pink Heather Floral Top during participating a marathon in Jakarta.

In a nutshell, though October has come to an end, Pink October spirit will always live in our hearts. Hats off to the breast cancer survivors! Our thoughts and prayers will always be with you heroes.

Weight Loss – Muscles vs Fat Mass

If you are trying to lose weight and you are not sure about what to exercise for, cardio or muscles, then this video is for you.
This quick video will help you determine how much cardio and how much strength training your body needs according to your body type. It gives a quick insight into what you should do to help your body with the weight loss process.

Good luck,
Nura

The Must-Do in Penang – Hill Climb & Escape

Other than the good food in Penang, you may have heard about Batu Ferringhi and Georgetown – the world heritage city. But there are more fun things to do in Penang and here are the two things my family & I enjoyed recently in Penang :

1. Penang Hill Climb (3.5 hour)
From the Moon Gate at Botanical Garden, we took the trail on the left. So up we went on that trail through many many steep steps called the 1500 Steps. After about 45 mins of climbing, we reached Station 46. There were more than 20 hikers at that station, some weight lifting, a couple serving tea from the kettle and a group enjoying freshly-cut watermelons. It was an interesting sight. We went up further, not knowing how far we had to walk and it felt endless.

1500 Steps to Station 46

1500 Steps to Station 46

The view of Penang City on the way to Station 46

The view of Penang City on the way to Station 46

After Station 46, we saw many unique nature artifacts, but we didn’t take pictures as we were pressing for time. We passed by a big rock, little creeks and then up and down hill till we met the tarmac road, supposedly Station 84. Due to time limitation, we descended on that road till we reach the Botanical garden. You’d need at least 5 hours to climb up down the Penang Hill. We started climbing close to 3 pm and wanted to be back before it gets dark. Note : Beware of monkeys. They would come close to you to snatch your food and drinks. Bring a walking stick to be safe. You can find out more about how to climb to the top here.

Huge Rock!

Huge Rock!

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And we bumped into these little creeks

Going down on a tarmac road is not necessary easier

Going down on a tarmac road is not necessary easier

2. Escape Penang (6 hours)
If  you find Legoland and Universal Studio not as exciting anymore, or if you want to experience something adventurous & thrilling, yet safe, go to the Escape Penang. Book your tickets online and you will go through a seamless experience checking into the park. It operates everyday, 9am – 6pm except Mondays and the tickets are priced from zero to RM83. It is located  at Teluk Bahang, which is further up the road to Batu Feringghi. Bring along hand gloves because you’d definitely need them. Clean, beautiful, well-managed and safe, my family and I enjoyed every moment at the park. You need to be more than 1.2 meters tall and weigh at least 40 kg to enjoy the monkey business and flying fox. There is a good balance of activities for kids and adults so everyone has got something exciting to do. They offer a good selection of food,  sizable shower area and praying rooms all under grass-lined rooftops.

Flying Fox / Flying Lemur Escape Penang

Flying Fox / Flying Lemur from a very very tall tower

Different types of challenge & levels

Monkey Business : Different types of challenge & levels from 1-3

Monkey Business at Level 3 in a full body safety harness

Moi – Monkey Business at Level 3 in a full body safety harness

The fun park that blends into nature

The modern park that blends into nature

A family of Ayam Gajah

A family of Ayam Gajah / Elephant Chicken

The 5 of us went down the Tubby Racer together

The 5 of us went down the Tubby Racer together

I’d love to go back again! Perhaps when their waterpark is ready. Oh ya ladies, it is good to wear tights and short tops as you’d be wearing full body safety harness and you’d be floating in the air with people from below looking up. For activities like the monkey business and flying lemur, it is good to tuck in your hijab or simply wear the hooda sports hijab.

The toughest race (so far)

I don’t usually start my blog post with an appreciation speech, but a 50km ultramarathon trail is an important milestone in my running career. I would not have been able to do it without my family and friends who have always believed in me, Nashata.com for assisting from registration to accommodation and everything in between, my running family Kyserun Krew for their weekly training, LSDs, trail running, and Gunung Nuang hiking, my other running family Naked Spirit Runners for their encouragement, and my Fuelfam Fuel Athletics for making every rep count. I dedicate this medal to all of you.

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As soon as I watched Cameron Ultra-Trail’s official promotion video, I knew I had to do it. I can feel it in my guts that 50km is the distance that I should sign up, despite the crazy 2240m of elevation and little voices in my head doubting my capabilities. I had 6 months to train, and it has been 8 months since my first 50km ultramarathon (road condition). I did not have much time, and the elevation that I will face in this race is no easy feat. I set to work immediately within the limited time that I had. Trail running and strength training became a regular part of my routine, and as the race day approaches I hiked to the peak of Gunung Nuang twice.

slide2 slide1Never underestimate the importance of studying a route with its checkpoints, especially for a long distance race.

With other 50km runners

With other 50km runners

Finally, it was Race Day. I can tell that the race director and his team have put in a lot of effort while planning the route so runners will get the biggest bang for their buck – after every tough segment of the race, runners will be rewarded with a magnificient view or a very pleasant downhill. Checkpoints were also strategically placed with enough food and drinks. My biggest regret was not utilizing the special bag drop facility (the crew will bring your bag from the starting point to CP4) to stash an extra pair of road running shoes, because CP4 (at 18km to 42km) we will be running around the Boh Tea Plantation on gravel and road. Unfortunately, I packed another pair of trail shoes so they weren’t very helpful to be utilized on road conditions.

We were transported into another world when hiking to the highest peak of the route - Peak Berembun

We were transported into another world when hiking to the highest peak of the route – Peak Berembun

The first cut off point - Robinson Falls

The first cut off point at 12.3km- Robinson Falls

Personally, I found the Boh Tea Plantation was the hardest segment of the race. It wasn’t very hot however because Cameron Highland’s high altitude, I felt as if the sun was shining right above my head. Sipping on isotonic drinks were really helpful to prevent cramps and the dizzy spells. After 34km, reality hit me hard. I could not run anymore despite refueling with solid food. I was mentally exhausted. Even the sight of the vast green tea plants and the fragrant smell of freshly plucked leaves were unable to uplift my spirits. I gathered whatever that is left inside of me and dragged myself to the next checkpoint to head out of the tea plantation. After heading out of the tea plantation, there was only 8km left and that cheered me again because the finishing line feels a lot closer now. I completed 50km in about 14 hours 18 minutes (unofficial timing) in one piece.

Boh Tea Plantation - we spent about 27km going up and down, and in loops

Boh Tea Plantation – we spent about 27km going up and down, and in loops

"Oh my god what am I doing"

“I am ok I am ok I am ok”

Ultramarathon brings out the best and the worst in everyone. Due to it’s extreme distance and long hours, it digs up emotions that I never knew could exist. Never before I have felt the highest high and the lowest low that I could possibly feel in one day. It also brings out physical pain on muscles that I never knew in my body. Yet, it gave me an indescribable satisfaction that could not be attained through other distances. Despite all of the hardship, preparation, and emotional toll, I could not find a single reason to stop participating in another ultramarathon. Eventually, I hope to make 50km a regular distance in my running calendar.

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Until next week,

The Weekend Runner