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:

Standard Charted KL Marathon 2018 : Road Closure Info

Are you ready for the biggest running event in Malaysia? Make sure you have the information you need to get to the race village in time. Take note of the road closures on the 6-8th April 2018

Standard Charted KL Marathon 2018 Road Closure

Standard  Charted KL Marathon 2018 Road Closure

Standard Charted KL Marathon 2018 Road Closure

Have a great race this weekend!

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! 🙂

Running at the 6th Malaysia Women Marathon

Ladies ran in tutus, colorful attires and all sorts of gears. But it’s not just the ladies, the male pacers ran in tutus too at the Malaysia Women Marathon (MWM). That was how supportive the men are!  Indeed there were more men at the recent MWM. After all, 18% and 26% of the finishers at the Half Marathon and Full Marathon respectively were men.

Ran the Full Marathon in this new design – a swimwear

Runners in Tutu

The categories at the MWM were the 5 km, 10 km, 21 km and 42 km. Ladies came to the run for fun and sisterhood. Many took advantage of the event to catch up with girl friends the healthy way. That was why, the 5 km category is the most popular, with more than 2,300 registered runners, followed by 1,700 runners for 10 km. I participated in the least famous category – the full marathon with 250 registered runners (including male pacers). 166 ran that morning and only 61 runners finished, and 74% of the finishers were ladies. Many were not able to finish their run, not because they were not able to finish within the cut off time, but was stopped at many points due to safety reasons. I was one of the unfortunate ones.

Info from MWM Organiser

The route

The route for 10 km, 21 km and 42 km were the same, only that the later two required more rounds. It was a loop of 10 km. Sounds pretty simple, but many didn’t know the 10 km route consisted of many inclines, one after another. That’s quite a challenge to offer to lady runners, but they braved through the ‘obstacles’ anyways.

Since all runners except the 5 km category shared the same route, we bumped into each other a lot. I was tired after 7 am after 3 hours of running and just watched the 10 km runners speeding away. As I went through the hills for the 3rd round, my legs were already in pain and looking at hills ahead was not encouraging. What came through my mind was crazy. I never hated running till that day. I felt my wimpy legs were back and that running was not for me. It was my worst run. I always enjoyed the races I participated in. The pain and hardship were expected, but this time, it was different. Going through hills one after another in 4 loops just killed my motivation. I was determined to finish the run anyways and reserved my energy to go through the hill for the last loop. When I reached the 3rd checkpoint, they stopped me although it was just 4 hr 30 mins only. The volunteers claimed it was not safe to run and that I could run at my own risk as they were not able to control the traffic. True – I saw no traffic policemen at all! I ran back to the finish line feeling devastated.

Moreover, the motorists need to be considerate and thoughtful in having some tolerance in supporting public sports event. We witnessed roudy behaviour of motorists wanting traffic to move at roundabout junction and honked incessantly. When the runners tried to explained, the drivers lashed out with bad words. Some motorists stopped and moved the cones so they could move. This shouldn’t have happened in a civil society.

3/4 of the Elevation for Full Marathon

I arrived at the Race Village looking at happy faces taking loads of pictures at Dataran Kemerdekaan Shah Alam. Everybody loved the medal! Congrats to all running sisters, looking pretty and sweaty always!

I had friends who finished the full marathon at previous MWM and said would run back again, but only for 5 km. Now, I understood why. The marathon was suited for elite runners. Three days after the run, only the 61 finisher names were listed on the race result page. I did not expect an e-cert from this race, but it was as if I didn’t even run.

Faces of Happy Finishers

The half marathon Finishers!

The half marathon finishers

We will finish our next Full Marathon, insyaAllah. More training required!

Supposed to be Nahsuhah's 13th Full Marathon, but unable to complete.

Supposed to be Nahsuhah’s 13th Full Marathon, but unable to complete.

Finishers get a bouquet of white orchids

Ever Supportive Running Ladies

What I like about this year’s run?

  • Plenty safety cones
  • Amazingly supportive and cheerful volunteers. They cheered for runners along the way, non-stop.
  • Many and supportive pacers. Amazing!
  • RELA volunteers worked hard managing the traffic at roundabouts and junctions
  • Many water stations
  • Route was shady
  • Lovely finisher items
  • Glamorous and colorful

Some key learning :

  • Physically go through the route prior to the race
  • Run long distance races at major running events
  • More hill training, more training
  • It is about the experience. Choose the one that pushes you forward

I ran in Nashata new swimwear design. Yes, a swimwear – i just felt like running in it that day! Till we run again! Woman Up! #pressforprogress

Note : Pictures are from MWM organiser, running sisters and Super Sergio

World WOW Race Series – New challenges for you every month

Keep yourself motivated and rewarded every month when you join the Women of Wellness (WOW) Virtual Race Series. The ultimate race is in October 2018. Be a part of a new race, new challenges every month! Live while racing. Be a part of the active lady community.

WORLD WOW RACE

WORLD WOW RACE

The March Race
The race kicks off in March with Cycle and Run challenges. You would need to cycle 15 km and run 15 km, in total, during the month of March 2018. You can cycle or run anywhere, in any sequence and anytime during the race period (1st-31 March)  Submit your results to instagram account WOWRace or wowrace@nashata.com by 8th April 2018.

How can you join the March Series?
Just register (1-15 March 2018) and pay for the run.

Who can join the race?
As long as you are a girl or a woman, you can join the race. Open to all nationalities. 

What do you get?

  • Nudges and updates from WOW Race team & community at WOWRace instagram account
  • Finisher gets Nashata Raazniq WOW Race Series worth RM49/SGD16.50/USD15.50. It is free size.
  • Finisher gets 20% discount for the next WOW Race
  • Finisher kit will be sent to you within two weeks after the running period is over. Free shipping worldwide!
  • Top 3 racers with most combined mileages will get special reward worth RM300 from Nashata.

Finisher gets the – World Wow Race Raazniq

WOW Run is an annual running event started by Mudzalifah Anuar in 2014.  It was initially known as the World 1st Muslimah Run and has evolved into women run and now race series as an effort to promote active lifestyle. Mudzalifah is a fitness coach, a triathlete and an inspiring friend to many ladies. She designs the current and upcoming races for the World WOW Race Series until the month of September. The series will end with the WOW Run on the 8th October.  BE FIT BE YOU and join the community of active ladies and let’s inspire and keep reminding one another!

The founder of WOW Run – Mudzalifah

Meet the Pacers for the 10th Standard Charted KL Marathon

Someone at the media session asked me – What is a pacer? Why pacer is important for a marathon? A pacer at a marathon helps runners to finish within desired times. Typically, there are pacers for the full and half marathon. They not only run together with runners with the timing balloons or identifiers, but also motivate runners throughout these long runs. They bring runners back to finishing line.

The 5 lady pacers

Standard Charted KL Marathon (SCKLM) celebrates its 10th Anniversary with 38,000 runners who filled up the spots within 10 hours after registration opened. Yes the slots sell like hot cakes as SCKLM is the most popular and biggest running event in Malaysia, with 10,000 registered runners for full marathon and 11,000 half marathon.

What is your reason?

SCKLM started having pacers in 2010 with 14 pacers, and some of them continue to pace till today. Two of them are Malcalm Chew and Kelvin Ng, with the later keep coming back to pace as a way to contribute to the development of running in Malaysia.

This year, there are 5 lady pacers among the 29 Official Pacers.  One of them is Tini and she is well-known for her speed and wittiness. Everybody runs for a reason and as for the first time half marathon pacer, Munitaran Sundramtakes, being a pacer is his way to give back to the community.

The seasoned and new Pacers with their coordinator

SCKLM 2018 will be held at the Dataran Merdeka on the 8th April. So runners, have a target, train diligently, know and follow your pacer at the run! The pacers are ready, are you?

Follow the Pacer

The SCKLM is organised by Dirigo Events and SCKLM has not only gather runners from all over Malaysia but also over 70 countries.

Gloria Ng from Dirigo Events has been running SCKLM for many years. Kudos to her and team!

 

 

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?