Bad hair and skin habits that active hijabis should avoid

This is a special post, dedicated to all my active ladies yet still dress modestly doing all sorts of activity that they enjoy. We need to take special care of our hair and skin, even though it is not exposed to pollutants, dirt, and UV rays. However, all of these key points relates to cleanliness, and it is applicable to non-hijabis as well. After all, cleanliness is next to Godliness – something that everyone should strive for.

Are you guilty of doing these while or after working out?

1.Wearing make upwashing-face-skin-shower-1

Why is this a bad habit?

  • Make up hinders your skin from breathing properly while working out.
  • Make up and sweat is a bad combination as this will clog the pores, leading to break outs and acnes.
  • Side note: melting make up that runs down your face when you are sweating isn’t very pleasant to look at either.

2. Wearing your gym clothes all day after working outP1020670

Why is this a bad habit?

  • The most simple and direct answer: cleanliness.
  • The damp and sweaty surface of your work out clothes is a breeding ground for bacteria, plus the combination from the natural oils on your skin that is secreted out while working out will lead to body odour.
  • Although Nashata’s hijabs are light, breatheable, and evaporates sweat faster than normal hijabs, it is adviseable to change after you’re done working out.

3. Leaving your hair damp after showering

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Why is this a bad habit?

  • Just like point no. 2 above, damp areas will become a breeding ground for bacteria, and this creates an unpleasant odour.
  • Covering your damp hair will affect your scalp, leading to problems such as dandruff, itchy and oily scalp. In the long run, hair becomes brittle and will easily fall off.

4. Touching your face without clean hands

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Why is this a bad habit?

  • Some surfaces might not be as clean as it appears to be, such as railings and even our phones. Imagine touching that sweaty bench at the gym with your hands then putting it on your face!
  • The bacteria and germs on your hands will transfer to your face, and this can also trigger acne and break outs

5. Dehydration

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Why is this a bad habit?

  • Water is lost through sweat and heat while working out.
  • Not drinking enough water after working out will leave the skin and lips dry, leading to a very dull and tired skin appearance.
  • Exposure to UV rays and indoor gyms with air conditioning will dry out the skin. After washing your face, do not forget to moisturize.

All pictures are courtesy of google images.

City Spin & Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2017

Diversity is beautiful – everyone is unique, yet we should celebrate the difference. Due to it’s immense popularity, history, and significance, SCKLM 2017 is one of the highlights for most runners. Never have I ever seen a running event which brings thousands of people from various background, fitness level, and goals! The beauty of diversity among runners was highlighted and deeply appreciated both before and during the event.

Before The Big Day

My running group, Kyserun Krew, organized a friendly, fun run called City Spin 2017. It was a short 4.5K run around KLCC and Jalan Ampang, giving runners a quick tour of KL and what to anticipate for tomorrow’s event. Everyone had a good time, taking photos of the iconic buildings and landmarks in the city. Thankfully, the morning rain was starting to subside so the weather was good too!

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Besides shaking out the butterflies in your stomach before the big day and to stretch out those legs, the main aim of this event was to gather various running crews through out Malaysia, as well as welcome those who came from abroad such as Indonesia, Korea, and other countries. After all, what better way to break the ice among runners other than to run? Every running crew might have different principles and culture, yet united by the same, common love for running.

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All photo credit belongs to Syahiran of Kyserun Krew. Thank you!

On the Big Day

At 4 in the morning, I found myself catching the train among a sea of blue sleeveless tops. I was glad that I will be able to arrive early and not worry about parking at the event venue. On the train, I can hear different conversations; some were really serious yet confident, discussing about their strategies and training for the past few months, while others were nervous, excited, or sleepy. Yet, everyone had a single goal in mind: To complete SCKLM, in whatever distance that they chose.

Never have I ever seen so many runners congregate in a single location, except at SCKLM events! Besides runners, the crowd was overwhelming; the streets were packed with not only runners, but supporters, curious on-lookers, and security enforcers too. SCKLM has turned into an event that should be celebrated and inclusive to everyone. To overcome the massive crowd, take advantage of the facilities that the organizer have provided for this event, such as the free train service (my favorite part of the event), bag drop (pack everything that you need, it’s going to be a loooong day), and freebies from the sponsors. Most importantly, come early and prepared, at least 45 mins before your starting to time so you are not rushed to go to the bag drop counter, do your pre-race rituals, and get into the correct starting pen.

Year after year, SCKLM has been a good and memorable experience for me. What I love most about it was not the route or the medal, but the high spirit and energy through out the event. Every runner will feel like a winner! Without a doubt, I will definitely be back again for more next year.

A familiar face that requires no introduction

A familiar face that requires no introduction

One with my Krew!

One with my Krew!

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Thanks to Nashata’s Iman Hijab range, you can now match your hijab with your bib number too!

Read about last year’s SCKLM 2016 experience here

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner

5 reasons why you should join a trail run

After a few months taking some time off from running and exploring a new interest in crossfit, I am now back with a more consistent running schedule! Lately I’ve been more interested with trail running, and the most recent trail run that I participated was King of Kampung Kemensah in the 18km category. I had a good time running off-road, and here are 5 reasons why you participate in a trail run too:

IMG_9059My hijab is as cheerful as the race day vibes. It feels good to be back!

1)Less participants, less bottleneck and congestion

  • To avoid over-crowding the single lanes in the trail, organizers usually limit participants to less than 1000 in total
  • Parking is easy, because there are less cars too
  • Due to the small number of participants, it is easier for organizers to manage the welfare of participants, which means there is always an abundance of food!

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2)Running is more challenging

  • There are various terrains that you can expect, such as muddy, sandy, or rocky. It takes time to get used to balancing and running on uneven surfaces.
  • It is more humid in the forest. This will also attract bugs such as mosquitoes and leaches.
  • Cuts and bruises are all part of the trail run package. Just think of them as souvenirs and battle scars from the event, embrace them and be proud of them!

3)It takes you to beautiful places

  • Such as this:IMG_4112 2
  • And this:IMG_9049
  • But if this view does not convince you to join a trail run, I don’t know what will:IMG_7835

4)You will appreciate nature

  • You will never take clean air for granted again
  • Take notice of the interesting leaves, foliage, and bugs surrounding you. Everything is beautiful in their own way!
  • Sometimes you just have to accept whatever Mother Nature throws at you. The weather can be unpredictable – it’s better to be over-prepared with the right equipment.
  • Most organizers are now implementing BYOB – Bring Your Own Bottle. Trails are cleaner thanks to this new rule, and I fully support this move.

5)You will learn to respect the distance

  • Running 21km on the road is not the same as 21km in the trails. Therefore, trail running requires a different training strategy than road races.
  • Elevation is always a part of trail running. Get used to running uphill, climbing the stairs, and strengthening your quads and glutes.

My first CrossFit Open Games 2017 Experience

Last Saturday I unleashed my inner beast mode and did my very first CrossFit Open Games even though I have not registered for it. It was crazy brutal – I have been doing CrossFit for almost 8 months, yet this was the first time I was unable to finish a WOD (Work out of the Day). I knew this was something I had to do every week. So without much hesitation, I immediately signed up, paid the US$10 fees, and uploaded my score to https://games.crossfit.com.

What is CrossFit Open Games?

A typical CrossFit class will consist of 3 components: Warm Up, Strength/Technique, and Workout of the Day or WOD (this is the highlight of every class). Usually, it is up to the coach to determine what WOD will it be. But for CrossFit games, a WOD will be announced via the CrossFit Games website. The WOD announced must be completed within Friday until Monday, 5pm Pacific Time. Then, participants will upload their scores on the website and their coaches will verify as judges. The best part is anyone can participate! If they could not do the Rx (more advanced techniques and heavier weights), then they can do the Scaled version, which was what I did. Everyone is encouraged to do to the best of their abilities.

I can't do a pull up. I can't do double unders...and the list goes on. But I registered anyways.

I can’t do a pull up. I can’t do double unders…and the list goes on. But I registered anyways. *all photo credits in this post goes to Fuelprime Crossfit

Why did I do it?
1. I have always been curious about how do I fare against other athletes. Based on the scores that I have to submit weekly, I know where I stand.
2. Running all the time can be boring and mundane. Yet, I needed an outlet to feel competitive, so I turned to CrossFit Games.
3. Peer pressure – Thanks to my CrossFit gym buddies, I wanted to be a part of the hype too!

What was the WOD that I had to complete?

WOD 17.1

WOD 17.1

This WOD is capped at 20 minutes. For female (scaled), I used a 10kg dumbbell, 20-inch box and I could step up on the box instead of jumping.

How did I fare in the end?

My score. I could not complete the last 15 step up over box burpees.

My score. I could not complete the last 15 step up over box burpees.

My ranking on the Leaderboard

My ranking on the Leaderboard

I rank 27 out of 50 for Female Malaysian athletes in the scaled category as of 8.44pm, Malaysian time. I am sure more scores are being uploaded and verified as we are speaking.
Conclusion: I love how this CrossFit Open Games is inclusive, regardless of their level of experience. Everyone is encouraged to try and submit their scores. I’ve seen videos of 85 year old grandmothers doing dumbbell snatches and a one-legged amputee doing box jumps. So no more excuses! I am nervous yet excited for next week’s WOD!

These crazy people made me do it!

These crazy people made me do it!

Hiking essentials

I run and work out more often than I hike, hence, I have never called myself as a “hiker”. Occasionally, I do enjoy being disconnected and off the grid for a few hours, and I find that Gunung Nuang is one of my favourite places to “escape” (it feels like a quick holiday!). As beginner, I learnt the hard way about some of the items that you must have. Based on my limited knowledge, I think that this list is very basic, yet I am still finding a balance between packing light and being prepared. Let me know what you think, and I’ll add on more to the list!

Disclaimer: This list is only suitable for day trips, not for overnight stays.

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Until next week,

The Weekender Runner and Newbie Hiker.

 

Travelling essentials

Scratching your head over packing for traveling? This post is for you!

Scratching your head over packing for travelling? This post is for you!

Besides working out, I wear my activewear from Nashata to almost everywhere – while running errands, buying groceries, lounging at home, and most importantly, while travelling. They are practical, modest, functional, and you have to admit, with their flattering cut I feel good wearing most of Nashata’s outfit. Almost all of Nashata’s range of products make good travelling outfits, but after experimenting a few pieces on short and long haul flights for vacations of various purposes, I have short-listed 4 of my favourite that I simply cannot leave home without:

  1. Riada SweatpantsSlide1

  2. Sibaha Modest SwimsuitSlide2

  3. Heather HoodieSlide3

  4. BackpackSlide4

I hope that this will be helpful for ladies who are always on-the-go and wants to find practical solutions for their holiday outfits. Do you have any favourite products from Nashata that you just cannot live without?

 

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner

 

 

Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

A few weeks ago, we were fortunate to have Jason Robinson during our regular Tuesday night runs with Kyserun Krew. Jason Robinson from Mont Kiara Running Club (MKRC) is a well-known ultra running figure in the local community who won 1st place in TMMT 2016 100km and 4th place in TMBT 2016 100km. He shared his experience and a few training tips, stating that his regular training grounds are Kiara Park Trail and occasionally Gunung Nuang.

Last Sunday, just like most running Sundays, I was excited to participate in an event called Conquer the Trails @ Kiara Trail Run 2017. With Jason Robinson’s tips still fresh in my mind, I was excited to run through the same training grounds as an ultramarathoner! I was unable to verify if this was the same route taken by MKRC, but while running they looked pretty confident and they know where they are going so I guess they are familiar with this route. The total elevation gained with the 13km course was around 530 – 550m (depending on your GPS watch), so if you are training for an ultramarathon, repeat the loop several times so get enough mileage and total elevation gained.

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Never too bright or pink for the trails

Never too bright or pink for the trails. A little bit too optimistic for what lies ahead I guess?

And as for me, I have only ran on the road portion of this park during my Tuesday night runs or on weekends. The trails, on the other hand, is a total uncharted territory for me. Elevation is no stranger in any trail run, however, this time I allowed it to get the best of me. I had to stop in the middle of my climb to catch my breath – a sign that I need to work on my endurance and stamina again. I admit that since this is the first trail run of the year, I have not set foot in any trails for quite some time. I forgot how it felt to be agile yet nimble while running in the trail – my feet were clumsy and my movements were too calculative. All of these cost precious time, so it took me 3 hours 31 minutes to complete the route, with a sinking feeling that I knew I could do better.

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Not my best race but I'll be back!

Not my best race but I’ll be back!

This trail run serves as a hard reminder that I need to train more off-road to build again the skills, stamina, and endurance that was lost during my off-season for the past few months. It looks like I have some serious catching-up to do, so expect more trail runs for the next few months!

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner

I love this BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) concept at any trail run. Look at how clean this water station is!

I love this BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) concept at any trail run. Look at how clean this water station is!

Run. Eat. Repeat!

If there’s anything that I love more than running or working out is food. Combine those 2 things together, you get a marathon that is worth repeating year after year! Twincity Marathon is unique because it is a big-scaled running event that has an abundance of food (the only event that I have experienced lots and lots of food are ultramarathons because there are not many participants). On top of that, it also provides prayer facilities at several water stations that is well-planned for both fast and slow runners.

Our big family of runners and pacers

Our big family of runners and pacers

I decided to participate again in this year’s half marathon category. Last year, I went as a “ghost” runner in the same category (run without a bib, no medal at the finishing line waiting for you, and pray you don’t get caught!) so I did not have the privilege and luxury of time to enjoy the generous spread of food at several water stations. However, I still had a great experience so it was worth paying and registering instead of participating as a “ghost” again.

Me after crossing the finishing line last year. Run at your own risk, "ghost" runners

Me after crossing the finishing line last year. Run at your own risk, “ghost” runners.

Except for the inconveniences during the bib collection (the Men’s 21km bib were not ready on time), Twincity Marathon was certainly an event not to be missed. Besides the food and the thoughtful prayer facilities, it is also a relatively flat route with minimal elevation. It would have been a great opportunity for me to set another PB, however I admit I did not train enough prior to this event but mainly, I was distracted by so much food. Blame it on my short attention span!

Do you expect me to choose between running and eating?

Do you expect me to choose between running and nasi lemak?

Can you make mine with those swirly leafs on top with extra foam?

Can you make mine with those swirly leafs on top with extra foam?

After all of that good food, you need dessert at the end to top it all off

After all of that good food, you need dessert at the end to top it all off. This is Malaysian ice cream by the way, with frozen pink syrup and condensed milk.

Even more food at the finishing line! Wait, there was a finishing line? I forgot that this was a running event, not a feast

Even more food at the finishing line! Wait, there was a finishing line? I forgot that this was a running event, not a feast

For once, I was not really disappointed about not hitting any PB or target. I might have not been able to perform my best for that day, but I still had a good time because I really enjoyed myself. I would do this run all over again next year, and I hope that the organizers keep up the fun vibe for this event!

Too much sugar and ice cream, girls?

Too much sugar and ice cream, girls?

A familiar face that requires no introduction. So glad to be seeing you back in running events, buddy!

A familiar face that requires no introduction. So glad to be seeing you back in running events, buddy!

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.

“Jaguh kampung”*

*for my non-Malaysian readers, “jaguh kampung” can be loosely translated as a homeground winner

When was the last time you get to know your own community? Some prefer to mingle through volunteering, such as through recycling programmes or “gotong royong”. Others like to invite their neighbours over during festivities. For me, I like to get to know my community doing what I love the most: running. Last Sunday I decided to join a 10K run around my neighbourhood in a small-scale event. What better way to know my neighbours than to run with them? There was no fancy sponsors and organizers – it was supported by the Residence Association and the local city council (MBSA), with prizes and goodies mostly contributed by neighbourhood shops and local businesses.

As it was a simple event, there were not many participants. From my rough estimation, there were less than 100 women for all categories: 10km, 7km, and 3km. There were also 3 Kenyans only (no point trying to outrun them, my short Asian feet will never be able to keep up!). The route was also my regular running route – I knew every turn, elevation, and landmark by heart. Based on these parameters, I concluded that my chances to finish in the top 5 for the Open Women category was pretty high.

Very early in the race (at about 1km) I was overtaken by the Kenyans. I let them take the lead, for I know I will not be able to match their 4:00 – 5:00min/km pace. As you might have read from my previous running posts, I am not a fast runner. I maintained my regular pace of 6:30 – 7:00min/km for the first half of the race, however I was leading among the women after the Kenyans and about 20 male participants. I can see a few other female runners just right behind me a few hundred meters away. They eventually dropped out and started to walk. After securing that no female runner could overtake me, I got comfortable and complacent, so my pace slowed to about 7:30-8:00min/km. I cruised away until the finishing line and finished in 2nd place for the 10km Open Women category.

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From right: The Champion, The Runner Up, and The Second Runner Up

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Despite the small-scale event, it was surprisingly well-organized. With the exception of a few hiccups during the bib and t-shirt collection, the event went smoothly. They did not compromise on safety; police, RELA, and the ambulance were patrolling along the route. The direction and distance markers were clear, and at every water station there were enough water and even bananas. I wished that there were timing chips and the medal design could be improved, but since the registration was pretty cheap at RM45, the price point matches the quality of the event.

I was happy that I managed to finish in 2nd place but I was more happy when I see participants having fun and enjoying themselves while getting to know each other in this event. In conclusion, we should always support our local community and contribute back in whatever way we can, no matter how small the event might sound or how insignificant our efforts might be.

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.

If you don’t race, you pace!

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As the official pacer for Ice Watch Run 2016, my task list for the night was simple: make sure my balloon does not pop or get blown away, maintain a pace of 7:30min/km through out 10km, and keep up the positive spirit, and watch out for other runners along the way. We were not assigned a timing target, and were advised by the organizers to take our time to regroup at the water station if necessary. Plus, there was no timing chip attached to the number bib too.

7:30min/km pacers at your service!

7:30min/km pacers at your service!

Very early in the race we were approached by a few runners who were aiming for a PB – an uncle said that he has been running in several events, so he really wanted to maintain the 7:30min/km pace with us. We tried our best to maintain at the assigned pace, but due to the size of the crowd my pacing group was breaking up. We had to pause to regroup. So we urged the pack that followed us who wanted to set a new PB to follow the 7:00min/km pacers instead.

We were the last group of pacer before the sweepers, so we were among the last ones. At this point, the crowd consisted of;

The “Newbies” – the first timers. They have no running strategy or stamina, just the pure will to run. You can recognize them by their irregular walk-run-sprint-sprint-burn out-walk pace , or

The “Funbies” – regular runners who just run for “fun”. You can recognize them by their ability to maintain a steady but slow pace, or

The “Confusies” – if you are not a Newbie or a Funbie yet you are still running at 7:30min/km, then I have no words for you. You fall into this category.

Based on the mix of runners as aforementioned, the vibe of the crowd was more relaxed. Most participants were just strolling and chatting. Clearly, no one were aiming for any PB anymore – they just want to finish the race. The uncle who first approached us earlier had speeded ahead. Most of the runners that tagged along with us were starting to grunt, saying that we were going way too fast although my watch was already approaching 7:45min/km. I sensed that the pack running with us was starting to feel demotivated. However, we had to keep up with the task given and forged ahead with the assigned pace. To give the crowd some boost, we cheered along the way, cracked a few silly jokes, and turned on some music (Clearly, we take our job as pacers very very very seriously!)

We arrived at the finishing line greeted by the impromptu cheer zone that was created by faster pacing groups who arrived earlier than us. They gave us high-fives and congratulatory pat on the back. This gave the runners the final push to sprint towards the finishing line. I was happy to see the crowd that I was pacing to finish strong with smiles on their faces, and that gave me the greatest satisfaction as a pacer for that night. I was grateful for the opportunity given, and I would love to pace again in the future.

Did any of these good-looking pacers greeted you at the finishing line?

If good-looking pacers at the finishing line does not motivating you to sprint, I don’t know what will.

I knew that I have done my best as a pacer when I see fellow runners smiling

I knew that I have done my best as a pacer when I see fellow runners smiling

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner