The Weekend Runner: Yogyakarta Adventures

After unpacking from my trip in Yogyakarta, I realised that most of my dirty clothes are covered in either volcanic ash or sand. If my clothes could talk, they would probably say “Phew, what an adventure!”. They have seen it all on this trip: noisy markets, mountains, beaches, and many more. If you expect a relaxing, slow paced trip then Yogyakarta is not the place for you. Just like it’s locals, Yogyakarta is bold, resilient, and adventurous, not exactly a place for the faint-hearted.



I tagged along with a few friends on this trip and they are absolute history buffs. Steeped in rich heritage, culture, and mystical believes, Yogyakarta proved to be the perfect place for them. Therefore, temple tours to Candi Prambanan and Candi Borobudur is a must. Each temple has its own unique features to be explored, so we walked and even climbed a few kilometers to cover the elaborate temple complex. Luckily, I brought along my favourite Jazri Riada tops because they are light, comfortable, and cool. Plus, no sweat marks in photos because they evaporate sweat too!



Jazri Riada is made for exploring! I brought along my both of my favourite colours.

IMG_0302Candi Borobudur is best viewed during sunrise. To get to the viewing point, we had to do a short hike up Punthuk Setumbu. The view at the top is all worth the work out.

11889600_10207356714225912_6603914117845254114_n11960156_10203312878421521_3779639741325860584_n11896004_10207356716985981_6713033447156715573_nThe famous Candi Borobudur. I can recall some of these pictures from my secondary school textbooks.



Candi Prambanan. As opposed to the Buddha influences in Candi Borobudur, this temple is actually a Hindu temple.


Besides temples and historical sites, Yogyakarta is also well-known for its natural attractions. It’s diverse landscape ranging from volcanoes, mountains, rivers, and beaches proves to be a giant playground for outdoor enthusiasts. However, since we are pressed for time, we managed to squeeze in a volcanic tour around Mount Merapi which is still an active volcano, and sunset by Parangtritis Beach.

IMG_0407One of the many active volcanoes looming ahead. Powerful, omnipresent, and highly respected by the locals.


A trip to Yogyakarta will not be complete without a trip to the volcanic site. This is still an active volcano so the tour will not take you directly to the active site.



11960105_10207360480960078_4400998598969834602_nYou need to rent a jeep and a guide because most roads are not accessible by cars. 

11921634_10207360484320162_8078637467946233065_nIn Malaysia, sandy beaches are usually white (if not polluted). However, Parangtritis beaches have black sand because of the surrounding volcano.

11947658_10207360485720197_7771330899787980101_nI wish I brought along a swimsuit!

11924765_10207360486640220_3419597861974654023_nSunset by the beach


At the end of this trip, my mind lingers to a popular quote that goes “Travelling is the only thing that you buy to make yourself richer” and I can’t help but to agree with that saying. Yogyakarta has left me with a deeper appreciation for other cultures, Mother Nature, and God’s almighty powers. So, where will my next adventure be?


Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.

The Weekend Runner: Never one over the other.

Over the years before I was bitten by the running bug, I was into loads of different types of sports. Back in my school days I learnt how to swim, did a few martial arts (Karate, Taekwondo, kick boxing), then when I was in university I went to the gym and track regularly (that’s when I started running), and was briefly into horse-back riding during summer breaks and skiing in the winter.

10639540_10204538712697635_4573004107510729320_nSwimming was one of the most valuable skills that I have learnt.

It has never crossed my mind that what I wear is a limitation to what I wanted to do. Sadly, it is quite common to hear excuses from ladies who are not interested to lead an active lifestyle because they claim to have nothing suitable to wear. However, I was determined to make things work for me. Before I discovered Nashata, I learnt how to adapt with what is available in the current market. For swimming, I would buy a surfer’s long-sleeve rash guard with separate tights and put a swim cap on. I would make a short-sleeve t-shirt wearable by layering to go to the gym. I used many pins to ensure that my hijab stays in place when I kick, punch, and jump around. All of these are done to ensure that I meet 2 important criteria in sports: I dress modestly, and my performance is not compromised.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf everyone can do it, why can’t I do it too?

Nowadays thanks to Nashata and the booming modest activewear market, you are spoilt for choices. There are innovative designs for swimwear if bikinis are not your thing. Layering and heavy fabrics are replaced by sweat-wicking, ventilating fabrics. I dressed up for the gym in the past, but now I look even better. I did my best, but now I could push myself harder. Modesty and performance that went hand-in-hand has never left, but now it is enhanced thanks to improvements which was driven by the market demands for modest activewear.


‘Performance’ is a very loose term being thrown around, as ‘performance’ might mean getting a medal while others are satisfied with being able to complete a work out. Until you have experienced or knowledge on a type of sport, it is hard to determine what is suitable or unsuitable. For example, after participating in numerous running events I have learnt the hard way that the wrong fabric, seam, and design has caused chafing. It hurts, your skin bleeds, and you are distracted from performing your best. But with Nashata’s team, I am assured that their products have undergone testing. Similarly, I am very sure that athletes, coaches, and their supporting team can come up with solutions to meet the sports standards and requirement while still adhering to modest dressing and performing their best.



Nashata from head to toe and no chafing after 21KM!


I plan to expand the list of sports initially mentioned above. There is so much to discover and do. I want to complete an ultramarathon, learn how to surf, get a scuba diving license, master pilates and yoga, conquer Mount Kinabalu, and many other mountains in the future. And I plan to do all of that while still dressed modestly. So ladies, your old excuse “I cannot learn how to swim/ run/  because I do not have a proper attire” is so yesterday.

534948_4185488125314_1775782184_n We cannot do whaaa because we have to wear whaaa? Sorry can’t hear you, having too much fun in the water.


Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.


The Weekend Runner: Jungle trekking at Royal Belum Rainforest

Once in a while everyone needs a break from the city. Taking advantage of the long weekend, me and my family packed our bags and head up north to Gerik, Perak which is well- known the second largest man-made lake (Temenggor Lake) in Malaysia and one of the oldest rainforest in Malaysia (Royal Belum Rainforest). We stayed on a man-made island (Banding Lake Resort), and judging from the non-stop crowd this hotel serves pretty much as a rest point for bikers, hikers, and trekkers looking for an adventure. It was a long drive from KL to Gerik, but we were rewarded with a stunning view upon checking-in.

IMG_8630 The view from the hotel. Spot the rainbow!



A few outdoor activity packages. No running package, but jungle trekking was fine by me. Not in the brochure is a 3 day trek all the way to Gua Musang that is available upon special arrangement.


The next day we were looking for an adventure of our own. So we signed up for the Lembah Belum Discovery as no permits were required. I took this opportunity as a low impact, cross-training work out to supplement my regular running routine. Overall the trail was easy (if you have been working out regularly), however the whole trip was long. Temenggor Lake consists of different ‘islands’ (they were actually peaks of mountains before the lower grounds was transformed into a lake), so to get to the next trail takes more than 30 minutes of boat rides.

IMG_8640 A lake as vast as the eyes can see.


To call the track beautiful would be an understatement; it was gorgeous beyond words. It was nothing like I have ever seen before! I was in awe with some of the plants and insects that I saw, because they were new and unfamiliar. Except for a few traces left by loggers and conservationists in the past, Royal Belum Rainforest is still untouched and unexplored.  According to the guide, some wild elephants still pass by the bushes just behind the hotel. The forest was dense and lush, and we took our time taking in the natural wonders along the trail.


IMG_8648Class in session: Jungle trekking 101

IMG_8667I have never seen a tree so huge and tall in my entire life!

IMG_8664Hello there, little friend.

IMG_8654There are still some indigenous tribes that call Royal Belum Rainforest as home.


At the end of the trek I was left with a curious feeling that there is still more to explore. There were still several ‘islands’ that we did not go to, and according to the guide these were still unchartered territories or you need to apply for a special permit before entering. There is so much more to discover, and I guess that was the reason why the rainforest was named as ‘Belum’, which roughly translated into ‘Not Yet’, i.e. not yet discovered, not yet explored.


Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.


The Weekend Runner: Hulu Langat Trail Run

If my memory serves me right the last trail run event I entered was 9KM FRIM Trail Run on September 2014, so it has been a while since I ran off the road. Trail running is not a popular event (except for a few ultramarathon category), however I do notice lately that the pace is picking up. I think it is on a league of its own, the route and course is tougher than a regular road race. I could complete 12KM road race for about 1 hr 20 mins, however it took me over 2 hours to complete 12KM of Hulu Langat Trail Run. This is my 3rd trail running event, so I still consider myself a newbie.


The course was challenging, tough, yet rewarding. Part hiking, part running, there were a lot of technical skills involved. Therefore I would not recommend Hulu Langat Trail Run if you are a first time trail runner. I consider myself a regular runner yet my lungs and legs were on fire by the end of the course.



The race map. Check out that crazy gain in elevation! Source: Hulu Langat Trail Running Facebook page.


My favourite part of the run was crossing the river at the last 1KM. I was prepared for this and I double bagged my phone to ensure it remains dry. Unfortunately, by the end of the river crossing I realised both bags were already punctured, and my phone was already dead and ‘drowning’. I guess it was just not my day.



Source: Again, Hulu Langat Trail Running Facebook page. Beware of strong currents that can wipe out mud, sweat, 16GB of phone memory, etc.


Some trail running tips if you are a newbie like me:

1)     Unless if barefoot running is your thing, invest in good trail run shoes. It is not your road race shoes, and it is not your hiking boots. The route is slippery, muddy, steep, and dusty. So the extra grip is important for your safety.

2)     Invest in proper socks. The uneven terrain can cause blisters.

3)     Run light yet carry your own water. It is important to self-support because most trail runs do not provide water station as often as road races. Be hands-free for you to climb or crouch, so carry your water in a hydration pack or belt. I do not recommend running without your own water, because it is very humid in the jungle/ forest so you can get dehydrated easily through sweating.

4)     Stay safe. Never ever go off course. Be aware of the markers. If you are a solo runner do keep up with the crowd. Buddy up and help if you spot a fellow runner who needs the extra support.

Overall this was a good event. Thumbs up to the organizers and the Bomba for keeping the participants safe and guided during the run. I look forward to next year’s Hulu Langat Trail Run!


Until next week,

The Weekend Runner

The Weekend Runner: 3R International Marathon

As a part of preparing myself to run a full marathon next year I have promised myself to run a half marathon at least once every month (this is still insufficient but I will slowly increase to 30km very soon). So for this month’s training, I ran in the 3R International Marathon under the 21km category.

I looked forward to this half marathon because it was held in Putrajaya. As I have mentioned in previous posts, Putrajaya is my favourite venue for road races. It is a conducive venue for a run because parking is easy and there are not many cars. Scanning the map given, these were some familiar routes that I have ran during past events so I already had a mental note on hilly paths that will take up energy or straight, smooth roads where I could sprint.



I can feel the energy buzzing with excitement at the starting line.


We were flagged off at 5.30am sharp. I ran straight until it was time for Subuh (Fajr) prayers, did a detour with the crowd into the motorcycle lane, and took a quick break to pray.



Putrajaya is still a magnificient view even in the dark


I managed to complete the half marathon in about 3 hours. I believe that I could do better next time, there is still plenty of room for improvement.



These grey Riada pants are so light, I could fly in them


Overall, the event when smoothly without any major flaws. However, what could have been done better:

–        the organizers should have a goodies bag. This run boasted some very notable sponsors yet what we got at the end of the race was just a medal, a banana, and mineral water.

–        the organizers should provide markers at every kilometer. It is frustrating for runners to keep on guessing if we are going too fast or too slow, how many more to go, etc.

–        Please brief your volunteers on how many kilometers or water stations that are left. For the same reasons as above, runners will know how to pace themselves according to the distance left in the race.


Until next week,

The Weekend Runner


P/S: It’s funny how girls can bond over clothes. I was asking for assistance to take a photo of me from a random lady, and she told me that she had the same Nashata Tron t-shirt as I was wearing, “We could be twins!”  she gushed, but today she was wearing her heather green Ultra top instead.


Dear Green Heather Lady, I’m sorry I forgot your name. But you look like a regular runner, so I hope to bump into you again in the future!