My road to 5k was not easy. Ever since I was in school, I would be the first person to call in sick in every school cross country run event. We would have a 1.5km run test every year and I would make my first run straight to the school’s sick bay. From asthma attack to meticulously planned migraine or stomach ache, I pretty much managed to skip all the running tests from form 1 to form 5.
Fast forward to this day, I have been trying so hard to change that couch potato habit. Bought a full-fledged huge Nordic Track treadmill (I used it to hang my clothes). Joined the gym, hired Personal Trainer (went once). Bought an expensive pair of sport shoes (Still in the box, took it out for OOTD), Bak even went on to buy me a Dior to bribe me to join him exercise (We’re married for more than 4 years, I deserve the bag anyway) and despite all that, there is nothing to wear, I’m too busy, sakit kaki, my skin is allergic to sweat, and 10,000 other reasons to stay on the couch.
Forced opportunity came as we were designing TudungPeople new instant hijab. All this while, we always work with athletes and experienced runners. My head of operations, Wawa and her sidekick, Huna (these two are our usual guinea pig) quietly registered my name to a 5km run behind my back.
“I think the hijab has to be friendly to first time runners as well, I think I have the best research group here”
*Gulp * while holding onto my registration form
But I ain’t gonna go down alone without dragging my fellow potato heads, with me was Qera – Head of Operation & Farra-Head of Marketing. I said “Nobody will trust our design if we don’t do it ourselves!” With that, a total of 5 kitties registered for Brooks City Run. Wawa & Huna are experienced runners (also became the never stop nagging coach), but Qera, Farra and I never ran more than a km in our whole lifetime.
Exactly 6 weeks before the event, Huna started giving constant reminder from morning till night time to start practising (face to face, whatsapp, IG DMS! Omg she’s so annoying!). Right after office hours, we walked from the office to a nearby lake, walking past A&W, (Ohh! the smell of freshly baked waffle) to start the horrifying run. I swear the last time I went to any lake for a run was when I was 3.
We started with stretching and a brisk walk to warm up. I thought to myself, hey this isn’t so bad? Until they started running and leave us behind. My kiasuness kicked in and I tried to keep up as much as I could. For once, I found out there were plenty of muscles that I never knew existed as every part of my legs were screaming for help. I ran so hard and continue running until I feel like my lungs exploded. I thought maybe I already finished 5km run until I look at my phone and see that I barely run a km…
That night, I had one of the deepest sleep of my life. My whole body switched off, I did not even dream. My body ached for 2 whole days and before the pain could subside, I forced myself to start running again. For once, I could sleep easier and I never felt more positive in my life. Many of my friends and athletes that have worked with TudungPeople congratulated me and gave me much needed tips.
I learnt that different shoes gives different results. Bak bought me a sports watch to match with a tracking app called Strava to keep track of my speed. I get to understand first hand the problems a hijabi faced while doing sports continuously. The progress was slow but I am getting stronger by each stride. I have also learnt to do basic core exercises to complement my run. From feeling dreadful every time I ran, I started enjoying it. My body feels funny when I don’t run on my scheduled days. I started using the treadmill again, and from running for twice a week, I started running every other day.
The day of the run
I could not sleep a wink. I was super nervous and scared that I would oversleep and miss the run. The starting point of this run was in Dataran Merdeka and I arrive just 15 mins short from the starting time. There were a sea of people waiting at the starting point. 2 months ago, I used to think you must be crazy to wake up early on Sunday morning to go for a run – and now I am one of those crazy people. There were even kids & babies in strollers.
As soon as the run started, I kept to my pace and did not look back. I lost my team within the first 5 mins in the sea of people. Though I did walk when I was too tired, I finished the run much faster than I ever anticipated. In the final 200m, Bak came running with his camera to record my last sprint to the finish line.
I cried as soon as I finished the run. This small achievement means a lot to me. I can never believe that I stuck to it and did not chicken out at the very last minute. This was only made possible with teamwork and constant encouragement. All the TP kitties arrived shortly one after another (Wawa & Huna ran for 10km), and we took a thousand selfie to celebrate!
That was my very first marathon experience. From researching about sports hijab, running became my new passion and most importantly, I never felt healthier! Running also made me more focused and keeps me on my toes. As I am typing this, I just registered for my first 10km run in November.