Tuesday, March 6, 2012

In the Running For More

I'm so happy when my fellow Paris and New York City running-cum-travelling buddy told me a few weeks back that she was asked by one of the newspapers here to be a regular columnist and write about running and her escapades...

Of course I told her to go for it!!! ;)

And here's her first column... You can also get a copy of New Straits Time today... Her column will be featured every 2 weeks in the paper...


Do you have a passion that motivates you everyday and fulfils your life? Is there something you would go the extra mile for? I didn't have one when I was younger and I envied those who did.


That “something” is long-distance running.
Before I continue, allow me to take you back in time to 2005. I was in Africa and was feeling contented with life — thanks to my ideal work schedule. For every four weeks that I spent working, I had four weeks off.
During breaks, I took the opportunity to do what I enjoyed — travelling. I explored parts of Africa I never thought I’d set foot on. And if that wasn’t enough, I backpacked across Europe and Asia too.
Life seemed awesome at the time, never short of cool travel tales and photos. I couldn’t be more grateful.


Fast-forward to 2009. My life took a drastic turn following my return to Kuala Lumpur. After working for nine years in hassle-free environments around the globe, I didn’t feel like I belonged in a big, overpopulated city like KL.

I despised its traffic. Huge shopping malls didn’t excite me. My social circle was limited and the fact that my life revolved around work was quite upsetting. The worst bit: I no longer travelled like I used to. I felt as if my privileges had been stripped. It became apparent that something was missing in my life.

At this point, I started to turn more and more to running for comfort. Running had always been something I enjoyed but never made it my priority.

When I felt down, I ran. When I had a bit too much cheesecake, I shook the guilt off by pounding the pavement. Running was my means to keep fit and de-stress but it never went beyond that. That changed when, out of the blue, I decided to sign up for a full marathon.

Nobody talked me into it. I thought that a challenge as extreme as a 42km race was what I needed to bring some excitement back into my life. It turned out that I was right.


Being the disciplined person that I am, I trained religiously for the event. For once in months, I looked forward to waking up in the mornings. I ran distances I once considered impossible and discovered parts of KL I didn’t know existed.

My circle of friends slowly expanded with a camaraderie of like-minded people. The marathon preparation gave me the boost I needed just when life seemed like it wasn’t going to get any better. The more I trained, the more I learnt that running was what kept me happy and alive.

On one fine day in December 2009 in Singapore, I ran my first full marathon. Even before I started, I knew that it was not going to be my last. I would be lying if I said that I enjoyed every  minute of the race.
There were moments when I questioned my ability to finish and felt like giving up. When I finally crossed the finish line, words could not describe the sense of accomplishment I felt. It was by far the toughest thing I had ever done. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

The race unquestionably marked a milestone in my life. Running became a significant aspect of my life ever since. Today, I am as avid about the sport as I was when I first crossed the line in 2009, so much so that I now have a few full marathons under my belt.
Three years ago, I would have ridiculed the idea of running 42km races repeatedly. This year, I will be running my 11th on my birthday. It is amazing to see how things can change once you have found something that inspires you.
And I am glad I have found my passion.

Shanaz Shamsuddin is a drilling engineer by profession who finds balance in life through running and travelling

Read more: In the running for more - Health - New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/life-times/health/in-the-running-for-more-1.56133?fwcc=1&fwcl=1&fwl=1#ixzz1oJEcvMLt

I'm so proud of you Captain G! Can't wait for your upcoming ones :) 

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