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Archive for the ‘Fitness Bliss’ Category

What Kind of Race Is It?

In Fitness Bliss, Mental Bliss on October 29, 2012 at 4:26 pm

I woke up at 4:30 in the morning on Sunday  to do the Adidas King of the Road race. I was not particularly enthused because I was not prepared—to be honest, I have not been prepared for ANY road race I have done for the last few years! However, I really wanted to follow through and earn a decadent lunch with friends, so I grudgingly got ready. I had also just turned 34 a few days ago, and for some reason it always seems appropriate to do a road race around my birthday. My main fears were coming in dead-last or my muscles—which have been tight from my new strength-training regime–making the run a miserable ordeal. In a move out-of-the-ordinary, I decided not to bring any hydration and rely on the provisions of the course—I realize I am probably making some people cringe with this statement! I was just in a lackadaisical state of mind!

As I sat quietly in the runners’ tent at dawn, I decided that I had to reframe my thoughts to make the next few hours bearable. I fired up my inner-dialog—and asked why. Why was I running this race? Yes Yes—yummy decadent lunch BUT what else could I get out of this experience?  Was it going to be another run where I lamented my lack of training and the fact that changes in my life have not let me focus on running as much as I have in the past? Would I bemoan my slower pace and curse myself when my legs did not do what I wanted them to do? I continued along this train of thought as I strolled to the starting corral. As the announcers attempted to fire up the reserved crowd—it dawned on me—this is my first Singaporean road-race.  I was going to go into this race with the mind of a journalist, philosopher and sightseer. I was going to do what my body told me to do, and see what happened.
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The Right to be Active

In Fitness Bliss on June 13, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Kulsoom Abdullah

When I was about 21, I was at a family picnic running around with my younger cousin. As I hobbled back to the picnic table, having over-zealously stumbled over a rock, an older relative chastised me with a disapproving look. “Stop running around” he said, “you are not a young kid anymore you know!” Apparently, my time was up. I was supposed to be sitting at the picnic table with the older women swapping recipes!

Being of Indian heritage, I get the impression that traditionally, in my culture,  women are expected to stop any type of athletic, fun activity after a certain point in life. I know of a woman who had to quit dance classes upon being engaged. Why? Why should someone give up doing what they love– especially if it is something healthy and active? Apparently, it was because of perception– an engaged woman had no business taking dance classes. While I cannot say I am an expert on Indian culture, or what I have observed applies to everyone (I probably witnessed a more conservative ideal), I can say that I do not agree with all of it!

One of the many things I have always appreciated about American culture is the widely accepted idea that it is  never too late to do what you want to do. People are applauded for going to medical school at the age of 40– not ridiculed! Not being a natural scholar myself, activity has been my medical school. I was a natural couch potato when I was a kid, but somewhere in adulthood, I found that I was happier when activity was a regular part of my life. Don’t get me wrong– I still love my couch time dearly, but it is much more satisfying after a run.

Along this vein, I immediately took interest in the story of Kulsoom Abdullah.

Kulsoom Abdullah is a woman who resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She is an American of Pakistani descent and a practicing Muslim. At 35, Abdullah is able to deadlift 245 lbs and hoist up 105. If I met the sub-120 lb Abdullah on the street, I would have never guessed this! She also happens to be a brainiac, possessing a Ph.D. in computer and electrical engineering.

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