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Posts Tagged ‘fitness bliss’

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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I Found a Rave Run…I Think

In Fitness Bliss on May 12, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Anyone who has picked up an issue of “Runner’s World” has seen the Rave Run spreads. Typically, they are inspiring…and a little sickening. You’ll see some athletic person (who most likely runs no slower than a 7 minute mile) bounding through gorgeous cobblestone streets in Rome, evergreen bordered trails in Colorado, or coastal paths in California. Despite my sometimes envious eye-rolling at these panoramas, I have to admit– there is something inexplicable about running amidst beauty. John “The Penguin” Bingham wrote an essay once about how mundane runs are the dues runners pay for the beautiful ones that come along every once in a while.

OK, so let’s bring it down to not-running-anything-near-a-7-minute-mile me! I have been paying my fair share of dues on a treadmill 2x/week in a Rochester hotel. To avoid hurting any feelings or sticking my HUGE Brooks sneaker in my mouth, I will just say I have been spending a lot of time in a very industrial part of Rochester. Basically, nothing around me in this vicinity has inspired an outdoor run from a scenic or safety perspective. This has been my excuse to retreat to the treadmill— I have been doing my runs in the little hotel gym while watching sitcoms. While it’s not terrible, it is hardly inspiring! The closest thing to runners high I have experienced is thinking “Winning” while watching “Two and a Half Men”. Treadmill running to outdoor running is what a frozen dinner is to a home-cooked meal—a functional substitute…at least mentally.

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