An outlet for the many voices in my head on being muslim, running and my love affair with jellybabies


Morning running

I’ve never been a morning person let alone a morning runner. I decided to give it a try this morning after having managed in Ramadaan to force myself to gym in the mornings – on three occasions would you believe. I did 10km this morning and it was fantastic, I still managed to be in the office at a decent time but the greatest feeling of all is knowing that my mileage for the day is complete. This is making me think that Comrades training for next year is indeed possible. I even have a crazier idea: to jog to work in the morning every day and shower at the gym near work. This would give me at least 55km between Monday and Friday before my long run….but okay lets not get ahead of ourselves!!


Running in Ramadaan

My previous boss may not have been the poster child for Islamophobiabut she surely never missed an opportunity to remind me she was connected with Salman Rushdie and had desperately tried to ‘bring him to South Africa’. She never missed the chance to tell me how she was profoundly affected by hijabisat Ushaka marine world whose abayas prevented them from going down the foofy slides (okay she had a point there but there’s more to it than just that). Another one of her favourite recollections was to tell me in each Ramadaan how she’d seen kids in the UK who’d been ‘very damaged’by fasting.
At the time, this really wound me up but I’ve recently begun to understand where her views and those of most non-Muslims come from. I hold no grudges or ill feelings towards her because the biggest agents of misinformation are Muslims themselves.
So anyway, I’ve always felt the need to prove her wrong and to prove to people that fasting not only has spiritual and physical benefits but that you really can continue with your normal daily activities. Of course it is a challenge, it is not meant to be easy and how do you gain compassion for hungry people if you yourself do not experience hunger but it is nowhere near being ‘damaging’. One of the things I’ve always tried to do was to maintain my running in Ramadaan. (Okay, don’t let that mislead you into thinking that I’ve been training religiously or anything!) I ran quite a bit after work during my first Ramadaan including squeezing in a ‘long run’ (turns out it was only 15km) as training for Soweto Marathon. Last year was slightly more disastrous but I recall I ran a 2 or 3 races of 10km, but that was my laziness. This year was grand! Although I only ran before maghrib on four occasions (they were short little runs testing my new New Balance Minimus), I ran a race every weekend (except the first weekend of Ramadaan) including running the Centurion Wierie half marathon (I had to run it, it’s in my neighbourhood and I missed it last year, I was not going to miss it again and I just had to run the full half) and the running the Vodacom 10km the day after. If memory serves me right the other runs were a 15km run and a 10km trail run. I’m not saying it was easy – at the Vodacom race for instance I really suffered in the heat, it was a 8o’clock start (there is a lot of partying north of the Jukskei and people don’t get up earlier than that) – at one point ‘the voice’ was telling me to ‘just have satchet of water, just have a coke, no one will know’, but then the other voice said, ‘dude, fasting is about self accountability too you know’…the good voice won and I all I needed to do was slow down to finish in 1:12 which I’m happy with, not thrilled, but happy. At the Centurion race, they had, can you believe it my favourite thing in the whole world: Cream Soda at one of the water tables. They never have Cream Soda at water tables, ever! I actually laughed when I saw that. But I mean that wasn’t like the end of the world.
So really, please, can my fellow Muslims please not give the impression that Ramadaan is ‘damaging’…it is a wonderful blessed time for building character not crashing down like a sack of potatoes.

First winter run

so i successfully managed to go out for a little run yesterday. man was it cold but once i got going it was really really enjoying! but i benefitted from having worn my running top under my work clothes, im going to be doing this a lot more. my knee is still giving me problems so looks like its back to strapping it. I think my new strategy is going to be, run 3x a week but run mon, tues, wed and then rest the other two days, that way i get my mileage out of the way by Wednesday. Inshallah i should be back to doing 40km weekly mileage soon. In the mean time, im saving up for some Under-Armour! As you can see, im a nut when it comes to outfits.

Although i’m not terribly crazy about her, paula radcliffe has probably done a bit to market compression clothing (think: her long white socks) in recent times. The secret to compression clothing is that it is designed to wrap around key muscle groups and reduce muscle movement therefore focussing the direction of the muscle. Compression reduces muscle vibration therefore reducing tissue damage and muscle soreness. Compression clothing should accelerate blood flow which (apparently) helps the body to eliminate lactic acid and other metabolic wastes. There are however some debates at the moment about whether lactic acid is a metabolic waste at all….need to blog about that some time!

on being a…

on being a marathon muslimah

and getting back on the wagon, well…I guess its a bit odd calling your blog something and then making no mention of it. i’ve been in a serious running rut but sometimes you cant wait for something magical to pull you out of it, you just have to get out there and do it…so i’m gonna!  one step at a time.  alhamdulillah we’re so furtunate in this part of SA that we can run in the winter.  i’ve set myself five goals for the rest of the year:

  • log my mileage
  • run at least three times a week, even if it is just round the block, just get out
  • wear as much of my running gear under my work clothes as possible (easy off, easy on)
  • remember the health benefits, and
  • most importantly have fun!
oh, and did i mention i’ve disovered sports buffs

you can get these at any self-respecting outdoor shop, here locally Cape Union Mart, Due South, First Ascent, Outdoor Warehouse….