Dhia Danisha Reita Kanagarajah, or “Reita” as she is affectionately known, seems like your usual avid sports enthusiast, taking part in running and triathlon events. However, little did we know that she has Thalassaemia – a red blood cells deficiency condition – that makes her easily tired and short of breath.
Born and raised in Penang, then moved to Kuala Lumpur to start college and later on completing her studies in the United Kingdom, 43-year old Reita has been an environmental consultant dealing mainly with soil and groundwater contamination for the last 10 years.
ToughASIA asked Reita about her running journey.
ToughASIA: When did you start running and what made you interested in running?
Reita: I grew up ‘protected’ because I have thalassemia and was not encouraged to do sports or anything that exerts lots of effort. So, when I went to university, I started running – slow and long distances – and some swimming too. Upon returning to Malaysia and starting work, I continued running to stay trim and I like that energetic feeling after each run.
Subsequently, I forayed into triathlon but after having kids – having less time to train for 3 disciplines – I went back to running as it is the easiest form of exercise. Since then, I’ve never looked back. Now, my run schedules are constrained by my time availability, and thus I have seen ups and downs in my runs. These days, I persevere to achieve a 5:30min pace.
ToughASIA: Do you run alone or run in a group?
Reita: Mainly, I run alone on weekdays and run with small groups on weekends. I used to run with the Alam Damai Running (ADR) club and occasionally, I would also join the Pacesetters. Now, I stick to a group of 3 to 6 people or so on my weekend runs.
ToughASIA: Where do you usually train?
Reita: After I send my kids to school, I would usually run in either Bandar Utama, TTDI or Mont Kiara and Hartamas areas in Kuala Lumpur. On weekends, the routes vary depending on distances to be covered from Bukit Aman/Bkt Tunku route, Mont Kiara/Hartamas to Publika/KL city.
ToughASIA: What is your warm-up routine?
Reita: Squats, lunges, quads and hamstring stretches and brisk walk before the run.
ToughASIA: Do you carry out other exercises into your running routine?
Reita: I do, post-run. Usually. I would do core exercises, push ups, planks and some stretches to cool down. The routine varies.
ToughASIA: Have you registered for any race next year?
Reita: I am trying to reignite my triathlon fire. So it will be IRONMAN 70.3 Desaru next year, postponed from 2020.
ToughASIA: What is your personal running achievement?
Reita: I had a few podiums, perhaps more than 15 years ago for some local running events.
ToughASIA: Describe how and when have you been consuming the Joymix Beetroot Powder?
Reita: I consume it with my breakfast shake before my run and sometimes with my recovery drink.
ToughASIA: Do you feel any difference or the effectiveness of the product?
Reita: Yes! On days that I take it, I feel a lot more energy, especially if it is after a few days of taking it continuously.
ToughASIA: Have you made any noticeable change since consuming Joymix Beetroot Powder?
Reita: I run faster and feel slightly less tired on the same route.
I usually look at the average speed I do for the whole run, and I have been averaging 6:30-6:45 on 10km runs. On the weeks I take beetroot, I see that it significantly drops to 6:10-6:20 pace.
ToughASIA: What is your verdict on Joymix Beetroot Powder?
Reita: I usually mix it with my shake, so I find it pleasant.
Beetroot is also good for blood circulation, and for thalassemia it is ideal. Some friends saw my post and they have enquired about it because it does help with anemia. Therefore, it benefits runners as well as non-runners.
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