Just when you think you're tough enough


Running Increases Confidence and Motivation in Nora Zaidel

Nora Zaidel commemorates her race donned in the kebaya, a national dress. (ImDavid)

Running seems to have inspired Nora Syamsiah Binte Zaidel to not only improve her lifestyle, but also to become more confident.

Lessons learned from the highs and lows in running, has enabled the Kuching-born entrepreneur to make adjustments in her business during these tough times. Pivoting from the fabric to the food and beverage industry, the sassy young lady now shows her stronger side compared to when she was a newbie in running.

ToughASIA: What inspired you to take up running?

Nora: I started running in 2017 and joined one of the running clubs in Kuching. Back then, I realised I was still a newbie and did not have any proper knowledge on running. From there, I started gaining more information on the activities for the purposes of achieving a healthy lifestyle for myself.

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ToughASIA: What keeps you motivated to train now, even when there are no races?

Nora: In this pandemic, I am motivated to train because I can practise what I learned after joining the MAF Runners group on Facebook. The fellow members in the group focuses on the Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) method which takes care of my heart. Therefore, they motivate me to train everyday.

Besides, I have begun to improve as a runner and become more motivated, as previously other people used to underestimate my capabilities.

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ToughASIA: Where are your favourite running locations?

Nora: My favourite running place has always been Pustaka Negeri in Kuching. I usually run at least 5km everyday while monitoring my heart rate to ensure it is always within a stable and healthy rate. My other favourite places are around Masjid Darul Hana – convenient and nearby to my house – and also at MBKS to train me to further my running distance.

ToughASIA: What is the most memorable race you have competed in?

Nora: I would say my most memorable race so far is that one time I ran wearing a red coloured ‘kebaya’, a national costume with a red ‘selendang’ (scarf) which managed to attract the photographers’ attention.

ToughASIA: What is your proudest moment in running?

Nora: Since I started running, I very proud that I succeeded in finishing 50KM using the proper MAF technique that I have been learning and working hard on for 6 months.

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ToughASIA: Any difficult experiences while running?

Nora: The hardest part during my run was when I unfortunately get chased by few dogs once! However, I was able to solve this problem by throwing stones or small branches to chase them away.

Another difficult experience for me was when I had to run 10KM straight without any water but luckily, I did bring along some energy bars and gels to help me last during that desperate time while running.

ToughASIA: Do you run with any running clubs?

Nora: I used to join a running club in Kuching but I faced discrimination due to the fact that I was not as fast as the other members. Therefore, I decided that there was no reason for me to stay with the club.

But now, I have risen higher along with my team KELONGKANG MAF members who are very supportive of each other. Thank you guys, I love all the spirit!

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ToughASIA: What keeps you going into 2021 and beyond as a runner? Are you looking forward to any race in particular?

Nora: As a runner, although 2021 is still in a pandemic mode, I vow to myself that I will continue to diligently train and run according to my own limits and ensure to live a healthy lifestyle.

Previously, I had no interest in running whatsoever, but ever since I became embraced the MAF method and running group, I have become more confident to run further. I greatly hope that someday, I can join an actual competition and from there, I can measure the extent of my capabilities to run a long run.