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Muhammad Ali. Thank you.

Muhammad Ali. Thank you.

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Who hasn’t been inspired in one way or another by Mohammed Ali? From his famous “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” to the defence of his titles as well as his human rights activities.

I’m going to miss him, and though I’m not an avid boxing fan, I am so grateful to have witnessed some of his most memorable fights in my lifetime.

Here’s a compilation of some of his quotes, courtesy of pix11:

  1. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.”
  2. “I’m not the greatest, I’m the double greatest.”
  3. “Don’t count the days; make the days count.”
  4. “A man who has no imagination has no wings.”
  5. “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it—then I can achieve it.”
  6. “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
  7. “I’m young; I’m handsome; I’m fast. I can’t possibly be beat.”
  8. “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.”
  9. “A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
  10. “If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.”
  11. “Braggin’ is when a person says something and can’t do it. I do what I say.”
  12. “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”
  13. “I should be a postage stamp. That’s the only way I’ll ever get licked.”
  14. “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
  15. “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
  16. “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.”
  17. “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”
  18. “At home I am a nice guy: but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.”
  19. “Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”
  20. “Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.”

Rest in peace Mohammed Ali.

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Mountain Biking in Bahrain

Mountain Biking in Bahrain

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I woke up early on Friday and promised myself to have a good day.

I was out of bed by 04:55 and left home by 5:20 with my mountain bicycle loaded into the car and happiness and good anticipation in my heart. I was going to meet new people and ride into new terrain, one that my bike was actually meant for. It was going to be a different type of cycling in Bahrain.

You see, my two regulars with whom I’ve been riding over the last few weeks were not available, but I wasn’t going to let Friday pass without having my ride.

The rides have become quite precious to me. They present a time where I get a chance to momentarily disconnect and recharge in the outdoors and continue on my health journey too. Knowing how much I enjoy riding with a group, I was determined to find one that I can ride with this Friday. So I trawled Instagram and searched the various Bahrain Cycling hashtags in the hope of finding one. Those searches resulted in a couple of WhatsApp contact numbers which I duly messaged to find more information about them and whether they had a program for Friday I could join. One responded with a suggestion to check out TriLife. That led to another Instagram search which ultimately resulted in finding an announcement of their scheduled desert outing. Great! That would do, thanks very much.

Mountain Biking in Bahrain 10

I arrived at TriLife’s shop location in Zallaq at 6am. The ride was scheduled for 6.30am so I was quite a bit early. Their shop wasn’t open yet; however, a number of cycling enthusiasts were arriving at the location and setting up their gear. They were mostly road bikers, and serious ones at that too. Their heads were fully down to the task of setting up their bikes. It was nice to see people in industry.

At around 6.15 I noticed that someone was setting up bikes in front of the shop, and as I’ve already set my bike, I went over to that area to await the start of the mountain bikers’ trek. In the interim, I had a quick chance to look at the shop’s wares and noticed that apart from the good bike selection, they seemed to also have quite a lot of associated accessories. As I don’t have enough experience yet, I couldn’t judge the competitiveness of their pricing or the actual breadth of their product line. However, I think the shop is well worth a visit by any enthusiast. The feeling I had is that they offer competition to Skate Shack which is the incumbent on the island.

Mountain Biking in Bahrain 04

By 6.30, there was quite a nice group of around 15 gathered ready for the fun ahead. Most opted to rent bikes from TriLife, a service that was just introduced by them that very day.

Mountain Biking in Bahrain 01

After an obligatory group photo, we were led out by Corne Van Aswegen to the desert, passing the University of Bahrain then crossed the road to enter the area of the horse racing track and the beautiful small hills in the area. It was some of those that we were going to ride on. It was a nice prospect and far different from my usual rides which offer no elevation except for gentle gradients at the Bahrain Fort. It had rained the night before too, evidenced by several puddles in the area, as well as many muddy tracks along the route.

Mountain Biking in Bahrain 02

The real ride started with a good climb of the old go-cart incline in the area. That alone was worth the day as it brought some happy childhood memories when my dad took us to watch those funny races. I could tell you that climbing was a sight harder than I thought!

Assembling at the top, we started the trek in earnest, riding through puddles, rocks, muddy paths, inclines and descents. A lot of those tracks were somewhat challenging to attempt, basically because my foot kept sliding off the peddles. The smooth surface of my trainers against the smooth and wet surface of the open peddles made those already challenging ascents even more so. I had to resort to pushing my bike up on a couple of instances rather than riding it to the apexes. Others faired better, and a few worse.

Mountain Biking in Bahrain - puddles after the rain in the desert

Mountain Biking in Bahrain - panorama - puddles after the rain in the sakhir desert

The scenery along the path was quite nice. I haven’t been to that part of the desert before. I have certainly not been to the top of those hills ever, so the scenery was very new. One that was enjoyed by all.

Mountain Biking in Bahrain - mud covered bike

The real enjoyment of course was for all to rediscover their childhood! Everyone was copiously covered in mud at the end of the ride, and happily so!

Mountain Biking in Bahrain 07

Mountain Biking in Bahrain 08

Mountain Biking in Bahrain 09

 

I look forward to join the rides in the future. I’m not sure whether they will continue in the summer, and doubt that they will in Ramadan, at least not ones in the daylight anyway, so I’ll treasure the remaining few rides before then and shall enjoy them as much as I can. I know I shall enjoy them more by sharing the experience with the many enthusiasts I had the pleasure of meeting and riding with on Friday.

Mountain Biking in Bahrain 11 - Panorama from the top of the hill overlooking the horse racing circuit

To join the Bahrain MTB WhatsApp Group, call Trilife on +973-77333777 and ask for Corne and mention that I sent you.

160415-FridayMorning-MountainBikeRide

Disclosure: I am not associated with TriLife or its personnel in any way and I receive no payments from them.

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Cycling in Bahrain

Cycling in Bahrain

My advice to any budding and experienced cyclist: Wear a helmet . Get up early . Ride defensively . Wear a helmet, seriously!

The extent of my experience in cycling is quite limited. I’ve only started a couple months ago. I bought it on January 27 on a whim when I noticed a second-hand mountain bike advertised for sale on a supermarket’s bulletin board and thought I’d like to try it. I had to contend with that incredulous look that came over my wife’s face though. I just retorted that she should be happy that what I’m thinking of opting for is a bicycle rather than a motorcycle. I’m in the right age-group of the latter, but was opting for the former, because I’m really young still. That didn’t do the trick.

My Kona Mountain Bike - MTB

In any case, I became a stupefied owner of a good mountain bike a couple of days later. I say stupefied because the last time I was on a bicycle was when I was twelve or so, and the first thing I did when I was evaluating the bike to buy it, was to crash off of it. Suit and all, onto the cemented ground.

I had no idea where people go riding, I didn’t know the rules of the road, I didn’t and couldn’t find a “dos and don’ts” list anywhere and I didn’t know if a cycling culture actually existed here in Bahrain. Nevertheless, I thought I’d just get on for now, and deal with all of those things as and when they occur. All in good time.

The first thing I discovered is that old adage of “it’s like riding a bike” isn’t actually true. A lot gets forgotten and the balance must be worked on again to re-acquire it. That and the many little things that must be understood and sorted out too; from the proper height and position adjustment of the seat, the height and orientation of the handle bars and the tyre pressures are a few. I’m thankful to all the people and companies who shared their knowledge on YouTube. Watching a few of those videos were an invaluable education and reduced the sharpness of the education curve, allowing me to expedite the start of this new adventure.

The Al-Nakheel Cycling Route

I live on the border between the villages of Duraz and Barbar on Bahrain’s north coast. One of the island’s most interesting and ancient routes – the Al Nakheel Highway, meaning the Palm Groves Highway – is just a stone’s throw away from my home. That road spans almost the whole breadth of the northern part of the island from Budaiya village on the west through to the Bahrain Fort on the Eastern shores. The road passes through several scenic villages and is quite navigable. As it is a single carriage-way and running through villages, it can get quite busy at peak hours and does get a bit narrow at the small shopping areas along that road; particularly through the villages of Barbar and Jannusan.

Panorama - the Bahrain Fort - (c) Mahmood Al-Yousif all rights reserved

The length of that route is 12 kilometers and a round trip if I start my route by going to Budaiya village and then double back I average about 25 kms and it takes me approximately an hour and a half at an average speed around 21 kph.

I normally ride early in the morning – around 6.30 or 7.00 – on Fridays and sometimes on Saturdays with hardly a car in sight and just a few people getting their early breakfasts from the Khabbaz (local baker) or one of the samboosa and sandwich shops which every village on the route has. I’ve not stopped yet to sample any of their fares yes but I do take the time – sometimes – to stop at the Bahrain Fort museum and enjoy the sights and sounds of the early morning.

The Early Morning Riders - Cycling in Bahrain

The ride has become much more of a please when joined by a couple of friends. Now Basim Al-Sai’e, Bader Kanoo and I have made it a habit to ride early every Friday morning. We’ve gone as far as Zallaq in the south of the island and of course as far east as the Ritz Carlton hotel and back.

It’s just been a couple of months since I got the bike. It would serve me well to remember that I’m a complete noob at this, rather than feel like I’m actually a pro. The latter allows me to have a sense of experience I actually do not have. At no time was this more apparent than the last weekend. The various cuts and bruises suffered when I fell off my bike on a main road last Saturday. I’m so fortunate to have had my safety helmet on because what broke my fall on the metal fence at the side of the road was that helmet!

Let me end by repeating my advice I opened this post with: to any budding and even experienced cyclists: remember that Bahrain’s road and drivers are very hostile to cyclists. The dust and sand on the roads will easily derail your bike. You will lose traction in a glimpse of an eye sometimes through no fault of your own and you’ll find yourself in dicy situations. Help yourself and save your own life by ensuring that you always wear a helmet, go on your rides as early in the morning as possible to avoid car traffic and get on less busy roads, and always ride defensively. Don’t take cars, pedestrians, other cyclists, children, youth, dogs and other animals for granted. And most of all, wear a good quality helmet, seriously!

With all that said, cycling on Bahrain is quite pleasurable. Go out and enjoy the limited nature that we have, and make it your own!

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No Sweets October

No Sweets October

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Here’s a commitment I made:

To me, October = No sweets / no cakes / no biscuits / no chocolate month. Allowing myself one fruit a day. Just because. Anyone fancy joining me in this quest?

Posted by Mahmood Al-Yousif on Thursday, October 1, 2015

No sweets October. How does that grab you? Doable?

I honestly didn’t believe that I could. That’s why I made that commitment public so I can be held accountable. When I do that, I do challenge myself and make the commitment happen. It’s 12 days since and I’m glad to say that I have not had any of those things so far, and I’m not going to either. On Nov 1st; however, I’m heading straight to DQ and getting my favouritest dessert: a Peanut Buster Parfait! Maybe even two, we’ll see how I feel 😉

The effect of having this sweets fast is tremendous though. On Oct 1st I weighed 85.3, today, well… have a look:

today I weigh 82.6kgs, which is a long way from the 116.5kg I was recently ;)

That’s a tremendous reduction of 2.7 kgs in just 12 days. That’s a reduction of 33.9% of my body weight at its heaviest which was 116.5 kgs.

I’ll admit that in the interim I actually increased my activity. I now average about 9km of running a day with an additional 30 – 60 minutes on other machines. I also added 90 minutes of swimming training twice a week with a few half-hour swimming sessions in between. So the weight loss might not just be due to the effect of not having sweets, it’s probably having something to do with the slightly increased activity as well.

Regardless, I’m quite chuffed with myself for arriving in the 82s. I honest cannot remember me the last time my weight was 82.6 kgs. If I were to guess, I would say that it might have been late teens or early twenties. Makes me double happy 😉

My declared intention was to get to 83 kgs by the end of the year. Now that I busted that level, my new target is 80 kgs by the end of 2015. Who’s with me on this journey of regaining health?

Let’s go!

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No sympathy for fat people

No sympathy for fat people

weight-chart-mahoodNone.

Because I was one and know from my own experience that the solution is in one’s own hands – and mouth – and no one else’s.

Brutal. Honest. And true.

So stop your whining and just get on with it.

Let me tell you how I got it done.

  1. Determination
  2. Commitment
  3. Sacrifice, and
  4. A vision for where I wanted to be

Hold on to that number four, believe me that alone will drag you out of bed, make you determined to say no to that sweet cake or extra food and allow you to go the extra few minutes in the gym to complete your program.

Also, again from experience, nothing is as powerful as one’s own determination to start. Real determination. When I started I was at one of the lowest points in my life and I made the commitment to change to the better at 5pm on the 9th of June 2013 in Vienna, Austria. I was 116.5kgs then. I’m 84.2kgs now, and as you can see from my weight progress chart, I managed to keep off what I lost for the last two years.

How I managed to lose that weight was hard work both emotionally and physically. Maintaining the “no campaign” is emotionally hard. I still struggle sometimes with saying no to bread and other goodies. Keeping the vision of what I want to be helps me maintain that all important no.

The physical part became a welcome habit now. I actively look forward to going to the gym and practicing sports whenever I can. That time is precious to me because apart from it allowing me to maintain a fitter body, it also resets my mood and makes me a happier, calmer and a more content person. It allows me to focus on an issue that I need to pay attention to and the regular exercise allows me to have much more restful sleep which is so very important to the maintenance of health and weight too.

I don’t like the fact that I’m going against doctors’ orders not to run, but it’s too much of a good thing and a pleasure to ditch altogether. I’ve reduced the running distance now to just 5km in 30 minutes at a time, and I only run three or four times a week. Way below my iconic Athens Half Marathon, but good enough for me at this present time. As you can see from the chart, I was able to maintain my new weight over the last two years and surpassed my supposed ideal weight as suggested by the Dukan Diet, which was the weight-loss program I followed.

So in essence, if I can do it, so can you!

I’d be happy to help anyone lose the blubber by sharing my own experiences. I won’t give you advice, so please don’t expect that. Go to a qualified doctor to give you that kind of stuff. What I can give you is an honest sharing of my own experience of how I got it done to inspire you to gain a better and healthier lifestyle.

Now off you go and start your own journey to better health.

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Body signals, and why I should have listened to them

Body signals, and why I should have listened to them

What I thought was simple enough muscle strain due to the half-marathon I completed in Athens in May, and is fixable by physio therapy, turned out to be a lot more severe!

A couple of weeks after my return, I thought to finally listen to my body signals and go see a specialist. I consulted an orthopaedic surgeon who suggested that it was just the fickle groin muscle and advised physio. I did that for a month and realised a perceptible improvement; however, the underlying problem still existed, evidenced by my inability to ditch the crutch and my constant need with ibuprofen to deal with the pain. I could not put any weight on that leg, and the theories for that conditions encompassed muscle fatigue, knee problems and various others passed on through advice from well intentioned people, including a gardener in a public park in
Brooklyn. According to the very nice gentleman, 6 – 7 pounds of broccoli should do it. That’s what he is on to deal with his problematic knee.

So off I went to see the surgeon again on my return from the States. This one was also convinced it’s a busted knee problem and insisted that I should get some ultrasound scans for the muscles and an X-ray/MRI for the knee. The surgeon wasn’t convinced. After manipulating my leg in ways I didn’t think possible – coupled with excruciating pain – he was convinced that the issue is with the hip. The knee’s reaction, he felt, was referred pain. To be sure, he ordered an x-ray of the pelvic region.

hip / pelvic bonesWhen I entered his office after the x-rays, he was looking at the film and was shaking his head. What he said was worrying, and quite surprising: “this is criminal. a rookie physio should have realised that the problem was in the hip, not the knee. You, my friend have a fantastic tolerance to pain. You have a broken hip! Specifically you have a fracture between the femoral head and the greater trochanter. It’s amazing that you can put weight on that leg. You shouldn’t. What you should do is fix it, and do so quickly.”

Lovely. I knew I am a man, but apparently I’m THE man!

What I have to do now is have an operation to have a couple of screws fitted in to weld the bone in place and provide extra support. This is obviously done under general anesthetic and the recovery could take up to three months.

Lovely. There goes my plan for a summer holiday, and more importantly, running when the season starts again in September.

I, my friends, don’t do things by half. I go all in. Black or white. And my first ever sports injury is at 52 years of age, is a broken hip! Match that if you can 😉

Well, I’m afraid that due to my history with doctors and what my own father, may he rest in peace, went through with them, I don’t take their word as gospel and as much as possible, question them and get a second opinion. That I did, and the second well know orthopaedic surgeon concurred with the first and said that I have to have surgery immediately.

Now that the prognosis was similar, and the remedy very close, what remained now was choosing where to get the operation done and who should perform it. This gave me the opportunity to get a third opinion, because that would also give me the opportunity to check out the German Orthopaedic Hospital and Prof. Dr Heinz Roettinger.

I arranged to see him asap though a good EO friend – his schedule was pretty much overflowing. I’ve been in this hospital before, in fact we produced two films here, one specially for the German Hospital through a production for Venture Capital Bank many years ago.

Frances and I waited in Prof. Heinz’s office. When he walked in, he saw the x-ray on the light-box and without pre-amble said: “we have to operate immediately.” He did take the time to explain the options and recommended implants as a remedy like the first two did. I need now to make a decision as to where I would rather have the operation performed, and which surgeon should have the honour to undertake it.

I wasn’t comfortable to go to the first surgeon as he neglected to take an evidently needed x-ray/MRI to start with which could have saved me weeks of agony. Going to the second hospital wasn’t an option either as it’s not covered by my insurance, and they’re having staff problems; they were on strike for back pay. That left me with the German Orthopaedic as the choice. Unfortunatley they too aren’t covered by my insurance, but at least they agreed to part cover the bills, leaving me to pay fo the major portion. As I’m writing this in my hospital bed, sans pain for the first time in weeks, I don’t mind that. At least the leg is fixed, and I’ll be on a good aod to recover from this episode.

The moral of the story is this: listen to your body. Don’t just go for the goal, but maintain a sustained process. It’ll take time, but you’ll reach there in better health. Don’t rush things and seek medical and experienced advice.

My goal was to run a half marathon and train for it in the shortest time possible, this while going on a strict regime to lose a heap-load of weight just as fast. Those two goals trumped the journey I should have concentrated on, which is to gain a happiness through health. That was my strategic objective. But, enthusiasm took the better of me. It took me just three months to lose more than 25 kilograms, 33kgs when I was at the half-marathon’s starting line. That was eleven months since I started the weight loss regime.

As to the running, I just started running at the gym and then outside without much of a plan. I did realise that I have to follow a proper program to attain the necessary experience and stamina to run a marathon, so I downloaded an app to help me with that. But, the app I downloaded unwittingly was for a full marathon training, rather than a half marathon. By the time I discovered that error, I thought I might as well train for the full marathon anyway. That was stupid. So I went from 0km to 21km in about four months, all the while training for a fulll 42km.

Athens Half Marathon, Mahmood Al-Yousif running with Marsha Ralls

I did finish the half-marathon though and got a decent finish time for a first timer; however, I did feel something “give” while climbing that final hill to the finish line – the hill of death. I didn’t stop and never thought of doing so. I crossed the line, to one of the proudest moments of my life.

The down-side was that I didn’t recognise the signal my body was giving. I thought that after running 21 kilometers, that was just muscle strain. The way that I dealt with it was thinking that them muscles needed loosening up, so a couple of days after the marathon I went for a 5km run, followed by various gym sessions over the proceeding days and weeks. My legs were screaming for help. I offered them the help not based on professional advice, which I should have immediately sought, but on what I thought was helpful. As I did not have any experience in the field, I should not have depended on that alone.

With this experience I’ve learnt more valuable life lessons: Quick is not always better; attune to your body’s signals and seek professional advice and finally, join a special interest group and seek their experience and expertise. Much like joining the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation to help with my entrepreneurial development from my peers, I need to join a running club to gain from their expeience and safely develop as a runner.

Hindsight is always a marvelous thing of course. What I want to do with mine is get this leg fixed up and carry on with my quest to gain a happy and healthy life, but attain those goals through good methods and consideration, rather than assume I’m doing the right thing.

Maybe also it would be helpful to just have to remember that I’m 52 and not 25!

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A beautiful breakfast

A beautiful breakfast

Food isn’t that important to me any more, I get a much deeper pleasure having it with people I care about. That was the feeling I had this morning meeting up with my friend Karla Solano at Chai Café where we had a semi-traditional Bahraini breakfast, and talked running, amongst various other topics. It was really nice to see Karla again.

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The café itself is nice and cosy, situated on two levels at a corner directly opposite Bahrain Mall. The place is nice, neat, tidy and clean. The staff attentive and the food really good. Their menu is quite extensive and they even have monthly subscriptions to dallahs of various teas! Not sure if the service includes delivery, but the idea itself is quite novel. Very nice. I’m a sucker for chai karak!

Opting for the “combo breakfast” and a khobiz jibin (cheese bread) with chai karak, Karla and I compared running injuries 😉 and we discussed the various running events happening in the next six months in Bahrain. I didn’t know there were that many! In fact, the running calendar via the Bahrain Road Runners is quite well thought out and extensive; taking a runner from the basic 5km a the beginning of the season and gradually go to 10k, 15k, 17k coast-to-coast (which is gruelling I’m told due to the terrain) and finally culminating in a half marathon in January. I’ll certainly attempt all of those as not only do they sound fun to do, but I know from experience that if I can run those here in Bahrain, I can conquer those distances anywhere else without too much of a problem. My target now, is to get much healthier, build my core strength and push for better timings.

I’ll tell you this now though: I’m aiming for a half-iron-man in 2016 and at least two half marathons in 2015. Hope some of you can join me. That would be a lot of fun.

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A fair price: A slightly damaged leg for a half marathon

A fair price: A slightly damaged leg for a half marathon

When I declared that I was intending to run a half marathon, many had doubts. Others decided to give me some benefit of the doubt and thought that I might be aiming for the stars, but I could reach the moon. A good enough achievement. I must confess that I had doubts too and that I used the opportunity very much like a carrot while continuing my training and weight loss program. Still, as time went by, the more determined I got to actually not just complete the task, but complete it well.

I’m not going to write about the whole program I followed and its various challenges over the last 11 months; that’ll happen in another post, suffice it to say that the genesis of the new me was at 5PM on the 9th of June 2013 in Vienna. That was the moment that I decided to change my life. At one of the lowest points in my life, I determined to be happier. And what I meant by that is better health, better relationships and better goals.

Almost a year hence, I’ve lost 33kgs, have begun to love exercise and have run the Athens Half Marathon and completed it in under 2.5 hours (2:26 to be exact), an improvement of 16 minutes on the best I’ve done while training in Bahrain. Good achievements by any standard I would think.

Mahmood running the Athens Half Marathon 2014 with Marsha Ralls

Alas, being new at this sport thing, I still don’t recognise the signals my body was giving me to take it easy. You see, directly after the marathon, I felt a pain in my right thigh and put that to the gruelling Athens course with its many extended inclines and declines. I brushed it off, and off I limped.

A couple of days later, an activity was arranged for us EOers to go on a guided scenic 5km run in Athens, and yes; of course I joined and ran! However, at the conclusion of that run, my body didn’t leave any subtle hints that I needed to slow down. It put the breaks on and my thigh was as tight as a drum. I simply couldn’t walk without a limp. I took a break and didn’t go on any more runs. The walking from the hotel to the various conference venues was enough to aggravate it. What it needed was some serious TLC. As my schedule was full, that was not forthcoming.

A few days later, I went on another trip, this time to the beautiful German city of Munich for another conference, one that I would speak at (a post will be coming soon). I couldn’t arrive in Munich for the first time and not explore! That, to me is an unforgivable sin. So off I limped to the Viktualienmarkt and the surrounding area. That was painful, but I persevered. The fortunate thing is that the excellent hosts of EO Germany booked me into the quaint Louis Hotel immediately opposite, so it wasn’t so onerous.

Apart from those short walks, I went to the adequate hotel gym and did some exercises, primarily on the bike as that seemed to be the only machine which didn’t tax my legs too much. Ignoring the pain, I continued to exercise every day. Once again, I should have stopped, but lacking the experience in sports injuries I continued in the program. I’m 52 and that was the very first sports injury I suffered! However, once I finished a one hour stint on the bike and went on the elliptical, my thigh finally has had enough. It put the breaks on, and did so rather hard. I could hardly breath, let alone move!

A while after I regained my breath, I borrowed one of the hotel’s umbrellas to use as a temporary crutch. Battling the pain, I managed to hobble to a specialist cane and umbrella shop nearby, unfortunately, they didn’t have a walking stick my size and the guy responsible for cutting them wasn’t available that day. I carried on with the umbrella for a while. A couple of days later, my friend and host Karl Funke insisted on gifting me a crutch he no longer had use for. Very generous indeed and highly appreciated. I cannot tell you how that helped me navigate my way through airports to get home, and am still using it.

Thanks to another good friend, Karla Solano, who urged me to see a physio therapist and put me in contact with ones she uses. I booked an appointment immediately and off I went to see them. My leg was thoroughly checked and their conclusion was that the muscles in my right thigh were completely exhausted; thus were in a complete tense state, rendering the leg useless. I could not walk nor put any weight on the thing. Being subjected to ultrasound and acupuncture therapies for just one session has improved it tremendously. I would say that the improvement I felt must have been close to 100%! I must say that going to the physio is a life changing experience.

I’m off again this afternoon for another session where I hope it will improve some more. It had better as I have to go on another production trip and the use of my legs would be much required!

 

 

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The first 10k run experience

The first 10k run experience

On a chance discussion about my new new self with my friend Karla Solano one day, I mentioned that I’m enjoying running. For the first time in my life, I could actually run an uninterrupted 30 minutes at a respectable pace on the treadmill. Me being me, I wanted to go to the next step as soon as possible; as it happened, one of the side-events at the annual EO Global Leadership Conference in Athens this year is a half marathon. I registered for it. My thinking is I’ve got 6 months to train to ace it!

I told Karla this and she suggested some very practical things that I need to do to make that aspiration happen: half a proper training regimen, go run outside rather than the treadmill and participate at interim marathons to get the real feel of this type of competitions. Karla has fully embraced this lifestyle herself and transformed herself into a health fiend! So happy for her. What EO taught me is to listen to experience, and ditch the unsolicited advice. Karla’s journey into health is a credible one and I was more than happy to seek her experience and take some of that on-board. Time to get busy!

I downloaded the Hal Higdon Novice 1 Marathon App (don’t you love the iPhone? There’s an App for <i>anything</i>!), entered the Athens half marathon date in there and started running outside, following the apps program. It actually works, and I like the stats it generates as they incentivise me to do better.

Today was the day that all of the above came together. I ran the Alareen 10k Run this afternoon, an event that brought in over 400 runners of all ages, shapes and sizes. It was fun, but a lot of hard work. The weather is getting hotter, but it wasn’t too uncomfortable. I had to hold myself back consciously several times at the start of the run and remind myself that I have to run at my own pace, rather than the crowd around me. It was as much psychological as it was physical. I learnt quite a lot from the experience and I look forward to learning some more and get inspiration from other runners as well.

Bahrain Road Runners, you gained a new member!

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[Vlog] NY Winter – Fun at Bryant Park

[Vlog] NY Winter – Fun at Bryant Park

A friend suggested that I should go visit Bryant Park before I leave NY as they have an ice rink as well as an “even better holiday market” in her words when comparing what Bryant Park had to offer with that of Union Square. I enjoyed watching the ice skating and making this film. I must confess; however, that the market at Union Square is – to me – much better! Regardless, I enjoyed the couple of hours I spent at Bryant Park, having fun watching people having fun. Fantastic! Thanks Sarah! 😉

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