Interview #8 for Inspiring Women Who Run
In this week’s episode of Inspiring Women Who Run we feature Fazlia Hanim Ab Hamid, or Hanim for short. She is a well-respected member of her running community and circle of friends, and more than anything loves the thrill of running a full marathon. Let’s take a peek at this Negri Sembilan native’s history in running and find out what this petite runner’s personal best timing for the 42.195km distance is.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am an auditor originally from Seremban, currently working with a well-known low cost airline. I am a mother of 2 boys and a dutiful wife to my husband. My life is pretty hectic where I need to balance both roles and at the same time find time to do what I love most, which is running!
What made you get into running and how long have you been doing it?
I’ve been running since I was in primary school where I participated in short distance running events in my school’s Sports Day like the 100m, 200m and relay (4x100m). Then when I was in Form 4, I got first place for my school’s Merentas Desa (Cross Country). That was the turning point where I realized that I do better in long distances and I ‘tapau’ed (swept) all the long distance events (400m, 800m, 1600m). After secondary school, when I was at university, had started working and then had children, I still continue running as part of my regime to lose weight and maintain a healthy life. I usually ran at the gym or around my housing area.
My first running event was Energizer Night Run in 2011 where I participated in a fun run category (5.5km). Since that, I’ve been participating in many running events and as of now I have completed 26 (I hope I counted it correctly) races, that number includes 6 full marathons.
What’s your typical training pattern like?
For my full marathon (FM) training, I will run at least 3 times a week with 1 run during the weekend for long slow distances (LSD – a must!). I run early in the morning at 5:30 around my housing area which is quite safe as there is a security guard manning the housing area. Nevertheless, I still take precaution and ensure I am alert and keep my eyes and ears opened during my run. So far (touch wood) I feel safe and nothing bad has happened. I do boot-camp as well once a week as part of my core and strength training. Boot camp rocks!
Do you have any special diets?
Before I took up running seriously, I really watch and limit my food intake and now I don’t limit myself that much. I still watch what I eat and make sure I eat healthy. 2 weeks before my race (especially FM) I will increase my protein diet intake. I will take whey protein once a day and eat more fish or chicken or egg.
What is your favorite race distance and why?
Full marathon. I haven’t been racing any other distance for quite some time so I’m not sure whether my favorite would be other distances. Running a FM is not as easy as running other distance. It requires huge determination, strong will and high commitment. When you run FM, there will be one point where you have to fight with your own self (where your body want to stop running and your mental says otherwise) This happens to me all the times in all 6 marathons so the challenge itself makes running marathon is special, thus I choose it to be my favorite one. 😉
It requires huge determination, strong will and high commitment. – Hanim Ab Hamid on running a full marathon
What has been your favorite race so far?
I would say Malaysia Women Marathon (MWM) in Shah Alam (April 2013). It was a very special race for me to run in an inaugural marathon event together with my group of Krazirunner sisters. We trained and encouraged each other as most of them were running their first full marathon and this race had bonded us where I got to know them better. It was also the first event where I had sufficient training and well prepared (mentally and physically) to achieve my first sub-5 and I did it!
Tell us about your proudest achievement in running to date?
The recent Gold Coast Airport Marathon (early July 2013) in Queensland, Australia, where I represented my company. Running with my company’s name on the vest and achieved my PB (4h 31m) was the proudest moment to date. I cried (a bit :P) when I reached the finish line.
So you ran the Gold Coast Airport Marathon in Australia recently. Tell us how running there is different from running a marathon in Malaysia.
The full marathon’s flag off was after the half marathon, which to me is a good idea since FM is the highlight of the event and all FM runners will have the finishing line to themselves without having to share or mix with other runners. The crowd was awesome where they brought their kids along, standing beside the road and they ‘high-five’ed and gave encouragement to runners. They had kept me moving, as at one point I wasn’t feeling that good. I didn’t feel that tired and fatigue and I was running at my comfortable pace without realizing that it was actually bit too fast from my normal pace.
The colder weather in Australia also contributed to my better timing. However, it could cause you some difficulty to breathe as well. It happened to me at KM 7.5 where I was gasping for air after having a few gulps of cold water at the water station. Cold air + cold drink = Choke!
Do you have any other goals that you have not yet achieved in running?
I’ve done 6 marathons and I hope to do more in the future. I secretly plan (no more secret now) to get involved in triathlon. I’ve done a duathlon once and I enjoyed it but I need to work and improve on my swimming technique first before signing up… and get a road bike too!
Do you have additional advice or shout-out to say to all lady runners out there?
If you have just started take up running, then keep on running. If you have a mission to beat your timing, then keep on training. And while you’re at it, do it happily too!