Run, Susan, Run (Part 1)

Susan notes: My friend Yang-May Ooi recently started running. She asked her Fusion View blog readers to share their experiences around how they had begun to run. So I created my first-ever podcast for her to include in HER podcast. Click on the player to hear my experience; read on if you want more detail. BTW, the pic below and left is a "before," to see "after," click to continue 🙂

November 2003, I attended an International Business Women’s Group
dinner, which turned out to be the beginning of the end of the life I
had known for 20 years. (At left is a pic of me circa 1998)

Representatives of Gulf for Good,
a local organization that raises money for charity, made a presentation
on their upcoming adventure challenges. On the spur of the moment, I
signed up for a six-day, 120-kilometer trek on the Great Wall of China, which I had long wanted to visit.

The arduous trek would take place mostly on the “wild” sections of the
Great Wall, so “challengers” had to be fit and healthy. I had been
quite sporty in my youth (skied competitively, was a good swimmer), and
I enjoyed hiking, cycling and squash. But other than irregular workouts
at the gym, I wasn’t nearly as active as I had once been. That was
about to change.

To shape up, I started walking. Compulsively. I arose daily at around 5
a.m. (to beat the heat) and shuffled (at least initially), along the
“corniche,” Abu Dhabi’s seaside boardwalk.

As the weeks went by, my half hour strolls lengthened and quickened until I was “wogging” dsc_526_2.jpg(half
walking, half jogging), for 90 minutes each morning. Several times a
week I ran up and down the stairs of our 12-storey apartment building,
in anticipation of the endless steps on The Wall.

I began to eat differently – mostly vegetarian and much less than
before. Women tend to gain weight during menopause, but I lost it (the
weight AND my mind at times!). Over the course of the next year, I
dropped 20 pounds (about 9 kilos), and become “petite,” more muscular
and lean.

As my body changed, so did I. I began to think, feel, and dress in new
ways. I stopped wearing big, baggy conservative clothes in shades of
black, blue and beige. Instead, I shimmied into fitted tops and tight
jeans. I began wearing bling and sayiing ‘dahhhling.’ Pink, a colour I
had eschewed my entire life, became my trademark hue. (The pic in pink above was taken in 2007)

Related links:
Amazingwomenrock.com & I (more about my story)