The stereotype here is that people think the achievement is to be married, that society respects a woman more if she’s married and follows the norms, and men don’t want to marry a woman that has a higher degree than their own. But it’s up to our generation to open doors for the next generation.
At the beginning it was difficult for my family to accept that I wanted to do this full time. I wasn’t allowed to travel in the beginning, but as soon as they saw that I was waking up at 5am, totally committed, they had respect for it.I came 2nd in the GCC and 3rd in my age group in a triathlon in Bahrain. It’s a journey. After 12 hours of running, from the start line to the finish line, I’m a different person. After that when I went to my hotel room I was a bit depressed - I looked forward to this day as if it was my wedding day, and then when it was over I was like, “Khalas? That’s it?”
You’d be surprised who my role model is.. I’ve always loved Angelina Jolie. She’s an example of a strong, beautiful woman who is not just a beauty but a humanitarian who uses her fame and money to draw attention to more important things. People sometimes don’t understand what it means to run for charity or swim for charity here.
When I travel with my bike at Kuwait airport they always think I’m a foreigner. It’s so hard for them to accept that there’s a female with a bike and she’s an athlete and she’s Arabic.
I’ve never taken more than a week off; Even if my legs were still bleeding I would do it again. This is a mental sport. I run in the desert a lot, alone at night. That’s where I feel as though I’m exactly where I need to be. I never run with music, I travel only with my thoughts. I bought my first bike in 2010, when I didn’t even know what a triathlon was. I didn’t know about competing as an individual, but now everyone knows about me as the crazy runner who runs alone. It’s not a social thing for me, it’s something personal. I like to separate my professional life as a triathlete and my private life.
Sometimes I’d get insecure as my body transformed as a woman, and I’d see my friends who have more time to take care of themselves. But I’m still a girl at the end of the day! I think in our society people are more interested in lifestyle, and fashion and makeup, but they don’t put the spotlight on anyone who is physically achieving things. If I ever do photoshoots, I don’t like to look like the model type.. I once walked off one because they asked me to stand in a certain way… it wasn’t my thing.