Dark curls plaited tight, eyes with that focussed “not giving up” expression, muscles ready for action… that’s Samira Abraham for you, at the start of any race. This gritty triathlete has been on a winning streak for awhile now. We caught up with her to talk about things that kindle the competitive fire.
When you see this gentle looking, wand slim girl in civvies (that’s non-working out clothes, for us), you get a feeling that, here is a quiet person who has an infectious laugh, kind eyes and a friendly demeanour.
On the course, though, what you see is a fast-moving person with a child’s insanely happy grin. The others on that course have given you a grimace, a grunt… or that spaced out, “When is this suffering going to get over?” look. But a grin? That too an ear-to ear, eye-crinkling, Cheshire cat level grin? Yes, that is her, as well.
The many interesting facets to the powerful Samira Abraham. When asked for more, she said, “I absolutely love being outdoors, I am intensely passionate about sports, and I am fiercely competitive - “there is no quit in me”. In addition to my love for sports, I also have a deep love for animals. My dog Zoe has my heart."
"I enjoy reading and baking too. I love playing with food, experimenting and creating mostly healthy, real baked goods full of flavour. In fact, to fuel that other love of mine, I’ve started a business called “Spoon me”. Check me out on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/spoonme_bakedgoods/
So what makes the magical transformation happen is a behind-the-scenes story like no other. A big reason why Sam, as she is fondly called, is likely to podium anywhere she goes is, she puts in some the hours. The tedious, long, sweaty hours. Another is her focus on the process. She does not skimp the gym workouts, the strength training sessions, the weights, the Yoga, the whatever-it-takes! She is incredibly, incredibly strong! And that isn’t lucky genes. That’s just sweat, blood and a lot of love for the sport(s) she has embraced.
“For me, movement is magic!” This powerful testament is all you need to know, to understand what makes Sam tick. “I’m happiest when I’m doing something physically active.”, she says, “ I started swimming and doing athletics from a young age. They were what I looked forward to the most growing up and even now. All my fondest childhood memories involve sport! Training and staying active is an integral part of who I am and I’d be truly lost without it."
"There has always been this desire in me to be an athlete, right from as long as I can remember. After school I didn’t find any sport to compete in, until last year. I really missed that. The point here being, it is never too late to start. There is a whole world of opportunities out there. The things that excite you, don’t ignore it. Pursue it. It’ll take you places."
We asked her, how did triathlons happen? “I got introduced to cycling and triathlons by my significant other. It’s been an amazing start to the sport. What attracted me to Triathlons was that, it is three discrete disciplines. You swim in open water, jump onto your bike and then run after that. How can anything beat that? There is so much going on!
I’ve never done only one sport and I tend to get bored of doing just one thing. I also don’t like restricting myself. I’ve been swimming and running on and off. Cycling is new, I love it. Here’s a sport where I can do all three! It’s a dream come true."
Sam loves that the training is intense – There are different distances in Triathlon. What she's focused on is Olympic Distance Triathlon. That’s 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike and 10 km run.
She says "There are three different sports to train, along with strength and conditioning . I love the idea of being a well rounded athlete and am really enjoying the process of making that reality. Strong is a really great feeling!"
She attributes triathlons lately, and sports in general, with shaping her values and work ethics. These read like the perfect motivational guide:
- Consistent hard work gets you places.
- Trust your instincts.
- The process is what matters. That’s where growth and learning takes place. Embrace all of it, the good and the dark.
Sam’s rise in a new field of endeavour is of special note: she got her first road bike, and entered her first bicycle race in August 2016 (she got a podium position there, despite falling down). A couple of other podiums and a couple of months later, she applied to the Cycling Federation of India for a wildcard entry to nothing less than the national championships – where the biggest professional cyclists in India would come together. She not only went, she rode and she conquered: national ranking of 3rd position in the women’s Individual Time Trial event. That’s just seconds behind the Indian national champion!
So, so cardio goddesses feel fatigue? Hit the wall, occasionally? Sam nods a yes. When she hits a wall, she says mixing it up and just having fun with the sessions help, so she is able to get back into it refreshed.
It also helps to step back and analyse what’s going on. She says that the big one is also the ‘ why’ of what you are doing. She loves the training, the intensity, the early morning swims, the sweat fest at the gym, being out on the bike, hitting the road before sunrise to get the running miles in and the resolve to keep going on.
“I love the process of continuous learning and improvement, of pushing your boundaries, putting in the work and getting better. There is no finish line. There is always something to work on and I love that!
Finally, keep your support system close. Sam is inspired by her partner, who, as a keen amateur athlete in his own right, is supportive of her, and helps her discover new boundaries to smash through. Of him she says, “ He is the epitome of resilience, hard work and dedication. I’m really lucky to have him.”
“I truly believe that the people in your life make all the difference. So trust your gut and surround yourself with those you feel energized by. Get inspired by others, but don’t discount yourself. Everything is possible, as long as you’re willing to put in the work. And have fun with it!"
As we sign off with this fiery trailblazer, we’re definitely rooting for her! We’ll be watching her sporting career with great interest!