Monday, June 11, 2012

Day 11: The Story of "The Running Story"

Day 11 : 15 Weeks : 5 Days

On my (edit 09.07.13 - old deactivated) Facebook account, I created an album journal when I finally begun with running. I felt it was going to be a huge help if I share what my goal was with my family and friends, and get the needed moral support.  Specially, when I am not feeling specially motivated.

It's been over 9 months since I created that album journal dedicated to running, which I called, The Running Story - A Journal.  It is where I recorded my first 5K, my first 4M, and my first 8K in images and journals.

The very first training day, with the thought: it's NOW or NEVER! 8th of August, 2011

First 5K - 28th of August, 20 days after I begun training to run
18th of September, my first Dam tot Damloop, and my first 4M

Goal achieved - ran first 8K and finished at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam, 16th of October

After it became full (FB - at least in my case - limits an album created to 200 images), I created another album, and called it, The Running Story Continues - A Journal. There I recorded my training with mijn liefste P for our first Run2Day Halloween Run in Amsterdam, and the run itself.  It also archived my first Amsterdam Olympic Stadium Run, where I run my first 10K, and three consecutive missed running events due to illness.

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After convalescing, I continued with my running, and continued journaling it in this album journal.  I went on to record my first Vondelparkloop (6.7 kms), my first Tuesday run with the Amsterdam Running Junkies, my first Zandvoort Circuit Run, where I achieved my first Sub40 in a 5K.

my first Vondelparkloop (6.7 kms)

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All that happened in the first three months of the year.

After Zandvoort, I felt strong, confident and excited for all my scheduled run in the month of April.  I had a running event scheduled almost every Sunday: a 5K during the Jaarbeurs Utrecht Marathon, a 5K in Hilversum City Run and the highlight was the Hamburg Marathon Relay at the end of the month.

I was able to share images of the first two events in the album albeit only snippets of those experiences.  When my dream of participating in Hamburg Marathon was fulfilled - I waited almost 2 decades to fulfill it! - I sank in a hole somehow.

I did share a couple of images from Hamburg but did not include it in the album but in another album.

Today, I finally added another image to that album, and as it's title said, "The Running Story Continues..."

Below is the image and the story I shared with it:

It's Not Always About PR (Personal Record)

It's been quiet for sometime now, in this album journal.

I had another massive attack of writer's block, a huge portion of paralyzing self-doubt, and yes a good dosage of anxiety.

Pretty, ironic since it happened right after another fulfilled dream - finally being a part of Hamburg marathon event, something I've dreamed of doing for decades. Something, I could not have done without the help of running sisters!

All the self-inflicted pressures weighed heavy on me.

It took weeks, a couple of months time to be exact and a lot of support from family, friends - specially sisterhood and brotherhood (blogging, running, soulfriends) to remind me, that it's okay to be me, and follow my path, and make a change (even if a tiniest ripple), in the process of trying to make myself a better person. May this be a better mom, partner, sister or better friend, or better runner, or better part of the community engage in social issues.

The thoughts below were my confusion of the last couple of months...

Was I stupid to register for a marathon, even if it's a childhood dream, and I am slowly, steadfastly working on the goal, which is simply: to finish it!

Why am I putting myself out there to be possibly made a fool for sharing my thoughts, emotions, what I care for, what I am passionate about through my blogs...will it reach out anyone? Will it even make a tiny ripple to change the world positively?

Will people ever understand that people, who suffer from depression, from bipolar-disorder are not lazy, thoughtless, or irresponsible? They don't need to be pitied, they don't need things solved or done for them. They need self-empowerment, which can only truly be given to them by themselves. What helps the healing of people, who suffer through it, is kindness, patience and understanding....

I lost a friend, this month. No, the friend did not pass away, only our friendship died. I cried my insides out since this friend, knew me from the inside out, or at least I thougth so.

In the end, this friend gave me a powerful lesson. Something so very old, everyone must know it, and we do know it really, but it is so very hard to remember.

I can only be me, and my how I struggle to be me, and be true to myself, and still fight the urge to please everyone for acceptance and love.

Connection. We all want to feel connected, even as we struggle with our own identiy, and individualism. We all want to belong.

It's hard to belong when you struggle with yourself. Somehow, it always communicate wordlessly. Your fears and insecurities are mirrored and reflected back to you, when you are with others. This is when miscommunication arises...

Only when you are at peace with yourself will you recognize, and not constantly feel the nagging doubt that somebody is against you or disapprove you, judges you or rejects you.

See the yellow man in the collage? It's suppose to be a representation of myself, according to the racing results. From way behind of the pack, I am working myself in the middle.

Should it mean anything else than a visual aid to kick my bum (scusi) to train better? Or is it symbolically there to show that I am better person, runner, or the opposite of it all....

At least for me it tells a different story.

Running gave me back my mental and physical strength. It's not my religion but a bearer of the message, "Yes, indeed, step by step, we can be strong and we can reach our goal, and have clarity that it's only ourselves, that stands in our way."

If you are wondering about how I am blogging about my first marathon experience, please read:

Berlin Marathon 2012 Odyssey: An Attempt @ Daily Blogging

Monday, June 4, 2012

Day 4: Learning to Take it Easy & NOT Stress

Day 4 : 16 Weeks : 5 Days

My daily blogging here is not yet going according to how I am visualising it in my head, and I hope I could improve on it this week.

Currently, I still have two blogs (Day 2, and Day 3) on draft, yet to be published. I might manage it now while waiting for the laundry to finish in the dryer. (Edit: published!)

I am taking it easy on myself this time with EVERYTHING  :) ,  and trying not stress the small stuff. This attempt at attitude change alone is  one of the many important factors that will help my training improve.

Main thing  with this marathon journal, I am recording first and foremost thoughts I have daily regarding the training for myself, and will share it eventually, as a published blog.

I am still working on not obsessing too much about all of the details, and reminding myself that this whole experience is personal.  Don't I enjoy and become inspired myself when the blogger I am reading is "being real" and "feels truly genuine"? Why don't allow myself to be that!

If my plan works out, I would like to write my blogs around 8 pm (when the girls are all fast asleep), and set it to publish when I am already in bed at 10 pm.  This would be an ideal schedule.  Creating a regimen/habit would take at least 3 weeks to integrate completely.

This should not be rigid!

I have to underline to myself again though, that the main thing is I write down my daily thoughts (regarding my training and my feelings about the marathon experience) as they come (save it in draft mode), and NOT worry about publishing them or not publishing at certain period - like becoming lunatic because I put a dealine on myself! Perhaps this attitude will help me be more spontaneous.

Below is my ASICS training plan. I'll discuss more about it this week.

What I want to share tonight though is that I've learned to be flexible regarding "what" (training schemes, literature about running) to follow and "who" (running experts, running gurus, passionate runners etc) to follow or listen to.

As much as I would like to only go by instinct, I would have to learn to balance all three: written facts about training, words of experts based on their experiences, and my own feeling of my own body - it's strength and limitations.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Day 3: June's Running Calendar

Day 3 : 16 Weeks : 6 Days

Although this blog is published as Day 3, it was on draft mode and won't be published until after I've already published Day 4.

The reason for this was my indecisiveness regarding which running events I would still be registering myself for, this month.

Well, Sundays are supposed to be a day for long runs but as I've mentioned in Day 1, I took a short break from running, and now I am modifying my training schedule a bit.

Today, I rested from my run from Day 2 @Kinderdijk. And I thought, I could talk about what running events I would be running instead.

I think I needed to learn a lesson, which you can read on Day 4, and perhaps on the next days this week, regarding being flexible with my body and my running mentality,  literally (!) and metaphorically, respectively.

Now, going back to my running event's schedule for the month of June.

As I've mentioned in Day 2 & @My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands, I skipped the 10K in Germany, and went with the family to Kinderdijk to run a distance of what was around 7 kms (more about it in blog entry: Day 2).

If you look at the image at the top of this blog, you will see my tentative schedule. I say, tentative because I am officially registered to all events save one, which is the Almere City Run, where I plan to run also 7 kms distance. I only have my bank account in Germany, and no Dutch bank account yet, so I need mijn liefste P to assist me with the money transfer  for my running events through his account.

Hopefully, this would change next year. Not that mijn liefste P minds but it's rather practical if I can do it by myself, without bothering him with it!

I am excited to run each one of the event for this month because I will not only be working on improving on my condition but I'm getting to know Holland a little bit better through each city I run.  More about these running events in the next days, next weeks!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Day 2: Running @Kinderdijk

Day 2 : 17 Weeks 

Can you see me? The tiny white dot from the distance? This was captured by mijn liefste P

I decided against running the 10K event in Germany, which I signed up a month before.  I blogged about it @ My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands.

This is a back-dated post because the weekend was busy, and I was only able to write a post about why we stayed in the Netherlands instead of spending the weekend in Germany as planned.  But not how I ran in a very special place, quiet spontaneously. I thought that story, I'll save here because it's a typical Happy Feet in the Netherlands story.

Who thought an episode which was awful and sad would bring us to Kinderdijk!

Well, the family was able to spin the negative situation to a positive experience.

We were able to combine family quality time, we all enjoyed liesurely with my training.

couple of meters before I complted my run, captured by mijn liefste P

I ran almost 7 kms while mijn liefste P and our girls absorb the idyllic atmosphere of Kinderdijk at their own pace.

Eldest and youngest having fun! Captured by mijn liefste P
Middle child giving a raspberry to her older sister, who was behind the lens

youngest loves feathered friends, captured by mijn liefste P

It was a lovely run! I started my run around 6 pm and the sun was still shining warmly until the end. I had to take off my sun-glasses eventually half way through my run because it was hurting the bridge of my nose. Also, my facial skin I noticed needs extra moisturizing when I run with my face to the sun (even when wearing a running cap!).  Got to make a note of doing something about both.

Of course my family could not accompany me through the entire route of my run - so they missed the path where there were not many visitors taking pictures of the windmills, where it was relatively serene.

Eldest captured this image while I was still running

We are planning to remedy that in the future by either renting bikes or finally getting a bike carrier for our car.

I love, love, love running along the Molenkade, and wished it could be my regular route to run because it was simply spectacular to see the windmills along the route, not to mention the natural beauty of the nature in the surrounding area.

Although the flock of geese I encountered along the way, scared me a little bit with their hissing, I still found them charming, as I am aware they can be quiet aggressive because they are worried about their youngs, at this time of the year.

Whether it's a running event, or a simple training run, the girls are alway joyous to welcome me @ the "finish line" :)

This day was special training day not only because something spectacular came out from something sad; it showed me so clearly how very lucky I am. I have my loving family, who supports me, I have a healthy body, which enables me to experience a wide spectrum of joy, and I am blessed to  be able to see and experience  the beauty and wonders of this country, we now call our home.

Ladybug, which eldest discovered while they were walking along Molenkade on mijn liefste P's Summer pants - I found it adorable! :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Day 1 : Happy Feet, Troubled Heart, Clear Mind

 Day 1 : 17 Weeks : 1 Day : 00 Hours : 17 Mins: 00 Secs*

Runs end. Running doesn't. - Anonymous

print screen of 39th BMW Berlin Marathon website
It's been a while since I posted here @ Happy Feet in the Netherlands. I've been very busy but also had a terrible case of writer's block due to numerous life factors.

Tonight, to be completely direct, I would rather not blog at all.  But I vowed to myself, that I will keep a daily journal of my marathon odyssey from beginning to end.

So, here I am trying to be an adult, even though I would rather lie down in bed and cry myself to sleep like a child, who does not understand the world and it's complexities. (Edit: link added, Saturday, 3rd of June)

My feet are a happy pair though, even if my heart is terribly aching.

After running a 3.04 kms (in 24.49 minutes) today, I had a wide smile over my puffy eyes because it felt like I did not have a break at all.

I took 11 days off running (after my 10K run in Nijmegen) since I felt persistent pain around my ankles when I walked, and I was scared because even careful jogging felt like I was twisting  my muscles.

Nothing fancy with this watch but it suits it's purpose (timing my runs!), and mijn liefste P gave it to me shortly after finishing my first Run2Day Ladies Damloop, September, 2011

I tried to maintain fitness through long distance biking.  When I am cycling, I did not feel any pain at all.

Biking, I have to say in my case, is also a physical activity, which do not require much motivating to do.  Perhaps because it's  a part of our everyday life,  specially during school weeks; it's for the most part our main means of transportation in the village.

My bike. This picture was originally shared last April @ The Lightness of Being on the Bike

One of the good things, that came out of my short running break is I discovered how much I've improved in biking since we moved in the Netherlands.

I've written this in one of my blogs before: in looking back on my improvement  in the last 2 years of consistent biking, I am encouraged to be patient in improving my speed and all around performance in running. As with everything else we want to achieve in life, consistency, patience, persistence  eventually produces positive results.

an image taken June, 2010, shortly after mijn liefste P bought and assembled the bike for me; I tried it out for the first time, and after 1 km fell off it (this is my first country bike, I had a mountain bike, when we were still living in Germany)- more bike stories @ The Lightness of Being on the Bike

I guess, I can call today a painful (metaphorically and yeah, literally) over-due birth to this marathon daily journal.

It's been more than a couple of days, since my 9-month-runniversary of being a beginner runner - still thinking of celebrating it belatedly (blog to follow!).  I begun running by following an 8 weeks-training program for my first 8K on the 8th of August, and following the training plan, participated in my first ever running event almost three weeks later, Mom in Balance - Run for Pink Ribbon (Sunday, 28th of August, held in Amsterdam Bos).

Mijn liefste P beside shortly after finishing my first ever 5K Mom in Balance- Run for Pink Ribbon NL @ Amsterdam Bos - 28th of August, 2011

If not for the heart-ache of today, I would perhaps not made the effort to "begin" again in every sense of the word with a modest 3 kms run (it felt so good I had to do super-mini interval training), and to blog about the circumstances that surrounded it as honestly as I can.

The longest distance I have thus far ran in my short runner life is 15 kms, and that during my training in December, 2011.

It was in a very stormy evening, as I fought the wind, I tried my best to convince my body I was ready to participate in a 15 kms run I registered myself in for held in Rotterdam.

I missed it due to a very stubborn virus I caught a month before.

Since then (I thought!) I've learned my lessons, I would no longer cry over a "lost" run, nor be disappointed if I don't perform as I would like to.  I also thought after being sidelined from running for weeks during Winter, that I would know better how to balance time for running, the things I have to do to keep fit for it, with every thing else in my life - my family life, my social life, my responsibilities, and my countless interests.

My first run for the year 2012 @ The Vondelparloop, last 15th of January, after missing out on 15K run in Rotterdam.

But everyday I learn, that the lessons to be learned from intergrating running in one's life, is never-ending, even on days I am not running.

Every day as I try to get to know the runner I am becoming, I learn to appreciate and respect the boundaries of my body, and mind.  When I consistently do so, I am amazed how both communicate to me, how strong I am, and can be.

This image was captured by mijn liefste P, last year in October, as I picked up my bib for my first 8K @ the Amsterdam Marathon Expo held at Sporthallen Zuid

I might feel pain in my body, heart and mind, but running shows me clearly, I am strong enough to endure and overcome those pain.

*When I begun writing this post (11:45 pm), I wanted to print the screen of BMW Berlin Marathon website for their countdown, but I got distracted and when I finally came to it, it was beyond midnight. Just a curious fyi for readers, who perhaps like me, look at those kind of details. :)