Friday, August 24, 2012

42 FOR 42: A Look Back & An Honest Look @ Where I am

This morning I received a much awaited email: it contained my starting number for Berlin Marathon!


I am excited, terrified, and as silly as this may sound, a part of me - the 40 y.o., who still has the 10 y.o. dreamer in her - is already in the capital city of Germany.

Meanwhile, in the reality of where I am - an expat living in  a quaint village 20 minutes drive from Amsterdam: my mind is playing mental tricks on me, and in the process making my body struggle/resist to go to the next level.

This challenging stage of my training is something I am prepared for, and I am hoping I have enough time to conquer and overcome.

5 weeks, 1 day, 11 hours, 51 minutes, and the seconds keeps thinking on the time board of the Berlin Marathon website.

The FB page of Berlin Marathon begun their countdown to the day of the race event last week Sunday. This inspired me to a mini-countdown project I can do, which will override the frustration of not being able to do the daily update I had planned to do in the past months.

I called it 42 FOR 42: 42 days to running 42 kms. If you follow the link, you will be re-directed to my FB page: Paper in Europe, there you will find a photo-journal where I will document 42 images representing each of the 42 days leading to the running event, I have been dreaming of since I was a little girl.

cover photo for the Berlin Marathon mini-countdown project, which tells a story in itself: I am wearing a Nike+ Sportswatch w/ GPS, a watch I won last July, from Media Markt NL's contest, by accepting  FB invites from running friends to participate - a separate blog about it to follow

Update on my training: many things I planned to do, did not quiet go as I had hoped, and some of the things I did not plan, and simply spontaneously happened, were awesome.

Running the long distance part of the training has been very challenging in the past months. Mostly it was about organizing them. I wanted to do the long distance runs within the parameters of an organized run. For me it was simpler; it was a way to simply focus on the running with everything else (i.e. the route, the hydration) being taken cared of by someone else.

Alas, (some of) the runs I wanted to participate in (for my long distance training Sundays), were not realised because of 1. misunderstanding with a friend 2. miscommunication with my partner (about arranging the weekend off from work).

I know,  I make things complicated by trying to multi-task (euphemism for squeezing a lot of activities in a day!) too much. I wanted one of my 10K runs to coincide with visiting a friend. And, my first 30K run to coincide with a first weekend (supposed to be this weekend)  in Cologne with my hubby.

I guess if you are an infernal optimist like I am, you would say those mistakes are valuable lessons for the future.

My Running Calendar Collage: August 2012 - January 2013

Speaking of future, can you believe that I have not even run all my runs for this year (7 so far), and I am avidly scheduling next year's runs simply to be better organized and prepared for them!

Highlights of my training: With the downside of my training out of the way, I would like to share the high points! :)

First of all, I have not been able to introduce here yet @ Happy Feet in the Netherlands, my solesistahs! They are the ladies, who helped me fulfill my Hamburg marathon (relay) dream last 29th of April, in Germany.

at the athletes area in Heiligengeistfeld, Hamburg, Germany after receiving our medals and our well earned massage
Amsterdam Running Junkies Solesistahs, from the top/(back) clockwise: Lianne, moi, Udjen &  Eva - behind us is the Hamburg Rathaus (city hall) in Germany

You'll be reading more about these inspirational ladies in the next few weeks/months, as I share our running adventures here @Happy Feet in the Netherlands, and some @My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands. :)

I wanted to introduce them properly before I share our stories. But just for this blog, I'll just dive in and share the highlight of this month - we became (one of the) posters girls for Nike Running Netherland's Nike+ mission challenge: #runmokum. :)

Short version of this adventure (blog with details and lots of images to follow) : the mission was to find 20 advertising columns with Nike posters, numbered accordingly, which were all spread around the city of Amsterdam, and make a picture of yourself in front of it.  The entire run was equivalent to a half-marathon distance.

Using  Nike+, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram and of course FB you can share your run and spread the word to the different social media. Eva, our artistic solesistah, tweeted our adventure, and through it officially claimed one of the columns, thus placing our picture in front of column No. 8 (taken by our friend Remco) as poster format on the same column!

Now, you might ask why I call this highlight of my training. Well, I was able to run my first 19-20 kms (end of July as scheduled on my training plan) without even planning it thoroughly as I wanted to AND had fun doing it. :D

The second highlight of my training this August was the Nike+ #bridgerunner mission (special separate blog to follow!) : running a route that will cover as much bridges as possible.  I had planned to run my first  25 kms on this day but I only managed 17.7 kms.  My dissapointment in myself was unreasonable because it was one of the hottest Sunday in August;  NOT being hard on myself is something I am working on. I forgave myself, moved on, and was rewarded, with these:

I was - even only for short moment of the day - on the Nike+ leaderboard of #runthistown!

My #bridgerunner collage, which I shared on Nike Running Netherland's FB page, and tweeted on their Twitter channel

I earned a Nike+ plus mission accomplished #bridgerunner badge!

What's in store for the next 37 days towards Berlin Marathon 2012: continue working on being strong, physically & mentally.

blogging keeps me mentally strong, & running helps keep my body physically strong

One of the steps I took to reinforce this goal was enrolling yesterday for my first one year membership in a gym (blogs to follow on this new adventure!).

My plan is a steady work-out mix of: strength, flexibility & core exercises.

When my family, friends & fellow runners expressed their worries about me running a marathon too soon, I told them this: I am there to finish it it, no matter how slow my pacing is - my main goal is to reach the finish line still strong, and standing.

Berlin Marathon is not the end goal of my running pursuits but just the beginning to a new direction.