Sunday, November 16, 2014

Zevenheuvelenloop 2014 Weekend - Images & Impressions

Bloggers Note : How can you summarize so many impressions of a day - of a weekend! It always remain a beautiful, and at the same time angst ridden challenge for me as a blogger.
My need for perfection gets in the way, as well as my easily distracted mind.
It helps to remind myself, that my blog was created as a vehicle to overcome my fears, cope with my bipolar disorder in a positive way - make myself stronger.  Most importantly - hopefully! -  help others use sports and writing to be physically and mentally stronger, themselves.
If you are a new follower/reader, I hope this will lend a bit of clarity to my style of blogging.
Today, I'll attempt to share my weekend experience via (mostly, unedited!) images and bits of pieces of what I can remember.
In this way, I hope this story will not remain in draft mode!
Different links (to the social media channels of my running friends, etc!) will slowly be edited in, during  this week be updated from time to time.

This rough draft of a blog is specially dedicated to Marleen (HalfCrazyRunnersCrew crew member), Natasja, Demi (all three were crew members of #crewGlowMagNL during the #ChaseSummer Nike Challenge) and Carlijn (my crew mate @ #crewTheMermaidClub).
I, thank you ladies for being such a great support since we met each other in Carré, at the live Nike Training Club class. You have all kept me focused and gave me positive powers in the past months!

The Zevenheuvelenloop weekend:

Medals for  and Zevenheuvelenloop &  Zevenheuvelennacht 2014
 side by side

At 21:30, I was finally at home  after a very eventful day in Nijmegen.

My husband picked me up from the train station, and served me soup, when we arrived. Happy Feet won't be all over Netherlands, if not for #MijnLiefsteP, or as some of my running girlfriends call him: the running manager. :D

I did not plan to write a blog right after a race. I was tired, and simply wanted to post a single picture (above) and tag all Instagram friends. Sadly during editing, I lost all text!

After all the effort, I might as well share the pictures from today via a blogpost, and through this, thank my friends for all the support that led the way to this year's personally successful Zevenheuvelenloop weekend.

Speaking of pictures - recently, we purchased a Samsung Galaxy young.

It is so compact, that I can put it in the small back pocket of my running jacket and/or (just discovered today!) inner pocket of my running tights. I used it this weekend for the first time to make pictures at the start and at the finish line of a race.

The quality is poor (unlike the smart phone my husband uses for work), I admit but I love that I can take it during my run/race.

All the pictures made today, and shared on this blog were taken by the camera of this phone.

With husband's work phone, I took a picture of my new phone. :) 

The morning of Zevenheuvelennacht race, I was experiencing onset of a "massive panic attack".  Contrary to what experienced runners do, I jogged beyond the distance I would run the very same day.
(EDITed: 17th of November, 2017 - I have to add here, that I do not recommend this.  Bear in my mind my running is both  my self-therapy and my personal process.  I share my "techniques" and experiences to give everyone, who deals with depression and other mental health issues, inspiration and motivation to use sports, healthy physical activity to get themselves out of their mind.  I make running mistakes and learn from them. When I do this kind of personal challenge (running back to back long distances are often discouraged and not recommended, specially to beginners), it is mostly to deal with my anxiety and not to "impress".)

It calmed me, and even though there were a bit of hurdles before,  and during the run, I reached the finish line empowered from the day's experiences.

Thanks to the - as always! - massive support of my family, I did not miss running Zevenheuvelennacht, 2 years in a row.

I ran this distance (8.88 km) in a slow pace)
10:33 am
shake out run in the morning
of the
Zevenheulennacht 2014
7:03 pm
Zevenheuvelennacht 2013
race split recorded
with my
Nikeplus Sportswatch

Happy Face!
Overcame all anxiety hurdle! :D

Since I struggled with my nerves getting to the race event,
I forgot the race chip at home, and did not get on the official finisher's list.
Based on my Nike Sportswatch, I finished 7 km in 48:40.
The year before I ran the first ever Zevenheuvelennacht
5K distance.

The following day, I was back in Nijmegen for Zevenheuvelenloop!

For the second year in a row, I was running Zevenheuvelenloop via MeeùsFitClub.

photo courtesy of Meeùs

The next day I arrived early, and was so proud of myself!  Due to my struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, I am often late for many things.

At the station, I took what was supposed to be an extra train to Nijmegen.

It was full but not as full as I experienced, when I travelled to CPC loop in the Hague this year in Spring (March). Still, I had to sit down on the steps of the train - I did not mind, I was on time!

Sitting on the step of a very full train,
on my way to Nijmegen.

When I arrived, I walked through the ZevenheuvelenExpo in a zombie state. hahaha I hardly slept the night before due to the excitement of my 7 km night run.

It is because of this state of mind, that my brain registered too late that I saw Marlous of HalfCrazyRunners, passing me by. Pity!

MeeùsFitClub VIP Lounge

In the MeeùsRunClub (MeeùsFitClub!/2017) lounge, I saw a lot of familiar faces from previous running events. It was such a reassuring sight!

I changed into my running gear, and before I was finished, Eva & Udjen, running sisters by the Amsterdam Running Junkies group arrived.  Eef gave me the familiar, "Surprise from the back greeting!"hahaha

As they continued to prepare, I excused myself to eat.

While we were fueling for the run, the Meeus hosts introduced the club's running ambassador, Mr. Erben Wennemars.  He is a former Olympic and World Champion speed skater, who started running after his retirement from speed skating.  Recently,  he finished the New York Marathon in 2:56!

He gave an inspiring speech, and talked about his support for the Jeugd Sport Fonds.

Babette arrived shortly before the speech, and I was elated to finally meet her in person! We met via Twitter (about) 2 years ago, and this is the first time that we saw each other.  Meeting her face to face, felt so natural - assuringly familiar.  Thanks to our consistent communication via social media in the past years, we just jumped in like we have seen each other before, and have talked for ages (which we in a way did online!).

from left to right, Babette, Renée, Udjen, Eva, and moi

Off to the Start

We all had different start time.  Eva and Udjen went ahead of us; Renée (who came in with hubby, Ron a few minutes after B) and Babette were my companions to the starting area.

2014 is my third year in a row of running this much beloved race in the Netherlands.

It is for me "a feel good race", even though it is known to be a challenging course. I salute the magnificence of Autumn, when I run this event.

Along the course, between km 3 - 6, I ran together with a lovely lady,  a fellow runner from the MeeùsRunClub (MeeùsFitClub!/2017),  whom I met for the first time at Dam tot Damloop.

She is a yoga instructor; we share the same running philosophies: create your personal goals, run for the fun of it (it makes you feel more alive!), and run for your health!

I am grateful for her (spontaneous!) pacing because it was a great foundation for this 15K run.

I am between the lovely ladies of MeeùsRunClub (MeeùsFitClub!/2017)!
On the left is my beautiful (spontaneous!) pacer.
On the right is the lovely Asiye (she works for Meeùs!), a very inspiring and motivating runner, whom I met during Enschede Marathon.

Between kilometer 3-5, I heard a voice calling out, "Happy Feet!".

It was the voice of Lia (aka loopmeiden!)! What a boost when we reached out to each other for a quick, hello before she continued on her way.

Claudia (I met her when I ran Posbank loop) from Meeùs also greeted us seconds after Lia passed us by.  Such beautiful moments, that makes you forget that you are there climbing hills!

Shortly after passing kilometer 10, Kim of  Social Milers, greeted me from behind (hahaha I know this greeting from behind is getting to be a pattern!), and it was awesome to see her! So lovely, so alive, and so fast for me! hahaha

This is why I told her to go ahead because I might have not reached the finish line, if I had attempted to keep up with her tempo.  Since April, I followed how they train with admirable focus for their first Paris marathon, next year.

Zevenheuvelenloop 2014*

(EDITed 17.11.17  : This part is belatedly added, 3 years later.

I often revisit blogposts to add details I could not include the first time I publish it i.e. images were not available or details I was to mentally block to write about.  Since I am notorious for not being able to blog race recaps after the event, I try my best to either do it the next time I run the event as a throwback piece.  I do try to write something right very free writing style after the race (raw blogpost, like this post was!), come back to it and edit when I have more peace.)

I had a great run.

My detailed race recap will follow.

Check out next time for the link to be included here at a future time.

For now, I'll let  the statistics give you an idea how I ran, and the photo near the finish speak for itself!

Near the finish line
Zevenheuvelenloop 2014

Very happy over the negative splits!

Zevenheuvelenloop 2014
finish time recorded by
my NikePlus Sportwatch
Official time : 1:49:15

After the Race

I had arranged to meet up with Marleen, Natasja, Demi, Carlijn; as well as with my fellow fit Filipina sporty friends Minerva and Dheza (editor of  The Weekend Traveller) after the race. I was very excited to see them!

photo courtesy of Demi
from left to right: moi, Marleen, Carlijn, Natas and Demi

Unfortunately, my phone was "threateningly" low on battery (on my last stripe!) when I arrived at the finish.

After this group picture with Renée & Babette, I had to turn my phone off to save it for the journey home, so I could call my husband.

On the way back to the MeeùsRunClub (MeeùsFitClub!/2017) lounge, Renée learned that Ron finished with an amazing time of 1:00:20!

Back at the runner's lounge we had (early) dinner, race anecdotes, and chatted with more lovely people of Meeus, who provided us with such heartwarming reception and accommodation, that made the day just perfect!

After dinner, we said goodbye to Babette, and set off for De Hemel to meet up with the SocialMilers!

On the way we met Harald of Amsterdam Running Junkies, and lovely people from Social Milers.

This spontaneous get together with the Social Milers is our first complete reunion since we all ran Rotterdam Marathon, last April.

from left to right: Ron, Chantor, Renée, Kim 

Look at what Google did with the series of snaps together with Ron, Chantor (founder of Social Mile), Kim his beautiful better half, and my favorite blogger Renée (all running Paris Marathon 2015!) - what a fun ending to the day!!!

There you go! The Zevenheuvelenloop weekend in my imperfect but "I did it!" blogstyle. :) Just like how I ran. :D

Thank YOU ALL out there for the support and cheers!!!

It is truly great when one is (back!) in a positive running flow. Without all of you: family, friends, followers, beautiful people, who uses the internet to connect - all these experience will not have such a deeper meaning.

Hope who ever you are, where ever you are, this photo diary will inspire you to conquer the hills of your fears!


(ReVISiTED and RE-EDITED 17th of November, 2017)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Impressions after Sunday's Olympisch Stadionloop's 38th edition

Our youngest - 4 years old on this pic - daughter wearing
my first Olympisch Stadionloop shirt
before and after my run in 2011

After finishing for the first time, as last runner to my first ever 10K race in November, 2011, I promised myself a spectacular come back at the Olympisch Stadionloop, when the time comes to run it again.

photo courtesy of
Phanos (Hardlopen Phanos Amsterdam) FB page

photo courtesy of 
Phanos (Hardlopen Phanos Amsterdam) FB page

Fast forward to 3 years later: I finished 3 marathons as a "marathon tourist"; I dealt with an injury to my toe nerve that cost me a year to recover from mentally; I shared 100+ memorable running blogs, and I still have at least 100 more stories of running adventures untold. 

Our almost 7 year old daughter  aka Littlest
outside of the Olympic Stadium Amsterdam
entertaining herself before my start

Littlest my number one cheering fan!

This child has so much energy
and energize me at the same time!

In the end, it was not a spectacular PR come back but a come back to the roots of my running beginnings. Long(er) version in a race recap blog @ Happy Feet'S Miles (to follow) ; short version, here: I had a great time @ the Olympisch Stadionloop 2014! I shaved off 14:34 from my first Olympisch Stadionloop 2011 time of 1:21:48, by clocking 1:07:14 in 2014.

collage created by my husband!
photo courtesy of 
Phanos (Hardlopen Phanos Amsterdam) FB page

for more pictures taken on that day by Phanos,
please check out this link:
Phanos on Flickr

Even if it is not my best 10K time, which currently still stand @ 1:01:40 from Marikenloop 2013, I am VERY happy with this result. The best 10K racetime for me this year (so far! #14TenK). It felt good to come back to, and participate in this event. A great experience to see that in my first week of Spring (2015) marathon training, I am more fit than I was 3 years ago.
Kudos to the "never give up" & "you are never too old to begin and reach out for what seems like an impossible dream" spirit!!!

If you would like to see some more pictures of the great day,

made even more special meeting (and hugging for real!)

inspiring running (#IGers and FBers) friends, who kept me 

motivated, and going in the past months (years) : 







please check out Happy Feet in the Netherlands on Facebook!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Yoga Love at Westerliefde


hashtags you can use on different social media channels to connect
with other people belonging to a wonderful community of yogis!

Last night I, together with at least 100 other yoga lovers, spent an evening of Yin/Yang Yoga with Skadi van Paasschen, through the generous invitation of Lululemon Athletica Netherlands.

courtesy of Lululemon FB page

Why Yoga?

The evening was a great experience; it is the first time, since I started practicing yoga 2 years ago, (shortly before I ran my first marathon), that I have been introduced to yin yang yoga.

It came at a time I could completely comprehend,  and truly appreciate it.

More on the why behind this, in a separate blog, which will be entitled, "Why Yoga?"


Now on to the evening of Yoga love with Skadi,  hosted by Lululemon Athletica.

courtesy of Skadi's website

lululemon events 

I  was sad, I missed the unique event lululemon hosted outside of Rijksmuseum, last May this year.  So, you can imagine how thrilled I was, when I received an email with the invitation to their latest event.

courtesy of Lululemon FB page
courtesy of Lululemon FB page

You can see the whole album here:
Funky Flow @ Rijksmuseum

Yoga Love @ Westerliefde

Lululemon Athletica did not disappoint!

I love that they replied right away to my e-mail enquiry about first come, first mat arrangement. They changed this policy to RSVP.

It was a lucky break for me because even if I was a bit "late" for the evening's registration  (between 18:30 - 19:00), I RSVPd early enough so I was on the invitation list, and in their e-mail I was told that they will hold the mat for me at least 15 minutes before the event.

When I arrived (about 10 minutes later) there was still a line of people registering, so it was a relief.  Next time, definitely will plan an extra half an hour for the train delays!

Later on, we learned,  lululemonnl team were still able to accommodate people on the waiting list because the other yogis shared their mat! Love being spread around. :)

Greeting at the door  of Westerliefde was very warm, helpful and accommodating.

courtesy of Google Image

On the Mat, with Marije beside me...

After taking my shoes off, I found a mat beside a yoga teacher, named Marije from Absolute Yoga Amsterdam! After the event, I found out that there were a lot of yoga instructors amongst the participants.

I'll share on the blog about how I started with yoga, how I will continue with my practice of yoga, and my plan to try out hot yoga in Marije's class.

Marije -  yoga teacher 
@ Absolute Yoga Amsterdam 

Yoga Love experience in Westerliefde

Here below are some of the images before the one hour long yoga session began.

Image courtesy of lululemonnl instagram
just some of the 100 mats awaiting the 100 yogis!
Marije took this picture before the room became full of yogis.
You can check out it out on her instagram feed, here:
My face in the dark/behind the light selfie ;) ; the room is filling up!

I felt lucky and happy to have gotten a "sweet spot" at the back because it was beside Marije.

If you are reading this, and you were there, I was perhaps in the third row from the entrance.
"Friends are more important than money…"
Taken while I was settling on my (complimentary!!!) mat, and reading the beautiful card from lululemon

Hermance HoraSiccama 

image courtesy of Lululemon FB page

welcomed everyone to Yoga Love in Westerliefde

Hermance HoraSiccama, community connector for Lululemon Athletica Netherlands, introduced Skadi, after heartily welcoming everyone to the event.  She also introduced  DJ Niels of the Disco Troopers, who provided the music for the whole evening.

Skadi then went up and step on to the podium; she was a very captivating personality clothed in enchanting pink (we were colorfully in synch! :) ).

I am glad that I did not Google her :) before the event because I could focus more on her energy without the details of who she was in my head.  But there was no reason to be intimidated since she has a very open, warm personality  - evident from this picture! It was great watching her after the event with other yogis do fun photos; I assume they know her longer from her classes.

I won't be able to tell you now all the yoga moves of the whole evening.  I would love to (!!!) go into how we experienced the whole yoga session but I need a longer time to recall everything in details with the corresponding names of the poses to do it justice!

The Lululemon team took a lot pictures during the yoga session, and if you would like to see them, simply like & follow the  Lululemon FB page, that you can get the notification, when the album of the evening is shared.

Letting Go & Let Love In

In summary, all poses were about letting go of negative energy to make space and be open for love.  Feeling your heart, getting in touch with your self , breathing and opening you body.

It was about letting go, breaking down the barriers we put up to protect ourselves, acknowledging how things are, being absolutely in the moment, accepting the imperfections, being OK with who you are. Loving the uniqueness of who you are.

Skadi's guidance through all the poses was excellent, combined with the soothing, meditative quality of her voice made the yoga session a relaxing, empowering moment.

Thoughtful thank you card, which lay on our yoga mat from lululemonnl!

The Yoga Poses Highlights

We did downward facing dog pose  - second to tree pose, is one of my favorite yoga pose! - several times in combination with other yoga poses.

Another favorite we did was  warrior pose, adding twists to our sides and  touching the heart and stomach with each alternate twist.

I also loved the squat pose, where we transitioned from looking at a lotus flower (as we were in squat pose)  to birds drinking water (or was it eating something from the ground?!)

Something new for me was the butterfly pose. It is hard to illustrate, and I hopefully can edit in a picture from the event later on.  This pose is something I think my almost 7 year old daughter will find fascinating because of the name!

I notice as I recall all the poses, that I am starting to have the need to do it perfectly and start from the beginning and go into minute perfect detail. But I am letting this thought go, and sharing only the essence of the evening before I lose the opportunity to spread the love of the experience!

It is after all the message of last night's session.  Be in the moment, love yourself, accept the imperfections in you, and around you.

The evening left me feeling beautiful (in mind, body and spirit!), strong (in my soul) and completely relaxed in my being.

Thank you, lululemonnl team! Thank you Skadi van Paasschen.

After the YOGA Love event we had some bites, drinks and the opportunity to meet other yogis.

DJ Niels of the Disco Troopers

On the way  home I had a huge wide yogi smile on my face and a new mat(e) thanks to lululemonnl!

I saved my Lite/Dark drink, which we all got after our yoga session, for when I finished this blog. Toast! :)