Monday, March 31, 2014

Every Blog is A Beginning : A bientôt, Paris!!!

 This post is the 3rd entry to the blog series Every Blog is A Beginning...

There are many reasons I began this blog series, one of them is to be able to put into words thoughts I would like to express to give myself strength to let go, move one, that I can focus on working on new goals instead of obsessing about unfullfilled ones.

This coming Sunday it will be a year ago that I finished the Marathon in Paris.

On Sunday, I will not be in Paris even though I ache to be there to fulfill an unfinished marathon business.

at the Paris Marathon Expo 2013
Paris Marathon 2013 medal
very happy to have the finisher's medal

When I talk about my first two marathons I say, I ran the Berlin and Amsterdam marathons respectively. When I talk about Paris, I say, I finished it.

Left: Amsterdam Marathon  2012 medal
Right: Berlin Marathon 2012 medal

Berlin & Amsterdam Marathon medals and bibs
both resting on my
Amsterdam Running Junkies running shirt
The group inspired and motivated me to reach my dream and fulfill my goal
to reach my back to back marathon dream in 2012

Why the marathon semantics? It is because I walked the last 5 kilometers of the marathon.  Perhaps a few minutes before I reached the finish line with a fellow marathoner (who by then almost felt like my best friend!), they removed the time recording mat.

Even though I got my finisher's medal, my time was not registered, and therefore I am not an official finisher of Paris marathon on records. 

It took a while for me to own what actually is a personal achievement because of this technical detail. 

Being told by many that it was amazing how I was able to finish in spite of the stress we had, and that I did this with  little to no training at all did not appease my mind to completely embrace the success of the completion.

There are many lessons learned a year after the Paris marathon.

Even though I am aware, that my bipolar disorder is what makes me want to do many things at once even under so much stress to catch up on what I feel are lost time (due to depression), and "logically"with knowledge I essentially can prevent myself from following this unhealthy pattern, I realised I need more help to do so, and I cannot do it by myself.

If only for that wisdom, I can truly say, the "pain in Paris" was worth it!

I am still far from leading an ideal healthy life, physically and mentally but I am never giving up trying to improve the quality of life for me and my family.

It's the adventure of a lifetime! :)

Next time I ran in Paris, whether a full marathon a shorter distance,  or perhaps even simply for the fun of it, one thing is for sure, I will no longer be racing with myself for lost time but enjoying every minute of  a run.

A bientôt, Paris!!!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Every Blog is A Beginning : Revisiting Zandvoort Circuit Run & Off to New Adventures!

This post is the 2nd entry to the blog series Every Blog is A Beginning...

A motivational poster
from Karen Salmansohn, an author I admire,
& a beautiful soul I take inspiration from

The motivational poster above has been my Facebook Cover for the last 3 weeks.  Empowering words I have kept repeating to counteract many negative thoughts, which arises every time I spur the prick of my Morton's Neuroma.

The words "Never Give Up" has been very effective not only in empowering my running spirit but over all in my daily life. :) 

In the running front the "Never Give Up" spirit has this year given me my 4th running bling!

My second Zandvoort Circuit Run bling.
Ran yet again a 5K in the 7th year of this event, like I did for the first time 2 years ago.

The day was fantastic (tomorrow a blog recap of the race)! Beautiful weather, and most importantly beautiful spirit all around.

Happily showing my family my Zandvoort Circuit Run medal.
Around my wrist is a Protector Bracelet from Kelly of Lunatik Athletiks.
Story behind it is in the blog:
2013: A Year of Thanks. A Positive Year.
Today, I wore the bracelet to help me focus on my goal of simply having fun on the run.

My family came along to cheer for me. Their presence in the race events have become rare as my running years accumulate, and for this reason each time they are there, it is more special.

Love this photo which the oldest took.
Without mijn liefste P, my running experiences would be less colourful. :)

I treasure these moments!

What's next?!

Stick around this week for a whole lot of updates! :)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Every Blog is A Beginning : 365 Stories from Happy Feet

image originally shared on the blog
Home in Luxembourg for the Half Marathon - 7th of June,2013

Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.

- Alan Alda

Since finishing the half in the Hague, I have been silent on this blog.  I have yet again let  life circumstances "silence my inner voice".

This is My Why for Running.
image courtesy of  Runner's World

A very exhilarating experience always seems to be followed by sinking in the depths...

Most of you, who have been following me in my blogging journey know that I deal with a bipolar disorder

5 out of 8 years of my total blogging years were "anonymous years". I wrote behind a pseudonym. Writing initially for catharsis, which led to meeting many beautiful souls, who helped me recognize that I am not alone, and should not be alone in my struggles.

It was not until 2 years of living in the Netherlands, that I decided I would like to write under my own name. Share the face behind the story. 

image courtesy of My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands
from the blog Smile - 22nd of April, 2011

I felt stronger, than I have ever felt in years.

More confident, more hopeful that I can live a happy life even though I am still dealing with recurring debilitating depression.  A state that not only hugely affected  my life but the quality of life of my family.

It might sound  preposterous, but the huge motivation for this decision - publicly write my personal thoughts and experiences - was the need  to help others, who goes through the same struggles, I do.

It is my hope that I can empower others with honest writing about how I am working on living  a life of quality in spite of anxiety and panic attacks.  Both disorders born out of going through  numerous cycles of depression.

Life is fleeting. Blogging has offered me a way to capture precious fleeting moments, and record my life to make me see, clearly, in vivid colour, how rich it is and that the good times outweighs the bad times.

Specially when I am unable too reasonably think because my disorder puts my mind in a haze of confusion, fears, doubts and paralysis.

collage from the blog Being Woman (269 days to 40) - 24th of June, 2011
@ Being Beautifully 40
and upper right picture from the blog Fleeting - 7th of April, 2011
@ My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands

Living 365, blogging 365 have helped me literally live life one day at a time.

image courtesy of My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands
from the blog Finding Faulkner - 4th of January, 2011

With or without bipolar disorder, the best way to live is: one day at a time.

I would no longer let my disorder silence my inner voice.  I would not want to miss any day of this fleeting life.

In this spirit, I am committing myself to writing a blog a day 365 blogs in this series (EDIT: 22.04.14), beginning with this blog:

A 365 Story Behind the Mind of Happy Feet. (title edit 10:40 PM: Every Blog is A Beginning  (1/365) : 365 Stories Behind the Mind of Happy Feet)  (title edit 22.04.14 - Every Blog is A Beginning : 365 Stories from Happy Feet)

Each story will be a day in the life; it can at times be a story of struggle or often stories of triumphs over the self.  There will be mundane stories, there will be thought provoking stories...

Most importantly, they will be stories about never giving up. Always moving forward with Happy Feet...

I leave you with a quote I chose for a blog, which I wrote 3 years ago entitled Finding Faulkner.

May it inspire you as it has inspired me.

"I decline to accept the end of man... I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among the creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail."
William Faulkner

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thoughts Before The Half in the Hague

#CPCLoop - here at kilometer 15 Scheveningen Strand (famous beach at The Hague) - I was smiling even though it was tough with the wind blowing, fighting exhaustion because I made it this far, and someone very nice was waiting for me at the finishline! — at Scheveningen Boulevard.

A collage to remember CPC 2013
- my "fastest" half-marathon so far in my 30 (+/-) months of running

Today, I am running my last run before Sunday's half-marathon in the Hague. 

This is the second year in a row, that I will be running  CPC Loop Den Haag (the half-marathon). 

It will be my first half in 2014.  I was not strong enough to run Egmond Half this year, and skipped it.  First reasonable decision in 2014, with respect to following my running calendar 2014.  Skipping Groet uit Schoorl half was the second.

Being reasonable is not my forte. The love for running helps me be one.

My motto has always been: I would rather run slow, be the last in the race, than be unreasonable and miss out on running for months because of running recklessness.

In January and February though, I knew that I was absolutely not strong enough to run Egmond and Groet uit Schoorl. I would have finished, and be last in the race but I would have been completely burned out again. I felt this has been the case with the running year 2013.

My game plan for this year's CPC 14 is to use it as my first slow long distance run for my second Luxembourg marathon (#Dare2Dream) training.  More on this in the next weeks.

I wished I am better prepared. I always wished this for each race I've ran in the past 30 months.

Very happy though that I could resume running again free from the angst that my Morton's Neuroma have weighed on me since July, 2013.

Tapping my self on the shoulder for the achievements of the last 30 months (#ToughIsTheNewThin!) have helped me a lot in having a healthier mind set and a more positive view about my running (#OWNYourRun).

I am ready to move on. (#MoveITMarch!!!)

Are you with me?! :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How to Get Your Heart Pumping in the Morning!

Sometimes you have to give in to your crazies to be amongst the living.
- Happy Feet Philosopy :D
Hello March! Hello #MorningMilers!

What's does a blogger do when there is no camera at hand? 

She borrows the built in camera of her husband's iMac, sprints in position a few times to get a decent shot for her intended motivational photo-poster, and warms-up for a morning Spring Run in the process.

You got to be creative if you truly want to get it (goal)!

Don't give up! Never give up! Because forging on is half the battle, and believing you can succeed makes you a winner!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March's Running Motivation: Tough Is The New Thin

Taken before last night's 6.72 km; it is a #dressrun for #CPC14.
Tough is the new thin.

This motivational motto came to me after this week's Spring school break.

I'm proud of what I have achieved as a runner of 30 months!

I realised how much lately I have been ignoring the fact, that I was able to finish 3 marathons within those months; as a beginner runner, I ran in, around and outside of Holland within my first year. This is not simple to achieve!

How could I have let snide remarks, criticisms of those who do not matter lessen what are in fact so many achievements.

*finally pats self on the shoulder*

Gaining speed is a goal, running further another. In the core though, I am a runner that feels already  like a champion when I step out of the door, and own my run.

I run because it makes me feel alive. I run because I can escape the madness in my mind. I run because I can.

My greatest enemy: the seemingly invincible wall of doubt, fear, insecurities, which I put up against the door blocking my path from reaching my simple goal to be stronger every day.

Owning my run is smashing that barrier I and I alone put up, and I and I alone can break through, so that I can step out and put one foot in front of the other.

Being out there running, moving is winning!

Every time you go out there and smash your own barrier you are a winner.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Running Journal: #MoveItMarch!

Blogger's Note about ~

: This is something new I am trying out. I have way TOO much blogs that stays in draft mode because of my perfectionist streak.  Eventually, I will publish all those blogs in draft mode.

But to prevent the draft pile from further increasing I will publish blogs I wrote as they came out of my mind. No filtering. No editing. 

I am completely aware that this is not very "reader's friendly".

Knowing myself, I will obsess about it.  In order to prevent this unnecessary obsessing, I am informing you all in advance that this series of  "Running Journals" will eventually be edited (on the same day or any day there is time to spare!) for better comprehension.

Loyal readers/followers will of course get to read these "untouched" blog posts. My apologies if it seems self-indulgent; it is not I assure you.

The documentation, which will be filed under the tag/label "Running Journals",  is actually a necessity for this runner.

Thanks for your understanding!

(This blogger's note was written after I wrote the blog post below)

Being dressed for the run (I still wore a thin rain running jacket over my short sleeved running shirt before I finally went out) means your half way out of the door!
Looking at my overall Nike+ stats (owner of the sportswatch since August, 2012) gives me a calming sense for reassurance

Before I forget....

This was supposed to be a 1 km or a maximum of 1 mile run (1.6 km). I have not been able to run properly for 18 days. More about this in my next blog.

But it turned into a longer run.

Middle daughter quipped, "Mom, did you  run the planned 1 km, and then did the 5 km for fun?!"

Cheeky girl. :D

Anyway, I've been meaning to start a detailed journal of all my runs to be able to answer the often asked question posed at me:

  1. How do you train?
  2. How regular do you train? 
  3. What goes in your mind when you train?
  4. Where do you train?
  5. How do you make a run interesting for yourself, again and again.
Hopefully with these  "Running Journals" I could give you (and myself!) a general idea to the pattern of my runs.

1 KM - I was questioning myself on why I did not bother to do a 10 minute warm-up before I went out.

It was late and I did not want to be more late so I thought I will jog the first 10 minutes to warm-up. I think I manage 400 meters of holding back before my feet itched to go a bit more "faster".

I stopped (30 seconds) after 1 km and took out bothersome insoles (not my custom-made one's).

2 KM - I begun again, this time I stopped (30 seconds) after 600 m (I did not count the first kilometer as a run but a warm-up) to have a quick chat with myself whether I will do a  total of 3 km distance tonight or go for a "longer" run of 3 km distance instead of the planned 1 km. 

Making the evening run  to a total distance of 5 km (the last kilometer as cooling down jog).

3 KM - Reaching this point, I thought what the heck, go for the total of 6! This time no more stopping, I told myself.

It felt good, not to feel any disturbing strain, I might as well go my 6 km plus some meters round/route.

4 KM - I started slowing down because I planned to run an 8 km distance the following day.

Slow pace 8K.

5 KM - Very happy when I reached this mark, stopped for 10 seconds and contemplated on power walking.

But I still had more than 1 km to go and I did not want to cool down too long outside.  It was a nice Spring evening air but I did not want to risk any cold.

Littlest of the family has been coughing since middle of the week, and the older ones sneezing.

6 KM - "Joy to the World!" sang my running heart!

Well, I feel fit. Not Usain Bolt fit, fit but Happy Feet fit. :)

....the last 0.72 meters - I have this thing with numbers/stats ;) (I was born in 1972) ...I need to round off my distance ran on my sportswatch or at least have a bit of sense (my own sense and story!) behind it. I missed stopping at the 6.4 (4 miles) km mark. So I stayed with the 6.72!

After the run, I cooled down for 10 minutes by walking around the house for 3 minutes; I stretched for 5 minutes, and planked for 44 seconds (I have not planked for weeks! Need to build it up again.).