Saturday, January 31, 2015

My 2015 Goals

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” 

― Bruce Lee

As January ends, I take the time to finally share my 2015 (fitness) goals.

3 years of running has made it clear to me,  that this is a sport I would love to do as long as I could  - preferably beyond old age!

I've seen and met a lot of octogenarian in all the 3 marathons I finished.  

Amazement and admiration are the first couple of (many!) emotions I feel, whenever I see a 80+ year old lady or gentleman running in front of me proudly wearing a t-shirt listing all the marathons they've ran, and still plan to run!

This is a topic I can go on and on about but back to "My 2015 Goals".

In  "When A Look Back Year, Fuels The Future" blogpost, you could read what my goals were in the previous years (2011-2014).  I also wrote there lessons I've learned in each running year.  You may notice that I have words/mottos I focused on for each year.  I find it very helpful, when I get distracted.  And I do easily get distracted!

This year the focal points would be acceptance, balance, consistency, and determination. Yup, my 2015 ABC to fit!

My goals might surprise some of those who are following me longer - no multi-marathons or no time goals etc.  But the goals below  are what I feel will contribute to making myself a better runner, and improving the quality of life for my family and I.

Morning Runner

Yes, I am still in pursuit of the "Early Bird" status.

 I am not giving up on early morning running but I realized I need to work further on having a better structure in our day to accomplish this. 

The need for structure is one of the many reasons why I run! 

Life in a 5 man household can be chaotic as much as you plan things ahead.  

Structure gives daily life a strong backbone and foundation.

My humble step towards this goal: run at least a mile @ 6 am at least 1-2 a week, and once every weekend.

Cinderella in Bed

You can't wake up early, if you don't go to bed early!

As far back as I can remember, I've always been a night owl.

I love mornings!  Specially the mornings I spend with my family.  But I sometimes spend doing many things in the evening/night because it is when it is most quiet.  It is when I can hear my thoughts clearly.

Even though I do not usually mind running in the dark, this January has been mentally tough to do so.  It has affected my running motivation.

My baby steps towards the goal to sleep better, still remains: sleep before midnight.  


I've always wanted to create a food journal.  This is one of the reason I finally joined the Instagram bandwagon, even if I resisted it for so long (I am aware of my addictive personality!).

3 months shy away of my 1st year Insta-anniversary, I am VERY glad I did add the app to my phone.

I might not have shared a daily food diary, when I joined,  like I originally planned but it kept my goal alive.

My baby step towards this goal: a weekly food diary this Februar to start with! I'll see how it will develope from there.

5 Alive

After my injury in Summer 2013, I promised myself that I will not forget to appreciate even 1 km of running.

This year, I would like to go out for a 5K run when I mentally struggle, and can't run the distance I am supposed to run on the day.

My plan for this goal: no matter how slow my 5K pace is,  my focus will be on the effort to go out anyway inspite of the mental struggle.  January was such a great warm-up for this!

picture originally shared on the blog:
So Long September! On to October!
It is where I recorded my joy over my first 5K wearing new orthotic insoles
after 5 weeks of not running.

I'm also been striving in the past years to run at least 4 times a week, and I think I will manage to increase this to 5 times a week - my Rotterdam Marathon training is a great aid to this goal.  It seems to have developed very naturally the past 2 weeks, since the focus was on increasing mileage more than the frequency of the run each week.

GO(al) Less, Enjoy More

A friend once commented I have way too many goals!

I replied,"The goals keeps me going.  I am fueled by them!"

Even if I do not accomplish any of the goals this year, all the efforts are small steps to eventually fulfilling them, one day.

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” 

What are your goals fit/fitness goal(s) this year, and what are you doing to work your way towards it(them)?

No matter what the goals are, don't forget to have fun while your on your way to fulfilling them!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday 1: Marathons & Marriage in My Mind

There are dates in life, that are imprinted in our minds forever.

When life is very busy though, you catch yourself surprised, that you completely forget the significance of the day.

Today, I almost did.

21 years ago, I got married in Germany.  21 years later,  no anniversary would be celebrated.   After 13 years, the marriage ultimately reached it's end.

My life began yet again, this time in the Netherlands, a couple of weeks before Spring 2009.  A couple of weeks before my 37th birthday.  A couple of years before I began running (Summer of 2011).

I never thought I will share all that, here.

There might have been vague references, here and there.  Specially in my other blog (My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands) but I never articulated it as I did, this time.

A lot of things have changed since I started running.  Changes took slowly on at first, and as my pace accelerated - as I ran more - so did the pace of changes in my life.

Why am I sharing all these, now?

Well, I think I can't go on further with blogging about running, if I am not going to be honest about this status in my life.  I also think, the more I write here about  issues I face and still need to face, the more it will help me run better.

Running helps me get stronger, healthier and most importantly keeps me sharply focused on what matters most in life.  Running gives me the balance & structure, I need.  These are just some of the few reasons why, I will make sure I can keep doing it.

I will not go into personal details of my issues but I feel it is sufficient enough to share what I find others can identify with but seldom can openly write or talk about.

The breakdown of my marriage is not the main reason I begun running.  Dealing with the aftermath was a catalyst.

Broken marriage, it's end, is like mourning the death of a love one.

Training for my first marathon helped me mourn.

It was for this reason, that I chose to run Berlin & Amsterdam Marathon back to back.  Both cities symbolized my connection to Europe.  Why I am here.

The road to both marathons led me back to who I am before I married, before I fulfilled my dream of living a life in Europe.

All my races were a step to embracing, who I really am.

Sometimes on the way to fulfilling dreams, you lose yourself.

It takes a completely whole set of new dreams - dreams you never even imagine you can fulfill to bring you back to yourself.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Marathon Training Recap: #MR15Reloaded

Dutch windmill near the entrance of (Ankeveen) our village.
The link above to it's website is in Dutch! 

2nd of January - our daughters, my training muses, and pacers 

The first week of my new (12 weeks) marathon training (or what I call #MR15 reloaded! ) scheme went quiet well.

Productive running in November (125 km) and a decent December (61.8)  km - inspite of the flu I had to battle in the last 2 weeks of 2014! - gave me confidence to take on this new training plan; I felt I had a good foundation to build up from.

I wanted to have a running streak in January, and so before we went to Germany to go to a spa,
I ran a 5K

2nd of January

I feel what makes me mentally stronger  in preparing for my fourth marathon is the effort to record in much more details, every step of the way.

Unlike in my previous marathon preparations (Berlin, Amsterdam & Paris), where I sporadically shared blogposts - updates, which may have seem for others as vague and lack structure.

Admittedly, I wrote more over my feelings and impressions, than write exactly what I was specifically doing or details of the races I did.

At that those times, it was what I needed, what I could do.

Now, I am more "capable" of sharing in the manner I would like to do.

What keeps me going,  when I start standing in my own way, whether in blogging or running are the words I repeat in my head: until I can do (much!) better, I'll do what I can!

I also keep telling myself to be proud with each little step I make - outdoors, in my life, and in the battle to overcome the hurdles of my bipolar disorder.

If you are on INSTAGRAM, please do connect with me, if you are also training for Rotterdam marathon, or another Spring marathon and interested in supporting each other.

I post regular updates there of my training.

On Instagram, I posted a photo-collage using the hashtag #MondayMarathonTrainingRecap to organize all my photo-journal recaps.  By using this hashtag I will have an overview of thoughts I've shared after Sunday's (or perhaps Saturday's) long distance training run.

Below is a week in review in statistics.

Compared to November and December, the pace has slowed down even more.  On one hand it was the pace I needed to start with and on the other hand, I could not run faster, even if I wanted to!

In the second week of January, I had a relapse and was bed-ridden for a week.

Even though I ate properly and took supplements (magnesium & iron), my body simply needed rest, and I did not give it enough time to recover from my flu in December.   Nor did I sleep properly.  Always a challenge for me.

It took me two weeks to recover and go back to training!

I'll update this blog with the links to the blogs of each of the four runs this week.  So far I only managed to publish Friday's Night Run.

Below are images of what I saw during my run - as a preview of what you can expect from each blog.

I hope when I look back at all of my documentation, each run, each week, the 6 months preparation for Rotteram, I'll have less of a hard time - specifically, I won't make it too hard on myself in the next marathon!

Tuesday      20.01 5.05 km

Restaurant Loodijk - fairly new restaurant in our village!
I'll make a better photo next time;
when I've ran my 35 km in my training scheme,
I'll celebrate it with my family here!

Thursday    22.01 10.15 km

Littlest was my pacer for this run!
More pictures of this route in future blogs.

Friday       23.01 10.15 km

Perhaps I am simply a child at heart but I found these street signs spoke to me like flashing messages. :D
"I'm on my way to be Queen of the road!"
Not speed wise but how many times I've ran by this sign in my 3 years of running!!!

Sunday       25.01 25.15 km

I run to eat! :D

This "runfie" was taken in Loosdrecht during my 25K run.

My longest distance run since my injury was diagnosed in September, 2013!

In 2013 I ran 6 Half-Marathons.

In 2014 I ran more 10Ks.

The week was a great return to training, and it helped a lot in giving me back my confidence.

I did struggle with beginning each run, which led to each of them being either late in the afternoon or ending almost before mid-night.

What I was very proud of, after each run I was able to stretch properly - I did at least   5 minutes of yoga, as well as 5 minutes of strength training.

Baby steps!

I purposely did not take pictures of these exercises because I simply wanted to focus on the run itself.

Perhaps by Week 5, I could begin being more creative in sharing, how I do other exercises to compliment my running.

I biked almost the whole week (school run) except for a couple of times. I will begin with logging my bike mileage more meticulously in February.  Normally, I bike 100 kilometers weekly. Below are pictures of the bike paths we bike daily twice a day to and fro our home.  If you would like to follow more of my biking blogs, please check out: The Lightness of Being in the Bike.  This year I'll be blogging more there; the posts will be supplemental to my marathon journals, here.

taken 19th of January, 2015

Well, there we have it, first training week accomplished!

How's your training coming along?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

#HFNLRunDiary2015: Friday Night Run

“How did it get so late so soon?” 

― Dr. Seuss

Foreword to Friday Night's Run

I can't sleep, so I thought I might as well do a #HFNLRunDiary2015.

This will be the tag I'll start using to record experiences, thoughts, insights and ideas, acquired along the run for this year.

If you are new follower, and have read my first 7 blogposts for  2015, I hope they helped you get to know me more - who I am as a runner.  If you've been following for a while now, I hope you've learned something new. :)

I wrote those 7 blogs, first and foremost to remind myself, how far I have come and how with determination, I have reached so many goals, I never would have thought I was capable of.  It should be, and would be the attitude I will have this year, and the years to come: determined (and more disciplined!).

Each blog powered the next, and I was happy to experience, that I still can do it - take one simple step at a time, and help myself move forward.  I truly hope someone out there will be empowered by the experiences, and insights I share.

Here are the links to those blog one more time in order of when it was written:

I greet you randomly, 2015!:  how I broke through "blogging/writing block"
When A Look Back Year Fuels the Future: brief summaries for each running year 2011-14
Marikenloop 2012-15: my history with one of the most popular ladies' running event in the Netherlands

Below are look back blogs to each running year - in pictures!

Owl Runner, Aspiring to be an Early Bird

My running community project last year - I thought empowering others to be active in the morning will help empower me as well!

Going back HFNL Friday Night Run - it was suppose to be an early bird run but I ended up running as "my old owl self".

I think, I completely have to embrace the fact that I am a night runner by design rather than circumstances, and that I need to work systematically and with more focus to be an early morning runner.

It is after all one of those reasons that marathon, specifically marathon training appealed to me.

I felt that if you are training for a marathon, your motivation to go to bed early and rise before the sun does would increase.  Alas, I discovered your will should be stronger than your dependance on the magic of the marathon to work on early morning run aspirations!

But hey, we only have January!  There are many months ahead of us, which are full of positive possibilities.

 This blog is my first step to improving myself.  I am openly acknowledging that I need to work even more harder to achieve the structure I need to be a morning runner.  It is that simple.

Would this Friday Night Run be my last late night run? I don't know. I wish!

For now, I would say again, we only have January. WE all still have many more months to make many efforts to improve ourselves.

K by K

I admire bloggers, who could recall vividly what they experienced by each kilometer of their run - how it went, what they thought, what they felt - in their blogs.  In the past years, I tried to do this by writing down in small notebooks after a race or a training run,  a blow by blow account of how each kilometer was!  I somehow along the way seem to always lose the interest to write them on the computer, and publish them here.

One thing I have learned even before I started running: anything is achieved, improved and refined by doing it again and again.

So here goes my first kilometer for kilometer blogpost for this year (my umpteenth attempt to begin this kind of series for the past 3 years!)…

How the day was

Friday was a cheat day because my youngest had a super belated birthday celebration with two of her friends.

I wanted so very much to go for an early run so I won't have it in my head the whole day while I am out with the girls.  They deserve my full attention.

Alas, I was not able to stand up even if I heard the alarm  twice. Sigh.

I've been in this road many times.  The only difference this time, I did not punish myself as much as I did previously.  As I wrote above, I told myself, I'll do better in the last weeks of this month, and the next months ahead.

Our youngest and her friends had a great time, and I enjoyed it with them without any mental distractions of the missed morning run.

Afterwards, I spent quality time with the family - instead of going right away for a run, after arriving from a day out, I stayed home.  Friday is mostly the Family's Pizza Friday.  I did not eat any though,  and simply drank a smoothie, later on tea; I ate fast food, movie theater snack, and ice-cream in the afternoon! I felt so bloated.

From Top Gear to Top Run...

3 hours later on the couch (watching our series), I told my husband, who was slowly falling asleep, that I am going out.  I said out loud to  him what I told myself: if I can sit and relax for 3 hours, I can manage to run & exercise for at least an hour!  The day before, I also did (ran a 10.15 km) and felt so great (I'll share the story of that run in another blog).

It took me another hour to finally be ready.  Don't ask me why, and how I do this kind of routine; you will be reading a blog about it, soon enough! *bows head in shame*

Now to the kilometers!

1 km - dark, foggy and brrrrrrrrrrr cold - it was like entering a human fridge.  Luckily, I've been running this week, and knew how many layers to wear to stay warm enough.

Onward forward to...

2 km - it's a short distance, and you are out of our village.  I kept telling myself: go on, you are almost half way the distance you are tricking your mind to believe you will go, and not further! But I think my brain was too distracted by the flow of ideas going through my head to send me more discouraging messages.

3 km - when I reached this point, I told myself,  2 more kilometers, and you can turn around - yay!

4 km - "...maybe I should turn around now…", said one part of my brain, and the other part replied, "…you are 6 kilometers away from improving your status on your different Nikeplus challenges!" MOVE!

5 km - I finally arrived at the school of our daughters.  20 minutes longer than when I bike.

6 km - I took a photo of an otherwise very busy bridge (see image above) completely empty in the late night.  It was in the spirit of: "Picture along the run, confirms you did it!"  But I suddenly got  scared, when I heard very boisterous, happy - read: drunk! - voices.

Sooooo, I ran the heck away from the spot…

7 km - Selfie! The good thing about the dark, you don't see my nose running. :D

BTW, I love rediscovering the street sign I pass by almost everyday on the way to school: Koninginneweg.

It seems like a message.  I am (sloooooowly!) on the way to being Queen of the road! Just need to keep moving. :)

8 km - I saw a deer! Maybe it was a doe but it was too dark to discern.  We had a spiritual moment.  He was on the other side of the road, I across him.  I pointed to my heart and pointed to him, mentally sending my thoughts: I run like you, free!

9 km - in our village again, and  feeling quiet fulfilled.

10.15 km - home sweet home! Everyone asleep (as we all actually should!)  to open the door. hahaha

How was your Friday night?!

update 24.01.14 4:50 am

Monday, January 19, 2015

Running 2014 in Images (HFNL Blog Appendage 4)


This blogpost is what l call a "HFNL blog appendage".  

In the blogpost When A Look Back Year, Fuels the Future - the blog to which this post is an appendage to - I wrote summaries for each of my running year. 

The blog had brief summaries of 2011-2014, as my effort to break down what for me seems to always be a mammoth project: writing all untold HFNL running stories.  This will be the foundation to a book project. A childhood dream.

I have mentioned it in previous blogs but for the sake of new readers and followers, I would like to write this fyi, here again:

most of my blogs are published even if they are in their raw form and I often edit it many times (adding links, details I forgot or editing text for improvement & better comprehension).

My blog, I greet you randomly, 2015! helped me continue in this blogging style  because it is what works for me as a storyteller, even if it removes me from what one can define as mainstream blogging. 

In writing that blog, I've come to realize again: it is I who stand in my own way of "story telling".  Story telling is something that gives me joy if I simply let myself do it freely.  I also stand in my way of realising my potential to be a better runner for the very same reason - I block myself from running.

I look back with gratefulness to the past 3 running years, and this grateful heart will fuel this new running year and the other years to come.  I might not be the fastest nor the strongest but I am a definitely a runner, who is determined to be better each (slow!) step of the way.

Hopefully, my stories will contribue to your (running) beginnings or perhaps even it's revival.

January - August

#Vondelparkloop (10K/6.7 km)
#ZandvoortCircuitRun (5K)
#CPCloop (half-marathon)
#SpierenvoorSpierenCityRun (10K)
#EnschedeMarathon (10K)
#MarathonRotterdam (10K -relay)
#Marikenloop (10K)
#WeOwnTheNight2014 (10K)
#LuxembourgNightMarathon (half-marathon)
#Stoomtramloop (10K)
#VechtloopWeesp (10K)
#ChaseSummer Nike Challenge (78 km in 4 weeks)

September - December

21.09.14 Dam tot Damloop  (sponsored by Meeùs10EM = 16 km

28.09.14 Posbankloop  (sponsored by Meeùs)  6,2 km

05.10.14 Stichting de Bredase Singelloop (sponsored by Meeùs10K

12.10.14 Ajax Foundation Run (first edition 10K)

19.10.14 TCS Amsterdam Marathon; I  won a bib! I had a severe anxiety attack the weekend of the marathon, that I missed checking my PM on FB, and missed the message relaying that I can participate via the organization.

09.11.14 Olympic Stadium (Amsterdam)loop 10K

16.11.14 Zevenheuvelenloop (sponsored by Meeùs) 15K

07.12.14 Bruggenloop Rotterdam  Distance: 15K

10 EM Dam tot Damloop

6,2 km Posbankloop 


10K Bredasingelloop



(Since I would like to complete the HFNL blog appendages today, I simplified the 2014 version.  I'll be updating this blog this week, so if you would like to see the complete (extensive) version of 2014 races/fitness events pictures, please check back! :) )

update 24.01.14 4:00 am