Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015: When A Look Back Year Fuels the Future

Happy Feet in the Netherlands
on Facebook

Everyone has been asking me what is my (running!) goal for 2015.

Before I share  my blogpost(s) about my goal for 2015 (link edited in 31st of January), I would like to share a summarized recap of my "running history".

Each year will have it's own blog series, until hopefully by the end of this year, I would have told each story of all my runs between August 2011 - December 2015.

It will be a 2015 project to puzzle everything together in images, statistics and stories.  Hopefully this process will inspire and motivate you, as much as I am hoping the focused work on this project will keep me inspired and motivated this year.

There will redundancy as I go along but at the end of the year, it is my intention to have a skeleton for the book I plan to write dedicated to my family and the next generation.  A book about never giving up, and about finding a way to keep moving forward (via a healthy way of life)  no matter how many obstacles you encounter along the way.


On the 8th of August,  I walked 8K in preparation to running an 8K in the Amsterdam Marathon (I ran it on the 16th of October).  My giddy plan was to run a race increasing in distance every month with the ultimate goal of running the marathon in Rome (March, 2012).  Yes, I wanted to run my first marathon half a year after I began running.  I will be telling you the deeper why behind this motivation, why I believed (still believe) it can be done, what I found out about myself in the process, and the reasons I would not have started any other way, if I had a chance of a redo, in another blog.

The main goal: begin
The (mental) struggle: the possibility of being the last runner by each  races.

The motto: #MyRunningStory - baby steps!

The year in images: Running 2011 in Images (HFNL Blog Appendage 1)
The year in stats: (link to follow)
The year in stories: (link to follow)

The lesson (in hindsight, looking back, 4 years later): the most wonderful part of the story of (beginner) runner is the beginning!

The lowest moment & what fueled me in the years to come: my husband hearing a volunteer (AMS Olympic Stadium Run) say that the last runner (in this case, moi) should look for another hobby.

The running year's highest moment: hearing the refrain of Adele's Rolling in the Deep as I entered the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam for the very first time in my life.

I smiled all the way to the finish line as a runner!


After a Winter dip, end of 2011, where I missed running my first 15K (Bruggenloop 2011*), I had to also skip Egmond '12 (I ran it for the first, and so far only time in 2013), and my original plan of running my first ever marathon in Rome '12 as consequences.

My comeback is beginning again from the "beginning" with my first ever (6,7 km) Vondelpark run in January.  The culmination of  my goal of finishing my first marathon - not one but a back to back marathons! - in September, and running my 2011 missed Bruggenloop at the end of the year.

The (main) goal: run & finish strong
The (mental & physical) struggle: facing the reality...once again...of being the last runner, this time in a full marathon.  As well as training consistently and properly.

The motto: #42fo42 - it is not about the speed but the will to finish.

The year in images: Running 2012 in Images (HFNL Blog Appendage 2)
The year in stats: (link to follow)
The year in stories: (link to follow)

The lesson (in hindsight, looking back, 3 years later)): record minutely each step of the process - the good, the bad, and the ugly! - because when you look back, the bad and the ugly parts will help you in times of struggle as much as (if not more!) the good parts!

a training run @ Kinderdijk

The lowest moment & what fueled me in the years to come: I could not think of any running related experience this year, that I can qualify as "lowest moment".  This year has so far been the best running year ever in 3 years of running.

The running year's highest moment: 
Running the 39th Berlin Marathon.  In hindsight, it is symbolic for the age I finally began running: 39. :)

Udjen & I after finishing Berlin Marathon - it was her second marathon (then), while it was my first.

Running footnote:

Bruggenloop is a race that is very near to my heart. I have - since painfully missing out on it in 2011 -  ran in the event 3 years in a row:  2012:1:45:19 2013:1:47:24 (in this year, I incurred an injury in the Summer, and it mentally affected me.  This was a good comeback run, even if it is slower than my first ever BGL) 2014: 1:42:19 my best BGL and PR in 15K! More on this in a HFNL blog appendage - link to follow here.

I made this footnote to tell you that if I did not miss this event, I might not have come up with the goal of going for a 2012 back to back marathon (Berlin/Amsterdam).  This event also seems to give me back a spark of hope, that I can be better than I believe possible.

Bruggenloop 2014


On the 31st of December, 2012 we lost our home, and through this traumatic experience, my running/fighting spirit motto: Onward, Forward was born.

I wanted more than ever to feel stronger than what running year 2012 have made me feel.  Not one but running 3 marathons was what I felt will give me a feeling of satisfaction.

Alas, my mind and body had other plans.  It was busy processing what happened at the last day of the year 2012 to acknowledge the power of the 2013 plans.

The goal: push my limits
The (mental & physical)  struggle: pushing myself to the limits even if I was not physically and mentally strong in the first half of the year, resulted to an injury (Morton's Neuroma) in Summer, which affected my running for a year

The motto: #TRIOfor2013|#BAM2013|#HalvesofHolland - onward, forward!

The year in images: Running 2013 in Images (HFNL Blog Appendage3)  
The year in stats: (link to follow)
The year in stories: (link to follow)

The lesson (in hindsight, looking back, 2 years later): do not lose focus of every little progress while pushing your limits.

The lowest moment & what fueled me in the year(s) to come:  finishing Paris marathon unofficially.  Even though unreliastic, and was not planned I had hope that my finish will be recorded.  The plan was to run half, and step out.  After reaching kilometer 25 with my husband lending me moral support, I went for the distance I did not properly prepared for.  I paid dearly with an injury but I do not regret doing what I did (even though I will not advice anyone to do the same thing!).

The running year's highest moment: finish Paris marathon. :) The most beautiful course I am very humbled to have been able to run; it is the city where I met Faith, personally. An inspiring lady, and someone whose friendship I am thankful for and treasure.

Faith, my Filipina friend from California, beside me in Paris -
an unplanned but much cherished meeting


The goal: run a whole year without pain

The (mental & physical) struggle: wanting to be able to run longer distances but having the pain I felt the entire Summer of 2013 at the back of my mind.  I pursued a humble goal to run a faster (within an hour)10K but was (shamefully :( ) not  very enthusiastic about this goal.

The motto: #14TenK|#Dare2Dream - never give up!

The year in images: Running 2014 im Images (HFNL Blog Appendage 4)  
The year in stats: (link to follow)
The year in stories: (link to follow)

The lesson (in hindsight, looking back, after a year):  you are not the sum of your races but the sum of your efforts to keep going, to keep moving.

The lowest moment & what fueled me in the years to come:  feeling disappointed over my running year in December, after going through bouts of flu.  I felt ashamed about this because I am doing and have done what others wish they could and can.

The running year's highest moment: Running in Luxembourg second year in a row, a marathon where I humbly got chosen (amongst other Luxembourg marathon finishers) to lend a face to.

I think it will take a while to top the feeling of running a (half-marathon)  where you saw your face in different posters along the route.  Me, a marathon model - not a fast runner but definitelly happy, when I am able to run!

update 24.01.14 4:04 am

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If I can run, so can you: big dreams are reached with baby steps!