Saturday, April 16, 2016

#13HappyHalves: A Day Before Enschede Half-Marathon 2016

Joyously smiling towards Wietse, who sprinted to capture this celebratory moment!
I was struggling with the heat on this very warm Spring Sunday in Rotterdam Marathon
but I was also very happy to be running my 4th half-marathon in the 2016 edition of my #13HappyHalves project

picture courtesy of MeeĆ¹sRunClub
by Wietse Visser Photography

“Small steps add up to complete big journeys.” 
― Matshona Dhliwayo

A never before shared race photo from my 10K race in Enschede Marathon 2014

As I began writing this blog the countdown clock of Enschede Marathon shows:

16 hours, 23 minutes and 42 seconds.

I have not written a blog nor shared any photo from my 10K 2 years ago in Enschede.

Summer 2011 - Winter 2014 

In Summer, 2011  I began with running half a year before my 40th birthday.

my second race almost a month after my first 5K
a year before my first full marathon

Berlin Marathon September 2012
8K in the Amsterdam Marathon event September 2011

Between September 2012 - April 2013, I finished 3 full marathons.

Summer 2013, I was injured with Morton's Neuroma. This injury set me back physically and blocked me mentally for a long period of time.

2013 was the year I finally ran a 10K almost within an hour (Marikenloop 1:01:40 May, 2013; incidentally a month where I revived my running after the dip prior to running Paris marathon).

2013 was a running year full of promise: instead of running 3 full marathons (I changed goals after my injury prevented me from running Berlin and Amsterdam again  ), I ran 6 half-marathons instead (finishing 5).

2013's edition of  running Happy Halves  was culminated at the Amsterdam Marathon event.
An event close to my heart.

This promising year ended with going back to running square 1. I had to adjust to always and only running with  customized insoles (from September 2013 until the present). The insoles prevent me from having extreme pain on my right foot.

In spirit, I felt I was in a runner's limbo in 2014 but  on the outside, I kept moving on.

Running 2014

Since I began running I have set running goals with themes, which sets the tone for the entire running year. For 2014, it was about all about 10Ks. I thought I could work on my speed in this distance while trying to deal with my mental block (working on my fear of  - knife like searing - pain on my right foot while running).

I realised later with the help of running year 2014, that speed was not my story; speed is not what motivates my core. I thought it was distance because I love very long runs. It would take 2 more years to reach the finish line of post injury.

Spring 2016

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” 

2 years later, in this beautiful Spring of 2016 (a Spring full of great possibilities!), I look back at running year 2014, not with frustration nor sadness not even a drop of disappointment; I look back with so much gratefulness in my runner's heart. As I do with running year 2013, 2012, 2011 (still working on doing a summary of running year 2015!).

Almost in my 5th year of running and I still have not run a 10K within an exact hour (yet!), nor have I  yet to run a half-marathon in my secret (not anymore!) ultimate personal goal of 2:10:00.

What I have accomplished though in almost 5 years of running, which nobody can ever take away for me is my confidence, trust and belief in who I am.

I began running with the simplest of goal: go out regularly and not isolate myself in our new home in Europe. Most importantly to actively work on not letting my bipolar disorder be in the way with our new start in life.

I am no longer the person, who I was before all the life crises came wave after wave after wave. Nor am I the person, who was battered after many battles of  by repeated cycles of deep depression.

I am, who I am, constantly evolving and open to change.
kilometer 37 of  Rotterdam Marathon
16th kilometer for my part of the relay

I  feel at home here in Holland with my family and happy and at home in my skin.

I am runner not focused on statistics but the stories behind them.

I am runner aiming to be better as a person and using each run, each race to test my limits. I am a running mom, who runs so I can show up for my daily responsibilities, strong, focused and mindful of the life I am blessed with.

Tomorrow,  I will run in Enschede Marathon event: this time the half-marathon distance, my 5th half-marathon for 2016;  I will run motivated by the fact, I am healthy, and an experienced runner.

I will run inspired by all those who have supported me from the very start of my personal voyage: to be a part of a community;  to feel connected in all sense of the word; to contribute to the growth of others.

I will run inspired by those  many beautiful souls I have yet to meet face to face but through the magic of the internet have helped me literally face the outside world.

I dedicate this blog to all the ladies on this collage.
I feel so very lucky to know all these ladies, my soul/solesisters.
All very inspiring, all very supportive, all goal oriented but never losing sight of what matters most.

They each remind me personally, and through their own pursuit of a life of quality  that I am never alone; they have my back, as I got theirs!

There are so many other running (and non-running!) friends not in this collage.

A day before my 5th half-marathon in 2016 (the 15th in my 5 years of running) I pay special homage to these ladies because without them
I will not be looking forward with confidence to tomorrow's half-marathon in Enschede.