Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday, Mornings, Marathons & a Manic Mind

I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose

Fire away, fire away

Ricochet, you take your aim

Fire away, fire away 
You shoot me down but I won't fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won't fall 
I am titanium
I am titanium
I am titanium
- lyrics from Titanium, sung by Madilyn Bailey 

Blogging music playing at the back ground, on repeat: (Titanium; Titanium Album)


Happy Monday! How are you all doing?!

I am VERY happy to be feeling better again; my family and I had to deal with a flu virus almost over 3 weeks. Husband and I were both nursing each other alternately in the past weeks.

Photo taken this morning at around 11 am by my oldest daughter in between me doing house chores,
writing, sending important emails and continuing with Spring cleaning.

I have so much to share with you all.

My blogging goal this year is as every year: blog more! I know, I know, I keep writing this and it is already for me personally a big thing if I do manage to post at least once a month.

I write a lot (busy mind!), and mostly what I have written stays in draft mode (149 currently in draft versus 151 published blogposts :D ). Or I think a lot of what I would like to write (ideas, lessons in life, stories behind running stories etc) but the thoughts never become written words.

2015 blog stats were more than 2012 (25) & 2014 (24) but less than 2013 (63). I am pretty proud of the 37 blogposts but I wished I exerted more effort.

A Monday is always a good time for positive affirmations, so here we goooo!

I won't name the number of how many blogs I would like to be written this year, as I have done in the past. My aim is to simply try publish at least 3X in the week: MWF.

If I do get to blog the rest of the week, they are just bonus. :)


I woke up at 6:20 am today together with Mijn liefste P; I often set the alarm for him for work, and before he goes he set it again for me in case I drift off to sleep again.

It's a luxury to spend a bit of time before our days both begin

I am ashamed to admit that today, I did not get up to spend those precious half an hour with P but I hope tomorrow.

A collage from our Saturday morning family walk after my Saturday run with the House of Running crew, 2 weeks ago.
I'll be blogging about my experiences with HoR this week!
Precious Saturday mornings with other people who share the passion for running.

This Saturday is made even more special by the fact that P walks for at least an hour while he waits for me to finish my training with HoR.
Baby steps to running together, soon! 

Sunday, we both semi-spontaneously begun with Spring Cleaning 2016! This made Monday feel more full of energy.

More on this on my other blog at My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands.

Sunday's Spring cleaning is my "warm-up" to going back to my marathon training!


I am not sure if I will write a separate blog today about my marathon training - an update and recap.

In case I don't get to do so, here is a short version: I am no longer running the Rotterdam Marathon, which was suppose to be my Spring marathon goal.

Rotterdam Marathon 2014
with the beautiful people of Social Mile
(Together with Chantor, founder of Social Miles, Renée my good friend  & Chantor's beautiful wife, Kim in neon SM shirt,  ran the marathon as a relay team; Ron - far left on the picture - Renée's better half ran the full marathon.)

Rotterdam Marathon 2015
original goal to run the half-marathon distance
with a full marathon starting number thanks to the generosity of
This was supposed to be a mental prep for me on my 2016's goal to run the full marathon in this event.
Eva and Udjen both ran the full.

It was a good day and I ran 11 kilometers further than I planned.
I had an hour to finish and I could have done so (way over the time limit!) for personal satisfaction.
In the end, I decided to step out as planned.
The picture on the right of this collage was taken by Tamara's husband.
She seems to be my Rotterdam marathon angel. I've seen her for two consecutive years without us arranging it before  hand

It is a very fast marathon for me (time limit: 5:30; I currently have a marathon pace with a marathon finish of 6:00), and it will be stressful to continue having it as my first marathon goal after 3 weeks of dealing with a flu. It has also been 3 years of waiting to run a full again.

After 4 years of running experience, I have become more flexible with letting go of a goal.  After my injury I see running for what it is since the very beginning for me: a symbol and a sport that keeps me going!

I still have Slachtemarathon to look forward to in June.

This coming Sunday, I'll be running Groet uit Schoorl; it is an event, which I have been wanting to run again since 2013. Originally the plan was to run a half-marathon distance (as part of my #13HappyHalves project) but I have to switch (a struggle for my mind!) to a shorter distance because of being ill for so long.

More on this tomorrow.

(A) Manic Mind

Every week, I would like to write a short update on the state of my mind.  It is both a personal and hopefully, a public service.

Most of those close to me, and those who reads my blog, know I have bipolar disorder.

a picture I sent my friend Meike aka @fithealthybrunette
during our WhatsApp chat.
It was so thoughtful of her to ask how I was doing while I was recuperating.

Normally, I have a hard time sharing how I look when sick or interacting at all but not with her.

I met Meike via a Nike Women challenge last year, and
she's been a huge positive influence in my life.
Another blessing the sport of running has brought me.
You can check her blog here:

I hope to share this year a lot of  our experiences together on our road to reaching our different goals.

Running and blogging have improved the quality of every area of my life in so many ways.

Keeping an active lifestyle enabled me to deal with a lot of of my fears & triggers face on, and confront many mental blocks that have increased in years because of this disorder.

I am relieved to share that my depression have decreased and my manic phases are under control, as well. 

I would like to help others.

Honestly though, most of the time, I am happy if I have the (mental) energy to help myself.

Writing what I have learned in the process of dealing with my bipolar disorder, serves as a reminder of how far I have come; I re-read my blogs when I am at the beginning of repeating destructive patterns.

It is my hope that by holding myself accountable to write at least once a week about my mental health, I will not only help myself continue improving but help those silent readers out there, who I know from experience receives catharsis by reading the words of others, who go through the same struggles.

A picture taken last week - as you can see, I was
still not feeling okay but I went out for a walk
with youngest daughter and her best friend.

Walking in nature really is good for the mind and spirit.

I would like to do this every Monday but one characteristic of bipolar disorder, that I am dealing with is taking on too much. Mondays are usually very busy.

So I will make this either every Tuesday or Thursday or short blogs for each days. I will try to write  in different perspectives and I will keep it between 250-500 words written under half an hour.

Monday will simply be a reminder to myself and to my readers of what's in store for this week.

Have you read about my What's Up Wednesday blog series already? I did not share it (yet) on all my social media channels. I wanted to let a week past first, and wanted to leave it to chance, who stumbles upon it (those who subscribed to my blogposts, or those who checks the link to my blog on Twitter or Instagram).

It's all part of my self-theraphy. I hope to share more about it every week.


In spite of being sick after a very active January, I am looooooooving 2016 so far. :)

In 2015, we made a lot of personal changes and I feel how these changes have helped my family and I simplify life. We have progressed and I am delighted to see this in our daily life.

We will continue to be a work in progress; I am very proud of how we work as a unit because it makes the ups and downs easier to deal with.

I leave you with a quote I searched for to power my "starting over" week:

“So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don't sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we've satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late. ” 


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

What's Up Wednesday in February: Focus

“Very occasionally, if you pay really close attention, life doesn't suck.” 

A photo collage I created yesterday from pictures from a short brisk walk.
Story, here.

Introducing WUWHFNL*

Hello, February!

Welcome readers to what I hope will be a weekly feature of this blog, introducing: What's Up Wednesday Happy Feet NL*.

It will be blogs, which talks about random subjects.

These are topics, which I would like to keep out from my usual blogposts because they can be distracting from the topic at hand.

Most of the time including them keeps me from focusing on the subject matter and finishing the post, when I insert them in between a recap of a race, or a training week/month.

They are subjects on their own will not fill out a blogpost.

Mostly they are even a group of disconnected thoughts; sometimes after writing them together, these thoughts do become cohesive. Or mostly they stay disconnected

Sometimes, people like me simply have too many thoughts.  Sometimes people like me need to write them all down to make sense of all these myriad thoughts, sift through them and clearly recognize what we all know all along but just need to put words to, and feel a sense of peace and sometimes affirmation.

The main purpose of having this kind of regular post in an exercise on focus.  It is all about the baby steps in disciplining myself to focus.

The goal to sharpen my ability to focus is one of the many reasons I am running and  this is why I also go back to blogging again and again.


There are many ways to achieve goals. There are many ways to accomplish what you would like to
achieve in life. In my age, I learned without focus you will never be where you would like to be and end up going in circles.

I'll be 44 when Spring 2016 begins to blossom.


I don't feel this age.  I feel as if I am just at the beginning of life -  not feeling young, nor is there a longing to be young again but I feel like someone standing at a new starting line of life.  A beginner of life already equipped with some wisdom.

There are many times in life, I feel I still have so much to learn, and too little time to do so.


At this moment, my focus is to be healthy and fit again.

I am happy that I am well again, and no longer very illl. I recently recovered from the second bout of flu virus.

When I am ill, I get depressed. Not sad depressed. It is more of a paralyzing kind of depression.

It is why it is for me  not only a physical challenge, when I am ill but a mental challenge as well.

The focus to get better (rest and not stress) is distracted by anxiety.

If you are ill you need rest, and logic follows you have to lie down in bed to rest even during the day and not only when you need your sleep in the evening. I dislike lying in bed sick during the day because it reminds me so much of months of not getting out of bed.

I am working on the negative thought patterns over resting in bed when sick for 3 years now.

I am happy to say, I am almost there in acquiring all possible healthy coping mechanism and a much stronger outlook on certain situations that used to be sources of anxiety for me.

This kind of cycles is one of the reasons I created the #13HappyHalves (running 13 half-marathons in 2016) project.


Projects help me focus, and when I can completely focus, I am happy.

Different kinds of projects gives me structure and source of positive energy.

If you check Happy Feet in the Netherlands on Facebook and @happyfeetnl on Instagram, you will get a sneak peek of projects I am involved in or trying to get off the ground. Projects, which I will write eventually write at length here.

Currently it is all about the 13 half-marathons. Did you read my recap of Egmond Half Marathon? It is the first of 13 half-marathons and I am VERY proud, that I was able to run this year AND blog about it in the same month. :D #epicforme

So, there you go! The first WUWHFNL!

What's up with you, today? :) xo
Blogger´s Note:
I wrote this on a Tuesday; I begun at 10:27 am and with many interruptions finally finished at 11:12 pm. I am still contemplating what time of the day to share this weekly series on my social media accounts.  I am recording all details of my blogging to help me monitor my progress in my endeavours.