Sunday, February 26, 2017


I shared this image in my @happyfeetnl Instagram account
to remind myself why I am back at using that social media tool.

My mixed feelings on being on that platform still remains.  I am choosing (at this point) to confront those feelings and hopefully move on with success.  The aim is to use the tool  to communicate and connect and not let the tool "use me" i.e. change, and influence, who I am and my make me doubt myself, my path and my choices.

“Instead of focusing on how much you can accomplish, focus on how much you can absolutely love what you’re doing.”

20.02.17, Monday:   

5K shake out run (average pace 7'21'' min/km - 36:50)
I warmed up for almost 10 minutes and stretched for the same amount of time.

Another Instagram photo shared to remember a good run and a reminder to work on blogposts
all about running Luxembourg !

21.02.17, Tuesday

REST  - I woke up feeling very motivated to run but I had to remind myself of my plan to do it different this time

No more overdoing things and (as much as possible!) stick to the slow build up of a training plan.  It is hard to "outsmart" my self-sabotaging brain, and as I write this, I feel instantaneously very silly! But that is my reality, and I would like to make a note of it here. I am in constant battle to outwit my own brain.

Running - getting out of the door, that is - is not my ultimate challenge.  My ultimate challenge is maintaining all these in my life: balance, focus, security and stability. The runner's lifestyle, way of living helps a lot in trying to achieve this.

I physically rested but mentally, I was occupied with working on BLANK SPACE and on #13HappyHalves blogdrafts.

Oh, I made soup on this day! An experimental Chinese Chicken noodle soup.  Although P forgot to pick up the Chinese noodles on the way home. hahaha He did remember everything on the list! Luckily, we still had some generic noodle in the cupboard.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” 
― Lao Tzu

Before I went to bed, I meditated on the quote above, as preparation for our trip to Hamburg.

22.02.17, Wednesday

8.05 km (average pace 7'15'' min/km - 58:23 )  

This was a good run.  I wrote something (in blogdraft) about this run because I had technical problems with all my running gadgets. The blogpost's link will be added here, once I have published it.

After my run, my "home at last" view!

23.02.17, Thursday: Road trip to HH 

It will be challenging to write a story chronicling an important major life-changing decade of my life.  This trip was the culmination of that long chapter.

What I can share about the trip, now: it rained the whole day and we successfully did what we had to do.  Sadly, we missed sight seeing and doing fun stuff we usually do, when we go to Hamburg but we plan to make another trip or 2 this year.   

Leaving Holland
Arrival in Hamburg

Rain and traffic!
Departure from Hamburg

October, 2015

Our last long visit in Hamburg. 
It was a memorable Autumn School Break

24.02.17, Friday:  

unscheduled REST - due to very painful haemorrhoids.  

Since I gave birth for the first time, it has been a problem.  I noticed it is aggravated, when I am dealing with stressful situations. It does not however start or get worse from running. Only, I am unable to run, when it is very swollen. I think worrying about the trip this week, plus a total of 10 hours in the car caused the aggravation.

Still, I had a great day because eldest daughter surprised  the girls and I with a lovely, yummy brunch!

25.02.17, Saturday

5K tempo run (average pace 6'54'' min/km - 34.29)

In celebration of my my 4th week of running (6th week of training) I shared my 7 mini-goals for 2017 marathon training,  at my IG account. 

26.02.17, Sunday:   Last Day of Spring School Break! 

The family shared a simple brunch.

11 km (average pace 7'30 min/km - 1:22:30)

It's been a week, since my unplanned return to my Instagram account.  I have asked been several times, if my social media break/detox has ended.  For many my leaving was as abrupt as my coming back.

This week has been a trying week.  I think, I need another week to sort out my thoughts regarding what happened in Hamburg, the consequences of the steps I made and plan the next steps to follow.

I go to and fro with the idea of resuming my IG break or simply limit my use of it or re-start another account following only those accounts, which won't trigger me.

I love it as a tool to help me creatively reach my goals.  There are many aspects of social media, I struggle with.  I would like to learn how to ignore those things, which sets me off me negatively.  If I could do this, then I can continue reaping rewards from the many positive sides of social media. 

For now, I will continue to use it more conservatively as I have between 2014-2016.  I'll see how next week goes.

Total  :   29  running  km

✓ Week 1, 2 and 3 (Biking : 188 km Running (started 3rd week: 21 km)
✓ Week 4 (Biking : 60 km Running : 13 km )

✓ Week 5  (Biking : 50 km Running : 29 km )

✓ Week 6 (Biking: 0 Spring Break! Running : 29 km )

6 weeks of Biking : 298 km
4 weeks of Running : 92 km

26.02.17 23:07, Sunday
Draft created 19.02.17/13:55, Sunday

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Why We DO IT Wednesday: 5 Weeks of Training and A Very Important Trip

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” 

Yesterday, I was feeling very motivated to run but because I ran 3 consecutive days in a row, I "forced" myself to not give in to the "running addiction" motivation.

Running is a gift. I have to smile at the end of every training because of gratefulness; I can run again and again because I am physically healthy.
When I finished my run last Monday, I was extremely happy and grateful. It was the culmination of 3 runs in a row:
Saturday, 18th of February: 5.50 km easy to warm up for Sunday's first two digit long distance run
Sunday, 19th of February: 10 km easy build up
Monday, 20th of February: 5 km shake out run.
They are mini- run successes worthy of a huge smile! 
I  rarely have "a  triumphant trio run" of this kind. I did not plan it but I have been wishing it will happen during my Berlin marathon training, naturally. Hopefully more of this simple triumphs will come in the next weeks!

I need the rest, and have to wait and stick it out with  the plan for Berlin Marathon 2017: build up slowly, work on being strong, stay focused on why I am running Berlin and BE in the process. No rush. No living it up for short-lived rewards.

"Bloom through the concrete!"

This morning, I woke up early and stood up right after my husband kissed me goodbye and left for work.  I half-heartedly ate a just on the edge of being ripe banana and drank coffee (yup, the coffee I was trying to give up!) to wake up my sluggish body even though my mind was already in manic mode.

I mentioned my wish to give up coffee
during Training Week 1, 2, 3

My compromise, drink at least 1-2 mugs  a week.

When I looked outside, there was a twinge of regret that I resisted yesterday's urge to run!  The sky is overcast and my motivation metaphorically hid behind the clouds of self-sabotaging negative thoughts and anxiousness over this week's trip.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” 
― Lao Tzu

I meditate on the power of these wise words and the memory of a great trip to Hamburg, Autumn 2015

I am munching on a peanut butter sandwich as I write this blogpost.  Hopefully, after I finished this blog, my sandwich has settled and I can run; this process (decluttering my mind) is my way of being pro-active and banishing all these negative thoughts and energy, which threaten to drown me.

No one can help me out of these debilitating anxiety attacks but myself.  The more I expect "help", "miracle", "impulse" to come from the outside, the more I am wrought by inner-pain.  I've been here - the cycle of falling in a hole, climbing out of it - a thousand times to know: the feeling will disappear, the moment will pass and strength will be gained, when I continuously face the situation I dread, the many unknowns, that I fear.

The trip would mean a lot to the process of stabilising my mental health.  It is one little step of many for this year.  When I reach the proverbial finish line, I can focus on taking good care of my family, my health, working, studying and enjoying our simple life, here in the Netherlands.

Motivation, are you there yet?! :)

Looking back at the weekly recap of Berlin Marathon training,  I am filled with a sense of quiet fulfillment and a deep sense of pride.  I am focused.  I am determined.  I am not giving up! I will continue to steadfastly work on running strong and have fun in the process.

My reward: I get a chance to run in Berlin again, 5 years after I finished my first marathon successfully.  It's symbolic for all the many chances I get in life again and again. Chances I do not take for granted.

Are we running, today? Heck yeah!

UPDATED 22.02.17 23:06, Wednesday

Yeah! :D

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


A photo taken last week Tuesday, 7th of February after my run.

I recorded this via the Photo Booth App of my partner's iMac, since my mobile was still synching my run.

My "T sign" was a happy gesture for Tuesday Run and a reminder to BE true to myself.

“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.” 

Blogger's NOTE:

This week, I shared a dynamic PREVIEW POST** of my Training: Week 5 before "final edit".  This meant, I published the blog with the skeleton of my training plan,  edited the data in each day, I shared the update on my FB page.

I previously recorded my weekly training in draft mode and edit it as I go.  FINAL EDIT is when I completed the week, and I share it online either on  Monday or Tuesday.

Final edit does not usually mean (at least in my manner of blogging! :D ) final.  Since writing blogs is my medium to meditative therapy, I often go back to them to reread, and edit.  I edit to correct the grammar (I try!) or because I simply did not make sense (even to myself!).

In hindsight (UPDATED Sunday, 19th February, 2017), I think I would rather share the blog, at the end of the training week.  I have to admit "my experiment" helped me with documenting! Still, I felt my anxiety rise, when I have something that I still need to do, shared on public and I end up not doing it.

The main goal of blogging for me is documenting life, to regularly journal for: posterity,  create structure (in my life!) and as a reminder to stay true to myself.

I am happy that blogging about my way "Back to Berlin" is helping me do this in a fun and creative way.

If you missed previous weekly training posts, and you would like to read back, here are the other posts:

✓ Week 1, 2 and 3 (Biking : 188 km Running (started 3rd week: 21 km)
✓ Week 4 (Biking : 60 km Running : 13 km )

✓ Week 5  (Biking : 50 km Running : 29 km )

5 weeks of Biking : 298 km
3 weeks of Running (so far): 63 km

Honestly, I am not sure if I can document everything I listed below! I would like to, simply to make sure I do, do them.  Recording data contributes a lot to the goal to be consistent.  I am not going to be obsessive about it, I will find a way, how I can simplify.

Warmed-Up before a Run stats to follow*
Stretched after a Run (at least 5 minutes session) : stats to follow*
Yoga : stats to follow*
Strength Training : stats to follow*

I need to go back on my blogposts* UPDATE (8th of March, 2017): I think, I am making it hard on myself, again.  Let me just say, the reason I will not edit this out and simply let it stand is a reminder to myself that I am trying to change. I am correcting my self-sabotaging pattern.  Perhaps, in my next marathon, I can make a standard form and I only have to fill it in.  For now, I will keep to recording biking and running mileage and mentioning (or adding photos!) if I did warm up/cool down/stretched after the run/did yoga/done my strength training.  They are all things I would like to do without even thinking about them but I want them to be all to be natural part of my daily life.

13.02.17, Monday: REST ✓ 

This was a mentally demanding day. I did what I have been procrastinating on for a decade.  A very emotional phone call (as a follow up to a very long letter, I sent a couple of weeks ago) to begin the day.  It went very well.  A good (re)start to a very old relationship.  Rest was my reward.

Fruits and Flowers
As a girl, my concept of luxury was  to regularly have fruits and flowers at home.

Photo taken morning of 13th of February

14.02.17, Tuesday✓ 

biked 20 km / ran 8.17 km (average pace of 7'16'' min/km - 59:19 ) / STRETCHED for 5 minutes

The picture above was one of the first two pictures I posted on my @happyfeetnl Instagram account, after 2 months break.

You can read about it here: BEing Back on Instagram

15.02.17, Wednesday✓ 

1:28 p.m.
Almost home after doing the grocery.
My little M excited to prepare her first home made bapao!
biked 20 km -

1:21 p.m.
Some ditches along our bike route still have frozen ice, and some are completely melted.

blogged and decluttered mind before I pick up M from school

Worked on BLANK SPACE  

REST from running

Breakfast at 9 am : coffee (yup, I have no self-control!)
muesli with raisins topped with banana and Alpro yogurt.
I am addicted to this very simple breakfast.

Fuel to help in decluttering my brain via blogging! ;)

After I decided, I will switch my run for Wednesday to Thursday, I bought the ingredients for the steamed buns we planned to do Saturday and prepared them instead on this day.  M, who was requesting for them for quiet a while now, was very delighted.

16.02.17, Thursday✓ 

biked 10 km /  5.74 (average time 7'12" min/km - 41:22)

Stats so far since I returned to running, before Thursday's run.

I will be happy if I can run the marathon distance in that total amount of time.

Motivation to work come, when I look at my running statistics and write my (self-empowering!) thoughts, here in the blog.

Fogged up glasses after my run.

Feeling very fulfilled I got the run, done!

I had extreme back pain because my monthly cycle began the day before.  Warming up before a run is something I would like to consistently do, and for this run warming up before  helped a lot with my muscle cramps.

Since my return to Instagram, I have been using the app to save thoughts I would like to write as a blogpost.  Mostly, I share them in the stories (only visible to users of Instagram, and not showing in my gallery).  It is my "creative post-it's" to help me remember.

Before I forget to mention, if you are  interested in the running stats, you will notice that the stats on Zombies, Run! app and my Nike+ stats have  small discrepancies.  I am writing it down here in case anyone (who are following in all social media channels I have) wonders about it.

17.02.17, Friday:  ✓ 

School's Spring Vacations Starts!


18.02.17, Saturday✓ 

5.50 (average time 6'57" min/km - 38:10)
/YOGA mini-session of 7 minutes

19.02.17, Sunday✓ 

Warmed-up : I am doing a series of 3-4 sets of warm-up exercises from Pop Sugar; I have to time it but I think roughly 8 minutes

ran an easy 10 km (average pace 7'25'' min/km - 1:14:16 )

Stretched right after the run : around 6 minutes

I am proud to have gotten my long distance run done, today.

Looking back on my LDR training, so far:

Week 3

5.16 km / 7:27 min

Week 4 

6,82 km / 7'32"

Week 5

8.17 km / 7'16' (due to a busy weekend in Week 4, I missed running my 8 km LDR, and the longest distance I ran in that week, was 6,82 km, one of my 3 runs in that week.  I ran it this week Tuesday, instead.)

10 km / 7'25'' (I am happy with this pace; there was pain in my calves until 7.5 km but luckily from 8 - 10 km the pain went away.  I was still more than 2 km away but I turned off my Nike+ watch and walked listening to Zombies, Run! app. Supply Run mode, the rest of the way.)

Google image of

Zombies, Run! app

Total  :  50 biking km / 29 (rounded off ) running km

**NOTE TO READERS: The date of the post is when I started the draft, and at the bottom right of the page is the date I published and/or updated the blogpost.

19.02.17 17:34, Sunday
LAST UPDATE 08.03.17 10:32, Wednesday

Friday, February 10, 2017


(Photo taken in our back garden last September, 2016)
Image originally shared in a previous blog series:
DETOXING Happy Feet: On Blogging, Simplifying and Decluttering 2017  Part 2

“I thrive in structure. I drown in chaos.” 

Before I Begin About Week 4 . . .

It's 10 days to February and I'm already in Week 4 of Berlin Marathon 2017 Training!?! 

Here is the blog about:  Week 1, 2,  & 3

You can also read, "My Mental Prep" before I begun with my actual training.

Almost at the end of Week 4, and I am feeling motivated and fresh each day.  It still is a challenge to simply go out and run BUT I obsess less and worry less about it.  

If my mind managed to self-sabotage a planned run, I feel even more motivated to at least cover an average distance of 3 km, the next day. As past experiences have already proven, the 3 km mostly becomes 5 km or longer. 3 is a good way to maintain and practice baby steps in accelerating speed without exhausting one self or over-training.

I do refrain from running longer distances at this point of my training (even if I am having so much fun and still want to go on!) because I know from experience, I should take time to ease my body to running longer distances and not swing from 3 km to 15-21 km.  Happily, my brain is not going on crazy mode :D and has listened to reason, thus far!

This is why I am VERY excited to run 8 km, this week!*** (I ended up not running 8K at the end of this week - see entry under  10th of February below - , and the longest  run of this week was 6,8 km (ran Friday). Even though my weekly goal is to run 4X, I am training my brain to feel accomplished, if I manage 3x!  This is a huge accomplishment on it's own.)

If all goes well, at the end of Week 4, in 2 consecutive weeks of running, I am averaging 21 km/week.  A good slow build up!

***15th of February P.S. 5 Days, after I shared this blogpost, I wanted to add, the sentiments, "I am VERY excited to run..." holds very true for this week's training.  

It is because in hindsight, even if I did not run 4X this week, or missed the other things I wanted to do to strengthen my body, I am staying true to the guidelines, I told myself to adhere to before I completely committed to the goal, "BE Better On My Way to Berlin!".  

I will always TRY my best to follow a structured training BUT not sacrificing the fun of the run, the fun behind the run and NOT forgetting, why I (it: marathon running)  started, and have to keep going.

Statistics and Stories

I have been busy and I have not had time to write all my thoughts these past week, and frankly, my brain is itching! :D

In previous post about my training, I mentioned that I will TRY the best I can to separate the "ramblings" from the posts detailing how I prepare myself physically for a marathon.  I tagged all my post, where I write about what's going on in my mind under : Decluttering A Bipolar Mind.

It is a challenge to separate "mind and body" stories, I have to admit. I realise, it is essential to mention my daily life within the context of my training.  Being strong and resilient  enough to take charge of my daily life is one of the many reasons, I am running!

06.02.17, Monday:

biked 20 km/ REST from running

I spent 3 hours of clearing out, and cleaning the shed (the one with the green door on the right of the photo).  It was a very satisfying to complete this chore; I have been procrastinating since we moved in this house Spring of 2013.  

For me, our clean and organised shed, is my Back to Berlin: Training Week 1, 2, 3 Finish Line AND Reward.  Running, blogging about running and disciplining myself to stick to routines (I hated routines in my younger days even though I crave it at the same time. Does that make sense?! :D ). helps me accomplish home, and personal projects.

The "Spring Cleaning 2017" is a home project I am very excited about and I am planning to document it at My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands.  If you would like to see photos of our home, how it transformed from 2013, and follow how it will slowly transform this year, you are welcome to check out the blogposts!.

07.02.17, Tuesday:

biked 10 km/ 3.18 km tempo run  (average pace 7'07'' min/km - 22:41 minutes)

This image was actually taken before my run on Monday, 6th of February
It's very motivating for me to go out and let the story of Zombies, Run! unfold, as I run.

Zombies, Run app continues to be a major motivation for me.  I still have in draft mode the first impressions I had, the first time I ran using the app, and as soon as daily life is no longer too busy, I will write a separate blog series of my experience.

08.02.17, Wednesday:

biked 10/REST from running 

A busy and full day. A short summary, here to help me remember when I blog at "My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands".

Picking up  M, the youngest from school and doing our grocery after is a routine we both enjoy.
M finds this activity very relaxing after school.

K is home, sick and shared late lunch with M

After dinner, we head off to the older girls shared high school give moral support to  eldest.
J worked months with her friends to do a special presentation about Music and Art.

09.02.17, Thursday

biked 10 km/ ran 3.39 km maintenance (average pace 7'19'' min/km - 24:49 minutes)

You can read how this run accompanied my M on her bike, here: What You Do When Your Phone's Battery is Empty! (A Little Help from M) :D

A good day.  I feel very Zen after I was able to include a run in the day and most relaxing for me is to look at my family relaxing and the sight of fruits and flowers.

10.02.17, Friday:

biked 10 km/ ran 6,82 km tempo (average pace 7'32" min/km - 51:23)

Since I am updating this Monday afternoon (13th of February), I am now considering this run "my long distance" run for the week.

11.02.17, Saturday: On the Agenda - STRENGTH TRAINING 

Physical and mental REST / 
Work on Blank Space (decluttering my mind!) /
Family Dinner (Very Special Quality time)

I will let the links and photos tell the story for now.  


I heart my Dutch Guy aka Mijn Liefste P! 

Snow in February!!!

A belated birthday cake for P's granddaughter N


12.02.17, Sunday: On the Agenda - slow long distance run 8K

A quiet restful Sunday. 

When I am not decluttering my mind on this blog, I do so in my brown notebook (since January, 2017, I am back to hand written journals!).

Photo was taken after a very productive morning,
Monday, 13th of February

I did not go online Sunday and also did not use my mobile camera to document the day.
You know, just some  of those things I am trying out to make  sure 2017 would become one of my most "ZEN" year. :)

Total:  60 biking km / 13.39 running km

Monday, 13th of February

I would love to give you a A preview of Training Schedule: Week 5 but it all depends how many kilometer s I will run, today  My plan is to do an easy 8 km , and the alternative is an easy 5-6K.  

If it goes according to plan, I have to see how to tweak Week 5 to get the proper training mileage, what kind of run; all to help my personal progress without sacrificing  the fun of running (!) and most importantly the quality time with my family.

Honestly, it does bother me a bit (my brain itches!) that I did not complete the weekly goal of running 4X in Week 4.  The positive thought I can feed my brain to start the new week is: discover new things this  new week, explore new ways  to work on accomplishing this weekly goal! Think creative, think fun and most importantly BE ZEN!

Photo taken last week Tuesday, 7th of February to remind me, when I started incorporating warm up exercises again, before my run. Baby steps to consistency!

Usually, I either do a brisk walk for the first kilometer, when I am very tired.
Or I jog, the first kilometer, when I want to do a quick short run.
Mostly, I simply "dive cold" into it, which is really not good!

If you notice, I wear the same gear during the week. I washed my running gear right away  after my run, and hang them to dry so I can wear them the next day.

Again, one of the things I am doing to keep "my daily life", as simple as possible.

UPDATED  15th of February

NOTE TO READERS: The date of the post is when I started the draft, and at the bottom right of the page is the date I published and/or updated the blogpost.

15.02.17 17:35, Wednesday