Friday, October 6, 2017

Before Berlin Marathon 2012

This photo, taken on the 2nd of June, 2012
 was originally shared on my other blogsite:

My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands
in the blog

Consoling the Mind & Heart At Kinderdijk

Childhood is the most beautiful of all life's seasons. ~Author Unknown

Running was once an innocent childhood dream. Running a marathon was once an impossible dream to focus on, instead of letting myself be drained by a mental health disorder. Running Berlin marathon became a symbol of hope, a symbol for a new beginning.

In a series of blogs, I would like to look back to a year of preparing for Berlin Marathon 2012, the 5 running years in between and the 9 months towards Berlin Marathon 2017.

 Writing is Healing

Before I created Happy Feet in the Netherlands (January, 2012), I blogged at My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands.

In hindsight, I could say: making the decision of creating that blog would be a huge chapter in the story  of how I finally began with running.

“Sometimes you don’t know when you’re taking the first step through a door until you’re already inside.” 
― Ann Voskamp

Welcome (To Our) Home!

Reading through the old blogs at My Daily Mooosings in the Netherlands ("snippets of our life in the Netherlands" 2011-2015 )  is not easy for me, if I would be completely open and honest.  

I continue to have conflicting emotions - pride and shame - when I revisit.  

Pride swells in my heart, when I see the numbers of posts in the archive ; I made it through a long difficult period of life (2006-2015)  through steadfastly focusing on the positive aspects of my life.  

The shadow of shame continue to lurk in the corner of my mind, waiting to block it from putting into words, thoughts and feelings, which I need to express about the past and the present.  

Expressing thoughts and feelings liberates me, time and time again. Even with this knowledge, every time I hold a pen, or sit in front of the screen, it  still often takes a long time for me to begin.  

I read passages of old blogs, which were written in the times I knew I struggled mentally.  

In 2003, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after finally seeking help for my debilitating depression, which I silently kept to myself for 9 years.

Each blog, which seems confusing was my attempt to "function" in our new home, to record a new beginning in life, as positively as I could.  Sometimes I was able to do so successfully, more often it felt like being in a muddled mind of a drowning person. 

Blogging was my tool to get myself out of a negative state of mind.  A state depression pushes you in, and imprisons you  in for unpredictable time span.

I posted blogs to connect with my words, even if I intellectually and physically could not. Not everyone can comprehend the state of depression unless they have gone through it themselves.

Blogging, documenting, creative-writing were  my personal mental exercises, my "self-therapy", so I could focus on the good side of life, not lose my grip in life, and to keep going until depression no longer had it's grip on me.

From Writing to Running

Writing achieved what I hoped it would. It took me out of the internal isolation, everyone who suffers from cycles of depression struggles with.

“When faced with a radical crisis, when the old way of being in the world, of interacting with each other and with the realm of nature doesn't work anymore, when survival is threatened by seemingly insurmountable problems, an individual life-form -- or a species -- will either die or become extinct or rise above the limitations of its condition through an evolutionary leap.” ― Eckhart Tolle

I discovered blogging for myself in 2006, and  initially did so anonymously.  5 years later, I created a public blog.

Anonymous blogging in 2006 helped me find my voice in writing, again. No longer silent, no longer keeping everything in; I was "nameless" but not emotionless.

Our move from a big city in Germany to a quaint village in the Netherlands in 2009, was the impulse I needed to write under my own name. After 2 years period of adjusting to daily  life in Holland, I had the focus to create a blogsite ; the initial purpose was to have a place to share pictures and stories to our family and friends all over the globe.

Participating in blog community activities such as month long blogging, helped motivate me to go outdoors.

My Little Corner of Creativity

Once outdoors, I wanted to do more than walk and bike. 

I wanted to run.

Every time I found some relief, my bipolar disorder catches up on me.  

Series of intense anxiety and panic attacks soon joined my depressive cycles, after we moved in Holland. I would not  understand all of this, not until 2 years ago.

Running became a vehicle for me to be physically outdoors even if I was struggling mentally. I had "a legitimate excuse" not to engage in spontaneous interactions, when outside.  

People who knows me of long standing, and even those I met for the first time, will never think I have social anxiety, or become distress about social situations. 

I myself never thought I would experience panic attacks for a simple dinner get together, a date with a friend, school events or later on even in running events, after already running races countless of times.

From 5K - Full Marathon

Followers of my blog, my different social media channels, always ask me the same question: how can you still smile after running?!

I felt, I can write for years and years and I will never be able to put in words, how running and reaching the finish line each and every time,  gives me hope, happiness and a heart that feels so alive.

This blog and many other blogs I've written, is my attempt again and again to give life to the story of my life.  A story I would like to share to those out there, who feels hopeless in life, devoid of happiness, and heartbroken because life feels so painful each time they breathe.

28th of August 2011
My first 5K race
(Mom in Balance Pink Run)
in Amsterdam Bos

24th of September, 2017
My fourth marathon!

Berlin Marathon

Running 2011

The goal to run a short distance in a huge marathon event, and finish in the Amsterdam Olympic stadium was the first step of Happy Feet in the Netherlands towards Berlin Marathon 2012.

8th of August, 2011
I walked 8 km
on my first day of training
to run
8 km distance at
TCS Amsterdam Marathon

28th of August, 2011

20 days after I walked 8 km
I ran my first official 5K race
in 44:58
being the 54th finisher out of 62 women

I replaced my ASICS from 2003,
after my 5K race with this pair in 2011,
which I ran with in my first
(8K) Amsterdam Marathon

In 2015, I created a blog series to help me with writing unshared race recaps of 2011 -2014.

The Running 2011 blog, summarised in images my first months of building up my mileage towards running my aspired first marathon.

I successfully build up every month from August to November, running each month a race in succession : 5K , 6.4 km, 8 km, 9 km, 10K.

A harmless comment from a race volunteer in my first 10K race (my first "last runner" race), a  yearly Winter cold, and in hindsight the beginning of anxiety attack for races made me skip the 15K race.   I was very excited to run a 15 km race to successfully end the year 2011; my first very exciting 4 months of running. 

Bruggenloop is a 15K race I will eventually run, after my panic attack of 2011, for 4 consecutive years.

Since I was not able to run the 15K race, my initial enthusiasm  (ambitious in the eyes of many, who did not know me, my reasons for running and my personal motivation) and confidence to be able to run a marathon within 6 months was dented.  This "unaccomplished" goal will haunt me in years to come and it will affect my running both positively and negatively.

Instead of going to Rome to stubbornly attempt what others thought was impossible, I invited 3 other enthusiastic runners, who are now good friends to run a marathon relay with me in Hamburg.  It was the first edition of running in teams to complete the marathon distance in 27th edition of the Hamburg marathon event.

Hamburg Marathon 2012

Thank you for reading this far!  :) 

I can't wait to look back, and share each race recaps from August 2011 - September 2012.

It would be a great pleasure to know if you are reading along! Please leave a comment.  OR share this to a friend, you feel could use a story to give them encouragement to keep going.


No comments:

Post a Comment

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