Under Construction

Little by little, you’ll notice this blog’s appearance and navigation will change. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ll begin a series of fitness trainer courses this summer, with as ultimate goal setting my own business as fitness/personal trainer.

I’ll continue blogging my trainings, race reports, and my journey in the world of fitness, which I hope will in turn inspire others to make a positive change in their lives.

I hope you’ll stick around during my own transformation, and my blog’s!

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My first race report of 2017!

I didn’t plan to run the 2017 Singelloop here in my hometown, Leiden. Actually, I had even forgotten the existence of this event until last week Monday, when I saw the warning signs about possible traffic congestion around the centre of town on Friday April 14, due to the event. And suddenly I thought: why not sign up for it? My 10K training is going well, I should be able to run 7km, even if I have to stop to walk a couple of times! And without further ado, I went to buy my bib number!

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On race day, I was feeling so, so tired, and I woke up with a headache. I went to bed way too late the night before, and sleeping in didn’t help. I went down for a nap in the afternoon, and it did help give me back some energy. But then… the nerves hit me! GAWD I was nervous. This was going to be my first race in almost three years, and my anxious brain wouldn’t give me a break. Will I be able to run the distance? Will I injure myself? What if I finish last, or what if they have to pull me out of the race because I’m too slow? I had to work hard to calm myself down — using all the techniques my very patient therapist has taught me.

When it was time, I got dressed and walked to the start. This gave me a good 15 minutes of brisk walk and a great warm-up. I was also able to test my knees and my Achilles’ heels — all seemed good to go! I felt a bit alone waiting for the start of the race; I knew no one taking part! I kept a bit to myself, put my music on, and FIVE MINUTES EARLY (19:25 instead of 19:30!!) it was time to start running!

As always, I started way too fast. I held on for the first kilometre, but then I really had to slow down. I paced myself by following other runners, but they were still too fast for me. Then a man came running next to me, and offered some encouraging words. I suppose my struggling was written all over my face! We kept running together until close to the finish — he walked with me when I had to walk, and he ran with me when I picked up the pace again. He literally coached me throughout the race, and I am SO THANKFUL that he did! We saw each other again after the finish, and I gave him a very heartfelt thank you for his help. Honestly, I think I would have abandoned if it wasn’t for him keeping me going. I never got his name, but fate put this stranger on my path for a reason: I FINISHED MY FIRST RACE!!!!

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My race stats really aren’t that impressive, I’m even a tad disappointed I couldn’t keep the pace of 7:00 min/km that I was aiming for. But hey… Not even two months ago, I was deeply depressed, and I was feeling like there was no way out of the nightmare I was in (work-related… it’s a long story!) And then I look at what I just achieved: I ran 7km, after a hiatus of almost 3 years. I deserve that medal!

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My next race is the 10K of the Leiden Marathon. I’m sure I can cover the distance if I continue my training (I’m not aiming to break my record, I’m only aiming at finishing), and if I continue my cross-training with swimming and cycling to improve my general fitness level. Because I have a confession to make… I signed up for a super-sprint triathlon again, in June! Ha! I will never learn… 🙂

Dusting away the cobwebs

It’s safe to say I further lost focus and further ran out of steam since my last post in 2014. Otherwise I would have been writing regularly.

What happened? Where to even start?

I’ve been through hell and back. An unlucky succession of jobs where I wasn’t happy, several cycles of depression. Training has often been the last thing on my mind, as fighting to stay alive required all my strength.

But hey, look: I’m still here. I’ve gained weight, but I’ve been able to limit the damages. I’ve gradually picked up running again, and next month I should finish my first 10K in years. I’ve also been a more regular at the gym, as I found fitness classes I actually like (kickboxing and BodyPump especially). I went cycling yesterday, for the first time in at least three years. I’ve also been at the pool a few times. No, I’m not training to finish a triathlon. I’m just training to be happy again.

And in this crazy head of mine, the desire to ‘do something with fitness and exercise’ has been nagging me again. Yes, ‘again’ as I did look into getting some sort of fitness trainer certification in 2014. But by fear or lack of motivation (or a combination of both), I abandoned the idea, stored it safely under lock and key, and forgot all about it. Until last week, when I had a bit of an existential crisis. Do I continue in the same field of work, and end up miserable like I’ve been the past couple of jobs, or do I explore other possibilities? Am I strong enough to start my career over at 42? Is it even the smart thing to do? What do I really want to do with the rest of my life?

So I explored other possibilities, namely options where I could work either as a freelancer or have my own practice. Becoming a fitness trainer and possibly a personal trainer was one of the options. But what do I have to offer my clients as a middle-aged woman who is certainly not the fittest, and who used to be morbidly obese? Experience, I suppose. The “I’ve been there” factor. I’d like to focus on fitness for older people, people like me. And I’d love to offer support and motivation to WLS patients as they become more active. I don’t want to make triathletes out of them — I simply want to share with them the joy that physical activity can bring. Not to mention the health benefits…!

And I did it. I signed up for an intensive course in June, where I’ll (hopefully) obtain my level 1 certification. I’m being carefully optimistic, it will be hard work, for sure. And that’s just level 1. There are so many other courses I need to complete in order to call myself a fitness master!

I’ll use this blog as a journal as I continue on the path of change. And some training and race reports, too. Did I mention I’ve also signed up for an 8K race in and around the gardens of the palace of Versailles in France? Versailles! Imagine that!

Watch this space.