Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In Search of Happy Feet


When All Else Fails…

Face the Truth Straight in the Eyes


Two weeks ago, I announced on Happy Feet in the Netherlands FB page, that I will be sharing a blog with the topic, "Where are you going Happy Feet!?!"

It should have been a blog sharing the details of my running calendar after the Summer holidays, my training during the Summer break and what goals I am focusing on.

Alas, I was unable to write it. Alas, I have been unable to run for 17 days now.  Alas, I find myself again, where I was 3 years ago before I begun with running: at the beginning.



“We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy's fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure--your perfection--is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the buy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.” 
― Elizabeth GilbertEat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia


After the Finish lines…

Back to Yourself


There is no other way to say it but simple, direct and honest, "I lost my Happy Feet!" after running my last 10K.


At the finish line
of Stoomtramloop 2014
last 22nd of June
my 7th (of 14 10Ks I would like to run this year) and fastest 10K this year


Almost at the finish line of Vechtloop 2014
my last 10K
before the Summer break
My 8th 10K (6 more 10Ks to go in the pursuit of running a 10K in an hour)
29th of June


Image courtesy of
"Living with Depression" by Deborah Serani FB Page
a page I follow to gain a better perspective of living a life with cycles of depression

Currently, nothing is truly motivating me to take the first step I need to do. 


So, I result to this: confessional blog.  A blog to release thoughts, unearthing in the process what is holding me back.

It is actually nothing, and so many things. 

You know? My same old…same old…  

It is about me hindering myself; it is about me being in my own way.


Reading a blog I saw pass by while on Twitter motivated me to write this blog.  A blog to help myself get going.

Below is the comment I left on that post.



Thanks to your post on Twitter, Katie I was able to read this blog -Blogging & Belonging by Mom's Little Running Buddies (link edited in for this post) . I needed to read your inspiring words, specially today (re-starting my training for Amsterdam marathon).

This is why I love social media, it connects people sharing the same convictions, same passion. In the process empowering each other. It reminds me that social media like anything else when used in moderation and for social good is truly worthwhile.

I used to work in the world of mass media (television, advertising, etc). The freedom of self-expression I feel with blogging is something I have not felt in my profession. I do not want to lose that freedom but do constantly feel the pressure of conforming.

Happily enough, I overcome it every time!

How can we enrich each other's lives if we give up our individuality? This is what I tell myself - my mantra - when I feel doubts and fears over sharing my thoughts, point of view, experiences.

- end of comment -



Often times, the interaction with others (on the web or IRL) are exactly what you need to remind yourself who you are, what you believe in, what you stand for and what your true purpose is.




After finishing my first half-marathon this year
31st of May
Luxembourg 2014


“The human race is a monotonous affair. Most people spend the greatest part of their time working in order to live, and what little freedom remains so fills them with fear that they seek out any and every means to be rid of it.” 


Who am I? What do I believe in?


Live. Love. Run.


Simple yet made complicated when you deal with bipolar disorder.  When your own mind is your worst enemy.

I refuse to be a victim of my affliction.

I can talk in details about how painful it is to go through each cycle, and how frustrating it is to climb up again after you almost reach the "top" (normal daily existence), and have to pick yourself up from "the deep end"(mental and physical state of paralysis).

But time is better spent than doing that. I learned this the hard way. 

It is challenging, but being positive, seeing the positive of one's life no matter what the circumstances  are, is truly a rewarding and worthwhile endeavor.

Life's quality has enormously improved since I was officially diagnosed of being manic-depressive. 

There is power in having a name for what you are fighting against.  I have fought hard to not give up fighting.

Looking back makes me feel proud of what I have achieved with the help of my family and friends.

My own enemy is myself, and with this knowledge, I am more prepared and equipped to deal with each personal battle. In principle. 

Yet when I am ambushed by myself, by my mind, I remain shaken to the core.

My mind uses "time" as a weapon to make me surrender. 

It tells me I've lost precious time I will no longer be able to regain; it tells me, I do not have time enough to do all the things I need to do, and no matter what I do, I do not have the luxury of time to overcome the challenges of my disorder.

These stream of thoughts have paralyzed me so often in the past.  

Still, I fought, I fight, and I will remain fighting.

I believe exercising the freedom of self-expression and creativity empowers us.  For me personally, they both liberate my mind, body and spirit. I need to exercise both of them, as often as I need physical exercise for my body.


50 meters away from the finish line
in the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam
during my first 8K
October, 2011
The 8 K was the first real goal
I set
when I finally made the first steps towards my childhood dream
of being a runner
on the 8th of August 2011



“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” 




What do I stand for? What is my purpose?


Live a life of quality in spite of disabilities…empower others to do the same...


This leads me back to the title, to the rhetorical question of the blog I wanted to write  2 weeks ago but could not: "Where are you going Happy Feet!?!"

Recently, I created an account on about.me. I came across this website in 2012, while checking out the profile of someone, who was a prospective team member for my first marathon relay team.


about.me

Back then, I did not feel strong and confident enough to create an account representing, who I am, what I stand for.

It would have been easy just to simply create an account, fill in the blanks like everyone does; it is after all "only" a web page.  But it would not have felt right, I would not have felt genuine since I did not have full conviction behind the words: runner, blogger, mental health advocate, then,  as I do now.

Expressing it now and not then is just perfect.

I love running, and the power it has to consistently change my life for the better.

My love for running is even deeper through the knowledge, that in my simple ways, I change the life of others as well.

Wear your smile, wear your shoes and find your OWN happy! 

I do not want to forget that I  run and write about running for people like me.

People like me, who would like to run long distances but are already happy, when they can bring themselves to be outdoors.  

During depressive cycle the distance between the sofa and the front door can be an ultra-distance.

People like me, who would like run fast but are already happy, when they can finish a race within the time limit.  

Running within the time limit is fast for those, who've overcome depressive cycle; it is like being Usain Bolt on world record breaking day.

People like me, who would like to run to be amongst others who share the passion. 

Running in with other fellow runners to experience the sense of belonging, specially when your mind tries to imprison you again, and again, and again…

People like me, who will never give up, and need others to remind them that their is strength in the spirit.

So, where am I going? On the road to completely accepting myself, my individuality, and inspiring others to do so themselves - embrace their uniqueness, with all the flaws and all that potential to be the best that they can be.  

These thoughts, the released and yet to be released gives me strength to lace up my shoes.

- Edit 17.07.14 After writing this blog, I created Happy Feet'S Miles blog

This blog is an idea I had since the beginning of this year -  blog about my effort to be fit and healthy in a journal form, separate from this blog.  

I aim to help and motivate others, as I personally hope, that my journaling will help and motivate myself.  

I would like to use this blog to hold myself accountable for all my actions, and to aid me in being consistent with pursuing my goals. 

Most of all have a clear document for myself in times of mental struggle to see things objectively.  

Why another (running) blog and how is it different from Happy Feet in the Netherlands, and Happy Feet of a Couch Potato?  While the latter former would be a "magazine", and the latter would be a (draft of the) "book" of my running life, Happy Feet'S Miles would be the "journal".


Each one serves a purpose, and it gives my mind the freedom it needs, and not feel restricted.  My spirit and body are free, when my mind is free...

This afternoon, I wrote the first post.  It is through writing, "In Search of Happy Feet" that I was able to make the next step… -


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