Saturday, December 7, 2013

The wise old man

Special encounters happen more often than not when you run, but some encounters leave a beautiful stain on your soul, they ring words that will stay with you forever. An eternal Memory.

I was running with the playfullness of a little child over a carpet of glittering snow, smiling from ear to ear, laughing as I tumbled into a cushion of white fluff.
I felt like I was effortlessly floating over the ground... I felt how the beautiful crisp air was filling my lungs and cleansing my mind. They were compiled moments of complete bliss.

I had been out for over an hour without seeing a person. There was nothing but me and the uniterrupted wisdom of nature, until, as I crested the last little climb, I could see the silhouette of an elderly man. Still grinning, the distance between us decreased with every step. From a few meters away he broke the peaceful silence I had been drifting in:
"you really look like you love what you're doing", he said in a deep, Husky voice.
My step paused and I came to a standstill infront of the king of mountains, the Eiger. I took a Moment to catch my breath, glanced around me, and replied:
"I really do love what I'm doing!!"
He began to tell me that he once too was a runner, setting off and exploring trails for hours, eating berries along the way, drinking only from streams and fountains, enjoying that feeling that can't even be put into words, the feeling that could only be understood if felt yourself. I knew that Feeling he was talking about.

I was captivated by the truth of his words, the wisdom in his eyes and the strength with which he stood in life. He continued telling me that he had to give up running  20 years ago, (at which point I asked how old he is... I couldn't believe he is 90!), due to illness.
His dense beard was frozen with pearls of snow and I could see how his thoughts were wandering through his past. He told me he couldn't walk far anymore, but that freedom he felt when he was running  he could still feel now;
"things adapt, life adapts, if you let it".
I believe it was him telling me his freedom had adapted into enjoying the things he can do.

The sun was getting behind an army of mountains and it was getting colder rapidly. Although I could have stayed and listened to the old man for days, I needed to get home.
As we said our goodbyes he left me with words that will remain embeded in me forever;

"don't let anoyone take the freedom of what you love from you, because at some point life will."

That Moment will forever be a part of me, and so will that old man! I am grateful for unexpected Encounters!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The balance of dualities

I was convinced that I could ride my bike, just one more time, before winter set in. Reality proved to be different and my eyes awoke to a lush carpet of snow covering the ground. No big deal if you have a plan B, and that I did. I fixed my bike into my turbo trainer, perched outside my front door, where I watched the elegantly floating snowflakes settle on the white carpet. 

I often hear that people struggle with turbo trainers or treadmills, because you are on the spot... Not moving forward, not seeing anything different, a stagnant state of being. I  however, enjoy moving forward in the present moment without physical displacement. 

Exercise always heightens my senses and liberates my mind to wonder freely, which in turn helps me to find that beautiful state of balance between my mind & body.

As I was pedaling away, thinking about everything yet nothing, I noticed a difference in strength between the power I was exerting through each leg. An imbalance that began to irritate me and distract me from my state of bliss, because it wasn't optimal, it wasn't perfect. I began to shift in my saddle, attempting to find that perfect spot that might bring me into a perfect alignment, but this imbalance was telling me something else. That I have a weak side and a strong side. A dominant side and subordinate side.

As it so often happens, one thought leads to another and I began to think about the dualities of life. Every aspect of life I thought of had an opposite counter part. One is generally deemed the positive side, and the other the negative side. 
I began brain storming obvious dualities in life:
~ Day/night
~ Young/Old
~ peace/war
~ love/hate
~ hot/cold
~ salty/sweet
~ male/female
~ life/death
~ summer/winter
~ heaven/hell
~ mind/body 
~ fire/water
~ high/low
And the list continues infinitely...

I realized that, in order to move forward and evolve, the opposing forces need to be accepted and acknowledged, so that a state of balance between the two poles can be found. So I turned my focus back to the bike and how I could create equilibrium between my left and right side. Suddenly the Yin & Yang symbol flashed before my eyes and I recalled its definition: 
"used to describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world; and, how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another".
What I needed to do was use the strength of my dominant side to give rise to my weaker, submissive side. The opposing forces need to interplay so a state of balance could be achieved.

In life, we get too stuck in either the Yin or the Yang state and forget to see everything as a whole. We create positives and negatives, ironically turning positives into negatives because of the imbalance that is crated through giving one force too much power.

I realized that I was giving my strong leg too much power, in effect, allowing my already weaker leg to continue to get weaker. The answer was simple - working on my weakness with my strength could only make me stronger in the long run. 

Ultimately balance is about acceptance and realizing that dualities form a whole. 

Balance is the true definition of perfection.

Friday, October 4, 2013


"Its the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting."

For close to a year I have dreamed, day in day out, of crossing the finish line at the Grand to Grand Ultra,  a 270km self supported stage race along the rim of the Grand Canyon. So much time, energy, sacrifice and commitment went into this adventure, and nothing was going to stop me from crossing that finish line.
Something did stop me from crossing that finish line, my body. And I was the one battling with my Ego to, either, continue and realize my dream or not continue and have my dream burst like a bubble, just like that.

The adventure began on a beautiful morning with the sun rising over the Grand Canyon creating a breathtaking backdrop. The sun rose in a majestic way, quickly warming up out cold bodies and gently reminding us of her dominance and strength. The energy in the air was tangible with over 100 runners ready to embark on this Grand adventure. Some were grinning as big as they could, others were quietly within themselves meditating on the task ahead, and then there were others dancing around to the music that was playing, obviously ready to run and have fun.
I stepped up to the start line feeling calm and ready. My body felt great, my mind felt strong and my spirit was fueled by the idea of realizing the dream that had accompanied me for the past year. The first two days unfolded fantastically. I quickly learned that it wasn't only about how quickly you got to the finish line, but about what happened on the way to the finish line. Amazing bonds were formed with fellow runners as you covered many kilometers of ground together, helping one another through the hard patches, laughing about life and learning more about life by being, listening and talking.

I can't explain what it is about running, but it truly frees the spirit and makes you more open to life and other people. That is why I love to run with other people, especially in a race like the Grand 2 Grand, because most people seem to have this unspoken understanding between one another, and even though we are all strangers you feel this weird sense of familiarity and respect. We just get one another and are all equals. To me, running creates this beautiful reflection of what life should be like and how it should be absorbed. It is not always easy, on the contrary, it is often very challenging, but it shows that, when you love something it will bring out the best in you. Thats why we runners can relate, because when we are out there taking in the beautiful sights and absorbing life, we are the best version of ourselves, raw, real and free.

Day three was the day to overcome, a 53 mile day with a very high percentage of sand ( I mean VERY high), cactus dodging, scrambling and traversing sand dunes. I was lucky enough to embark on this day with one of the amazing people I met during the run, Rebecca. The day started out fantastically with lots of chit chatting and laughing which created the illusion that we happily floated the first 10km of the course. We crested the first climb and entered, what was to be, a long day in the sand. I began to feel this weird pain on my shin bone, a pain I didn't pay too much attention to initally, but as it began to intensify I began pondering over the cause of that pain. I decided that it must be because of all the sand in my shoes, creating tension in my tendons. I emptied my shoes certain that I would feel some relief with my next steps, but the pain was still there. I then decided that my ankles must be swelling causing the anklet that I was wearing to give me a pressure sore. I cut off the anklet, again convinced that my pain would magically disappear, yet again there was no difference. I gave myself no other choice than to persevere and ignore the pain, because this was not part of the dream, it wasn't in the plan.
In great company, we ran all day long and into the night. Conversations were helping me distract from the discomfort, but when we hit the sand dunes I had this sense that my dream wasn't going to come to fruition.

Hypnotized by the pain (I was familiar with) I followed behind Rebecca and Gianfranco. It was a pain I knew, a pain I'd had 3 times before, the pain of a stress fracture. As we got to checkpoint 7 I got the Medic to check out my pain, quietly hoping he'd say I'm being soft and I should just continue running. But thats not exactly what he said, and without a definite diagnosis, his guess was the same as mine - a stress fracture. My mind went into overdrive, I could be tough and just keep on going, taking on the risk of injuring myself even more, but, as a reward, realizing my dream. Or I could be sensible and listen to the voice of my body that was loudly speaking, acutally shouting, at me.

I once had another dream, to escape the clutches of anorexia. I realized that dream, and promised myself that I would respect and listen to my body, that I would treat it with compassion. As I was sitting at the campfire, stewing over my decision, I looked down at my right forearm, where I have the word compassion tattoed. The purpose of that tattoo took on its full power in that moment, because it reminded me of the accountability I promised to have towards myself and others. I went to sleep for a few hours, knowing in my heart that my decision was made, but still living in the hope that by the morning the pain would disappear. It hadn't, and with a heavy heart I took my running shoes off, marking the end of the race for me.

I believed that taking off my running shoes would also mark the end of my dream, but life loves to prove us wrong. Over the past week I have had alot of time to think and feel into myself. My dream is now more alive than ever, because previously I only dreamed of the finish line, in some ways already bringing an end to the dream. All dreams have a beginning, and I never dreamed of the start line, now I realize that, without a start line there can be no finish line. I'm lucky, because my dream continues in a much richer way. It is now filled with incredible people, vital lessons, a new sense of self respect and gratitude that this journey continues until its my time to cross the finish line.

 I am living my dream!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Comfort Zone

Why are you running the Grand to Grand Ultra? This is the question I have been posed most frequently over the past few months. So many People find it hard to comprehend why a Person would put themselves through the ordeal of running 270(ish) self supported Kilometers through the Grand Canyon. So everytime a Person asks me the question why I'm embarking on this adventure, I always get stuck on words, its simply a Feeling I can't describe.

After a month of injury and being plagued with a gnarly cold, I have had a lot of time to question myself on why I am doing this. Because my Training had to be comporomised due to the issues I was having, an avalanche of self-doubt came over me. The Training runs I did do were either uncomfortable because I had this nagging niggle above my ankle or I felt sluggish and powerless because of the cold I was fighting. For the first time though, I listened to the voice of my Body and decreased my running drastically to prevent myself from getting a serious injury. I usually embrace the attitude of "just one more run, and by tomorrow it will miraculously be better". That naive thinking has always run me into Trouble and resulted in stress fractures that have forced me to hit the wall and stop running for Extended periods of time. This time I decided to listen and test my willpower in a different way, to step out of my safety Zone or comfort Zone, which is enjoying the freedom of running everyday and the peace it gives me, and decrease my mileagae until my Body gave me the green light telling me it was ready to go again.

I was petrified of not running as much. I was unsure how I would handle myself, how I would occupy myself, where I would find a Substitute outlet. I was scared of having thoughts get stuck in my head, because when I run my thoughts are also in Motion, its as though I'm meditating in Motion. What if I was Standing still? Would my thoughts stand still as well and consume my mind like anorexia did? I came to find that my thoughts still moved, but I had to find a different way to let them move and observe them. I found a beautiful bench perched high above the village where I would hike to everyday to Meditate. At first I couldn't Focus... I had no Patience... I would get irritated by bugs and bees. As I persevered my mind began to calm down and my ears would trace the sounds of the things, first in my immediate surrounding, then Extended into the distance. My thoughts came and went, my Body relaxed. I visualized myself running through the Grand Canyon and a Feeling of joy and peace came upon me.

As I progressed back into running I felt comfortable with a slow build up again. I didn't have the Feeling that I had to make up what I had lost in physical Fitness during that time , because in reality I had gained so much more in a mental way.

I was so far outside of my comfort Zone CHOOSING not to run. Thats when I realized that the beautiful Thing about comfort is that we don't always have to move within it, but its always a place we can come back to and be rewarded with that welcoming Feeling like coming home!

I ran through the beautiful mountain hinterlands this morning and as I was (what it felt like) dancing down and gliding up the trails, I realized why I want to do this race. It's because running and the Feeling I get from it is simply an eye opener to how we should experience life regardless if we're running, Walking, sitting, living inside or outside of our comfort zones, on happy or on less happy days...

So here is my answer to why I am running the G2G Ultra - because running is my metaphor for life, its my life Mantra "RunWithLife, RunWithEndurance"!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Like the weather

There are days where I crave nothing more than the solitude found in the mountains, encountering nothing but sweet trails, wild animals, the peaceful advice of the mountains and the occasional technical adventure. I also love the unpredictable nature of the weather in the mountains; peaceful blue skies can be surrounding you one moment and in the next, you can feel the weight of the storm clouds above you, ready to roar and rumble.

I awoke to a blue sky that framed the mountains, the golden sun smiling at me, luring me outside and inviting me on a spontaneous adventure. I quickly filled my backpack with water, food and a change of clothes and set foot on the trail that passes by front door. I didn't feel like thinking, so I followed the direction my subconscious directed my feet to go.
I love that feeling of "going with the flow", allowing yourself to be surprised, learning to trust in your gut feeling and, in effect, switching off your mind giving you the liberty to absorb your surroundings, and quietly observe your thoughts.

The heat of the sun was radiating off the ground, magnifying its intensity, as I began ascending the rocky trail towards the Schilthorn. As I crested higher towards the summit I found snowfields in which sheep where laying, cooling themselves from the sting of the raging sun. I figured that it was quite a smart thing those sheep were doing, so I did the same, stripped off my shoes, letting my feet sink in to the freezing cold snow, before I lay down and glared up at the sky. It was so still, cloudless, but the energy of the air was changing... I could feel tension, a tug of war between the hot and cold air, I could smell that a storm was brewing in the distance. I slipped back in to my shoes and descended the snow field by shoes skiing, one of the funnest things ever, and typical to my style, I came to a halt by face planting into a muddy patch of snow. What can I say, it's a unique talent.

With the Schilthorn in sight, I knew that would be my destination. As I gained altitude I also gained in the density of the blanket of fog that began to engulf me. The fog seemed to absorb the steamy heat and turn it into a chilly sheath of air. The fog began to dance around, occasionally engulfing the beautiful scenery of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau only to reveal it again in all its glory. The fog became a great distraction to the intensity of the uphill hike, and before I knew it I had sumited the Schilthorn, perched high above an ocean of fog.

Taking the cable car down was not an option, even though I began to see storm clouds rising up behind the mountains. I spontaneously decided to follow the direction of the first sign I saw (that lead back to Mürren). I began descending behind the Schilthorn in direction of the Rotstockhütte, traversing a beautiful ridge, climbing over boulders and crossing rapid rivers. The tension in the air was building, but I was too immersed in my immediate little world that I never looked up at the sky until I took a stack and landed on my butt, forcing me to glare up at the sky and the monsterous dark clouds that were etching eerily close.
From growing up in the mountains, I knew that theses clouds were welcoming a major storm, which alerted me to pick up my pace and make my way home as quickly as possible.

I had a good 2 hours of descending ahead of me before I would be home, so my adventure became a race against the elements. I knew that there was a certain risk involved with getting caught in the storm, but the feeling of playing with nature and its elements was so much fun. Within only a few minutes, the mountains were hiding behind a thick curtain of dark cloud and the first signs of lightning were visible as they hit and light up the sky.

Thunder began to shake the ground and I was a good 30min away from home. Hikers began to seek shelter from the rain that was shooting from the sky like soft bullets, that turned into hard bullets of hail. I kept running. For some reason there is nothing quite as liberating as running in rain, being cleansed by the sky... it feels so reviving. Hikers were seeking shelter under tin roofs, but I felt it to be a safer option to just keep running. I'm not sure if that was a smart call or not, but I got home safe and thats the most important thing.

I got home and reflected on the run. I realized that we are not so different from the weather; we have many different weather fronts within us... sometimes we radiate with sunshine... sometimes we live in a world of fog, not seeing ahead clearly... sometimes we are the storm. No day is ever the same, so why should we always be the same!?

Keep on Keeping on!!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The YinYang of parents

My parents are the Yin and Yang in my life; two contrasting energies that compliment one another and create a Balance in my life.

Mum and Dad couldn't be any more different in many ways. Mum is extroverted, explosive, a worrier and not very sporty. Dad, on the other Hand, is introverted, mellow, a thinker and very sporty. There is one thing though, that does not contrast at all, but rather is projected in the exact same way - their unconditional love for me, the truest and purest kind of love anyone can receive.

There have been many trialling times with my relationship between mum and dad, individually and collectively. I was astranged from dad for an extended period of time, in a way that we didn't know how to approach one another anymore, creating a huge distance (physical and emotional) between us. I moved to Australia with mum some years after they divorced and it proved a struggle to maintain an intact relationship with my dad.
Mum and I have had the typical Mother/Daughter arguments, one of which resulted in mum moving out of home for an extended period of time. I know... you'd think she would have kicked me out, but even when shes angry at me she simply wants the best for me.

There was a time, after mum and dad had split up, where they weren't the Yin and Yang in my life. They were still two contrasting Forces, but not in a harmonic kind of way, they were working against one another, not with one another, even when it came to me.

The Yin and Yang syombolizes continuality and flow, and I believe when that flow is disturbed in the relationship between the parents it disturbs the Balance within the child(ren). Mum and Dad have found that Balance in their relationship again, as parents.

Eventhough it sounds Cliché, those trialling times have made the bond between me and my parents stronger. My parents know (Close to) everything about my life, I value their opinion. I have learnt that they only have an opinion because they care and want the best for me, not because they want to criticise me. I have also learnt that their idea of 'best' isn't neccessarily the best for me, but they give me the freedom to grow and develope into my own kind of best, helping me find my path when I get lost. I have learnt that mum and dad do, sometimes, know me better than I know myself. That they can help me understand myself when I have no idea who I am. That they believe in my dreams. That they will catch me if I fall.

Eventhough mum and dad aren't together as a couple anymore, they are still very much together as my parents. Their energies flow in such contrasting ways that they work together as one  -  the ONE being my Parents, the Yin and Yang of security and happiness in my life.

Words don't have the capacity to express the amount of love and admiration I have for my parents. I am thankful to have Louise and Werner as my parents, they are the best parents to me.

Unconditional Love forever.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Natures playground

I love that the days when you struggle to find your running mojo, and find every excuse possible to delay your departure, end up being the days you have some of your best runs!!

Today I struggled to get my run on. I knew i didn't need to run, but I wanted to run, but at the same time didn't feel like running. So I made a compromise with myself, that I would head out for a lazy trot, just long enough to catch some fresh air and sunshine.

I sluggishly headed for an easy and familiar trail. My feet felt heavy and I struggled to get settled in my stride. I was hesitantly expecting to hit the legendary wall, but in the magical way the body and mind work, I began to find my groove. I felt how my pace began to increase, how my body began to stand taller and how I was infected with this familiar urge to play on the trails.

The awesome thing about living in the mountains is, that there are always plenty of trails to choose from. Growing up here I had this confidence that I'd seen them all, or so I thought. I spotted this little trail that veered off into the woods with no signs marking the way. My adventurous mood kicked in and I began a steep uphill climb towards the mountains.

As I crested the trail I felt an incredible feeling of serenity and fulfillment. I took a moment to sit on a rock and marvel at the vibrancy of nature that was framed by the Majestic mountain family - Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
The realization hit me how important it is to have flexibility and fun with training. That its okay to stop and take a moment to enjoy the moment; That is what keeps the fire of passion burning. As soon as we get too rigid and caught up in structure the passion turns into more of an addiction and/or obsession, and eventually loses its spark. 

The trail was a mystery to me, I had no idea where it would lead me to. It ended up leading me to the worlds funnest and most adventurous playground, where I got chased by little calves, danced over mud and snow, scrambled over rocks, crossed gushing rivers, avalanche fields and, of course, slipped on cow shit. 

It was amazing to traverse the snow fields that were the fuel for the gushing rivers I had crossed earlier. It was liberating to shoe ski down the snow fields into lush grassy fields. It was fun to engage in a chasing game with the cute calves. It was mesmerizing to see the lively flowers reveal their blossoms after a long winter.  It was humbling to feel like a part of that world.

Hours later I found a familiar trail that led me back home.  I returned revived and energized, thankful that I had found my running mojo.

"Be like the melting snow -- Wash yourself of yourself"

Monday, May 27, 2013

Moments of happiness

As my feet danced over the pavement along the outscirts of the SempacherSee and feeling the warmth of the suns golden rays on my body, I felt a wave of happiness crash over me. Its that moment of complete fulfillment, when you are vividly present in your life, not reliving the past or pondering about the future. It's that moment when the world feels like its standing still, your senses awaken and your mind has an uninterrupted connection with your feelings. It's that moment when all tension melts away and is replaced with an energy that revitalizes your whole being. These moments can be temporary or they can last an extended period of time, but too often, we are caught up in our own little world and let those moments of happiness slip by.

Happiness doesn't have to be earned, happiness IS! Too many people are moving in a world where they allow their happiness to be dictated by external factors. Of course materialistic aquirements can create happiness, but its of the temporary kind, the kind of happiness that acts as a bandaid for internal dissatisfaction.

I often felt like I could mould my happiness through what I had, what I achieved and what I could be. Those moments of aquirements, achievement and aspirations did lend me happiness, but then that nagging voice would start questioning me if I even deserve to be happy.
Thing is - we are all special and unique in our own way, and we all deserve to be happy. The greatest joy though, comes from within and loving the person you are at that moment in time. So many people SEE YOU (the person!!)... But we often dont see ourselves, instead only see the expectation we have of ourself and life.

It is a bit cliché to say, but the people who CHOOSE to have the least tend to project a satisfaction and completeness that is infectious and near impossible to oversee. They strip life down to its bare minimum and find the essence of self. They
let go of the notion that happiness makes life easy, instead realize, that true happiness, makes life easier.

It's learning that people and materialistic rewards don't create happiness, but in actual fact, add to the happiness that already lingers within. It's learning to let go of the dependancy of those external factors to make us happy and, instead, get in touch with the intrinsic feeling of happiness.

I felt the cool breeze brush over my body as the crisp air filled my lungs.
The moments of happiness began to compile creating a state of happiness. I realized that, like running, happiness is a feeling in motion, a feeling that, like each stride, never feels exactly the same. The truest happiness is the one that radiates from the inside out... The one that isn't expressed in words, instead with the beautiful facial expression which we call a smile! :')

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
― Rumi

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Trail

As I looked down the technical, steep and narrow trail I was filled with fear. I could see it happening; how I would twist my ankle or tumble as I tripped on a protruding root or stone. My body stiffened and my heart rate increased as my fear and apprehension grew. After minutes of internal monologue my mate finally began the descent and I followed in his footsteps, or tried to.
I was mesmerized by the elegance of his descent. He floated down the trail, dancing over rocks and roots as though they were his dancing partners and kicking up a solid speed. And then there was me, squirmishly tip toeing down the trail, ensuring that I wouldn't trip or hurt myself, ironically tensing up so much that, no matter how slow I went, I still ended up tripping and rolling my ankles. As we hit the bottom of one section, and Yannick had been waiting for me for quite some time, I asked him: "how do you run down the trail so fast and securely? I just don't get it." His answer was simple, "lose your FEAR, TRUST your feet and let it FLOW."

As I was lazing at home, licking my wounds from the multiple tumbles and missteps, I was triggered to think that a trail is not all that different to our path of life. If we approach that path with fear and apprehension we are per programming ourselves for a fall or "injury". Because, as soon as we allow fear to invade our lives it sends tension through our whole being; physical, emotional and mental tension. It causes an interruption to your natural flow. Sometimes fear is associated with caution. Trying to avoid a, potentially, bad outcome. This caution however, gives us the space to over think or over intellectualize things. Just like on the trail - if I spend too much time thinking about my next step I will very likely trip on my current step, because I forget to be in the moment and flow.

A trail presents you with the most unexpected yet, at times, obvious obstacles. Rocks and roots lay scattered along the ground, sometimes covered by slippery leaves only to surprise you as you step on them and quickly have to adapt your step. If we don't stay present it is hard to adapt your step, because you are already focusing on the next. Those steps aren't always elegant but you need to finish that step before you can take the next.

A trail teaches you to be in tune with your body, to open you mind - body connection. To perceive with the eye and adapt with the body. To feel into yourself and flow in motion. It reveals the meaning of the word Trust, which outshines the feeling of fear.

As the months have passed and my trail running has increased I have had more time to play on the trails. I have allowed myself to feel fear and let it go. I have allowed myself to Trust the ground over which my feet dance. I have allowed myself to move with my flow of motion and not against it. Trails give me so much pleasure now, because we have, and continue to, evolve together. It's not always a harmonic relationship and the trail still likes to test my skill, but I always remember that I was the one who chose to run that trail.

Run freely over your path of life. Lose your fear. Enjoy the beauty. Let yourself fall. Get back up. Run with life!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Yin and Yang of food

To say that I am a good cook is an exaggeration. I can cook, and occasionally enjoy the process, but when I'm hungry I want to eat. It doesn't have to be ultra flavorsome or special, it simply needs to satisfy that nagging pain in my stomach, the emptiness that sends my mind all fuzzy.

The beautiful thing about cooking and food is, that you can shar the pleasure and deliciousness with friends, as it was for me last night, when a wonderful friend, Linde, came over and cooked for me. Not only did she cook simple wholesome food, she opened my eyes to the glory of foood and the true meaning of -Fueling your Body-.

My relationship with food has been a rather testing affair over the past 10 years. Living as an Anorexic greatly obscured my views on food. Iwas living in a world where food was a lethal enemy trying to sculpt me into an ugly being, distorting my physicality. In reality the image my mind created was distorted. Every meal I HAD to eat was met with great anxiety.
I feared being around food that was being cooked because I was convinced it would leach into my skin and cause me to get fat.
I feared eating the food because I could feel how its poison (fat) was flowing through every part of my body, latching itself on to me.
I feared the aftermath of eating. The mental punishment; hours of calculations, weighing, exercise and panic as I witnessed my stomach swell to an unhumanly size, leaving me unable to move with shame.

It all started innocently, with the idea to try and lose a kilo or two so I could see if I could manipulate my body into the shape I desired. I made mild changes to my diet and exercise, ate a little less (without excluding food) and exercised a little more (I was already a very active kid). It didn't take long until I saw the first kilo drop. I liked the scales reassurance, but I didn't like that I didn't see a physical difference. There was only one way forward -  lose more weight.

I'm still not sure what image I was chasing. Maybe I wasn't chasing an image, rather seeking approval and validation. Maybe I wasn't seeking approval and validation from others, rather from myself. Maybe I wanted to reflect perfection and beauty. Maybe I was in search of myself, but got even more lost in that search.

My eating became more controlled and compulsively calculated. Everyday would be the same routine - wakeup do 100 pushups, 100 crunches and 1000 skips (same would be repeated at night). I would continue with breakfast by cutting an apple into 40 pieces, eat one piece, have a minute break before I ate the next slice. It took me 1hr20mins to eat the damn thing. I would maky my way to school preparing for the teasing comments of other kids because of my fragile physique. 'What are they talking about', I would think, 'I'm just being concious about my health and appearance'. I would go home at lunch trying to figure out how I could eat as little as possible without stirring mum's attention. Then I had to punish myself for eating by exercising for hours until my mind was fuzzy, my vision hazy and my body drained of every drop of energy. Then I would face dinner, mostly alone... At 6pm on the dot, just me and a yoghurt, no one watching me other than Anorexia.

Food was my enemy, Anorexia was my friend. She only wanted the best for me, or so I thought.

I hit rockbottom at 31kg, which is when I got admitted to hospital and my fight to gain back my life began.
In the process of gaining back the control for my life I met my great Love - RUNNING. Over time, I learnt that I needed fuel to reciprocate the love running was giving me. I slowly began to trust in the food I chose to eat, allowing my physique to gain shape, and my body to heal from the ordeal and my mind to find peace.
As my running has grown stronger over the last year, or so, so has my freedom as I let go of the control over food. Ironically I started fuelling the tank with whatever I desired, even food that would have been Tabu not all that long ago.

As Linde and I were sitting and enjoying the flavorsome feast of Tempeh, homemade Hommus and a devine Carrot Salad, Linde began to talk about food and its effects on the body. I was completely drawn into her words as she passionately spoke about the Yin and Yang of food. Yin (female) being food that is good for you, mild in flavor, yet wholesome and nourishing. Yang (male) being aggressive food, strong in flavor and often processed, the type of food that isn't so favorable for the engine.
As I ate, I could feel the explosion of flavor in my mouth, how the goodness of what we were devouring was reviving me from the inside and how light and energized I felt afterward. I felt satisfied.

Being healthy doesn't mean you need to be thin and lean, it doesn't mean you can't carry an extra few Kg's. Being healthy is conciousness of your WHOLE being. Respecting your body and striving to nurture it as best as you can.

You only have ONE body!!

Enjoy x

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Core Of Being

To me there is nothing quite as exhilarating as heading outside and exploring new trails, feeling the thrill as I navigate over foreign terrain, feeling the adventure of getting lost but always finding the right trail again.
... And so it was today. I explored trails around the "VierwaldstätterSee", literally running from lake to summit. I ran upstream over rocks and through water until I found the snow that was melting into a gushing river. I tangoed with the cows on the lush grassy fields. I (not so) gracefully stacked it down a rocky descent... (always the sign of a successful trail adventure).

Running uphill is not my forté but I love it because it challenges me to improve, for the wonderful views I get rewarded with and for the thrill of the downhills. As I was, what felt like, gliding up this sweet single track trail, I couldn't help but notice how much stronger I felt. I felt like I wasn't batteling the incline, rather I was running with it. I noticed how my hips were propelling me forward and my upper body being far more upright than usual, allowing more oxygen to fill my lungs and letting my legs stride freely beneath me.
Because I am fascinated with the mechanics of the body I started to analyze what had happened, and it was a simple answer - my physical core had grown stronger over the winter months where I, predominantly, totted uphill in soft, fluffy snow.

As so often, one thought provokes another and I began to think about the Core Of  Being. The physical core is just one component of our being. I believe we need to exercise, not only, the visible core (physical) but also our internal cores like our mental, emotional and spiritual cores. They all channel into our main Core Of Being. As I am writing this I am struggling to find the words to describe what our Core Of Being is, but I can see it in the shape of a tree; a tree doesn't only have one root that makes it stand steady, confidently and strongly in its world, it has many roots that contribute to its Being. For the tree to withstand storm and drought, sunshine and rain, snow and the cold, the tree's roots need to be nourished, nurtured and strengthened.

We are that tree and we need to be aware of the strength and health of our roots because they create equilibrium in our lives and being.

For the first time in a long time I was hoping that the summit was still far away. I began to realize that my strengthened (physical) core didn't necessarily mean that running was easier, because you can push yourself to another level, but I felt a new strength and stability which gave me confidence in myself.

Strengthening your Core Of Being doesn't mean you will float effortlessly through life, but you will feel yourself stand stronger, you will find your Center Of Gravity within yourself.

Being aware of your Core Of Being is learning to know yourself.
Knowing yourself is learning to Love yourself.
Loving yourself is, arguably, the most important root that leads to your Core Of Being, because thats where your love for life and people stems from.

Life is never stagnant, it is always moving... sometimes we battle the uphills and other times we float up them effortlessly. Awareness of self is the key to Being!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring in my step

Waking up to the cheerful chirping of the birds in the morning, smelling the sweet earthy scents of  nature as it sheds its white winter coat and feeling the tickle of the sun on your sking - Welcome Spring!!

Yesterday was the first day you could actually describe as spring. The sun was extending its warm rays from its blue canvas, you could hear the trickle of the streams as the snow melted into them setting them into motion again, and by the end of the day people were wearing a rather red sunkissed makeup, men and women alike.

I was lucky enough to have scored an extended lunchbreak so, naturally, I laced up my running shoes and set foot on the semi snow/semi mud covered trails. It was warm enough to get out the 3/4 tights and tanktop, and after many months of wearing multiple layers it was reviving to feel the sun dance around on my bare skin. Running at this time of the year isn't easy as it is more like a slush-fest than anything else. But I love it because it adds to the adventure. The fact that the snow is soft and deep means that you get the occasional surprise of sinking, waist deep, into the snow feeling the little grains of ice biting at your legs (the downside of 3/4 tights).

I decided to just run and see how far I could get in the 2hours I had available to play with. I ran up paths, ski slopes and trails that I had run over multiple times this winter in the most various conditions, at the most various times. These familiar paths caused me to daydream or, what I like to call, meditate in motion, where I let my mind wander in freedom without trying to dictated its direction.
Images of running under a blanket of stars on a carpet of white powder snow, running along the base of the valley being chased by a farm dog, cresting the top of the mountain in the wee hours of the morning anticipating the sunrise that awoke the snow into a glittery coat and meeting amazing people along the way flashed before my eyes.

On my early morning runs there was a farm I ran past, and around 6am the farmer was in the barn  milking his cows. I saw him a few times at the beginning of the season and we, tentatively, exchanged a word of good morning. As my passing became more regular the tentative good morning became a familiar word of good morning until the day he called me over and offered me a glass of fresh milk. At first I wanted to say a polite "no, but thankyou for the offer", but instead I accepted with a "yes please". It was the most lush and pure thing I had tasted in a long time, and it made me realize why I run - for these simple, unexpected moments of pleasure. Throughout the winter I would have drunk a good few liters of fresh milk, accompanied by a chat and a laugh with the generous farmer, watching as the mountains slowly emerge from the dark sky and hearing the cows chanting their own song in the barn.

I  awoke out of my trance and glared up at the sky seeing a cluster of colorful specs floating around, paragliders enjoying spring from above. I took a moment and climbed onto a snow covered roof to enjoy the view and the beautiful setting mother nature had created. I then made my way home feeling how that run had given me more than it had taken from me. I felt the need to get out there again and absorb more of this amazing day (its free energy after all), so after work I laced up another pair of running shoes and began to trott up the mountain to my favorite spot that overlooks the village. I left my iPod behind, instead running to the rhythm of nature; the sound of the melting snow, the songs the birds were singing, the sound of the slush and mud beneath my shoes, the sound of PEACE.

Yesterday I felt like I was springing from winter into spring, taking with me all the wonderful memories that add color and structure to my picture of life.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The magic mountain

Saying that I had the privilege of growing up in a magical place is close to an UNDERstatement. Perched on the cliff top that looks out over the Valley of Lauterbrunnen and surrounded by a facade of majestic mountains, Mürren is truly a magical place. Ironically though, I had to leave the quaint little village for a few years to come back and appreciate it for what it is and what it gives.

Growing up in Mürren you take your liberty for granted. From an early age kids are allowed to roam the streets on their own, go skiing and sledding, running free like kids should be! The school is exclusively small and individual. I always say that we didn't learn the stereotypical stuff academically, but we learnt alot about nature, our surroundings and social behaviour. Eventhough it didn't seem great at the time, school is still school no matter what, I am so thankful that I went to school where I did, learning to love and respect nature, learning the importance of teamwork to get to the top of the mountain, learning the importance of accepting physical and mental challenges in life and overcoming them.

Mürren harbors an energy that is hard to describe but incredible to feel. Some people find Mürren liberating some people find it imprisoning. My favorite aspect about Mürren is that it looks straight over to the Eiger, the father of the mountain chain that frames the Valley. How the Eiger gained its name is still not known, but it is commonly associated with the German word "Eigen" which translates to "own". And its Own mountain it is, with the famous Eigernorthface ascent that has challenged many climbers, and a tunnel that runs through the mountain with two viewing-windows that spoil you with breathtaking views.

In my memories of growing up the Eiger is omnipresent. Every morning I awoke to the sight of the Eiger... Sometimes it was just its silhouette I saw, sometimes it was temperamental with  gnarly looking clouds hanging around its summit, sometimes it was pure and simple standing out framed by the clear blue sky, and sometimes it stayed hidden behind a curtain of clouds. I always attempted to sketch the Eiger, trying to get a perfect picture of it, but nothing can ever do its original beauty justice.
Since I've been back I can barely take my eyes off the mountain, always looking to it for strength and comfort, looking to it for its beauty and character. Looking to the Eiger gives me a sense of Home and belonging. There have been many occasions, this winter, where I have been out running and hit the famous wall, feeling like I can't take another step, wanting to sit down on the spot and not move any further. Somehow, in those situations, my eyes naturally wander in the direction of the Eiger and as soon as my eyes see the majestic King I am filled with energy and I always find my second wind.

Nature has many faces and we can all find that source of energy in our own way; for some it might be the ocean, for others the forest or simply a spot in the middle of nowhere. You just need to open your eyes and see it or close your eyes and feel it. The Eiger is my unconditional energy source, a wonderful love affair.

Go out and find yours!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Draft

Sunday was the day I awoke my roadbike out of it's wintersleep, hanging up the skis instead. The weather forecast wasn't looking all that promising with strong winds and snow forecast. I had it set in my mind that I was going to ride my bike on my day off regardless of Snow, Wind or Sunshine.

As I was descending through the valley I was excited like a little kid at christmas. Feeling the chill of the wind rush past me, letting my legs settle into a comfortable tap, noticing how much easier the bike let itself ride now that it had a clean chain and pumped tires (I should do that more often!!). As I emerged out of the valley I rode towards the Thunersee, a perfect 60km loop from Interlaken that extends from the lake front, through the city of Thun, winding up through cave tunnels rewarding you with a gorgeous view of the lake. The weather was better than I expected... until I hit the lake. Gusty winds started to make their presence noticeable, creating little waves that danced around on the lake, raising fallen leaves back into the air, making me pedal hard as it hit me head on. In that moment I couldn't resist the thought of how nice it would be to have the advantage of someones draft. Being pulled along in their windtunnel, thus, making it easier for me.

That thought initiated me to think that a draft, in cycling, is not all that different from the draft we sometimes seek in life. There comes a time when we all crave to be in someones windshadow, pulling us along, making it easier on us, leaving the control and decisions of pace and direction in their hands. Thats how it was when I had Anorexia. I was waiting for that person to take me by the hand and pull me along, pull me out of the hole I had fallen in to, showing me the way I had to go, allowing me to let go of all thoughts and responsibilities.
The problem with Anorexia was that I wasn't moving forward at all, if anything I was moving backwards. So if I wasn't moving forward how could I even hope to get sucked into a draft? I was stuck... Until the day I got admitted to hospital and there were people, not just one, but many, who took me by the hand, helped me get back on the bike and helped me get sucked into a draft.
I was determined to stay in that draft, all the way, until I was better. It seemed so easy because all I had to do was what I was told to do. It felt safe, like no one or nothing could touch me there. Caught in the draft I began to gain more strength, strength to fight. But there were many times where I fell off the back, still moving, but moving alone, batelling to find that draft again.

On that sunday I had no advantage of a draft that I could get help from, but at unexpected times the wind would change and I felt a little push from behind, making it, even if just for a moment, feel effortless, giving me that little boost I needed. I began to enjoy challenging the headwind, not letting it get the better of me, standing my ground, seeing it as a challenge that would reward me with a feeling of accomplishment at the end. Anorexia, just like the headwind, is a challenge. She challenges you head on, trying to lure you into her draft, a backwards draft. I have learnt though, that her draft is weak compared to other drafts. The positive always outweighs the negative if you allow it to. A healthy draft will lead you toward victory, a negative draft will lead you to defeat.

A draft can lead you towards your destination, towards the finish line, but you always have to cross the line on your own. At some point you have to trust that you can keep moving forward in your own strength, even being strong enough to let someone else rest in your draft, leading their way, letting them trust in you.

As I wound my way back up the valley I was lucky to have the wind in my back, gently pushing me up the steady incline... It was a different kind of draft.
 Drafts come and go, sometimes you get sucked into them, sometimes you fall off the back and sometimes YOU are the draft. Just keep Moving!

"Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance you must keep moving forward".

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Random acts of Kindness

Do you know the feeling you get when you do something  nice for another person, something unexpected, sometimes simple sometimes extravagant? It's an amazing feeling not just for the person you are doing something unexpectedly nice for, but also for yourself. It creates a wave of joy which, often, has a ripple effect, inspiring people to spread the feeling of unexpected happiness.

In todays society it is all too easy to get caught up in your own little world, letting stress levels build up, creating pressure that, all too often, causes the corners of our mouth to be pulled down by gravity instead of smile. Sometimes we forget to open our eyes and look around, acknowledge the world we live in, acknowledge the people who live in this world. The ironic thing is, that it can be so much easier and simpler to make someone smile, to make ourselves smile, than we think. I am learning that true happiness comes from the little things, because they begin to compile, like little puzzle pieces, creating a patchwork of happiness. Moments of happiness compiled. In saying that, Happiness can come from big things too, like a house, money, success, but they tend to be temporary gratifications, unless we make them a piece of the puzzle and they fit in to the picture of happiness.

An amazing friend from the US came to visit me this winter -  Jamie-Lynne. She is truly one of a kind with an incredibly big heart, a friendship I know will last forever. Before I went to visit her in the states we did a countdown, which consisted of us doing as many push-ups, squats and crunches as days were remaining until I got there (so 30days would mean 3x30 of each of the exercises). Jamie loved the idea, and never whinged at all (she sais with a tone of sarcasm in her voice), but at least the number kept decreasing as opposed to increasing. When the time arrived for the next countdown we decided to do something more selfless. Something that went beyond gratifying our own happiness. With that in mind I came up with the spontanious idea of doing a RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS everyday. It didn't have to be a certain shape or form, the only criteria was that it came from the heart. We began our countdown with a wave of enthusiasm, texting one another everyday about what RAK we had done today and the affect it had on the receiving person. Through our exchanges we got double gratification, first we were gratified by doing the RAK then we doubled up on that emotion by telling one another and encouraging one another.

In the beginning it was, speaking for myself, a challenge to come up with the right kind of ideas, always feeling a little pressure like what I was doing was maybe not quite enough. Until the moment I realized that by feeling that way, I was missing the point. I began to learn that the nicest Acts of Kindness are on a personal level as opposed to a materialistic level. Sitting down for coffee and acknowledging the person sitting beside you, engaging in conversation and then, if conversation continues, Randomly shout them another coffee. It can be an honest compliment, a genuine smile or helping someone carry their groceries to the car.
The story that captures the core of this challenge the most is the day Jamie went to Starbucks (drive through) to get a coffee and told the lady at the counter that she would like to pay for the order of the person behind her. As Jamie went back that afternoon to get another coffee (Coffee is awesome!!) the lady at the counter told her that she had created a ripple effect and that the next 5, or so, cars behind her paid for the order of the person behind them. I mean seriously, aren't you just smiling hearing that? I love it!!

As the time continued to pass I began realizing that Random Acts of Kindness were becoming like second nature to me. I began thinking less about what I could do today (as often I woke up in the morning pre-planning what I could do today), and rather went with the flow and took the opportunites when they presented themselves. I began growing more aware of the life around me, paying more attention to the people passing me by, be more aware of the expression on my face. If I could randomly give an elderly person a lift  home from the supermarket, or buy the homeless guy some food for his loyal animals, or send someone a random text thanking them for who they are, I would be aware of it and do it.
The reward of a true and genuine smile is incredible, as the reciprocating persons eyes light up with surprise. It is a truly addictive feeling, that warm fuzzy feeling of contentedness.

My picture of happiness is becoming more and more colorful day by day, its an artwork that is priceless. As Mum always says to me "its the little things that count", those words ring a sound of truth.

Hey, thakyou for you. Thankyou for reading. SMILE

xox Belle

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The power of the moment

Under a blanket of stars with the moonshine lighting the way, I embarked on yet another running adventure. It is indescribably beautiful, energizing and comforting being out in the mountains at night, alone, with the sound of the snow crunching beneath your feet with every step you take, the crisp air filling your lungs as you exchange breaths with nature.

I am lucky to live in a place where it is completely safe to head out on a run at any time of the day, or night, without having to worry about my safety. Feeling solitude without fear is an incredibly liberating feeling and continues to fill me with joy. That night I decided to leave my trusty headlamp, that usually lights up the dark path for me, at home and trust in the ground, my footing and the strength of the moonlight. As was ascending I began to realize the false sense of security the light of my headlamp gives me. I felt uneasy, because I could only see what was directly in front of my feet… I couldn’t see into the distance… I couldn’t see ahead like I usually could. There was literally nothing other than myself and nature. As I began to hit a comfortable pace I began to relax, my eyes began to adapt to the dark and my mind began to adapt to the idea that I couldn’t see too far ahead.

The mountains were towering around me like peaceful warriors and my favorite mountain, the Eiger, looked like the King of them all with a fine layer of clouds gracefully draping its silhouette. The stars were tangibly close and my mind was evoked to think. There was more to this run than simply getting a training run done… it was telling me something that I could translate to my life. Looking too far ahead isn’t such a great thing. On that run I learnt that you need to trust in that moment, because that moment leads to your next moments. By looking too far ahead I could miss something that’s right in front of me - an uneven surface, a stone, an opportunity. You have no control over the present moment if you’re living in the future, if you’re constantly thinking one step ahead. On runs I often think ahead, anticipating the end, especially on uphill runs because they tend to burn the most. That night was different though. My mind and body were in complete harmony, my mind clear letting my body do its own thing, not dictating a pace or stride, just letting it flow. I felt like I was effortlessly floating up the mountain.

As I summated I was rewarded with a spectacular view of the village and an extremely content feeling, which caused me to break out into a little dance on the freshly groomed ski slopes (I’m glad no one was there to witness that!). One of the great things about running uphill is that you get the thrill of the downhill as a contrast. I love letting my body roll on the downhills, cranky up the pace, jumping off rocks, face planting into powder snow, which is what I did that night. I was still forced to not look ahead, adapting my stride spontaneously to the obstacles ahead, anticipating the next step without pre planning it.

That night I learnt that missing a step is like missing a moment in life. Not every step is easy, but every step is a part of the bigger picture. We can’t control what happens in the future, we can merely influence it… Step by Step.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The flow of the treadmill

Recently I've been logging alot of km's on the treadmill, an idea I was loyally opposed to not all that long ago. I firmly believed that treadmill runs were not real runs, that they didn't reflect the true essence of running, which is freedom, nature and feeling the ground beneath your feet. I would even refuse to run on the treadmill on rainy days, would even face a snowstorm just to get my training done and avoid the 'fake' running on the treadmill. I have always found running to be a way of getting in tune with nature, yourself and others, things that you can't do on a treadmill, well at least the first and the latter things. You can't get in touch with nature on a treadmill because, obviously, you are inside and your feet connect with an electronic mat and not natures ground. A major attraction for running outdoors is that you continually meet people who share the same passion as you and, through that, you build a little community and enjoy running in groups, or what we could call running tribes, through cities, over trails, through mud. Running unlocks your expression and often allows you to express yourself in a much more fluid and comprehensive way. Thats also how running allows you to get in tune with the true essence of yourself that, I have learnt, can be achieved on a treadmill as well as outside.

As a total contradiction to my anti-treadmill attitude, I have come up with the idea to run 70km on a treadmill to mark the 70th Inferno Ski Race. I will be accompanied by Swiss Paralympic Wheelchair athlet Heinz Frei, with the objective being  to get people involved by, either, running beside me on a second treadmill or riding beside Heinz on an Ergo Bike. We will also be aiming to raise funds for the Swiss Paraplegic Center in Nottwil.

With 70km of running on a treadmill in sight, I have recently spent numerous hours clocking km's on that shiny black band that passes beneath my feet. In the initial days of running on the treadmill it felt incredibly foreign. I didn't like the idea that, eventhough I was in control of the speed, the black band was dictating my pace and flow and that my running began to be a race against the clock, persuing that time I had set myself, hypnotised by the clock.
As I got off the treadmill one night, depleted and feeling worse than when I began (when generally I feel better after a run), I had a realization that as long as I fight the treadmill physically and mentally, it would fight back at me. I needed to start looking at it in a positive light, for the benefits and different kind of challenge it could bring me.
That night I watched a youtube clip about a guy who does Free Solo Highlining (look it up if you don't know what it is) and I realized how vital the mind/body connection is, that it is unblocked and has a free flow. That only if those connection channels are open, you can truly trust in yourself. It triggered me to think that, when I was on the treadmill, my mind was in a different flow to that of my body and my body was in a different flow to the treadmill. To be able to complete 70km on that treadmill that flow needs to become fluid and uninterrupted, I needed to stop controling and let it flow. Towards the end of his Free Solo Highline attempts (note, this guy is not attached to anything other than his feets connection to the slackline, suspended high above ground), Mich closes his eyes for a second or so which, to me, acts as a symbol of surrender to trust.

I wanted to find a way to translate that trust to the treadmill, so every so often, for a few seconds, I would close my eyes and let myself flow. It made me feel how off balance I was with my eyes closed, yet how much more fluid and free I felt. I began trusting in my stride without the fear of being spat off the back of the treadmill or drifting off to the side causing me to trip. I began to notice imbalances in my body, things I previously didn't notice outdoors because I was too distracted by my surroundings. I noticed that I could still talk to the other people in the gym and make connection, just on a different turf. I began to feel fluid. I began to feel enjoyment. I began to look forward to my daily treadmill dates (which I coninue to do).

My fear was that a treadmill was reflective of life, that you are stuck in one spot moving, yet not moving forward. That notion is an illusion. It's all about your attitude and mental approach. The treadmill has taught me to be more aware of my mind and body. It has forced me to pay attention. In the bigger picture it is helping me move forward in more ways than one and grow, not only, as a runner but also as a person.

I am excited to take on my 70km treadmill challenge now that we have become friends, and I have found a different kind of freedom running on its shiny black band.