Four years ago I wrote the story that changed my life. It wasn't really the story that changed my life, I had to do that by myself. The story reminds me where I come from, what happened, what I had to go through all those years, all the pain and suffering...so I will never have to go through that again. Don't know what I'm talking about? Better go and read it first.
Pain vs intestines vs lower back
When you have been in pain for over 12 years, you know that it will not go away overnight.
When people see me running, they tell me what a strong person I am because of what I have accomplished in my life. But don't let this fool you, I'm not like the average healthy guy. There is a lot going on in my body that the medical world still can't figure out. And because they can't figure it out, I am kinda on my own. Have you ever heard the words "listen to your body", I guess I've probably mastered that by now. For the past four years I had to do that every day, trying to figure out what happens to my body when I eat specific food. By keeping journals of what I eat, how my body reacts to it, if pain occurred and even how my poop looks like (Yes this is no typo), I tried to stay ahead of the pain so I can lead a normal life.
I always came to the same conclusion. Whenever I got problems with my intestines, I was in pain, heavy pain in my lower back. So much pain that the only thing I could do was lie down and try to ride it out. Figuring out where it went wrong and trying to solve it as soon as possible. How do you solve problems with your intestines? You try to empty them and fill them up with better stuff.
As long as the medical world has no clue what to do, I will always need to rely on myself. And I'm getting pretty good at it.
In 2016, I was in a very bad shape, I needed to find a way to get healthy again. So I decided to start running against doctors orders who told me that running was out of the question. But I had my mind set. Because in my mind I was already dead, nothing was gonna stop me. If the pain could not be stopped I would have pulled the plug and committed suicide. Without physical condition I tried to run but I didn't get any further than 10 meters. It may sound funny, but 4 years ago this was reality. But I kept trying to run, from one light pole to the other, walking in between, sweating like a pig, in pain off course. But the anger and my perseverance made me strong and nothing could stop me from trying over and over again. I ran every day, no matter the weather. Stormy wind, heavy rain and lightning couldn't stop me because I was the deadmanrunning. And soon I ran 2 light poles, and 3, and….
Instagram august 2018
In the first two years of my recovery, I used Facebook as my running journal. It wasn't until August 2018 that Instagram became part of my life. Sometimes I just want to take a look into the past to see the progress that I've made. I've been very blessed with the running community and the support that I got. And I always stay positive and give motivation back to this community.
I remember my first half marathon...8 september 2017, or all the amazing races, all the hours of running, all the beautiful memories to cherish.
YOU HAVE TO FAIL TO BE SUCCESSFULL.
But learning to run also means learning to deal with injuries and I had my share, believe me. It always comes down to "listen to your body".
I must be a master in recovering by now. One of my most memorable recoveries was about two years ago. My gall bladder needed to be removed and after surgery I got instructions not to run for at least 8 weeks. Nobody told me that I could not walk, so that's what I did. But because my recovery went so well I was allowed to run after I got dismissed by the doctor. Didn't wait for that so I ran to the hospital, got dismissed and I ran back home, 14k in total. Can you imagine how people in the hospital were looking at me when they saw me enter the hospital with my deadmanrunning t-shirt.
From zero to ultra
If you want to learn how to run 5k...you should train for 7k. That way 5k feels easy. At least that's how I did it. But 7k is close to 10k, so I trained 12k and before I knew it, I ran a half marathon. At that moment I thought that 10 mills and half marathons were my thing. "You should run a marathon", they told me and I said…"never". I don't like marathons, I don't like the concept, I don't like the mass who train for months just for that event. I want to run all the time, I don't want to use special training plans, I don't want to feel bad while training, I don't want to taper. Most don't even have fun while running a marathon. So I did my best not to run a marathon...by running further. Only by listening to my body and running on heart rate. I don't want to run fast, I just want to keep on running. So after just four years of running, at the age 50, I ran my first ultra...52k. Will I go even further? Probably.
THERE ARE NO LIMITS
Possibly the most strange period of our lives. 2020 will go into history as the year that life stood still. At least for many people. During the lockdown all running events were cancelled. We were not allowed to meet friends and go for a run together. There was a moment that we were not allowed to use our car to go to our favourite places. But that did not stop me from running. I still ran to my forest even if it was a 30k run. In March 2020 I ran a total of 309k. Who needs official races if you have all courses by hand. 2020 is the year that I broke a piece of bone in my right foot and recovered with a smile. And ran an ultra after my recovery. 2020 is the year I discovered and fell in love with hiking. Now I combine hiking and trail running so I can go further and further.
Out of the woods?
Yes I'm an 100% off road trail runner, but that's not what I mean with out of the woods.
My body has been in very bad shape for a long time. Will it ever be 100%? Probably not...too much damage. I still have to work hard, each day, to keep standing, to make sure that the pain stays away. But sometimes, without any warning, it's back. Chances are that you are not gonna notice it.
So next time you see me running don't feel sorry for me. Yes it could be that I'm in pain and that I decide to take it easy by going slow, but I don't mind. I'm just happy that I can run.
When I stop running, I stop living.
WILL IT EVER STOP
I'll end this story the same way as I did in the first story. What about the predators? Well...they are still here. They are not the same because I've changed and got stronger. But the predators have adjusted as well so I have to be on my guard the whole time. It's so strange that years ago I was jealous of everyone and didn't love myself whatsoever. And now my self love is much better and the predators have noticed this too. Jealousy is a dirty thing. When individuals try to take away your friends, try to make you feel bad about yourself, telling you that your friends don't want anything to do with you, telling lies, making you look bad to others so they avoid you, ….yes, this is Instagram too. If friends stop seeing you, it's hard, but life goes on and I will always find a way to keep a positive mind, even if that means that I lose some friends. Life isn't always fair...