maandag 27 juni 2011

Naked feet feel - factsheet

The author's physics and relevant specifics
  • She's 37 year old
  • Describes herself as "a lazy ass bitch who enjoys nature and wants to feel fit, but any activity must fit in effortlessly with family/work balance"
  • She's a mom of two, most recent pregnancy 11 months ago
  • Has about 7 kg overweight
  • Did some pregnancy yoga and pilates exercises
  • Postpartum she did more pilates + rope skipping to rebuild pelvic floor and inner abdominals
  • Daily errands are preferably done by bike (2 X 15')
  • She is a former amateur in classical ballet, sports climbing, shoerunning, yoga and pilates
  • And a wanna-be professional writer who takes inspiration from John Irving and Haruki Murakami, both excellent writers and runners.

What do you need to try this?

  • watch this video by Terra Plana
  • I like to run mornings. Getting dressed in my sports outfit is an excellent way to make sure I actually cross that threshold and go!
  • an excellent sports bra (depending on your bra size)
  • a low tech kitchen timer
  • if you are self conscious about your bare feet: some kind of camouflage, such as a stroller (with or without child inside)
  • sports tape
  • Compeed or generic blister bandaid
  • a nice spot to start, or a nice destination if you start from home

My training build up:
  • day 1: warm up and technique using video, 100x barefoot rope skipping, 4 intervals of 5' running, 5' walking
  • day 5: family run, 100x barefoot rope skipping, 4x5'5'
  • day 6: Zandvoort 2h clinic
  • day 7: home run, 5' run 5' walk, 10' run, 5' walk, 20' run, 5'walk (hurt my foot)
  • day 11: family run, 20'

Forming a habit
If you want to make this a habit, I suggest you:
  • join a running club
  • get a really cool outfit
  • get an explanatory t-shirt (including URL or Twitter alias)
  • decide on a schedule

Let me know of any other suggestions or to meet up. I haven't run myself since day 11, so ehr... habitforming is not my strongsuit. Help appreciated : ). Currently I am thinking, if our little girl seems to wake up at a staggering 5 or 6 am, I should probably head out straight away with her... will let you know if I manage!

I took a clinic from wouter Buist ( It was nice to get some personal feedback on my technique. But the information was not really new. Not a must if you have some background in any kind of training or sports.

Naked feet feel - my intro to barefoot running

Dear readers! A little overdue because of urgent matters in Greece - relaxing on a Corfutian beach, to be exact - I have made it a two piece act, to soften your judgements... enjoy, and let me know if and when you decide to give it a go!

No excuse
After we moved house last month, there really was no excuse left for me not to work on my fitness. Our new neighbourhood borders on a wonderfully lush lakeside park. It is spring. The writer in me is trying to get out; the runner in me should, too.

Cram the girls in
So I took out my battered, holey running shoes and crammed my large, lactating boobs into their pre-pregnancy sportsbra container. Too snug, really, but in this case it is better to err on the snug side. And off I went. I took it easy and I was in such a nice flow, that I don't really remember the route I took. But I do remember having to slow down to a walk because of my left knee. This knee hasn't given me any problems for years - I haven't been running for years. As I looked around at the skating and "rolski" clubs I happened to pass, my mind wondered. How to get back in shape with this knee? Should I take up rollerblading to improve my condition and hopefully my knees? Putting on skates and protection is a bit of a hassle, and I can only go on reasonable paved paths. Take an intensive Pilates course? Too much like work: boring. I prefer being outdoors, too. The idea of barefoot running popped into my mind just like that.

Google a little
A little Googling confirmed the excellence of my idea. I was amazed to find there's shoes for barefootrunning, too. I'm guessing the runningshoe industry is scared shitless about the promising future of this minimalist trend. Scientific research piles up, suggesting it's really the best way to prevent and cure long time running (knee-) injuries. For me, wearing shoes was never an option when trying out barefoot. Look elsewhere if you're looking for reviews of these kind of shoes.

Jump in!
On monday may 30th, I just jumped in. I looked up my favourite instruction video and got warmed up in front of my laptop, in between putting on my running clothes - good old friend sportsbra being the only really essential item. I had fun doing some ropeskipping, found my kitchen timer and set my first bare foot on the Amstelveen pavement.

What *will* people think?
I could not help looking around at any onlookers, wondering if they would think me crazy. At the same time, I was curiously looking at the pavement and wondering about how it felt to my feet. Not bad, actually. Not bad at all. Where I would have thought I'd try to run on grass whenever I could, in reality I just couldn't be bothered. Our local "stoeptegel" (pavement tile) feels just fine. The sensation, the actual feeling, the feedback, the information the footsole provides is very rich and automatically made me adapt my stride. Just do it, don't overthink it. Soon I was happily enjoying the scenery, the streets, the patches of green, the sunflowers locals had planted in them guerilla style, opening my mind, thoroughly enjoying the experience. I could not catch anyone looking at me funny. No one commented on the nakedness of my feet. Still, you need some courage. Just be Bolt, like Usain ; )

Dirty Feet
Yes, my feet were dirty. No, I did not step into a dog nasty. On the other hand, if I had: my feet are easier to clean than the soles of my running shoes. That I chucked, anyway. As a free bonus: my feet felt all tingly for hours after the first bare foot run. Like I'd had a peeling and massage.

More bonusses
To me, barefoot running combines is a perfect mindfull workout that I can do enjoying the wonderful outdoors. It's great if you want to build up your fitness like myself. The information provided by the sole of your foot makes you adjust your speed and style to the type of base you're running on automatically. Giving you a more varied workout.

The best part is, I ran without feeling anything in my formerly problematic left knee. Also, on the fourth day I went running, I found myself skipping the walking part of my interval session because the running was so effortless and free. The downside of this flow was, I did not notice stepping on something sharp. At home I discovered two little slits in the sole of my foot that did hurt a little. However, treatment was easy enough with a blisterpad and some sports tape.

In theory, the technique helps you run more efficiently, so you'll be able to run faster and longer. This was never my goal, though, so I haven't paid attention to this aspect.

What's next?
For me, my challenge is to work this into my routine in such a way that I can keep having fun with it. I should look into joining a running club or deciding on a frequency that will work for me. Ehm.. yeah. After I recovered from 11 months of broken nights.

How about you? Ready to give it a try, or?

maandag 6 juni 2011

Open Survey: #CCC11

Tomorrow, june 7th, I'll be attending the Creative Companies Conference in Haarlem.

As a press visitor for Sync, I'm given extra opportunity to interview guest speakers (how wonderful!).
I am asking you, dear reader, if there's any of the below, or others, that you'd like me to interview. And, what would you like me to ask them?

Please leave a reaction below (or drop me a Tweet/email) before 22h tonight.

If you want to share your insights later on, send me a text (00 31 6 12481973). I won't be online during the conference! (this needs mentioning, I think).

Thank you!

* Niel Robertson, founder of Crowdsortium and of Trada, a new crowdbased business that makes advertising campaigns much more effective using optimisors from the crowd
* Victor van der Chijs (OMA and chief advisor of the minister of EIL) who will tell us how the Dutch Ministery of EIL should spend the 1.5 billion euro's when it comes to creative industries
* Ruurd Priester presenting Lost Boys' new organization model
* Sarah Lacy from Silicon Valley on entrepreneurship
* Ans Martin Hamenn of Van den Ende Deitmers with a Dutch angle on enterpreneurship
* Bany Banerjee from the prestegious Stanford University on co-creation

zondag 5 juni 2011

#30trust: day 6 | Come Alive

Come Alive by Jonathan Mead
Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you had one week left to live, would you still be doing what you’re doing now? In what areas of your life are you preparing to live? Take them off your To Do list and add them to a To Stop list. Resolve to only do what makes you come alive.

Bonus: How can your goals improve the present and not keep you in a perpetual “always something better” spiral?

(Author: Jonathan Mead)

This #30trust thing was wearing me out yesterday. Of course weaning our little girl is tiring, too.

This makes the answer to today's prompt crystal clear: I added participating in the #30trust challenge to my To Stop list. For the coming week, at least. Give you, true readers, a break from this regimen, too.

Next sunday, june 12th, is when I'll reflect on this decision. At the earliest. Maybe later.

Signing off!

zaterdag 4 juni 2011

#30trust: day 5 | Travel

Travel by Chris Guillebeau
If we live truly, we shall see truly. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not everyone wants to travel the world, but most people can identify at least one place in the world they’d like to visit before they die. Where is that place for you, and what will you do to make sure you get there?

(Author: Chris Guillebeau)

This prompt makes the challenge feel like homework. Of course I am tired. With a 10-month old who wakes me up for her nightfeed, who wouldn't. But somehow, this prompt...

I am one of those who have no desire to travel the world. "I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me", like Charlene sung, is what pops up in my mind. I've been trying to get to me, that's hard enough without travel distracting me.

Then again, Indonesia... But no. The thought of spending almost an entire day and night on a plane. Maybe if I travelled by boat. Visit the country my dad spent the happier part of his childhood, where my grandparents spent the most hopeful years of their life. Possibly - but no. Not really.

I think I'll pass on this one.

I have told my husband about today, when we discovered the wonderful little oasis of a kiddy pool in the Amsterdamse Bos, the communal estate forest around the corner of our new home.

I am looking at my challenging Post-it, my mind working to put it into action.

I think that's enough to fill up my capacity for desiring power.

Hoping for a good nights' rest, I sign off,

your true Spellfinder.

vrijdag 3 juni 2011

Post-it Question by Jenny Blake | #30trust day 4

That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? . . . Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Identify one of your biggest challenges at the moment (ie I don’t feel passionate about my work) and turn it into a question (ie How can I do work I’m passionate about?) Write it on a post-it and put it up on your bathroom mirror or the back of your front door. After 48-hours, journal what answers came up for you and be sure to evaluate them.

Bonus: tweet or blog a photo of your post-it.

(Author: Jenny Blake)

I just love all about today's #30trust prompt. I love Post Its. I love hard questions. I love rephrasing them so answers come up. I love the quote "that which each can do best, but none but his Maker can teach him".

This one's easy. Thank God, too, because I am stretching myself and my family to make time for this. But loving every step of the way.

So here goes - my current challenge: I don't have enough time to write as much as I would like. It's hard to connect to my readers. Who are they? How do I find them? Also, finding time has to do with earning a living. I feel I have been living an either/or situation: write OR make a living. I 'd like to line both activities up, make them point in the same direction, so they'll reinforce eachother. So that I'll have more time for writing, I'm creating, connecting people, and making an excellent living. All in one go. Why not shoot for the moon?

So my question comes up as: "How can writing more contribute to making an excellent living?"

> I'm putting it on a pink Post-it and will post a pic of that later.

Right now, my husband called me downstairs for drinks in our sunny garden.
Not a bad life either, right?

Oh, and did you remember to write today's sentence? As yesterday's prompt suggested? And tell one someone about it? Let's see. Today, I am very happy because my husband put a beautiful patch of grass in our garden. There we are. I told you about it, dear reader. And I'll tell him, too. Over a glass of rosé. Cheers!

donderdag 2 juni 2011

One strong belief - #30trust day 3

One Strong Belief by Buster Benson

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?

This sounds so familiar to me. Yet to express in public a belief strikes terror in my heart. For I have seen the destructive power of strong beliefs and ideas all too often. From close by. The burden of being born in a family of believers in science.

The first belief that I have conquered battling my background, that still does not come to me naturally, is that in the value of relationship. I must make an effort on a daily basis to remember the bond between me and any fellow human - my husband, my son, my daughter, someone I meet on the street or online - is invisible but all encompassing. In the encounter lies the world of wrongs and rights.

The second - can I? - is the one that slowly dawned on me since I became a parent, three and a half years ago. Parenting did not come naturally to me. Diapers, feeding and comforting - the first year - were easy enough. But then: boundaries. I did not know how to start, where to focus. I felt lost.

The rescuing belief was, that parenting demands, or is equal to, emotional leadership. Ah, there's the knot. I interpret emotional leadership the way Cesar Millan leads his dogs: calm assertiveness. I must lead my family by showing calm, and a quiet but certain sense of direction. Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I am not by default a calm person. I need to tap into a not so well trained side of me. That's one challenge. But this parenting thing - we do it together. So when our eldest crosses a line, I try to remain calm. Showing him clearly what we expect of him. But I can react emotionally - and so can my husband. We does not necessarily see eye to eye on this - he seems to consider anger instrumental in raising the children. This is hard, and especially the "perfect sweetness" Emerson mentions... Unattainable I am certain.

Then again, perfect parents make for horrible children, right?

woensdag 1 juni 2011

Today: #30trust day 2

Today by Liz Danzico

Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. The force of character is cumulative. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

If ‘the voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks,’ then it is more genuine to be present today than to recount yesterdays. How would you describe today using only one sentence? Tell today’s sentence to one other person. Repeat each day.

(Author: Liz Danzico)

I woke up at 04.30 this morning. I relaxed into my awakeness, wondering if the day had really started for me. This early. I lay waiting. But sleep did not pull me back in. I marvelled a little why I did not feel tired, but managed to accept. If there is a price to pay, I can easily sleep later on. We have the day off.

And now I find the gift of the second #30trust prompt in the Twittiverse.

I love that it is here, and I love that I am awake, alone, to fully savour it.

I look out at the morning sky, glowing up behind the red brick and rooftile house. On the far end of the little rectangle of grass that's the heart of our side street view.

One sentence. Nice and short. But everyday - each day. For how long? Forever? And tell it? To whom?

Today. Today I was up early, excited about the #30trust writing challenge I have embarked on.

I'll tell my husband.

When he wakes up.

Right now, I'll go on savouring this precious fresh morning hour.


Second post in #30trust, a writing experiment initiated by Seth Godin. The experiment is simultaneously teaching me Ralph Waldo Emerson! Free and interactive American literature class, how wonderful.

15 minutes to live

Through a very lively LinkedIN dialogue on social media influence, I came across Jane Chin. Her contribution to said dialogue was that authoratitave, I had to look her up on Twitter.

Then I stumbled upon an irresistible challenge: #30trust.

It's an "online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself" by something called The Domino Project in honour of Ralph Waldo Emerson's 208th birthday. Just jumping into the background info now... Ah. "The Domino Project is a new way to think about publishing. Founded by Seth Godin and powered by Amazon, we're trying to change the way books are built, sold and spread. Find out more about our mission here."

Seth Godin. Maybe I'll be famous yet ; ).

To resume - the #30trust. Today, the first day, the writing prompt is authored by Gwen Bell:
"We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.

1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.

The timer starts….

Here goes:

Counting down to my final meet with the darkness.
To my daughter, my son and my husband.
Be sure you make those who come after proud.
I know you will do me pride.


Just breathe.
Stand with two feet on the ground.
Remember to jump for joy now and again.
Embrace someone when they need it.
Yourself. It's OK to ask for a hug.

Forget about thinking so much.
The body has its own wisdom.
Trust that.

I look at the green grass outside my window.
I feel the tingling in my belly that signals my life, my energy.
How can it end in 13 minutes when I feel so alive now?
It serves me not to think of these reasons.

It serves me to remember my previous encounters with the black hole.
Have I told you how I have gotten to know it?

That decision was the actual beginning of my life.
At age 34.

Don't be like me. Don't wait that long.
Enter NOW. Do it. I am there for you.
Now and always.

And moreover: you are.
The holiest of your holy essence.
Your whole being runs free there and marvels at the pitch black.
And then - who knew?

Your soul always sees the specks of light.
Stars. Planets. Rings around planets.
Your soul knows it truly is a sea of light.
Hidden beneath the dark veil your fear created.

And cold? Alone?
Yes. Sit in that for a bit.
Shiver. Feel the goosebumps.
The lack of oxygen that will make your skin break out in blue veins.
Like spiderwebs.
The body cannot live here and it protests.
Feel its protest, while you are alive.
It is important that you recognize and know this feeling.
So that you can heed its warning when it comes upon you in real life.
Like animals, we too know how.

Sit in the cold.
Feel the breath of death enter the body.
The body must succumb.
It is not made for eternity.
But the soul is part of it.

Five more minutes now. I wonder how my life will be taken.
How my body will lose it's spark.
But I fear not. Maybe - I cannot know for certain.
Maybe it is not true.
I can never know, not even what seems dictated as truth.
Therefor the fear serves no purpose.
What I am certain of is change.
How we communicate.
How you understand me.
So I shall make an effort.
In whichever shape or form I am.
If I talk to you person to person, flesh to flesh, voice to voice, computerscreen to computerscreen.
Or vibration to vibration.
My effort and my intent is to communicate from soul to soul.
From light to light.
From black hole to black hole.
We are light.
We are darkness.
We are.

You will always know me.
As I will you and myself.

Three more minutes and the ticking becomes irregular.
Louder? Nervous?

I take out the teabag and take time before the first sip.
Even now, I will not burn my tongue.
There may be hope for life after this, and a burnt tongue won't help me.

Tell mom and dad I love them.
And thank them for ... trring



This is my first post in a series as part of an "online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself" called #30trust.

Look it up on Twitter and join, if you like!

Stop avoiding scary phonecalls!

That's one of the topics you really weren't *that* interested in for me to write on. According to the poll in my previous post.

Guess what? Doing it anyway. HA! Do you mind? Do you? Well, you'll just have to wait, then, for the barefoot post. It's coming, no worries. I'm sitting here, my feet... muscles... no. Come back june 10th. Thank you very much. See you later.

So, now that they've left, we've got the floor to ourselves. Hi again! How about those scary phonecalls, right? Cold calling? Well, I made myself proud. I put in three cold calls last week to editors of print magazines, trying to raise their interest for my item barefooting. This week, I tried putting in another one but couldn't find the right number. But I did follow up these calls with e-mails containing the pitch.

Not that I have actually made a sell. But I tried! Put myself out there. Yep.

Feeling quite pleased with myself, actually. And in a way, I do have to thank you, too. Even though you were not interested to read about that stuff at all, apparently; having you read the topic put it out there, making me want to have something to say about it.

Yes, pretty pleased. And thankful. And exhausted, frankly. Looking forward to a nice long "Hemelvaart-" weekend.


And PS, if you do have any ideas on who would publish that article, or is looking for copy on something you think I could write about - do not hesitate to drop me a line!