2017 – what a great year!

Year 2017 really was one of the best years of my life, despite some crazy things happening to me. I moved to Barcelona a year ago before New Year just because I wanted to move to another city with a beach after living in Lisbon for nearly a year. Never would I have guessed what a great decision it was.

I have a nice job in Barcelona, a nice apartment, and two crazy dogs that I love, but the best part has been that I have been healthy and I am back competing. When I moved to Barcelona I had no idea I would ever compete again. All changed in March after couple people without realizing it got me back to training.

At the end of February, Dutch decathlete Eelco Sintnicolaas was in Barcelona for a training camp and asked me to come run hurdles for fun. It turned out to be a lot of fun and even I was extremely slow, my hurdling technique wasn’t that bad, and I really enjoyed it. I went back by myself a week later. This time an athlete Udy Erete saw me and said I should join their training group. Coach Sevi took me into the group and just two months later I already ran my first race for FC Barcelona. Clearly a big coincidence, but Sevi’s way of training really works for me and focuses on the things I need to focus on. My times last summer and PBs in everything in training this fall really have proven this.

I competed most of the summer and much better than I was expecting, but ended the season early to pneumonia. Being back on the track was much more fun than I even remembered, maybe because I didn’t have such high expectations and stress as when I was younger. I was just enjoying being able to run and have fun. The good times gave me a lot of motivation for the training season and I’ve never trained as healthy as I have now for the whole fall. During the year the goals have changed from competing at nationals to competing at European and World champs.

I have been working full-time at the same place all year, and only have had to change apartments and buy a motorcycle to be able to train better. In the spring I used to bike 12km every day to work and training, but clearly that’s not good for a sprinter. Now with the motorcycle it takes me 10 minutes to go to work and 5 minutes to go to practice. I can get so much more out of myself in training as I am not tired already when arriving. I used to live in a really busy area by the beach and only had a small balcony, so I had to go take my dogs out right after work and right after training. Now I’ve moved to a quieter area still in the center of Barcelona, and I have a yard, so I can go straight to training or a physio from work instead of always going home to walk the dogs so the new apartment makes the work and training manageable. And I can actually sleep there. It’s probably one of the only blocks in the center of Barcelona where it’s quiet at night. I do pay a lot for it, but it does allow me to train and sleep much better, so it’s worth it.

Those are the only changes I’ve had to do to be able to really focus on training while working full-time. My days are long with 8h of work and 3-4 (sometimes 5) hours of training, and I really don’t have time for anything else, but if I didn’t try to fulfill the potential at track that I know I have, I would always regret it.

Moving to Barcelona has been one of the best decisions I have made in my life. It changed my life after years of being sick to doing what I love and being happier than I’ve ever been. I am so thankful for the people who have anyhow contributed to this change and for me being back competing. Now let’s hope 2018 will be even a better year!

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