9 Things I Learned from Running Half Marathon (Post Half Marathon Thoughts)

I did it! Finished the half marathon…

Medals and All :)

Medal and All :)

Yesterday was the day and today as I recovered from that muscle pains and blisters, I am writing this down as I still have somewhat a post run bliss…

1. It’s Not Going to Be Easy

Probably around half of the time, I’m still thinking “WTH am I doing here, there were always someone taking me over… I’m not good at this and so on :D”.

At km 2: OMG I’m only 10% done.

At km 3 to 6: I was so desperate for a drink… kept spying for the water stand, but then getting more motivated as I realized I actually run faster than on my trainings. There’s hope!

At km 7-8: Oh dear, there wasn’t ever going to be shades, wasn’t there?

At km 9-10: Hey, there’s Silke and Daniel! And shades!! Yay, I can do this! Clocked in at 1:20 for 10k, realizing I can totally finish under 3h.

At km 11-14: Running through Kudamm! Kind of a haze but it’s good when I walked the streets before I kinda now where I am. Kinda. It’s hard when you’re huffing and puffing.

At km 15-17: Abi’s knees started to give in. So we had to speed walk instead (We’re in this together!). And then I realized I speed walk faster than I slow run… Should I do power walk next time instead?

At km 17-18: It’s so close yet so far away…! I remember someone cheering me saying it’s only 4km more and I wanted to run again, but my brain gave up trying to tell my feet to run.

At km 19-20: Even closer but felt even further away. By this point I was not going “WTH am I doing here anymore” I was on to “Let’s do this! Let’s run strong…!”. But my feet still saying no.

At km 21:  OMG where is that damn finish line!!! We had to turn a corner and then… when I see it, I ruuuuuuuuunnnnn!

PS: My husband just told me I look dead all the way. Hahahaha that’s probably true!

Before the race. And no, I don't look like this throughout the run! :D

Before the race. And no, I don’t look like this throughout the run! :D

 

2. Running With Someone Does Make It Easier

I’m so lucky to run with my husband. I mattered to have someone next to you and cheer each other up! I believe he could actually go faster but he decided to stay with my phase.. Although in the end he injured his knees, which was the only reason I’m slightly faster than him (sprinting the last 50m).

Thank you Abi, for making this a much more fun and bearable thing to do!!!

Yay! We made it!!

Yay! We made it!!

3. So Thankful for Everyone Cheering on the Streets!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! For everyone clapping, calling my name, giving me high fives, yelling “You’re Awesome, You Can Do IT!”. It REALLY lift my spirits up and extra boosts every single time :).

Extra shoutout to a guy in Kurfurstendamm who handed me a bottle of Fanta. He must’ve been an angel… I really needed that! Thank you!!! You’re awesome!

4. And for My Friends Who Cheered on Us

Silke and Daniel, what a lovely surprise to see you guys!! That kilometer became slightly faster ;).

Yasmina, Robert, Heather, and Stefan, thanks for cheering us at the last kilometres! Also it was so nice to have lunch together afterwards :).

And Dom, for being a training buddy and motivator… plus watching a movie and sharing a beer afterwards make me feel slightly normal again (aka not self pitying from muscle ache). Plus the movie turned out to be awesome!

5. Don’t Under/Over estimate the Weather

Being Indonesian and thinking that 18 degrees C is cool… Well, think again. I’m probably used to Berlin weather anyways, and I underestimate that there were almost no shade along the way.

My throat was dry by km 3, and I kept looking forward for water all the way throughout the course… Then again, that kept me going… just a bit more until the next water station!

Clothing wise, I could probably go with something lighter. I have my jacket on, just because I don’t want to let go of my phone (aka source of music and running time). Next time I should invest in more types of running gear (you never know what Berlin weather is going to be!)

6. Starting Takes Awhile

We were on the last starting block (of course… and I don’t think I will ever be out of that block). But it took us almost 40 minutes just to get to starting line. Think someone was joking that by the time we start, the elite athletes are already finished :D. Almost true,  just by 5-10 minutes. Which totally reminds me of the hare and tortoise story ;).

Where is the Start Line?

Where is the Start Line?

It’s actually all fine, but looking back, that’s probably the reason why I was so thirsty in the first kilometers already! But I did not want to drink extra because…

7. Try Not to Go to the Toilet

The queue was massive… looks like everyone is going (and there 32.000 of us). I happen to live on the other side of town though, so there’s no way I could avoid it… although my friend said the toilet outside is emptier.

If you’re able to avoid this somehow, do it. It’s quite stressful to wait at the toilet queue.

8. I Possibly Won’t Ever Be Great at Running

Somehow for me to be able to really truly love something, I have to be good at it too (it’s the feedback mechanism thingie). I realized I probably would never be good at running… I think it’s impossible for me to run less than 2h for half marathon (or, rather, I probably have to train 10x more to get there than normal people)…

BUT I also realized I kind of enjoyed it… For me, I should say the hell with speed. Just the fact that I could participate in this event, never would’ve dreamt it possible as a child.

On the other hand, I’m looking forward to try out other sports this summer… biking, dancing, slacklining, rock climbing…

9. I CAN DO IT!!!!

The most important lesson!! Wowza!!! I can be sporty too!

Such an awesome feeling that trumps everything. So I plan to participate again next year! Just once a year though… for now ;).

IMG_7129

Cheers!

And if you ever thought you want to do it, just do it! If I can do this, you could definitely do it too!!

Pre Half Marathon Thoughts

I needed to write this mostly just for my future references. I want to record how I feel before the half marathon because I think I will feel differently tomorrow, after the event. You know, those after-run bliss? Yet right now I’m feeling rather nervous.

WTF am I Doing?

This is my first run event. I never did a 5K, nor a 10K. I just do a half-marathon (originally thought I would just go straight to marathon, but now I’m glad I didn’t – more on that later). That being said, I ran a 5K and 10K before (I’m not that crazy!), just not on a race.

But still, WTF? I’m this kid who is the top three slowest runners in school. I don’t even love running. Why did I even sign up?

I still have no idea. But I signed up, and I will run.

Can I do it? YES YES YES! (Peptalking myself with pompoms in my head)

Maybe I didn’t Train Enough…

Maybe. Most probably. I couldn’t run 5 days a week. That was too much for my well-being. BUT I did run 3 times a week, which is 4 times more than before I signed up for this. And I do yoga to counteract running muscles stiffness and swimming.

Maybe it doesn’t matter. (I could hear voices from my runner friends telling me how crazy I am). That’s just what I can do best while being the head of twindly. I also still like to go to parties and hang out with my friends. SO there’s that.

But at least I know I’m way more fit than last year!

Muscles, yo!

Muscles, yo!

There’s no turning back, so let’s just do it!

Love, Hate, Love, Hate, Love ….?

Whenever someone asked me if I love running, I’m always going like.. Umm… no I actually don’t like it. But then why did I run, right?

I now realize running is a love – hate relationship to me. I love how it makes me feel afterwards, not so much when I start. I do realize, however, that I love longer runs while taking a new surrounding. It’s the fresh air, the parks, the “yay, I’m in an open space!” kind of feeling. Now that I don’t really have time for long walks, running gets me the feeling in just half the amount of time ;).

Then I think this half marathon is a new way to see Berlin! We’re passing through most of the tourist spots, even my beloved Schloss Charlottenburg and KaDeWe! And the Rotes Rathaus (because I need something to look forward to at the last kms!)

Berlin Half Marathon 2014 Route

Berlin Half Marathon 2014 Routef

So LOVE. The weather forecast is nice too… 18 degrees and sunny! (I know it runs the risk of being too hot, but I still much prefer this than running in hailstorms).

Will I Make It?

Ah, the doubts. My goal is simple. Finish running the whole course without the bus picking you up. That’s all. I don’t have a time goal, it’s my first one, and I don’t really care.

As long as I have fun running it, I’ll say I win already. I’ve never pictured myself as a runner before, and now that I could run comfortably for two hours, that’s already a big win for me.

So yeah, I suspect the hardest part of the long distance run isn’t running on the day, but the training leading up to it (3-4 months of intense running!). This needs to be confirmed after the event.

I will make it! For sure!!

Got my start number for the #Berlin #halfmarathon on Sunday!! Bring it on ;)!

BRING IT ON!

 

Pitching, Pitching, Pitching (from someone who is not a pitcher)

Last year I made the transition between being a writer, freelancer, and then really just in general wanting to make a startup without really knowing what to do (except for an idea and the coding/design mojo). And as all programmers/product people do, I then went on to prototype something (as in wanting to make a big system that works), spend a whole lot of time with it, and only mumble something incoherently when someone asked me, “What is your startup about?”

My answer (mostly): “Well, umm… yeah… it’s about recommendation system for beauty product. Umm, something for beauty enthusiasts…” (by this time I’m all sweated out on my armpits, trying to notice if this other person is interested in my idea or not, or if this person already deemed me as the most stupid person in the whole world because I gave out that idea). I then would still try to go on convincing this other person, sometimes just to be told in the end that I wasn’t assertive enough. Or the idea wasn’t clear enough. Or they are just not interested and think it’s a silly idea (double pain!).

But really, all of those don’t matter when from time to time I get lucky and someone told me, “Oh I love it! I love beauty things. Could you tell me more about it?”

I see their eyes light up, and I know they are genuinely interested in what I do. Genuinely curious and excited to see what I’ve done.

At those moments, I know, this is why I am doing what I do!

But the most important lesson is, I should keep talking about my idea. And whenever you find someone who lights up about your idea, engage them, find out what excites them. It is the beauty of the early startup.

I know by now some of you would nod with me, but then some other would’ve thought something like my old response. “Sure, I’ve heard and read a lot about ask your customers, test your products early, fail, yada, yada. I start later when I have my prototype.”

I know it’s not easy if what you’re asking is your baby. It’s really like asking a stranger if your kids are good looking. You might always think they are the most adorable little beings in the world (and you should!), but this other person might think they are awfully ugly and horrible (please, you know this is possible!).

There are already a lot of tips and blog posts from other experts about this already. But what I found really helpful is this:

  1. It might be painful to have rejections now, but it will be even more painful to have rejections next year after you poured in the hard work. So do it now.
  2. It’s actually a very nice feeling (trust me!) when you found your early adopters. This is when you want to spend time with them, find out what they need, what’s their burning problem and whether you can solve it. If you can’t find any early adopters, maybe it’s better to look for another idea (just saying!).

Is it going to get better? Well, the nervousness will go away with practice, but as the stakes get higher too, it might not. Part of being an entrepreneur is that you’d have to also be ready to get constantly pushed out of your comfort zone!

 

Lessons from the Crowdfunding Talk with Slava Rubin, CEO of Indiegogo

Indiegogo Crowdfunding Talk at Betahaus

Indiegogo Crowdfunding Talk at Betahaus

This is a late blogpost, because the event actually took place on 29 October 2013. I think it’s relevant again, because my friends from the Open Tech School Berlin wanted to raise funding through an Indiegogo campaign for their Hackership program. If you’re a hacker/programmer, check it out, participate and donate. If you’re a tech business person, check it out and donate, it’ll be good for your “looking for a CTO” karma.

The panel featured Slava Rubin, CEO and Co-Founder of Indiegogo, and Thomas Herzog, Innovestment – crowd investment platform. (I am so sorry I forgot the names of the other two present in this panel). It is hosted by Christoph Raethke, founder of Berlin Startup Academy.

Here are my notes from that day, a little scatterbrained but I hope it would create some helpful points for someone who wanted to start a crowdfunding.

Why do people actually give money

There are four basic reasons people want to give money through crowdfunding:

  1. They care about the person or the cause.
  2. They want one of the perks mentioned in the campaign.
  3. They just want to participate.
  4. They want profit (which only applies if it’s a crowd invesment).

Are your funding request satisfy one of the four?

There’s no specific limit to what your causes are because it’s currently very diverse. It’s ranging from things like charity, building furniture, games, companies, and artistic things.

But it’s not all about money

If you’re a company, doing a crowdfunding campaign is actually not all about money, it’s more to do with:

  1. Market validation, because you could see how many people who will actually buy your product, or give you money for your service.
  2. Extra promotion, because you could get more awareness for your campaign through indiegogo newsletter, or people talking about it, buzz is a buzz.
  3. Test marketing.

It’s not just transaction, but also building customer relation (because you know who actually cared about your product).

What you need to do to raise money

These are the common aspects of successful campaign. You don’t have to follow them, but these tips will definitely give you better chance :

  1. Have a good pitch, make a great video (most successful ones have this)
  2. Proactive, keep updating your campaign. 93% of successful campaign has perks, averaging around 3-8 perks.
  3. Have an audience that cares.
  4. Team of more than 4 people has 70% more success chance.
  5. If the campaign raise 25% in 5 days in less, it has a more successful rate of raising the fund.

Promoting your campaign

What’s a good campaign when nobody knows about it? Surprisingly (if you’re more into social media like me), the most effective way for spreading your campaign to people who would fund your campaign are:

  1. e-mail
  2. facebook
  3. twitter

Yes. In that order.

Source of funding

The source of funding usually comes from 1/3 your network, 1/3 network of network, 1/3 indiegogo network.

Democratization

Indiegogo is democratizing the process, anyone could make a campaign. In this sense, it’s also an automated system, indiegogo is not there to promote your campaign.

Mistakes

There’s only two types of mistake people do in campaigning

  1. Not educated: then it’s indiegogo’s fault
  2. Educated but just not put it to work.

Strategy

If you follow the strategy, you’ll have 100% chance of winning your funding.

Strategy you’d need to have

  1. Video strategy, how to approach people. It usually followed this pattern. The optimal length is 2-3 minutes. The first 30 sec and last 15 sec should especially made for indiegogo. First 30 sec: “Hi this is campaign… for indiegogo….” 2 mins 15 sec what it is exactly you’re working on, last 15 sec, “thank you and share”.
  2. Perk strategy, what kind of perks you offer and how it is influencing the campaign.
  3. Update strategy, should you putting in new perks or some secret strategy.
  4. Press strategy, organic natured, influencer strategy.
  5. Host community, people who would bring in more money.

If you don’t know who’s funding you on day one, don’t launch – Slava Rubin, CEO of Indiegogo

It’s is better to do your research and get a list of backers first before you launch your project and hoping it will magically get funded by some rich leprechauns. Also be sure to focus on authenticity and engagement, no sale and beg.