I am walking around the gyle with nearly two month old Charlie. I have had so little sleep lately and am using all my energy feeding him constantly – he is such a hungry wee boy. I try on a few outfits and feel horrendous. All I want to do is hit the nearest cafe and order a nice coffee and a bit of cake. Something stops me. I want to be able to buy a nice dress I feel great in. This is currently not an option. I love being a Mum. It gives me a sense of fullness and some days I feel so much love I could literally burst. However, I want to have some free time to get fit. Is this realistic?
I love to have goals for each year – 2011 was all about planning our dream wedding, 2012 again more of a dream than a goal – our first baby (a healthy girl – bonus), 2013 selling the flat, finding and buying the family house and 2014 baby number 2 (a healthy boy this time- l could not be happier). I let myself relax throughout my 2nd pregnancy knowing in my head that 2015 would hopefully be about fitness. So here I am at the gyle exhausted and badly craving a sugar fix. I decide to ignore the cravings and I go and buy a running jacket. It’s time to make a start.
The next morning I tell Scott I am going a run. It’s 24th of January and this is the beginning of a healthier me. It’s going to be so hard to find the time but I just have to. Nike’s strapline is so simple but so brilliant. Just Do It. Why is it so hard to live by? In life there is always an excuse to not do it. I was familiar with my head making excuses. It’s too cold, I will go next week. I am too tired. Never in my life have I had a better excuse than now. I have a two month old who spends most of his time attached to me and a 2 year old keeping me on my toes constantly. But I will just do it. I will go. I will run whenever I get a free moment. Just do it. So I do. I run in the wind, the snow, the rain. There are so many times I get home shaking and sweaty and have to feed screaming Charlie instantly.
I run after sleepless nights. I run when I am hungry. I run when Scott is just through the door from work. This very rare “me time” could be used in so many other ways. However my love of running has returned. I even run on holiday. I go for long runs on holiday – I have changed! I used to get offended when the hubs would suggest fitness on holiday – no way its chill time. I get it now – it makes you feel amazing. There really is no such thing as a bad workout. Not only is it so good for the body, it is amazing for the mind.
Having only ever ran 5k, I wanted to set myself a challenge. I sign up for a 10k in May. After meeting a fairly sporty, fit looking Mum at the park I almost wimp out and go for the 5k. She warns me that a 10K is a pretty decent distance and that she was physically sick at the end of the last 10k she ran. This scares me a little bit as she looks a lot fitter than me. In time I realise that fitness is not all about how slim you are. It just helps to have less weight to run with, especially up the hills.
In a flash the 30th of May has arrived and my baby Charlie is 6 months old. Its time to go and take part in my first ever running event. I feel the pressure big style as I have raised £1500 for the Mental Health Foundation. I am blown away by the generosity of friends and family. I feel bad for the times previously I have intended to sponsor people and forgotten. As a result I am sponsoring people left right and centre at the moment – 2015 is clearly our year to give.
This event is inspired by one of my hero’s, my Dad. I want him to remember how loved he is. The sun is shining bright and I have managed to get some sleep. Scott did well with Char’s night feeds and Bonnie slept through (luckily as she has been having lots of nightmares about cats in her bed lately).
My friend Katie comes to collect me super sharp, that’s my girl. Any risk of being late to anything important sets me off in a panic. We are the first to arrive and the first to use the portaloo’s out of thousands. Despite being so amazingly organised and calm the run gets off to a shocker of a start. I fail to take the advice that came up so often in the running blogs – don’t try any new gear on the big day. I have a new arm running strap for my perfect first 10k running playlist. Just as the gun goes for the race to start I realise my itouch is on shake/shuffle. So each time I move the song skips to the next track. As I am not used to this strap and find it very fiddly it would take me ages to get the itouch out, sorted, back in the strap and back round my arm. I am gutted, I want to be buzzing and gliding along. Instead I am in a form of panic and I feel disappointed. As I approach the first hill, which goes on for a while, and feel the blazing sun beating down on my face I realise I have a very dry mouth. This must be from the initial panic. I am running holding the strap and the itouch separately which is really annoying me. This was NOT in my perfect plan. Not to mention the new strong nespresso coffee shot I enjoyed before I left the house. A 10/10 for strength – limited time Brazilian capsule I was trying out for the first time. The power of the caffeine is giving me the fear – again why did I try a new drink I am not used to having before running, despite the warnings not to?! New gear AND new drink – epic fail. I try not to let the fact I have no water drag my already shaky state of mind down further. Its ok- on a hot day like this there will be a water station at the top of the hill. There is not. In fact the water station is another 3k away. That doesn’t seem like much but boy my mouth is dry.
I accept that despite all my training, its just not my best day. The first 5k isn’t great and I decide to start afresh on the 2nd leg of the run. I finally get to the water station -amazing and grab a quick pee break. I don’t desperately need to go but want to be able to enjoy the next 5k – best to rule out any potential discomforts. Its totally fine, the way the first 5k should have been. It couldn’t have been timed more beautifully, as I run past our wedding venue (Prestonfield House) the song Dad and I walked down the aisle to starts blaring on my playlist. It brings a wee tear to my eye. My wish for 2015 was to see him smile again and this came true just a couple of weeks ago.
As I approach the finish line I feel a great sense of relief. My first run is under my belt and I have not let all those sponsors down. I will use this experience to get better and better. It comes as a surprise that my time is 1 hour and 8 minutes – not bad given all that drama. I now regret going for that quick pee break.
This run will always mean so much to me and I am so grateful to have raised so much money. To keep things exciting a new challenge is needed. It would be all too easy just to take a rest for a while – that can’t happen. This is a new lifestyle. I can’t just dip in and out of fitness as I have in the past. What this year has proved to me is that I can keep this up for as long as I am fit and well. Why? because if I can train on average 4 to 5 times per week during the busiest year of my life to date then it will only get easier. I have started training to cover a half marathon distance which I will complete before Charlie’s 1st birthday. Then it’s time to get serious and plan the marathon. I am delighted with my progress and how much fitter and energised I feel. I have already lost over a stone and a half and I feel a lot stronger. Yes – I could have lost more and a lot quicker through dieting. Although I have cut back, good food (and wine!!) give me way too much joy. Breastfeeding Charlie also requires a certain amount of energy.
My Saturday morning spinning/rpm class has also helped with my strength to the point I now find old interval training apps much easier than before. I love seeing progress and I am on such a good path. So I remind myself of this on my training days when the voices say “just take a rest”. I shall continue to remind myself that the only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen. Oh and I have ditched that arm strap for a much comfier, easily accessible running belt! Keep on running !!