A lesson learned

The nursry is finished, the hospital bag is packed, the baby clothes are washed and we are off to pre-natal classes today. Sometime in the coming 3-7 weeks the amazing experience of pregnancy will be over and we will start the next exciting journey as a family.

Last night my husband and I were discussing how lucky we were that I have had such a cruisy, healthy and enjoyable (for the most part!) pregnancy. In fact I can’t wait to do it all again. It has been the most amazing 8 months of our lives so far. The excitement, the joy, the intimacy and the love that you share with your partner during pregnancy is so unique, so bonding and so beautiful. I always thought it would be a wonderful experience but I completely underestimated the profound effect it would have on us. So I am glad to say that while I have been on rest duties from running at least my relationship has been strengthening and growing.

Also growing is my running knowledge. I have been alternating between baby books and running books throughout my prgnancy and I have just finished 2 awesome, informative and very inspiring running books. I feel so empowered and and ready to unleash this untappd potential I now know I have. I will return to running with a lot more technical knowledge and a significantly improved understanding of the science that is running. But I will also return to running with a few lessons learned from pregnancy – greater understanding of my body, my mind and their capabilities. Here are some of the main things pregnancy has taught me:

1.My body knows exactly what it needs and I can listen to it and trust it. I have given into my bodys every desire over the last 8 months. If I want to have a sleep I have a sleep if I want salty french fries I have salty french fries. At first (especially when it came to food) I felt like I was just being over indulgent. But by about 5 months I found that I just wanted less. Less sleep, less food, less relaxation. Because I deprived my body of nothing I knew that if I wanted something my body truely needed it and I now don’t want things just because I can’t ordinarily have them or because they are labeled bad or lazy.

2. I completely underestimate what my body is capable of. Mark my words after what my body has just done I will never question what it is capable of ever again. Clocking up high weekly mileage, recovering from injury, running faster times is nothing compared to what my body has undertaken and achieved in the last 8 months. So crazy running goals here I come because I know just how much this bod can do!

3.My body is a gift that I should be grateful for everyday and not take it for granted. I guess this just comes down to being grateful that I can run, that I am healthy and strong enough to persue my running dreams and every day I am out there whether its a good run or a bad run is a gift to be thankful for. No longer can I torture my body for its underperformance or how it does or doesn’t look. This has previously been a battle for me (see body image) but now its all about gratitude and appreciation.

4. My mental being has so much influence over my physical being. I have always believed in the power of the mind and that you must first believe in yourself. But what I didn’t realise was the extent to which being content in life in general flowed on to all other areas of my life (hence why my resolution for 2012 is to focus on inner happiness). I especially didn’t know how it could affect how I felt and performed physically. I guess I never took anytime when it was just me to sit down and just be. But being pregnant I have spent a lot of relaxed time just sitting with my “bump” and being content. I believe this “contentment” has flowed onto other areas and has me not only mentally positive but physically to. So here’s to being happy!

Anyhow there you have it. Such a little thing has changed and grown me so profoundly.

Now I am off to the shops to buy some bigger exercise tights. I am proud to say that I have made it to 35 weeks in my pre-pregnancy exercise tights but now the waist bands are starting to really dig in to where his little head is. So for the comfort of all I am going to succumb to some bigger pants!

New Year Resolutions

Its that time of year when everyone asks you if you have set any new year resolutions. I know a lot of people think New Year Resolutions are a crock but I think it is just an opportunity to do what we should all be doing all year anyway…. setting goals. And in answer to the question I have been asked so many times in the last 21 days YES I have new years resolutions AND I have goals for 2012.

For me resolutions and goals are different. I have many lists of goals – lifelong, investment, family, running, this years, 5 years etc. And for 2012 I have a hefty list of goals – very specific things that I would like to achieve. But when people ask me if I have a resloution it is not this list that I share. Actually to anyone but me that list is pretty boring (yes I want to grow a veggie garden, run in this race, cook more etc). Instead I share my resloution and for me a resolution is something about me that I want to work on or develop not something I want to achieve or do. Often my goals are directly related to my resolution and will directly help me achieve it but they are just a small part of a bigger picture. So what is my resolution for 2012?

To live an untroubled inner life and be completely at harmony with myself.

Pregnancy has bought about a lot of changes not just to me physically but mentally too. Maybe its a result of having a life inside you or having created life but I feel the most “connected” to me that I have ever been. I don’t want this to be a temporary state that passes after the birth of our son. I want this to just be the start of my journey and for this reason my resolution is all about me and my relationship with me.

Anyhow as this is a running mummys blog I will also share with you some of my goals for 2012 that relate to running and being a mummy. First let me say that I have an ongoing list of running goals that I want to achieve over the next 5 – 10 years. They all involve significant PBs and hence why they are such long term goals. None of those goals have made it to the 2012 list. Firstly because I don’t want to set myself any ridiculous expectations of what my body can achieve after pregnancy and almost a 12 month break from running. Secondly this year is all about returning to running and becoming a mother. I think both of those journeys will be a challenge on their own and simply achieving both is enough for me. The times and the PBs can wait till I’ve got a handle on this mum thing and have built back my endurance and strength. For 2012 I will be happy simply to run and compete in races and any good times will be a bonus.

So that said here are some of my running goals for 2012

1. Focus on quality not quantity of training. I want to become a running technician. I have started this journey by spending my pregnancy glued to running books and oh I can’t wait to try out all these great tips and methods. (Book reviews coming soon!)

2. Keep an honest account of my journey (via my blog) to share with and inspire other mums. This is also to benefit me. By sharing all the ups and downs I will get to celebrate the good, reflect on and grow from the bad and as for the ugly, I guessing this blog will be as good as a therapy session!

3. Compete in more than 5 races (5km to 42.2km – I don’t care I just want to be at the start (& hopefully finish!) line.

4. Give back to the running community (volunteering at an event maybe?)

5. Launch a Running program/support/forum/community to help new mums discover and achieve the mental and physical benefits of running.

As for my mummy goals, they are very simple:

1. Sleep when I can
2. Cuddle my baby often
3. Accept that house work can always wait… these are the days I will never get back so if my toilet gets cleaned today or next week the world will not end!

So thats some of my plan for 2012. I am looking forward to sharing my progress and reflecting back on this post in 12 months.

The Slow Down

The dreaded slow down has happened! It started in the christmas break and what I originally put down to being on holidays and hot weather I now know is here to stay. gone are the 9km walks and the brisk pace. Now its a waddle and only if I can muster up the desire to do it!

Its been very hot the last few days and I have laid low with my walking but when I do get out I am finding a 4.5km loop is more than enough of a challenge! Sometimes I feel frustrated by my lack of energy or the gap between my mental desires and my physical capabilities. But right on cue I will always get a kick in the ribs or a little wriggle from my new tenant and that reminds me what an amazing thing my body is doing…. growing a baby from only a little speck! On that note I realise that to expect any more from it is just crazy and my frustration is short lived.

My goal now is to listen to my body but try and stay as active as I can with my limited energy and capabilities. This means its time to hit the pool! Can I tell you how appealing the thought of being “weightless” is. I have gained a healthy 9kgs to date but I tell you there are days when it feels like 20kgs! So I have dug out my floatation belt and I am looking forward to some deep water running in the final 6 weeks. Deep water running is so good for working on running technique, stretching out hamstrings and working on stride length so BONUS I will be improving my running while I’m not even running.

In closing even though I am not hitting the intensity and frequency of exercise that I would ideally like I am grateful to be able to exercise at this point in my pregnancy and grateful to be still be feeling good and that both bub and I are doing well. All in all I can’t complain!