Phew!! What a month this has been, to say it has been challenging would be an understatement…
I knew it was going to be a challenge to keep up my running this month as I was working towards running an event in Melbourne (organised from Canberra) for 300 pharmacists! So the first thing I did was to sign up for the Bravehearts Virtual run to keep me motivated and accountable, I’m so glad I did. Work really took its toll on me this month and although I have managed to reach my 50km target, it wasn’t easy going –a mixture of runs and walks have helped to bring up the tally.
Long stressful days were definitely helped by getting out into the fresh air for a run but I felt more time poor than ever and emotionally drained. The runs I did manage to embrace were rejuvenating, and I was reminded why running is such an important part of my life. Before falling pregnant running had become all about beating distances and times but now I know how running effects me at the core – it’s solace, freedom, contemplation and nurturing. The other thing that running allows me is time with nature – now the weather is finally warming, it is wonderful to feel the rays of sun on your skin and to breathe in the environment.
Running while pregnant is also teaching me important lessons about my body – it’s resilience, strength and ability but also its limitations. I know I am strong, that I can run an ultra marathon, I know I can push myself to beat PB’s time and again but only now am I learning to listen to my body and to trust it over my stubbornness, to do what is right for me and my baby.
One way to support my body through my running journey while pregnant has been to invest in a belly band – the Gabrialla Maternity support band (thanks to RMA Natalie Caskie ☺). It has been a great purchase, the band makes a noticeable difference to my bladder longevity ☺ and as I get bigger I can see how it will benefit me in many other ways – back support, limiting stretch marks and continuing to support my pelvic floor.
I used the belly band when running the Canberra Times Fun Run 5km. Initially it was really hard not to commit to running the 14km or 10km events, I had to put my sensible hat on and listen to what both my body and realistically my head were telling me – take it easy and have fun. So that’s exactly what I did! I met up with a wonderful bunch of RMA ladies at the start line for a photo and chat and then we encouraged each other along the course – I had so much fun and felt really great.
Something I didn’t expect following the run was to feel disappointed in how I looked?! The group photo before the race and the official photos of me finishing the run initially made me feel – well in a word – FAT… I am used to looking at photos of myself at events and feeling happy with my athletic runners build but my first thoughts when looking at these photos were about how puffy I looked. It was a revelation, instead of seeing myself as a strong woman and mother of a 2.5 year old, who while 17 weeks pregnant ran a 5km fun run in a great time, I saw the shape of my body and not much else. On reflection, I now see me as the former – I am proud that my body has the determination and ability to run, to carry our baby and to run, to work full time and run, to chase after a toddler and run to be true to myself and to run.
This month as also thrown up a few other challenges – despite being an active, gluten free, vegetarian and predominantly healthy eater (very occasional cake or chocolate ☺) I have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I have to say I was shocked by the diagnosis, my PCOS and age are the only explanation but I still felt like it was unfair as I consider myself to be fit and healthy. I am in the throes of the first week of carbohydrate counting, food diaries and blood glucose testing 4 times daily, I think with continued exercise and a pretty strict diet I should be able to keep my levels under control. Just an added challenge for this competitive natured mumma to overcome ☺
Well, I made it to the end of a very busy month and held the event of the century (in pharmacy circles lol) I managed to get a walk in on one of the mornings in Melbourne but most of the time was spent walking in and around Etihad Stadium averaging 20,000 steps per day. The stress and long days came with a viral infection that I am only just recovering from now after a week – it was a scary few days of fevers, chills and a neck I have been unable to move. An incident that again reminds me to listen to my body and to be kind to myself – there is nothing more important than my health, because without it I would be unable to support my unborn baby and my precious family – and family is everything.
So next month I am looking forward to more time to be with nature, to feel the breeze in my hair and sun on my skin. I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and time with me…
PS – today I am 20 weeks and we had our ultrasound which was perfect AND we are adding another strong, determined, beautiful female to the world ☺