My Romance With Running

Stories about running


4 Comments

The same patch of grass

Does it not get boring doing the same few races year after year?

After a couple of seasons doing harriers races, I did start to question whether or not they were still fun, if I should be looking further afield, doing something more exciting, running in beautiful locations or aiming for big overseas events with huge crowds, amazing busy atmospheres and shiny race medals.

For me the harrier’s races serve as a reference point, I remember the previous years and how my performances improved, or didn’t. How I nailed the water jump, or panicked and fell in. The races are a tradition in the running community, some have been held for the past thirty years, others for over 90.

Running the same race is a chance to see how far you’ve come, how your training has progressed, if you’ve gained some speed or perhaps made the ‘A’ team!

I look forward to the harriers races, I get to see my mates and the many colourful personalities and friendly faces of the running community, all gathered to celebrate the sport we love. We come together to run, to encourage each other to push hard, to yell a warning as a competitor sneaks up, and snort with satisfaction when someone inevitably takes a dive into the Milo-brown pond that is the water jump.

The Shaw Baton relay is the first inter-club race of the season. There is always an epic bake sale put on by Olympic Harriers, stinky tents full of half naked runners, sheep, plenty of sheep shit, long Port-a-loo lines and, Rees Buck’s banter on the microphone, whats not to like?

This year being back on the same patch of sheep poo-speckled grass with many of the same people brought back lots of memories of previous races, especially one.

2015 wasn’t the first time I had been in the ‘A’ team at Shaw Baton but I was so incredibly nervous about the day. I always get nervous (sometimes very) before a race, but I was especially anxious about this one.

I don’t remember many specifics from the day other than running around at the changeover, taking times for my team and chatting to people.  I do remember how I felt. I was happy, I was enjoying time with my friends, I was excited and I was having fun. I was proud of my run, getting the 8th fastest lap time, and I was really stoked that my team won our grade by a full minute!

My team had finished and I was still running around, talking with friends in the crowd, discussing the jumps, comparing times, congratulating the ‘other’ teams who might wear different singlets but we all run together anyway. I hadn’t done a cool down yet and was roaming around finding friends to join me on a half-assed jog around the paddock.

I remember quite clearly the joy I felt that day, because I remember the moment that it was gone.

I could spot from a distance, moving through the crowd with clenched hands, and the darkest look on their face, my ride home. The happy girl, proud of her race became tense and worried.

What have you been fucking around at? I’ve been looking for you. There is no cellphone service here, but I bet you knew that didn’t you? Hurry up and get to the car.

I left. I wasn’t there for the prize giving when my name was called. I didn’t get to stand up and collect my little wooden baton with the silver plaque on it. I had somewhere else that I needed to be. This pointless race that I had done, around a stupid paddock to win a stupid stick, had ruined someone else’s day.

The ride home was in silence. I really wanted to celebrate but that would have to wait until another day, some things are more important.

This year when I finished my relay lap I felt proud of my race again. I knew we weren’t in contention for that ‘stupid stick’ with the plaque this year, but that didn’t matter. I got to have my cool down run this time and went up Battle Hill, exploring a new path, up high with views back down over the course. Tiny runners in yellow, green, black and blue moved as little dots through the grass below. I took my time and stayed up the hill a while for some time to myself, even though someone was waiting for me.

How was your run? What time did you do? Awesome, is that good (for you) hah! Is the ankle ok? Do you want a sausage, I’ve got $20! Let’s go and watch the men’s race, it starts in ten minutes.

I took my time chatting to friends. I went to the bake sale table not twice but THRICE and ate brownies, scones, cupcakes and fudge because running 2km really takes it out of you!

I sat in the long damp grass near the water and cheered for the men as they raced and splashed their way over the same course I had run an hour earlier.

Nothing was so important that I had to wait until a time that suited everyone to talk about how my run had played out. Nothing was so important, that I couldn’t celebrate with my friends. Other than the pre-race nerves, nothing made me anxious or tense, I felt happy, content and relaxed, as I should.

58698667_10157261354748464_5670465615182168064_o

Times are changing but sadly my times aren’t changing

If I look at my times for this race, not much has changed over the past five years. I might be a tiny bit faster. My ankles are still strapped for every race, and every year my facials get a little more aggressive and murderous.

I’m happy to be running the same race on the same course every year because it gives me an opportunity to reflect and see that it’s not just seconds, minutes, or miles that can show me how far I’ve come.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Whellington takes on Whanganui

42 minutes and 23 seconds. That is how long my last race took me to run, and is how long I will spend writing this blog.

I haven’t been blogging much lately because of baby reasons and being a bit of a perfectionist, most things I write never even make it past the drafts folder.

I read a blog post this week on doing things badly, so I thought I’d make a start and see if I can write a quick race report within the time it took me to run my last race. No pressure on it being a perfectly crafted piece of writing, no expectation that it be witty or contain some sort of wise life lesson. Just a race report.

I went along to the Whanganui Three Bridges marathon last weekend. My old coach Kevin Ross moved to Whanganui a few years ago, so it was a good excuse to go and catch up over a large flat white and chat about running with someone who has been around the track in under 60 seconds four consecutive times.

IMG_9286

Whanganui Bridge #1

As is becoming tradition, Elliot recognised that I was prepping to do a race so woke up every hour the night before. Good on ya mate. Pretending that the lack of sleep wasn’t an issue, we were all up for the day at 6am and on the road fully caffeinated by 6.30 to drive from Wellington to Whanganui.

It was already heating up by the time we got there, I’d picked a bright yellow and blue outfit to match the sunny conditions and was feeling pretty confident about my run.

The race HQ was at the boat club, a cool old building with volunteers flitting up and down the rickety wooden stairs (800 volunteers in total I am told for the day!) eating pink-iced morning tea cakes and party pies and giving people directions.

The race packs were in a reusable bag from Pak’n Save which I appreciated because unlike most Stuff commenters I am not hoarding plastic bags to ‘re-use’ as a bin liner and moaning about how awful my life will be when I have to use paper as a bin liner, or god forbid, wipe the bin clean. The race packs also contained PICS PEANUT BUTTER!!! Wellington’s Round The Bays should take note.

I was nervous going in to this race, 10km is a long way to run if you are planning on running hard, and I was. I am still ‘only’ running 3-4 times a week, and I get a bit scared about running too far or too hard because I think my pelvis will split in half or something. I’m not kidding. The fear of my insides falling out is real and I think I’ve just been lucky so far to have encountered no problems post-baby.

The Chan with a plan told me to go out easy at 4.10 pace for around 3km, then pick it up as I went on and finish hard. I was in agreement as I didn’t care too much about the outcome of the race, and it would be a good opportunity to try a new tactic and play around with how I paced things.

I warmed up with one of Wellington’s greatest assets Michelle van looy, club captain of Olympic Harriers, amazing runner, mum, baker and rock climber and all round awesome lady. I planned to start off with her then get faster, but I’m just a bit crap at sticking to the plan.

UYKGB5QDHNCTRAPD35H24BMNLQ

Image from NZ Herald

Lining up on the start line, I could see that people hadn’t really seeded themselves appropriately. There were 10km walkers standing in the second row ahead of runners, people wearing headphones standing up front, me standing nearby, judging their running ability by which shade of hot pink the ginormous phone case in their hand is. And when have I ever been wrong?

Someone needs to write the Velominati for running and rule #35 is to not run a race with a pink glitter filled iphone case in your hand, and if you do, hide it from view by starting at the back. Also Rule #1, shorts should be short, eye-wateringly bordering on obscene short. Death to your inner thighs if you don’t use chamois cream kind of short.

There are people who run to complete an event, and there are people who run to compete. I am firmly in the latter category and it’s not because I want to win the race, it’s because I like to push myself. Winning is just a bonus!

47578037_2250536388559681_5056699412600848384_o

Image by Jonesys’s Photography

The start gun went and I was in a small pack of women who had set off at around 3.30 pace. This was too fast for me, so I hung back a little, knowing full well that I was going to reel them in very shortly and beat them by several minutes by the time we finished. This isn’t arrogance, it is trusting in yourself and your abilities, it’s having race experience and it’s knowing by the rasping breath of your competitors that they have gone out just a touch too hard.

I ticked off the first 3km in around 3.57 minutes per km which is a lot faster than I had planned to go, but I was feeling comfortable and in a good rhythm so I just let it go. BB and Elliot were on the course, cheering for me and looking at trees.

How good are trees?

IMG_9282.jpg

Food source waving to the baby

It was great to see Elliot’s fat wee face peering out of the pram and looking for me when she heard my voice as I ran past.

After 6km I tried to go back to my original race plan and picked up the pace, running around 3.50. This lasted for a very hot and sticky 2km before I had to cross bridge number two. The steep incline really took it out of my legs and I struggled to get my rhythm back and slowed right down.

Soon after the bridge was an aid station, around 8km in and I was so parched. I had a bit of an internal battle with my eco- conscious self vs my fatigued race self.

Do I drink water from a disposable cup? How can I comment about single use plastic bags if I use that cup? But I am SO THIRSTY! Could I just drink straight from a tap? Do I really need water, it’s only 10km. Water will make you run faster!

I caved and grabbed a (paper not plastic) cup of water, choking on it and getting perhaps one sip inside my mouth. My arms tensed up, my pace slowed even more, what a disaster for my race and for the environment.

IMG_9300

The final 500m with views of Whanganui River

Maybe it’s a habit picked up from constantly narrating my daily life to an audience of one beefy little squealing baby, but I said out loud to myself, ‘Come on Amanda, you can do this. Push harder!’

So I pushed a little harder. I pushed aside that little voice that told me I was tired, that I was slow, and that I needed to stop. I told myself I could do it, I wasn’t that tired (jokes on you Elliot I don’t need sleep) and I ran as hard as I could.

IMG_9315

10km was enough what is this awful extra 550m?!

I ran over the final bridge, along the board walk, and down the road to the finishing chute where I crossed the line in 42.23 for the quarter marathon. See my run on Strava here.

I managed to go through 10km in 39.55, which is the 4th fastest time I’ve run for 10km. My PB is 39.08 so I am not far off reaching that again. It was so stinkin’ hot, I had a sweat patch that made me question the strength of my pelvic floor. Give me some decent sleep, a course with no tight turns or hills, some bad ass ladies to run with and some cooler weather and I reckon I can get closer to my PB.

47685911_2250927478520572_29494055817707520_o.jpg

I learned a bit about my pacing during this race, perhaps I should have stuck to the same pace and not tried to speed up so early on, I may have felt better and finished stronger. It was great to find out what happens changing my pace within a race and trying to go outside my comfort zone early on.

A highlight of this event was seeing so many people I knew at the finish line. My great Aunty Margie, who is 70 and still walking with her Harriers group, and doing ocean swims. She has amazing legs! My friends Sophie and Sierra, both mums who make fitness a part of life and have a very cute support crew waiting for after the race. Michelle and other harriers runners from Scottish and WHAC, cheering for me while I ran.

Whanganui is not too far from Wellington so this is a great race to support if you live in the capital, and there is barely any wind!

IMG_20181208_111159

Sierra, Sophie and I post race


Leave a comment

Takahe to Akaroa – NZRR 2018

This year National Road Relays was run from Sign of the Takahe to Akaroa, 76 kilometres over the hills of Christchurch with stunning views that nobody ever remembers seeing because they are running too hard.

From the moment the team lists came out from Athletics Canterbury, the messenger chat tones started to ding with predictions of who would come out the victors. Teams would change with people pulling out due to injuries, but the respect the Scottish ladies have for captain Lindsay Barwick meant that nobody DARED to get injured (or not fly all the way to Dunners at 8.30 on Friday night then drive to Christchurch and arrive at 3am to make the start line), and so the Scottish teams remained perfectly intact.

UC had the strongest line up featuring Olympian Angie Petty, several national medalists, world mountain runner Sabrina Grogan, that Barwick-sized Scottish lass that smashed the NI XC course, ex-Scottish member Ariana Harper, and the legendary Fiona Crombie who holds the women’s course records for both lap 3 AND 5.

Bays Athletics were down two entire teams after a win in 2017, and their B team taking a solid 5th. They were missing a few key members with Annika Pfitzinger in the US, and Lydia O’Donnell and Esther Keown busy elsewhere racing and promoting Anchor Protein+ which unlike most flavoured milk drinks, contains no added sugar. After a bit of digging around the ANZ rankings site it was clear that they still had the depth to place, but sadly it was looking like this year’s Instagram boomerangs would not be from the very top of the podium.

To Scottish’s delight the Hamilton Hawks had lost Nicole Mitchell, but definitely had the best cartoonist in the field with Dawn Tuffery. Alaina Brent had finally broken ties with WHAC to strengthen the Hawks line up, but some of their top performers from 2017 were missing.

The North Canterbury team would take way too much admin to stalk results for so it was assumed that they would not be an immediate threat to the podium, and they flew under the radar/ thousand foot long irrigator like tumbleweeds with really nice drought-coloured hair.

Scottish’s arch rivals WHAC have a solid line up every year, and this year was no exception. Their team included new seniors Maiya Christini and Kelsey Foreman, who make other seniors look forward to their 35th birthday. They had recently lost Mel Black to injury, Alice Wilson to the Middle East, and with Sarah Drought slowed down by about 4% heading in to her third trimester, would they still have the edge to make the podium?

43614578_10156981805528984_5685211831342202880_o.jpg

WHaction shot of poster girl Letha-l Whitham showing why you should always be weary of WHAC

Scottish had the strongest A team in recent history and looked to be in with a medal chance for silver or bronze. The years of the ‘A’ team being last by twenty full minutes were gone. Captain Lindsay Barwick (who is not quiet) had been quietly working away all year to form a team. It included NZ Master’s record holder Tina Faulkner, national 10,000 medallist Ayesha Shafi, trail specialist that will also beat you on any other surface Ruby Muir, and the perfectly tanned Nicole Mitchell who happened to not be in Bali that weekend.

43048922_10156718841230960_1083384571040366592_o

The Scottish SW A Team ❤

But the real competition would be at the back of the field for 7th and 8th. Our neighbours to the north, Olympic Harriers were rumoured to be Riceman-ing together a team, and special dispensation had been obtained to run some junior women in the senior grade. A club plagued with mutli-sporters they had convinced Grace Seely to ditch the mountain bike and Jo Doherty to take a trip to Christchurch to show the rest of the field what your upper body can look like if you care to use it.

42953264_10211296098831750_341221463606427648_o

The team for the B-babez to B-eat, Olympic Harriers

As the only person who had run Takahe to Akaroa before, I was bestowed the honour of B team captain. I quickly set up a group chat with my team and somewhat less painfully than the other birth I’d witnessed this year, the B-Babez were born.

A coffee roaster, a self-described choreographer, a vegan, a baby. On paper the team did not look like a threat to any race records, but you don’t need to be fast to be legendary.

Emma Bassett gave us the early lead over Olympic on lap one, 4km steady uphill then a rapid descent with undulations to finish this 9.6km lap. The hint of nervousness I detected the night before the race disappeared as she pounded down the hill, hooning through the changeover while pointing at things to feign confusion.

received_2117294188583652

DEAD LEGS – FRESH PEGS

Olympic had harnessed the hurricane that is Deb Lynch for lap two- a long 10.4km with a large climb to Gebbies Valley. Every Scottish team has an import and thankfully we had the budget this year to ship Clare McKinlay across from the UK for lap two. Head to head with Deb on this lap, the triathlete’s strength gave Olympic the lead heading in to lap 3.

img_8767

Danielle Trewoon, amping after 80 minutes in a confined van shaking with drum and bass was fully committed to getting back to her stash of VB as fast as possible, and ran close to a PB on the flat 10km lap 3. Grabbing the lead back from Olympic this gave Jaime Vessiot a two minute head start heading in to lap 4.

fb_img_1538889007726

Ten points if you guess who has just finished their lap

The juniors proved how indispensable those dispensations were with Emma Douglass dominating the 9.4km lap 4 to give Olympic the lead again. With the head Riceman Sarah set to run lap five it was looking like the B-Babez would be but a distant memory in Olympic’s race recap. On the longest lap number 5, Kate Slater tackled the headwind for 10.7km and made sure that Sarah was never more than a few hundred metres ahead.

Meanwhile….

At the lap 5/6 change-over Charlotte Riceman and myself stood peering down the road into the distance, past the other waiting teams, past a cow giving birth in the paddock, past Nick Horspool lying in the long grass in a foetal position, awaiting our team members to arrive.

img_8802.jpg

Thoughts and prayers x

‘I can’t see her coming, is she coming?’

‘Don’t think so…?’

‘No I literally can’t see, I’m pretty much blind, can you tell me if you see Sarah?’

What would happen if I didn’t? Would I witness a guttural scream from Sarah alerting Charlotte to her arrival? Would she straight mow her sister down in to the gravel and run her over?

As these scenarios played out beneath my neatly pigtailed head Sarah ran (quite fabulously) in to sight and Charlotte moved to the middle of the changeover then off towards the 6km long hill.

A few minutes went by as I nervously waited for Kate to arrive, and when she did she was giving it everything. There is nothing quite as motivating to set you up to run a great race as witnessing someone digging deep and putting in work for the team.

I took the flax baton, painted in Scottish red, yellow and black and set off to run the hill that has DOUBLE the elevation of the Makara hill climb.

The men’s teams were all catching up at this stage so I had multiple cheer squads on my lap. ‘Good job Amanda!’. Support is nice, but what really works for me is a bit of Britney.

Britney

Up, up, up, around sweeping corners with views down a valley that I couldn’t enjoy because my eyes were crusting up with sweat. At least I knew Charlotte wouldn’t be seeing any of it either. I kept looking at the distance on my watch, half way, oh dear.

Brendon and Elliot were cheering for me along the way, only because they like my boobs (which looked massive in the company of runners) and I finally caught up to Charlotte with 300m to go.

fullsizeoutput_438c

As I crested the hill, Naomi Christensen was waiting at the changeover ready to sacrifice her quads on the 9.5km downhill lap seven. As Naomi descended in to hell, Emma came up with a bag of Jaffas because she is the best person in the world and offered me a handful in exchange for the details of my lap time. A victory for the ladies, we had beaten the Scottish SM D team runner by two minutes*.

Meg Fahy had stipulated in the lap selection conversation that she did not like ‘uphills’. Taking that quite literally, Meg was given lap 8. It wasn’t just uphills. There had been murmurs within the team pre-race that this was the hardest lap, and very hilly. I calmly waved these aside and flat out lied about how easy the lap was, because sometimes that’s what you have to do. Two weeks of stressing about a run? Or 50 minutes of awful pain in your legs and hatred directed at your team captain?

Olympic had Jo Doherty on their final leg so unless the loud screaming from their van popped one of her eardrums, setting her off balance and sending her down a cliff into the harbour, our battle for 7th and 8th was all but over. Meg was a champion over the hills and arrived in Akaroa looking a bit like ‘What the fuck’ and charged across the finish line to bring our team home in 5.48.54.

img_20181007_115136

The gorgeous happy fizzers that are the B-Babez + confused lion cub mascot

Our team was 8th behind Olympic, we bettered the last Scottish A team’s result from 2015 by 13 minutes, and we were the B team! With the new depth within the club’s women’s section it won’t be long until we achieve the notoriety of our men’s sections B-Boys.

Our SW A team did win bronze, their first medal since 2014 on this same course, and 8 minutes faster than the bronze medal winners of 2014!

 

 

Full results are here, Scottish cleaned up in the men’s races but perhaps most impressively, there were 14 teams from across every club in Wellington on the podiums. Seeing the familiar faces from inter-club events, track sessions at Newtown Park and casual runs around the bays beaming from the podium, cheering for their team, collapsing with relief at the finish line and celebrating with their mates shows what an incredible running community we have in the capital city.

Our club Scottish came away with top club for 2018, a great result for the 16 teams and 130 or so runners and supporters who travelled to Christchurch for the weekend.

43280895_10155569649170807_3537862435429941248_o

Scottish Harriers- Top Club 2018!

Note*A late challenge was put fourth to the Scottish B-Babez by the senior men’s D team. They may have beaten us on total time but we bettered them on laps 1, 3, 6 & 7. They can call that a victory if they like but I’m yet to see any nail art or baby mascots from them so…

 


Leave a comment

The Wrong Side of the Bed

Tyres pumped up, lights fully charged, kit laid out, snacks ready, alarm set. I was pretty excited about doing a hill session with the HCR group early on Thursday. Riding with friends as the sun is coming up is such a great way to start the day.

IMG_9002.jpg

Then I got out of the wrong side of the bed…

Thankfully this was at 11.30pm, so I just got back in. I got back out on the right side at 1am. 3am came around, woops, wrong side! Better try again. 4.15am, woohoo! Right side, but a couple of hours too early. Better get back in!

As much as you can prepare to make sure you fit in some exercise, there are some things that you can’t help. Things like your baby waking up 7 times in the night; the four month sleep regression is a real thing.

IMG_20180913_123205.jpg

The alternative to my hill session.

I haven’t been feeling very enthusiastic about exercising the past few weeks. The usual tactics I use to motivate myself just aren’t working for me.

In the past I would be thinking about a goal, and each session would be a step towards completing it. Right now I am a bit aimless with my running because I don’t have any goals to work towards. This is largely because I don’t want to put the pressure on myself or on my body to train hard.

Just run for the fun of it then! Well. The only times I can run are early morning or late in the evening. Often it is a run in the dark, and I’m on a short leash- limited to the extremely hilly neighbourhood streets. The running is almost always done alone. Where is the fun in that?

IMG_20180815_154331.jpg

All charged up and nowhere to run

My fitness and health have been a priority for me since 2009 when the price of Southern Gold increased from five bucks for a six pack and I realised that the cost of partying wasn’t just hurting my wallet.

It’s hard to make it a priority when you have another human to look after that needs to be fed, clothed, cleaned and now, entertained!

Last Sunday I should have done a long ride to train for the 160km cycling race (gulp, nervous fart) that I am doing in November. Three hours or more on the bike by myself was not appealing. I would rather spend time with my family and do something relaxing with them; go for a walk, have coffee, eat cookies, blow spit bubbles and do some out of control arm and leg flailing on the floor with no pants on.

I was happy that I chose family time, but felt a little bad that I was lacking in motivation to train for the big event I had committed to. The more I thought about it, I realised that I was motivated. Looking back at what I did that week, I still did two sessions on my wind trainer, I ran four times, I did rehab work and I walked with the buggy.

That doesn’t say ‘not motivated’ that says that my priorities have changed and I’m giving time to the things that are important to me.

I did have a win recently when I ran pretty close to my race handicap time of 32 minutes for 8km at my club’s Tanadees cup club race. I was a bit disappointed to go 26 seconds over the time then I realised how ridiculous I was being. I am proud of this run! I am only running 30km a week and have had such a long break from running. That can only mean good things ahead right?

IMG_1541.jpg

Closed eyes, striking heel, weird headband and no lippy. Disaster.

I did a three hour ride last month and I am hoping to do a couple of five hour rides in the lead up to my event but since E no longer takes a bottle this is going to involve a few loops that stop off at my house to make sure I can feed her. Hopefully she is keen on the bottle by the time the event comes around, if not I will find a way to work around it.

I’m not going to worry about ride logistics and possible baby challenges right now, because it’s bound to change and worrying won’t get me anywhere. I’m also not going to compare myself to pre-baby me because that is pointless too, ‘Comparison is the thief of joy unless you just got a Strava CR’

past


Leave a comment

First the worst, second best, and last the golden princess!

Many people on the internets will tell you that the first trimester is terrible, the worst. They say that you will feel, and I quote, ‘fresh and full of energy‘ in trimester number two and that the third will be pretty terrible again.

In my experience, it gets better and better towards the end, this is why.

IMG-20180422-Grabi3-1.jpg

Running and walking Korokoro stream at 36 weeks

As soon as I hit the third trimester I slowed down my exercise a lot, I started to swim more and counted my walking commute to work and back as exercise. Walking never use to tire me out but the fatigue was really noticeable in the last few weeks of carrying around a basketball.

I had expected to slow down, and it made me appreciate and value every single time I got out for a walk, run, swim or bike ride. Everything felt like a win and a huge achievement. I knew that it wasn’t much longer that I would be carrying around the basketball so I took time to appreciate being pregnant.

I tried to get to the pool regularly and eventually managed to get to the point where I could swim a kilometre. The last time I went swimming was when I had a stress fracture in my pelvis, it was hard. This time was a little easier and I felt a bit more at home having friends to swim with and Dougal the swim coach there smiling on the sidelines.

IMG_20180314_194928_628.jpg

8 months pregnant

Training for the Third Trimester

  • Longest run: 7km – at the 30 week mark, at 5.09 pace what a speed demon
  • Longest ride: 30km
  • Average weekly hours of exercise: 2 hours plus walking to commute
  • Biggest run week: 23km
  • Last run: a run/walk up Makara Peak at 38 weeks 5 days
  • Last Ride: 15km easy around the bays at 38 weeks 3 days
GOPR0407_1525750282070_high.JPG

My last ride, probably shouldn’t do one-handed selfies 38 weeks preggo on a bike

The best parts

I won a race! Behold my glorious shiny trophy!

IMG_20180407_154322.jpg

The victors returned with the silver trophy held high above their heads, and drank non-alcoholic caffeine free beverages with a low risk of listeria from it’s depths into the wee hours of the morning

It was won by the only means I could possibly win, on handicap. Apparently I owe the handicapper a beer but that has nothing to do with me beating my handicap time…

In the 5km race with my club Scottish Harriers I lined up to start right at the front of the pack with everyone else, then realised that I wasn’t quite in 18:30 shape and retreated to the back of the herd.  I walked and ran the first few kilometres then picked up the pace in the final km, it felt so great to run fast again! I ran 27:45 at 34 weeks pregnant.

We went on so many adventures, and each new place we went I would think about how cool it would be when we could come back with the tiny human and show it all to her for the first time.

 

The worst parts

Riding down Ngaio Gorge 33 weeks pregnant and thinking that I had broken the seat on my bike. Reaching down to see what was wrong, I realised that it was just the feeling of my gut resting on the bike seat. I avoided using my low bars after this!

GOPR0334_1522391149878_high.JPG

Stretching BB’s kit to the limit #noaero

Nothing was really too bad in trimester #3, although I did get to the point where I said very loudly, over a roast dinner that I was so damn sick of being pregnant. I could barely reach the plate over my protruding stomach, I felt tired and sore and just fed up with being big.

The baby must have been listening to me whine, and two hours later labour started.

Snapchat-167608077.jpg

13-05-2018

I’m really looking forward to returning to running and riding once I get more familiar with my new job, my new body and all the fabulous new running gear I plan on buying because my chest doesn’t fit into the old stuff.

NEW BABY NEW BOOBS NEW CLOTHES THIRD TRIMESTER IS THE BEST!

 


Leave a comment

Sharing is Caring?

I don’t like to share.

I don’t want to share. Sharing isn’t caring, caring is putting yourself first. Call it selfish, but I believe you need to look after yourself first and foremost before you can be of any use to anyone else.

I’ve found myself in the situation where I have no choice but to share, and I’m sharing my body with a little human. I can’t say I’m a big fan of it, but there are worse things I could be having to share…

  • My toothbrush
  • Bus seats
  • Conversations during my commute home from work
  • Conversations (NOTE: one-sided) about childbirth or varicose veins on the vulva, especially do not enjoy sharing these with strangers during my commute home from work
  • Brendon
  • The wheel of Brie I left in the office fridge in 2016 that someone ate HALF of and I will not forget that for the rest of my life
  • All and any food ever
  • The footpath when I’m 95% done with my tempo and you’re walking three abreast
  • The track when I’m doing reps shirtless in my compression shorts with my fly as squad DON’T TALK TO ME SOPHIE CAN’T YOU SEE I’M WORKING HERE

 

The small human pokes me hard underneath the ribs, head-butts my bladder, and just generally makes me feel like shit. To go from exercising two hours some days, to having to nap after a 20 minute run takes a bit of adjustment. I knew I’d have to slow down, but this much??

DCIM106GOPROGOPR0184.JPG

Lots of this

The second trimester is apparently the ‘easy’ part of human growing. For me it included the summer holidays, relaxed time off work for extra napping, hot hot sun, and being able to run and explore in different places around New Zealand. At the time it did not seem easy. Now that I have the third trimester to compare it to, IT WAS DAMN EASY.

DCIM106GOPROGOPR0263.JPG

Wainuiomata Coast

I managed to run a race, the Waterfront 5km. I have not run fast in a very long time, and this felt fast to me! I was pretty pleased with a 22.20 5km time at 22 weeks pregnant.

5mk

Training for the Second Trimester 

  • Longest run: 11km (longest run in six months!)
  • Longest ride: 48.3km, a Makara Loop at 27 weeks, the hill, the hill…
  • Average hours of exercise: 5 1/2 per week
  • Biggest run week: 38.6km

I was pretty consistent throughout the second trimester and averaged around 30km a week. As I was still coming off an injury I didn’t push it too hard, I still took walk breaks on my runs and increased the duration of each run very slightly. I rode my bike a lot and got a lot slower on the uphills, and a wee bit faster on the downhills with the weight gain giving me that little curvy edge.

46631DF1844ED440F205DE7A70B35986

Riding around Makara 24 weeks

The Best Parts

I finally finished my walk-run rehab program! What a great feeling to get that over and done with, it made me appreciate being able to run so much more. Getting through that meant that I was able to go for a run and not be constantly looking at my watch to make sure I was sticking to the walk run times, I could just jog for 30-40 minutes and be free.

IMG_0975

I ran with other people! They were totes cute! Yay!

I went on some great rides! Hawkes Bay was beautiful, and being the non-drinker in the house over New Years meant that I could fill in the few hours of sunrise before everyone woke up with quiet solo rides around the orchards.

IMG_1354

How do you like them nectarines?

The Worst Parts

At the 17 week mark I started to get round ligament pain in my pelvis. This feels like someone has kicked a drop goal using your fanny as the ball. It hurt to the point that I could not walk from the couch to the toilet, I crawled. I had to be carried in to the house from the car numerous times as I was unable to walk a few steps. This cleared up after a week and a half and I was able to run just fine.

I am not a fan of running in the heat, and unless it dips below 12 degrees I will likely be running in a T-shirt or a crop top. Summer was hot, think trapped inside a rhino hot. It slowed me down a lot and it would take me at least half an hour to stop sweating buckets which got awkward when I went for lunch runs from work.

Because I couldn’t really plan when I could run, couldn’t guarantee that I would run at all, or if I would just walk, or if I would have to stop and pee three times I mostly ran alone. When you are use to spending hours each week running and chatting with friends, this really sucks.

I don’t have a lot to complain about, I’ve managed to stay pretty active and aside from the devastating loss of my innie belly button I am going to be just fine.

IMG_1449

21 weeks

 

 


13 Comments

My very first Tri(mester)!

It was a Sunday night in September when we first found out that you were a real thing.

In our grand old rented villa with stained-glass windows, in a past life it was classy and timeless but now looked like a dated student flat. Every furnishing and fixture carelessly battered, coloured the shade of white specifically achieved through years of overuse and under-cleaning.

I think the moment we were conscious of you, I started feeling sick. Stomach flipping as gravity and the ground and all those comfortable certainties in life began to disappear. The Sunday morning drudgery, dehydration, fatigue and nausea that had previously been earned through several glasses of pinot was now greeting me on every day of the week, no wine needed.

Three weeks later, a few little spews, some bike rides abandoned at half way and a lot of mid-day naps and I was allowed to start on a walk run program to get over my pelvic injury, osteitis pubis. Finally!

IMG_0455

Rehabbing. I still have little shoulders here hallelujah!

The commitment to going to the gym several times a week, cycling inside on the wind trainer and aqua jogging – none of it seemed very important any more when I knew that I wouldn’t be getting ‘fit’ any time soon.

In the early weeks I was still feeling really strong, going to chain gang rides with the HCR crew, charging up hills on my bike in the rain after work, motivation I can no longer relate to! On the days I didn’t feel good I would make sure I went for a walk to keep active, or for a ride alongside Mr B as he ran, just to get some fresh air in my lungs.

IMG-0504

8 weeks in after a fast morning ride around the bays I felt incredible. Light, happy, and with that satisfying deadness in my legs. I finally got that familiar feeling after a hard training session and I felt like myself again. But myself wasn’t just me any more, and that hard session was the last.

11 weeks pregnant and I was making lots of progress on my walk run program, 6 minute walk, four minute run for thirty minutes. One particular day was a five minute walk, followed by a trip to A&E. I read later that pregnancy can make your balance a bit off, I agree with that!

IMG-0724

I was in a panic because my chin bled a LOT when it split open, it hurt, and I had to get a tetanus injection. I was really worried about falling with the baby, but the Doctor said ‘It’s fine, your pelvis will have protected the baby, the pelvis is really strong!’. Oh you mean the pelvis that got a stress fracture? The same pelvis that keeps malfunctioning and preventing me from running? THAT PELVIS!? *cue sobbing*

The Doctor said she recognised my name from Strava, and noted that I might not be on the leaderboards any time soon. She gave me 8 stitches while I held Mr B’s hand. That hand softly slipped away during her graphic blow-by-blow account of poking fat back inside my chin with the end of a pair of scissors. I’m crossing my fingers and toes that he gets over that squeamishness by May 2018.

The last week of the first trimester was a great one. I had one of those runs (still 30% walking) that was so blissful, in the sunshine, around Wellington’s Oriental Bay and in that moment I knew that the rehab was all worth it. I felt like me.

Training for the First Trimester

  • Longest run: 5.6km (a run/walk)
  • Longest ride: 74.9km
  • Average hours of exercise: 3-5 per week (not including walking)
  • Biggest run/walk week: 30km

I switched a lot of runs out for walks through the botanical gardens, I slept a lot, I tried to remember that I wasn’t eating like an athlete and to cut down on the portion sizes to account for this. I don’t need to fear being hungry any more when I have no long run in the morning!

I think in a way it helped already being unfit to begin with. I was riding a lot and doing yoga and gym work, then I very slowly built in the walk-run program when I felt I could. Working on increasing my running at a time when I knew that I’d barely get started before I had to decrease it didn’t worry me. Do what you can, where you are, with what you have, and all that.

The Best Parts of the First Trimester

The Beautiful people at Harbour City Racing! Being able to ride with a group who were welcoming, who helped me to learn, raced me on the hills, and showed me how it is possible to change a tyre with no tyre lever made my life very happy.

IMG-0594

The titties! A new toy! I have taken great joy in popping a tit into every possible photo opportunity.

IMG-0967

It was just sooo hot I had to ride with my shirt open ( . ) ( . )

Already being unfit before I got pregnant meant getting away with having a bit of extra fluff around the tummy with no pregnancy suspicions at all.

The Worst Parts of the First Trimester

Not being in complete control of how my body feels. Training is certainty, you tick the boxes, you feel the benefits, you get the results. Having the motivation to get outside, but dry retching when you move makes training near impossible. Serena Williams winning a grand slam 8 weeks pregnant is more mind-blowing for me than Elon Musk’s Falcon Heavy rocket launching a car into space. I felt like utter shit at 8 weeks!

Keeping a secret is very hard. Declining the wine matches at a five course degustation because you ‘don’t feel like drinking wine’ is really flippin’ hard and also a really terrible lie.

IMG-0744

Documenting my ‘obviously pregnant’ tummy at 11 weeks

A lot of the time I felt like I was letting my friends down, because I was feeling too sick to hang out, too tired, or just too emotionally unstable to leave the house between tears at the impending human thing or stressing out about whether or not I’ll be a good mother. It has also made me think how I could have been more supportive of my own pregnant friends, I realise now how little I understood what they were going through. I think I get it now *dry retches*.

I feel like I was very lucky to be able to keep riding, running and doing the things I love in the first trimester without having to dig too many holes to bury little piles of spew on the side of Polhill trail.

I’m optimistic about the other TWENTY SEVEN WEEKS (oh myyy that’s a long time) being just as cruisy and a little less spews-y. I’m looking seriously in to a running buggy that looks friendly enough to take to the Plunket rooms but will perform like the Dodge Charger in Death Proof when I need it to.

Any suggestions much appreciated 🙂