Look sis, you’re a runner!
Now there are 3 words I never thought someone would say to ME.
The truth is, I think I have always been scared at the thought of running. Sure I ran the City to Surf once (just once) but since then I’ve had 3 kids in a 3.5 year period and had the most awful thoughts about what might happen if I was to try and run. I got puffed just walking up a steep set of stairs!
Last year during the first Covid lockdown I decided I needed to focus on myself and so I started walking in the mornings to try and up my self-care. I couldn’t leave the house without a water bottle because I was worried about getting puffed and thirsty. I clearly remember watching all of the ‘runners’ fly past and would often joke with my walking buddy, ‘Good on them – that’s def not for me!’
Of course, like most things I have done over the years, the walks quickly fell off the perch when life, work and kids started to get busy again.
But earlier this year I decided that enough was enough. I was back on the hamster wheel of life and not giving myself any time for self-care. I was turning 40 in 10 weeks time and had a vision of what I would look like and feel like when I reached that milestone. It wasn’t good.
I was a mother of 3 kids under 6, running a growing business and not getting enough sleep. So how on earth was I going to fit anything else on my plate? My sister asked me once to start running with her and I laughed it off saying that I had a pretty clear picture of what might happen ‘down there’ if I did. Again the same words flowed… running just isn’t for me.
I know I’m not alone in feeling the weight of having kids both physically and mentally. In fact, there are so many other women I meet all feeling the same way. Life is just too busy and we are too exhausted as it is.
But the other things that called my name were convenience, realistic commitment (3x week) and the fact that running could be merely a ‘shuffle’. Thank goodness for that because I was pretty sure that’s all I was going to manage.
I also loved hearing about the amazing community of support that lived behind the walls of the private Facebook group, but I never truly understood its impact until I joined. Wow. What an incredible bunch of humans in that group. All from different backgrounds, stages of parenthood and ages. I have been a member of many private Facebook groups and have to say that this was by far the most impressive. I was a spectator on many occasions but always had their stories and words of encouragement at hand when I needed a little push.
So back to running. How did I do it? For the non-runner that barely had any time or energy?
Well, the simple answer is, I showed up!
The most convenient thing about running is that you don’t need to commit to a set schedule and you simply need to put on a good sports bra, socks that don’t slip down and a well-fitting pair of runners. Open the door and wave your kids and husband goodbye. FIRST STEP DONE.
For me, I started simple by fitting it into my routine. I had my kids fed, bathed and put them in front of the tv (without any guilt) and did a few laps around the block.
I came back inside and instantly felt like a better parent. The power of fresh air, alone time and getting those endorphins flowing.
I think it takes a few times of getting this feeling (and those wonderful humans I mentioned earlier in the group) to encourage you to show up for the next session. The fact that the commitment for the runs was only 3x per week was totally manageable. I just needed to show up.
The work, washing and husband and kids would all still be there when I got back in 20 minutes time and I would be better for it.
Over the weeks the runs would extend but I would never feel any pressure. You could run at ‘your pace’ and not some unrealistic time or distance. Oh, except for the splits.
I was introduced to the concept of splits and the importance of building this up to improve your pace. I remember thinking I was going to pass out and never return to them again. But thanks to the education from the team and the group egging me on, I went on to actually enjoy them. The good news? Is that either side of these things there were very easy runs.
As for my pace, well that started to improve with each session. At first, I didn’t care much for it and was just happy to get out the door and complete the total amount of minutes for that run. But as the weeks went on I got a smile at the end of each run when I realised that my pace was improving. I was becoming a runner!
I felt very safe with my ‘around the block’ runs and decided I needed new scenery, along with a flat track and open space. I had driven past the local oval many times before and never thought it would end up being my new favourite place. I also had the kids with me while my husband was busy working, so decided to plonk them in the middle of the ground while I did laps. See, I was getting it done! I remember looking over at my kids and seeing them copy me as I ran around. And as I was getting to the end of each run they would come to me with open arms smiling, as if proud. I was proud of me too.
What I realised when they were copying me with the running was that by doing this I was modelling self-worth and the importance of caring for yourself and prioritising your own health and wellbeing. I was actually practising what I preach to them every day.
One of the other things I love about the program is that the team ensures you are truly ready for running. They respect that motherhood is hectic enough in that first year and only take mums on from 12 months postpartum and offer wonderful support and education on women’s health. Too many of us laugh off the fact we pee our pants when we jump, run or laugh… so it was nice to see a program truly respectful of the journey a mother has been through.
They also have nutritionists, a running coach (she’s a legend too!) and the team jump onto live chats throughout the program to answer any questions throughout the program.
Overall I felt like I was in really, really safe hands throughout and was absolutely chuffed when I ran 5kms (with somewhat ease) on my 40th birthday.
I never focused on the weight loss side of things but that was definitely an added benefit. I had many comments over the weeks on the fact my face was looking thinner and that it was clear I was doing something different.
Thank you to Turia, Coach Bel, Grace and the rest of the team. To the women that ran with me, you are all legends.
I am now A RUNNER as my sister observed (yes it can be for mothers, grandmothers, aunties and dog mums too!) and I can’t wait to get stuck into round 2.
You can join the waitlist to be part of the next round of RUN with Turia now.