Thursday, 28 March 2013

Thoughtful Thursday - what goes on in a runner's mind...

Here is some food for thought on thoughtful Thursday - I've called it this as this all relates to what goes on in a runner's mind. I came across this article from Runners' World, as I do, and thought it was really interesting and that you might to!

Before I talk about it, however, I just want you to know that I am not a follower of Buddha, nor do I go by what the Buddhists say, but I am a Christian and do find that a lot of what they talk about in the article with regards to optimism and meditation can also be related to my Christian faith, as well as prayer during running as a form of 'meditation', as the article speaks of. I also find what they have said in the article very interesting and that, no matter what faith you are, or even if you don't have one at all, this is all great stuff for everyone to think about.

So here is a quick run down of the article but I definitely recommend you go and read it yourself...

The article talks about your 'monkey mind' and how when you are running your mind swims with all sorts of different things such as what you are seeing, where you are running, what you need to get at the groceries, etc. Can anyone relate? I certainly can, I have a very overactive mind at the best of times, and it's not always good.

"Meditation reduces chaos and stress," the Sakyong says. "When we apply that to running, running becomes a tool that brings relaxation and vitality to the body. By allowing our mind and body to harmonize, we feel more alive and strong." Want in? Just as training for a race requires a gradual buildup, developing a meditative running practice takes time and, well, practice. But by employing some of the basic principles of meditation in your next run, the Sakyong says, you can feel—and run—better instantly. An excerpt.

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They then go on to talk of four ways you can help yourself become ralxed in your mind which will benefit your running...
  • Tune In - Developing an awareness of your body - what it's doing, how it's performing
  • Think Happy - Probably my favourite, as I believe it is very important to have a positive, happy and optimistic outlook on your running. My favourite verse to quote to myself when I am running is Romans 8:37: No, in all these things we are MORE tha  n conquerors through him who loved us.
  • Accept the Challenge - Are you running a hill? A tough track? Bad weather? Accept that challenge and embrace it. "The challenge is to be brave, not trying to escape boredom or discomfort, but relaxing with how things are."
  • Love the Run - Speaks for itself - if you don't love it, why are you doing it?? While running, think about all the good you are doing in that moment—strengthening muscles, producing endorphins, taking time for yourself. "Appreciation for running creates a healthy self-identity"...
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This sums it up just nicely I thought.

All in all I thought this was an article worthy of a read and a think.

What do you think of when you are running? 
I think of a lot of things but often I will pray or my mind will just switch off and I will just listen to my music, my body or take in the scenery.

What do you think of this meditation whilst running? 

What is your type of meditation? 
Prayer, quoting scriptures or, like the article says, trying to think positively about my run as well as thinking about what my body is doing.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Getting back into exercise after a baby...

Life lately has been somewhat different to what it had been a month ago, however I am loving every bit of it. I have to say too that we are very blessed to have a very calm and content baby. He is not much of a crier and not much seems to phase him. However, there is still a lot of learning going on for all three of us. On Monday, Fletcher was a month old. I can't believe that a month has gone already - so fast - but I also can't think of life without him now, it feels like he's always been here. Such a treat.

Our precious wee boy at 12 days old

Anyway, here is probably what you really want to read about... My journey back to exercising... There are a lot of changes to adapt to and finding the time can be rather tricky... We are still working on that one.

If any of you readers have ever had a baby, you will know that things in your body change (somewhat of an understatement for many, I'm sure, but because i am so thoughtful, I'll spare you the deets). Therefore getting back into exercise is not quite the same as before baby/pregnancy. So it's been an ease back. I am only 2 or 3 kilos heavier than my pre baby weight, however everything seems a lot softer and jigglier... Not so cool. My journey back into exercise consists of these three goals:
  • Loose those extra couple of kilos
  • Firm up all the jiggly bits
  • Get back to running fit and strength

Since he was 2 weeks old I have been just walking with him in the buggy - great way to ease back into it with walking. Thankfully he loves the buggy and going for walks - must take after Mum! I have been trying to do around 5km 3 or so times a week.

Last week I did baby bootcamp with my wonderful ante natal group yummy mummies - so awesome having a personal trainer with her own home gym in the group! It was great, we did some leg work, some ab work and some interval training either using our babies as weights or some free weights (I used free weights as my baby is still a bit light and floppy, plus he was sleeping like an angel *boast*). Thankfully none of my insides fell out, nor did i wet my pants whilst doing the workouts... Phew!

As you would have seen from this post there is a great outline for getting back into exercise post baby. I have been following the guidelines from the article in the post and it all seems to be going great. In about 1.5-2 weeks I will start jogging - I am a little nervous about this and will be interested to see how my fitness is with a run. It's been about 4 and a half months since my last run... Eek! Not to mention trying to find the time for the run and working it in with our routines, as well as Tim's - Fletch is still to small to run with in the buggy so I'll leave him with Tim.

So watch this space to follow my journey back to exercise and running and whether I can achieve my goals. Remember, I have an overall goal of running the Whangarei Half marathon in September, followed by the Auckland Marathon in November... Can I do it? We shall see.

How is your training going? 

If you have had children, what are you post baby exercise experiences? Did you find that it was easy or difficult to get back to pre baby fitness?

Sunday, 10 March 2013

A story of birth for all who are interested...

Well tomorrow my wee boy Fletcher will be 2 weeks old. For the last two weeks I have gone out of the house about 10 times - 8 of those include hanging out and getting in the washing, and the other 2 are Church and family. Needless to say my life is somewhat different now, but I do LOVE it and it's is a very good different. Each day always has some sort of surprise in store for us (usually in Fletcher's nappy) and each day is better than the last (so long as we got some sleep the night before).

Anyway, here is my story of how I birthed a human... I know a lot of you don't want to read about this but for those who do, I will leave out the gory details and photos :)

But first, a photo of the subject for you...

It's hard work having a nappy change - fallen asleep on change table.
Fletcher was born on a Monday at 5.12 pm, and here's how the days leading up to that time went...
On the Friday before, I woke in the night with some pains. They were what I imagined to be labour pains, but I was not too sure so started timing them just in case. They were somewhat regular for 2 and a half hours and then they just stopped. A little disappointed but back to sleep I went and the next day we had an awesome day at the beach with lots of book reading, swimming, some walking and some tummy burying in the sand (so I could lie on my front) - totally awesome when you are pregnant!

Saturday night was much like Friday night but going through most of the night instead of just a couple of hours. Sunday evening and night followed suit, however the contractions then got stronger and more regular and there was a very strong pain in my lower back. This is it! I thought, so at 4am when I was in too much pain to sleep or rest, we called the midwife. She informed me that my cervix was soft and I was on my way, but still had a long way to go. So we both tried to get some rest and relaxation as we would need this when it was all go.

By 11.30 on Monday morning I was very ready to go to the hospital - I could no longer bear the pain of the contractions, or so I thought. When we arrived I was 6cm dilated which I was very happy about - I was a little afraid that the midwife would tell me I was only 2cm dilated. However, then everything stopped again. I was exhausted by then after a couple of nights of little and interrupted sleep, so was very disappointed when it all stopped. My midwife gave me the option of going home or staying and getting intervention (breaking my waters). I wanted everything to happen as naturally as it could but I also didn't want to go back home again so I got moving to try and speed up the process. Still nothing so by 2.30 she just said 'Right, let's break your waters', and Tim and I agreed. By 3pm the contractions were coming very regularly and were very strong, then by 4 they were relentlessly strong. By 5 I was ready to start pushing, which I did at about 5.02 and he was born 10 minutes later. Simple as that really. Apart from the build up of the labour over the weekend, it was a pretty quick and straight forward birth. I had no complications, only had some gas as pain relief (which was totally AWESOME!), and our baby boy came out very healthy and beautiful. He was perfect right from the start.

We were so blessed to have a safe and straight forward birth and a beautiful baby as a result. I am happy to say that I actually enjoyed the birth. There was a crazy load of pain but it was so worth it and it was the most amazing experience. Nothing can prepare you for labour or birth but before we went in to it I had said that I wanted to go into it and through it with the most positive attitude I could. There were definitely times when I wanted to punch someone - anyone - and give up, but for the most part, I just did it!
Hope you have enjoyed my story and know that not all birth stories have to be terrible ones - there are good birth stories out there :)
Here's another pic for you: Warning: the contents of this photo contain nudity...

Cute much?

Saturday, 2 March 2013

I have been busy with our new bundle of joy

Fletcher William Dow was born 25th Feb at 5.12pm. He weighed a very healthy 7lb 13oz, or 3.5kg and is 51cm. We are so smitten and really do see where the term 'bundle of joy' comes from as that is what he is.

I was so blessed to have a very good pregnancy followed by a great birth story which my midwife says I have every right to boast about (which I will share later). Then followed by all of that we have the most beautiful baby who really is so wonderful and relaxed. I thank God for him everyday, he really has blessed us and enriched our lives greatly. I probably won't be on here for a week or so while we are getting adjusted with our new addition, so here are a few pics of our wee man from his first 3 days to keep you going... I'm sure you will think he is just as cute as we do :)

Chillin' with Mum

After first bath

Time with my Dad

First family photo

Always so peaceful

Cutest feet ever!

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