When my son was born 6 1/2 years ago I reckon I would have said I’d be doing events like in the photos above in no time. I was strong, I had trained through my pregnancy, I had a good base and I felt great. If I could just ignore and push through all the niggles and sicknesses and constant exhaustion I would be fine. Everything would be fine, it’s all fine isn’t it?
Well no it wasn’t, I was slowly crumbling and instead of listening to what my body was trying to tell me I just pushed on until I hit a wall, and once I could function no more, that’s when I finally stopped and listened. It was 3 years until I got moving again with any purpose. Three years of bouncing from one alternative therapist to another working on diet, gut health, immune health, gentle physical support with manual therapy and also trying to sleep and rest as much as possible.
In the last 2 1/2 years I’ve been building myself back up from a point of actually feeling more healed. It’s not a quick process, nor is it easy. There’s no quick fix, no bounce back, no “if I could just be ….. sleeping 8 hours a night/drinking less/weigh a stone less/once the kids are in school/out of nappies/given up the dummy etc etc etc” it’s a process that moves with you through all those ups and downs, adapting and blending with the tussles of your life, a process in which you figure out how you can now move with the life and body you have right now.
This year I started running again. I haven’t run and enjoyed it much before, and entering a 10k was quite a challenge especially as I got injured fairly soon after entering. However what I did do is strength train a lot - rehab every day, strength circuits every other day, glute strength work every other day and walking in the hills with my dog 4 times a week. I could only run for longer than 3 minutes at a time 2 weeks before the run but it didn’t affect me as much as I thought because running is so much more than running - it’s how your body works as a whole, it’s how you breathe, it’s how your glutes and hams and pelvic floor all work together.
This weekend I entered the 4km River Arun swim, a swim that goes with the tidal flow with 500 participants all on a mass start. I had panicked quite a lot about it before the race, that my wetsuit was too tight, that I wouldn’t be able to breathe properly, that I hadn’t trained enough to swim that far. All the panicking got me through, the psyche before the race helped spur me on and in the end I had a lovely, smooth swim for 1 hour and 4 mins.
My point is progress isn’t fast, it’s definitely not linear and it sure as hell isn’t smooth. It’s rough and ugly, filled with tears and pain and anguish, you need help and support from those around you and those in the know and you need to believe in your power. I definitely lost faith for a good while there but I’m here to tell you now, I thought I couldn’t do this again, I thought I was too broken to push myself hard again, but I can and I did, and I loved it!