‘Tis the Season

First of all, a big congratulations to Mary Davies…so exciting with baby #2 on the way! As one who has successfully returned to training and racing after childbirth x 3, let me tell you that it is both very rewarding and challenging. The decision itself to postpone a season with the hopes of having a baby is difficult. You want your privacy and don’t know if it will even happen, and have onlookers wondering where you’ve been and what is next. You stay active in the best way you can for 9 months then once giving birth (and I could write an entire post about this!), you have a sweet, little bundle of love who is entirely dependent on you. You shove your much bigger-than-normal breastfeeding boobs into what now looks like a tiny sports bra and dash out the door hoping the EBM (expressed breastmilk) does not get spilled. You are up in the night, barfed and pooped on, and pray against colic. I could go on and on.
There is nothing more motivating and exciting than returning. You find a rhythm with your baby and a healthy balance between experiencing this blessed adventure as an art and a science. I always slept/rested when the baby did, and knew by my body’s and baby’s signs when it was time to feed. It really is a wonderful thing. You continue to listen to your body, set realistic and timely goals, and make adjustments along the way. One very valuable thing I learned from Jonathan’s cousin (who has 5 kids) is to not look at the clock. Don’t get caught up on the number of hours you or your baby sleep (or don’t sleep). Some of my best races were after sleepless nights (hey, I had a bit of practise on occasion)!  I always followed the E.A.S.Y. pattern. Eat. Activity. Sleep. You.
And I loved it.
I’ve given many tips to many female athletes over the years – from the recreational runner,  “Oh dear I’m pregnant and am to run a marathon next month…please keep it confidential and what should I do?” to the elite runner, “Can I train and race competitively while breastfeeding?” (of course! I ran my 2:32 in Rotterdam, 2 weeks after my 13 month old stopped nursing) and much more in between. Somewhere in my answer it will always include,”Listen to your body”.
I think I will be referring people to Mary’s post (link above) from now on. She is realistic, honest, wise, and driven, and has really captured it ever so well. She is a great friend whom I highly respect and so wish was closer. Like Lanni and I after worlds, she will be looking for redemption after her similar not-so-great experience. Her PB is also 2:28 and there’s no doubt in my mind that she will turn some heads in her return.  Having a baby and returning to an elite level of competition, including hopes to qualify for the Olympic Games, is no easy task or guarantee but there’s a hunger like no other. I guess I should know (;

December has been a great month. I’m nearly back to my weekly physio and massage routine, and have continued to increase my running intensity and mileage with cross training, weight training, core, and stretching. I’ve had some tough treadmill speed workouts in prep for a speedy spring. The Commonwealth Games standards for the 10,000 m  were recently released – A 31:45, B 32:05. Not sure I will be able to crack it and won’t risk injury in the attempt to do so but will benefit from the effort.We may adjust our plan, depending on the details of the standards for the 2016 Olympic Games.
I’ve continued to enjoy a balanced diet with a few more sweet treats here n’ there. There a a few items I will eat once a year in my off-season e.g. cinnabon, burger n’ fries, peanut buster parfait. I enjoy the moment and it seems to only be necessary until the next off-season. At this time of year, there isn’t anything better than getting in a great workout followed by a turkey dinner, shortbread cookie or butter tart (my Aunt makes the BEST butter tarts that I look forward to savoring every Boxing Day).
Thank you for your continued love, prayers, and support. 2012 was a great year, 2013 was even better, and 2014 will be so much more!
Enjoy this CHRISTmas and remember – Jesus is the Reason for the Season!
I’ll leave you with some more pictures and a great quote, recently written by Ryan Hall.

don’t run for a paycheck, for fame, or to meet others’ expectations. I
run to test the limits of my God-given ability and go after the dreams
He has put in my heart- big dreams.” ~ Ryan Hall

I’ve been so blessed to have access to free, toddler skates at the nearby Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre twice per week. The timing is perfect to go right before getting the boys from school, across the street.

Love. If only there was a dark chocolate, peanut butter combination chocolate bar. Lanni, you must know!

 Saucony “Find Your Strong”? She’s right here, finishing her last (8th) round of chemo – a great Christmas gift don’t you think? Britanie and I have drawn strength from each other in our journeys this year. As they were trying to get her uncooperative port to work that morning I supported her by saying, “The last mile is never easy. And often very ugly!”.          


Lanni and I look forward to another healthy rivalry in 2014. Thank you, Canada Running Series.

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