Turning Fear to Focus!

Last Sunday, I ran my second half marathon. It was awesome, it was fun, it was empowering, it was everything I’d hoped it would be and I can’t wait to do it all over again….

20150710-092311.jpg

If you are a regular follower of my blog you’d know my story. In a nutshell, I was diagnosed with a heart condition while pregnant with my third baby and instead of dwelling on my condition and wrapping myself up in cotton wool, almost 4 years ago I turned to running, to help me keep fit and lean, which helps keep my blood pressure down, which is a trigger in my heart deteriorating.

The year I was diagnosed, I oozed with fear. I couldn’t bare the thought of not seeing my babies grow into adults. I was scared of needing open heart surgery. So many emotions went through my head. But with the help of my amazing cardiologist and regular testing and appointments, I’ve maintained my heart condition with only a slight variation since diagnosis over 4 years ago.

Running has been my savour (of course as well as my incredible family) but it’s really kept me fit both physically and mentally! I only started slow and over time as I became more fit and confident, I slowly increased my kilometres one by one. For the first three years, my limit was 10k and I was totally satisfied with that. The thought of running any further placed fear back in me so I didn’t push it any further. Then towards the end of last year, I started being cheeky and got to 12k, within a few months I’d reached 15k and then the seed was planted…a half marathon could be achievable!

I got in contact with my cardiologist who has always been very happy with my progress and gave me the green light to enter the Gold Coast half marathon…it was finally going to happen! But of course I couldn’t wait that long so a few months ago I ran my first one by myself in the streets of my suburb and ran it in 1 hour 57…first goal achieved under 2 hours! This set a benchmark for me when it came to the event. Leading up I was very happy with my training. Everything had gone to plan and bit by bit I was chipping away at my pace. I was as ready as I’d ever be!

20150710-093506.jpg

We are so lucky to have wonderful friends who live on the start and finish line and gave us their apartment for the weekend. I will forever be grateful for that. It made the morning of the race so calm and easy! The kids were so excited to see me run and were more nervous for me than I was! And god bless them they said several times…”we hope you win mummy!” Lol They looked at me a little weird when I explained to them that I was racing myself no one else:/ lol

I was so excited that race day was finally here!!! A few days before, the anticipation of the race was starting to kill me! The weather was absolutely amazing, not cold at all, perfect weather actually to run a half marathon! I was again very lucky to get a good spot about 100m from the start line. This helped in getting a good start which is what I wanted. It took about 1 minute to get to the start line and then once I clicked my watch to start it was game on!

20150710-092527.jpg

The first kilometre was slow – 5.20 mins, I normally like a 5-5.05, but you have to expect that when you are running along side thousands of people! My Second kilometre made up for it – 5.02 and I was well on my way then. For the first 7 kilometres I was maintaining 5.10-5.15 kilometres which I was surprisingly happy with. My first goal was to reach 10km in 52 minutes – tick that was done! I was so happy to have reached 11k by 58 minutes and as I looked up, the 1 hour 50 minute pace runner was only a metre from me. 1 hour 50 is my dream time and for a moment there I thought I may have had a chance!!

20150710-092650.jpg

I hit a bit of a wall quite suddenly at around 13k. Between not having my tunes in my ear and grabbing cups of water from the drink station I was losing concentration. Mind you at 13k – 1 hour 8 mins, I had made my first PB. The PBs kept rolling out then for every kilometre after that until I reached the finish line! Eventually the 1 hour 50 pace runner became a speck in the crowd lol, but when I reached 17k at 1 and half hours which was my second goal, I knew my final goal was achievable. As I took my last sip of water and all my fuel was taken, I put my head down and ploughed through the last 4k as best as I could.

20150710-092749.jpg

Once I saw the apartment we were staying at, I knew that I had to hold on as my family would be waiting to cheer me on. I always get excited as I’m getting close to finishing, especially when I know I’m about to achieve the time I’m aiming for. As I got closer and closer to the finish line I knew the Running Mums Australia (RMA) tent was in sight and as I ran past and heard the cheers from all the wonderful ladies, it steered me on to run as fast as I could to the end. I was going fast, hundreds of people lined the roads and I’d conditioned myself that I probably wouldn’t see my family. But with a call of my name I looked up and there they were…what a moment! I was so excited to see them and high fiving my babies was a definite highlight! Seeing my family made the last 300m the easiest I’d ever run. As I looked down at my watch at 21.1km I’d reached it at 1 hour 53 my final goal of the race. I did it, I really did it…4 mins off my PB!!!!

20150710-092843.jpg

20150710-092849.jpg

20150710-092854.jpg

Crossing that finish line was a moment I’ll never forget. Who would have ever thought me, who hated long distance running when I was younger and was a sprinter and netballer, can now say I’ve run a half marathon…twice…and I’ve already got my sight set on another. I now know I do have it in me to run my dream time of 1 hour 50 and I’m not giving up until I do! I use to run with fear after I was diagnosed with a dilated aorta and if I was never diagnosed with my heart condition I probably would never have started running. It turns out, my heart condition has been a positive experience for me…I do not fear it anymore, it only keeps me focused!

20150710-092950.jpg

20150710-093005.jpg

20150710-093020.jpg

This whole experience, from the first day I decided to run a half marathon to the moment I crossed the finish line has been the best experience of my life. I’ve achieved things I thought would never be possible. My mental strength is as strong as it’ll ever be and physically…I can run a half marathon, need I say more! I encourage anyone who wants to start running or exercising of any kind to start now…you won’t regret it! Exercise is such an important part of our bodies health and well-being – you really have nothing to lose! The benefits far out way the alternative and all you have to do is believe and remember anything is possible if you put your mind to it!

20150710-093115.jpg

20150710-093134.jpg

20150710-093151.jpg

20150710-093628.jpg

20150710-093637.jpg

20150710-093642.jpg

It’s a week on now and I’ve recovered so well. My legs were sore for a couple of days and my first run back was quite slow and easy lol, but I’m ready to tackle a new challenge! I’ll be having a break from any marathon training at this stage until I have my next heart scan in August and see my cardiologist. Next week, I’ll be starting a new running/exercise routine which will assist in preparing me for a 10k twilight race I’m entering in September….the kids loved every bit of the GC Airport Marathon, they want to start entering to! It makes me so happy that the kids look up to me as a good role model. If I can teach my children to set goals, work hard and those goals will be achieved, then I’m satisfied my job as a mum is being done!

20150710-093233.jpg

Advertisements

20/20….

Today marked 20 days straight of exercise!

20 days ago, I finished work for term 3 and started what would end up for me, because I work part-time, 20 days of holidays. I set myself a challenge that I would exercise every day of my 20 days off and I can happily say that I completed my challenge today…20/20 done!

Over the past 20 days, I have run more than 50km, walked for hours, done a total of 40 minutes worth of planking, boxed for minutes on end and have done numerous amounts of squats, leg raises and lunges! And I’ve enjoyed ALMOST every second of it lol! Each day I would exercise for half an hour to an hour and in 24 hours that’s so simple to accomplish.

My love of exercise and particularly my running, is not only assisting me in keeping fit, lean and healthy, it’s my therapy. It keeps me sane. It helps me stay on top of the craziness that life brings when you’re a working mum of 3 kids under 8! It’s the only time I can focus on the thoughts in my head and where I spend a lot of time planning projects or daily chores. It’s my time where nothing else matters except for me! Most importantly it’s my energy….if I start my day with exercise I accomplish so much in my day – it makes me happy and I always feel fantastic after it!

There were only a few times over the past 20 days where I had to force myself to complete my daily exercise but I did it! Because the kids have been on holidays as well, they enjoyed many days with me and would ride their bikes while I walked or would plank alongside me. It’s been enjoyable for everyone!

I love my active lifestyle that I live. Between exercise and healthy eating, it’s not only giving myself the best chance of keeping my heart condition at bay, it’s leading a good pathway and setting a positive example for my very active children. I’ve been living this exact lifestyle for 3 years now and I haven’t yet steered off track. When I am feeling a bit flat or am in need of something to spice things up, I set myself a challenge like the one I’ve just completed. It allows me to regather and refocus on something new…like they say change is as good as a holiday!

My next challenge is to run 100k in the month of November 😳….wish me luck!!! 👍
I shall keep you posted!

20141006-194014.jpg

20141006-194049.jpg

Knowing When to Stop!

Almost another year is about to be behind us. 52 weeks of life, living, working, socialising, creating new memories. 365 days of experiencing the highs and lows of what is thrown our way. I don’t know about you, but I’m really feeling it this year. I’m tired, fatigued, drained and so ready for a holiday!

One of the highs for me this year has been my running! I’ve set so many goals and achieved most of them, but I’ve come to the realisation, that with all the kilometres my feet have pounded the pavement and with no real break to my routine at all, my body is starting to scream at me to stop! So after I sweat out all the junk that I consume on Christmas Day on Boxing Day lol, I am going to have a weeks break! A week may not sound like much, but I know it will be enough to start fresh again in the new year! I would have 2 weeks off, but we are holidaying at the coast and I love nothing more than running at the beach!

I can honestly say I never felt like this a year ago, but upon reflection I realised that twice last year I was sick and sidelined for two weeks at two different times throughout the year. This year I’ve been lucky enough to only battle with a minor virus here and there but nothing extreme to warrant a big break! It’s hard to break a routine that has been going so well for so long, but I believe my decision is a sensible one. I believe that our bodies are precious and should be treated like gold. We are in control of ourselves and we only have one chance at life, so we need to do the best we can…it’s so important to LiSTEN to our bodies!!!!

Life has been one crazy ride this year. It’s felt like an uphill battle at times. So many ups and downs, but one common denominator, that I believe has been my therapy, has been my running! Through my running I’ve been able to plan and reflect on things that have been happening. I’ve been able to let my frustrations out without being inappropriate. It’s kept me sane when I’ve felt I was close to insanity lol, but most importantly it’s provided me with my health and fitness!

Some of my highlights this year have been; running 10k in 48.52mins, 5k in 23.25mins and running my original running distance of 4k in under 19mins twice!!! Running a PB always leaves you feeling so pumped. In that moment, you are the only one who knows how you are feeling. It leaves you feeling invigorated and on top of the world…I love that feeling, which is why I love running!

But as much as I love my running, I know it’s time to stop! My joints are screaming, my legs are hating on me. Once I finish my 10k run this Thursday, that will be the last 10k I run for 2 weeks. During my time off, I will continue to walk each day for half an hour and I will continue my normal balanced eating regime. I will create a new set of goals to work on in the new year, but one thing is for certain, I will not lose sight!

2013 has been a successful running year…I look forward to sharing any of my excitement with my running in 2014!!!

20131217-202306.jpg
I’m looking forward to a break:)…10 more sleeps and then sun, sand, surf and lots of laughter with my beautiful Party of 5!

All in the Mind!!!

Image

This morning when I got up at 5.30 to go for my 5k run, I was mentally in a great place! I hadn’t run since my 10k last Thursday, I’d had a fairly relaxing weekend and I’d just woken from the best night sleep in a week. My legs were fresh. I told myself that this morning would be the day I run 5k under 24mins and that I did…..

As I left my driveway, I went out hard and fast. I kept telling myself to ignore any pain in my legs and to push through it. The first 500m seemed hard and hurtful, but I ignored it and pushed harder – as I approached my 1k mark I looked down and was surprisingly happy when I saw 4.35mins. When I have my mind set on a PB, I always aim to run the first kilometre around that time. I was feeling ok but felt at my maximum at this point. As I looked up at my 2k point I was hoping to reach a time of about 9.30mins so when I saw 9.20mins on my watch, it was received very graciously. By this time I kept telling myself once I get to 3k I only have 2k left and that’s easy. When I reached 3k in 14.06mins, I was starting to think that I’d reached my maximum and that the next kilometre, which is usually my slowest, was going to really let me down, but I kept pushing. I knew I must of been at my maximum because I was starting to feel that ‘I want to vomit’ feeling and when I saw 18.50mins at 4k I knew I had it in the bag. 

As I started my 5th kilometre, I had no pain anywhere throughout my body. I felt strong, I felt fit, I felt like I could have taken on the world! When I made my last turn down Warrigal road to run my last 500m I knew when I hit my 5k mark and stopped my watch it would show 23mins something….I was thrilled and over the moon when I saw 23.25mins!!!!!!!!!!!! I would have been happy to see 23.59 but 23.25….a fist pump and a shout out of relief was definitely appropriate for this point in time!!! I was pumped, shocked and excited all in one! I did it finally. After running 5k in 24mins several times in the last few months, I knew I would crack it eventually, all I had to do was wait for the perfect moment and back myself every step of the way! 

A run like this morning, signified to me how important our mental state is when trying to achieve anything. If I got up today with a negative attitude and no willingness to run hard, then I wouldn’t have come close to a PB, instead I smashed it by 40 seconds!!!!! If you want to achieve something, you will as I believe it’s ‘all in the mind’! 

Image

 

2 Years On…Bigger and Better!

It’s been two years now since I started my journey of discovering the ‘old’ me. The fitter me, the healthier me and the lighter me! I’m happy to say that two years on, I feel the best I’ve ever felt, both physically and mentally. I feel fit and strong enough to cope with life’s challenges in a far better manner than the past. I’m simply just happier in myself, therefore I’m more in love with life and the beautiful people and things that fill it. It was the best thing I could have ever done – taking the plunge to put on my runners has changed my life forever!!!

20131018-154042.jpg

My journey started with the want to lose my ‘baby bearing’ weight. I was the heaviest I’d ever been without being pregnant and with a diagnosed heart condition, the lights were flashing to do something about it. Originally I changed my eating habits by simply ‘cutting out the crap’ and reducing my meal size. Thankfully for me, I’ve always loved eating fruit and veggies so doing those two simple things with my diet helped me immensely!! After a couple of weeks of eating well, I lost a couple of kilos really easily, but I felt I needed more and it was after a long hectic day at home, with three kids under 5, made me come to the realisation of needing some time to myself. With that I put on my runners and the rest is history.

20131018-154313.jpg

It took me 6 months to lose the 13 kilos of weight that I had gained since getting married and having three babies and since the very first day I started running until now, I’ve worked consistently week in and week out, building on the distance and speed of my running. Bit by bit I pushed myself to run further and faster and to date, my longest run is 10km (pb 48.52mins) and my fastest run is 4km (pb 18.47 mins). It’s been an awesome two years and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every step my foot has run on the pavement.

20131018-154450.jpg

It hasn’t been easy though. There have been days where I’ve had to force myself to go. Winter mornings are a killer, it’s been challenging fitting exercise in while juggling work, 3 kids, a house and a husband who works really long hours and the pain from my ‘netball’ knees has at times been unbearable! But none of this
has ever allowed me to lose focus on what I want to achieve. Running is one of those exercises where your competitor is yourself, so the only person you’re letting down by not going, is yourself! That’s what I love about running though, the challenge to better me and the feeling of a pb never ever gets old…this week’s pb was my 4km hill run 19.21mins – makes you feel so pumped!!!

As I reflect over the past two years, one of the things that’s has assisted me in not giving up, is to constantly set goals. Running especially, can be an exercise where it becomes boring very quickly and because my lifestyle and my heart condition doesn’t allow me to go to gyms or bootcamps, I’ve had to choose an exercise that is convenient and non competitive. When I do feel like I’m getting bored, I know that I’m ready for a change. In the past most of my changes were an increase to distance and then I would spend several weeks or months improving on the speed of that distance. I’ve hit a safe limit for distance for my heart now, so a change now is either in routes or routines.

20131018-154906.jpg
My mantra:)

In the past couple of weeks I’ve started a new routine and I’m LOVING it!!!! Now that it’s light at 5am, I have more time in the mornings to exercise. So I’ve decided, instead of my two work days being my rest days, I now exercise every day Monday-Friday and have my rest days over the weekend. Last weekend was the first weekend in two years I didn’t go for a run…it was lovely not having to fit it in over an extremely busy weekend, but by Monday I was chaffing at the bit to run lol! This routine also allows me time to catch up over the weekend if I’ve missed a day through the week for some unforeseen reason…meaning children lol!

20131018-154634.jpg

My new routine:
Monday – 5k run
Tuesday – 15min power walk, 10mins of planks, squats, leg raises and lunges using my tiny pink weights, finished with 5 min power walk.
Wednesday – sprint/ short distance 3 or 4k
or 1k sprints with a minute rest between for 4km.
Thursday – same as tues
Friday – 10k run hill run 3 weeks in a row and in the 4th week a flat run
Saturday & Sunday – family fun!!

20131018-154723.jpg

The lifestyle I lead now isn’t something I have to force myself to do. Now that I’ve been exercising and eating well for so long, it comes naturally to me each and every day. I love nothing more than to start my day with exercise. It allows me to achieve so much more in my day. I crave salads and veggies (especially if we’ve had a big weekend of get togethers) but I never deprive myself of my favourite treats…all in moderation!! The energy I have now is so fantastic and when faced with a stressful situation or a crazy busy period, I feel so much more in control rather than throwing in the towel and feeling overwhelmed by it all! I feel I’m a better mum and wife where my limits stretched now far our do my limits of the past! I encourage anyone who wants to become the best ‘you’ you can be, to start with something that makes you happy….for me that’s running:)

20131018-154809.jpg

When I was diagnosed with a dilated aorta of the heart 2 and half years ago, I was so scared and so overwhelmed with what was inside my body. My first thought was I can’t not be here for my babies!! Now that I’m at my perfect weight for my height and I’m as fit as I’ve ever been, I’m giving myself the best chance for my heart to not get any worse. I will spend the rest of my days continuing to work to help my heart, so I can live a long and happy life with my beautiful party of 5 and inspire my children to be the best they can be!

20131018-155029.jpg

Surf, Sand, Swimming…Sensational!

20130108-144227.jpg

Sun shining days, cool breezes, crashing surf and the smell of the coastal salt air…this is what we were engrossed in for the past week! Burleigh Heads Gold Coast, what a fantastic place to holiday!

It has been three years since we went on a holiday longer than 3 nights and after the ordinary year we had, we decided to treat ourselves and the kids to a 7 night stay at a lovely little resort style apartment block called Key Largo! What a perfect place for children. Only three floors high (we were on the second floor), all the rooms overlooked the beautiful yard and in ground pool. There was so much room for the kids to kick their footy or ride their scooters, it was like a home away from home!

We were so blessed with such sensational weather that we stayed an extra night which sealed the deal to make it the best coastal holiday we’ve ever had! The kids had so much fun where ever we went…beach, creek, pool! They swam, went fishing, collected shells, dug holes, built sand castles, rode their scooters for many kilometers and played cricket on the beach! They also enjoyed lots of quiet time where they would just chill, watch tv, colour in, play cards, listen to music, all things relaxing!

I spent most of my time having a holiday through the eyes of my children, remembering when I was little girl and how much fun I would have with my family when we use to go on holidays! On a couple of occasions I spent some time on my own wandering the shops, where I made a few lovely purchases and I even managed the odd swim on my own and time relaxing by the pool! My favourite spot was sitting on our balcony looking out to the beautiful view we were faced with and of course I got to do lots of running throughout the week!

My husband kicked back and watched a lot of tv when the kids were having quiet time and he was able to enjoy an odd afternoon of horse betting and beers. Although we spent 90% of our time as a family enjoying each other’s company, we all got to do our favourite things at one time or another! But it was the moments where the five of us were swimming in the ocean, strolling along the beach and eating fish and chips together that we’re the most enjoyable!

Here are some highlights of our fantastic getaway….

20130108-144309.jpg
On our way…the car was so full we could hardly see the kids lol!

The pool/spa…
20130108-144353.jpg20130108-144413.jpg20130108-144419.jpg20130108-144430.jpg20130108-144439.jpg20130108-144456.jpg20130108-144505.jpg20130108-144523.jpg
Bay was so proud of himself that he could do a lap and a bit under the water holding his breath:)
20130108-144648.jpg

The beach….
20130108-144726.jpg20130108-144732.jpg20130108-144746.jpg20130108-144752.jpg20130108-144758.jpg20130108-144804.jpg20130108-144812.jpg20130108-144825.jpg20130108-144830.jpg20130108-144840.jpg20130108-144847.jpg20130108-144854.jpg20130108-144908.jpg

20130108-145007.jpg

20130108-145042.jpg

20130108-145116.jpg

Our nightly walks….

20130108-145500.jpg

20130108-145516.jpg

20130108-145525.jpg

20130108-145547.jpg

20130108-145612.jpg

20130108-145626.jpg

20130108-145638.jpg

20130108-145704.jpg

A day at Tallebudgera Creek….

20130108-145754.jpg

20130108-145808.jpg

20130108-145822.jpg

20130108-145837.jpg

Eating out…

20130108-145934.jpg

20130108-145945.jpg

20130108-145955.jpg

20130108-150003.jpg

20130108-150015.jpg

20130108-150106.jpg

Chilling out….

20130108-150229.jpg

20130108-150245.jpg

20130108-150327.jpg

20130108-150339.jpg

20130108-150352.jpg

Family time….

20130108-150509.jpg

20130108-150516.jpg

20130108-150523.jpg

20130108-150530.jpg

20130108-150538.jpg

20130108-150605.jpg

20130108-150623.jpg

20130108-150641.jpg

20130108-150658.jpg

20130108-150712.jpg

20130108-150725.jpg

20130108-150747.jpg

20130108-150754.jpg

Keeping active….

20130108-151040.jpg

20130108-151048.jpg

20130108-151100.jpg

20130108-151120.jpg

20130108-151134.jpg

20130108-151142.jpg

20130108-151153.jpg

20130108-151208.jpg

20130108-151231.jpg

20130108-151247.jpg

20130108-151321.jpg

20130108-151329.jpg

20130108-151347.jpg

Collecting shells…

20130108-151427.jpg

20130108-151434.jpg

20130108-151441.jpg

20130108-151509.jpg
Little limbs and sand always looks so sweet together!!!

I absolutely love looking through our holiday photos, they do now and will always bring back such wonderful memories! We are already looking forward to our next holiday there, where we will do it all over again and create new memories to cherish forever! It was great saying goodbye to a tough year and seeing in the new year in a beautiful environment…certainly a great start to 2013!

20130108-190732.jpg
I’m so blessed to have been able to spend such a fantastic week with the four loves of my life:)

Exercise is a Drug…But a Damn Good One!

If I was told a year ago that in a years time I would be obsessed with exercising I would have laughed like someone was telling a funny joke! I know what being obsessed with exercise is like…I’d been there and done that before! I was off on another track (having babies) for a while, but eventually found my way back on the track that I knew for many years before becoming a parent!

I look back at what I was like and wonder how I existed with the lifestyle I led! I got myself into a pattern of bad eating habits, poor sleeping and never getting out to exercise, but then one day I decided to change all of that and although they say losing weight is 80% food and 20% exercise, it’s the exercise I now do that has enabled me to become the strongest person I can be….it is my drug I take which helps me cope with the throws of life!

For me, exercise….
*Helps me to clear an overloaded brain…so much can go on at the one time around here and there are days where I literally feel like my brain is going to explode….but once I’ve exercised I can come back to the same situation with a clear mind!

*It helps me to manage my busy life without having regular meltdowns….there are times of the month or certain times of the year when life becomes so busy I just want to stop and scream…this feeling is becoming a faded memory of the past since exercising!

*It allows me to think positively….it’s so much easier at times to look at an ordinary situation with a negative attitude…since exercising I feel so much more calm when faced with a difficult situation!

*It allows me to get so much more done in a day…before exercise, I would have days where I could barely put one foot in front of the other, now I just get up and soldier on until things are done!

*It allows me to feel confident as a mum, as a teacher and as me!

*It allows me to feel strong…like I can handle anything!

*But most importantly it allows me to feel awesome! Keeping fit and eating healthy helps me to get out of bed each day with a step in my stride!

You often hear people say ‘your obsessed’ with exercising or ‘it’s their new obsession’! Once exercising for a while, like a drug, your body starts to crave it, your mind keeps telling you need it, which is where the obsession starts! But when put into context and compared with actual ‘drugs’, I know what I would rather choose! If my ‘drug’ in life is exercise and for me that’s running, then I’m proud to say I’m an addict! Because at the end of the day like any obsession with the cravings and withdrawals….exercising may be a drug in habit, but a bloody damn good one!

20121123-191526.jpg

No Pain, No Gain!

20120919-141029.jpg

Last Sunday I did something I never thought I would ever be capable of doing….I ran 5km in 24.36 minutes – I was running less than 5 mins per kilometer!!!!

The week Leading up to this moment:
I’d had a massive week! It was the week leading up to mum’s 60th birthday. I started with sinus on the weekend, which I get at this time of year, but I didn’t feel sick with it! By the Tuesday my voice had escaped me. I was suppose to go to work but decided to rest my voice for the year 1 excursion the following day….everything except rest happened on my day off as the three of my children woke up with conjunctivitis – grrrrrr!!!! So after a day of eyes being bathed in warm salty water, my eldest was able to go back to school the next day but my girls started to get a cold. This ended up with Mia getting croup and Sienna getting a middle ear infection!!!!O

Meanwhile each day I was spending time organising mum’s 60th birthday party and trying to fit in a run here and there. I managed a couple of 4km runs that week but wasn’t feeling flash and the lack of sleep was starting to catch up with me! By the end of the week my voice started to return to normal but the girls were getting worse before they got better! The day before mum’s party saw me making 3 cakes, 24 cupcakes a Mexican dip and enough fried rice to feed 70 people! Thank goodness all the craft stuff I made and the photo slide I created had been completed at the beginning of the week!

Of course the night before mum’s party the girls slept terribly and I was up at 5.30 to finish off the last of what had to be done! Mum had a wonderful 60th birthday though and was worth the hard yards organising and preparing for it. I was shattered by the end of the day and was asked by my brother-in-law if I was ready to run my first 10km run the next morning. Mentally I was ready, but physically I didn’t want to push it! I passed on the opportunity and went and had bacon and eggs at mum and dad’s instead lol! I then layed around all day to recoup after a huge week. I had it in my head all day that I’d go for a 5km run that afternoon, but I convinced myself that a PB wouldn’t be possible!

But I was wrong…..

The Run:
I didn’t have a very big window of opportunity to go as we were going out for dinner, which can be a good thing as you are almost forced to run just that little bit faster. I was about to set off and the kids ran happily towards me to give me a big kiss before I left….they are my good luck charms:) I used my new earphones my brother-in-law had given me which are awesome!!! They mould to your ear and don’t even look like falling out!

I started my run at my usual pace and was feeling not too bad at first. I felt like I was going pretty fast and at the 1km mark I was up to 4.35 mins. I was stoked! A PB already for 1km! My second km started to hurt a little. I kept telling myself to hang in there as I’d started so well! I thought for sure I’d lost some time but at the 2km mark I was 9.35mins and again on a PB! About 50m into my 3rd km I was almost convinced that that was as good as I’d get as I was really starting to struggle! It didn’t help having to keep going from one side of the road to the other to avoid the magpies!!!!

When I reached the 3km mark and was well under 15 mins it then became a mental challenge! I kept telling myself to keep powering through! “If I can run 3km in under 15mins I’ll be able to run the next two in under ten!” My aim was to reach Warrigal rd at the 20-21 minute mark to have any chance of getting under 25mins! This was the last time I looked at my watch! By now I was imagining reaching the finish point! I kept saying no pain no gain and it will be worth it! I could feel the kisses on my cheek my babies gave me before I left and pictured their beautiful little faces the whole time!

The last 100m felt like a kilometer but as much as I felt terrible I suddenly got a burst from somewhere and was able to finish my run how I started! At first I was just stoked I’d completed my run without stopping but when I saw my time of 24.36mins I was pumped!!!! It’s the best feeling when you achieve something good….I’d taken 36 seconds off my PB!!! No wonder it hurt. To date, it was the longest run I’d ever ran under 5min kilometers! I shared my excitement with my husband who asked…”is that a good time!” thank goodness I have Facebook and my blog lol!

I don’t like hurting when I exercise. I like it to be fun and enjoyable. But this was a moment in time when ‘No Pain No Gain’ was applied and at the end of it and even now I think it was worth it!

20120919-141337.jpg

Life After Birth!

Having a baby to me is the most wonderful gift you can be granted. My 3 children are the most precious angels and my heart aches whenever I think of them! They are the best thing that has ever happened to us and my husband and I always say, if we haven’t done anything else right in life then we are doing pretty good with the 3 most adorable children we’ve created!

20120605-203616.jpg

When a husband and wife decide it’s time to take the biggest step in their marriage and have children, obviously things change! You go from sleeping an average of 8-10 hours a night to 6-8 hours sometimes less and often broken. Your bedtime is now 8.30-9.30 not 10-11. Breakfast is done and finished by 6.30-7am not 10am. Your day’s activities are often planned around children’s nap times, feeds or places you visit have to cater all their needs rather than getting in the car and deciding on the way – although we have done that before! It is a a huge adjustment, but when my husband and I decided it was time, I was so ready for all of that!

20120608-094336.jpg

From conception, to morning sickness, to scans, to feeling baby move, to baby shopping, to maternity clothes, to decorating the nursery, to a growing belly that everyone always admired…I just loved being pregnant! Then there were the celebrations of a baby shower and fitting in all the last minute things that you may not get to do for a while – dining out, going to the movies and what every women does…..clean, clean, clean!

20120608-095234.jpg

Then the anticipation you’d been waiting for for 9 months….the day you give birth and finally meeting the little person your body had been growing for roughly 270 days! What a surreal experience childbirth is! No amount of reading, watching DVDs or birth classes can ever really prepare you for giving birth as everyone’s birth is unique! Call me crazy but I also loved giving birth! After I birthed all my babies who ranged from 10 pound 2 to 8 pound 13, I felt so empowered like I could take on the world! Those first few hours after giving birth are so precious! The skin to skin bonding time, the first time you breast feed, and the first time each family member meets your new bundle of joy are memories that last forever! As the mother, you sit back and watch everyone ogle over this little baby you and your husband have created and feel nothing but proud!

20120608-141253.jpg

Then the day you’ve dreamt about since you use to play mummy and baby with your dolls finally arrives and you get to take your baby home and start your life as a mum! Being a mum is fantastic, I believe the best job you can do, but it certainly is one of the hardest, yet so rewarding! Over time you get peed, pooped and spewed on. You spend your whole time worry about things that haven’t even happened. You deal with tantrums, illnesses, children who won’t eat, refuse to sleep and some days you feel so overwhelmed you ask yourself….why?? Then your precious little one looks up to you and gives you a smile, says mumma, tells you they love you, squeezes you so tight, places a sloppy kiss on your face or tells you a funny story and instantly you know why!

20120608-143709.jpg

But after all of this, being a mum is not all that life has come to! Yes it is the most important part of life that absolutely comes first, but not the only part of life! Just because we as mums, have given birth, doesn’t mean we aren’t entitled to have a life after birth! After you have a baby, it can take the first few months, 6 months or second child to even feel as though you are ready to go out for coffee with a girlfriend, dinner with your husband, shopping day with your mum or sister and leave the baby/babies at home! Maybe not for everyone, but it takes time to be able to trust and leave your baby with even your husband, that’s just how us mums feel.

20120608-143720.jpg

Generations ago, it was solely the mother’s responsibility to take care of the children and men went to work and had a beer at the pub on the way home! Now society has changed and mothers are encouraged to go out to work or to become apart of play groups and fitness clubs….and I say why not! I think it is important not to forget the people we were before kids and the things we enjoyed to do! Obviously this can take time to fit into the busy schedule of a mum’s life and no one can tell you when to make the decision to start enjoying some time to yourself, you’ll know when the time is right!

20120608-143732.jpg

It took a long time for me to let go and enjoy time to myself without feeling guilty! For the first few years of being a mum, one of the only times I’d leave the kids was when I went to work. We’d go to weddings, engagements, hens nights and I’d always make time for our mother/daughter outings or friends birthdays! But it’s really only now that our 3 kids are 6, 4 and 1, I feel ok to go out and have time to myself without feeling guilty. I think as mums we are the the glue that holds our homes together and when we are not there things become unstuck! The truth is most times it does lol, but it’s ok because when we return things all fall back into place again and we are able to move forward because we have had the time to breathe, debrief, regather our thoughts and hopefully have a good laugh!

These days I absolutely enjoy my half an hour each day of running or walking. This is my time to debrief to myself about things that are happening at home, thoughts for my blogs or planning in my head what I need to do for the day. I still love getting lost in my craft work and love baking and decorating birthday cakes and of course having girls days out. But my newest adventure is my blog. It allows me to express my feelings and put into words things I’ve learnt in life so far, in the hope to help others. It’s so important to have a balanced life as life after birth goes on for so many years. For me it goes: being a mum and wife, teacher, daughter, sister, friend and then finding time for me!

20120608-161027.jpg

The Battle of the Bulging Belly!

If you could change one part of your body what would it be?

Mine would be my belly!

I’ve always been smaller up top than the bottom and if I put on weight it always goes straight to my thighs and butt. Throughout my pre baby days I had a flat stomach and never had any troubles with putting on weight in that area and then I had one baby, two babies and before I knew it 5 years had past and I was cradling my 3rd baby!

When I first fell pregnant with my son almost 7 years ago, I never once worried about what it would do to my body. I was so thrilled that I was growing a little life inside my belly. I am one of those people that start showing early on in my pregnancies, so by 20 weeks I always had a decent size belly, that would just seem to grow and grow by the second! I first gave birth at 38 weeks to my beautiful baby boy Bailey Kane Trew, who was 9 pound 5 – ouch much! Again even though I still looked like there was a baby left inside of me two days after he was born, I was happy and content with our new bundle of joy and our new little family that we created!

20120511-141948.jpg

Days before giving birth to my 10 pound baby girl!

Because I was less than 60kgs when I fell pregnant and ended up carrying close to a baby elephant at the end, I ended up with a 4cm stomach muscle separation….but trust me I can push them out lol! After seeing a physio weeks after giving birth and taking good care of myself and following the physio’s exercise plan, my muscle separation went back to normal and by the time Bailey was one my belly returned to its normal flat state:)

Then a whole new world began for me when I fell pregnant with my second baby! Where I craved not much other than slurpees with my first pregnancy, I craved anything fatty, juicy and sugary the second time round! And milk, I couldn’t get enough of the stuff….frappes by the dozen!! When I think about it, I really ate myself stupid! Which is why I put on over 20kgs and alas gave birth to a 10 pound 2 precious baby girl Sienna Lynette Trew! She came out running and looked 3 months old compared to most other babies lol!

At this point the state my belly was in didn’t even cross my mind. I’d just given Bailey a little sister and we now had a bigger family to enjoy, but i was sore!!! Sienna was so big that she left my insides hurting for a long time! My stomach, ribs, kidneys, it felt like I’d been in a boxing ring.This time round I ended up with a 5cm stomach muscle separation, but that didn’t phase me as I was confident things would go back to normal just like it did after having Bailey….not so easy!

20120511-142035.jpg

6 months after Sienna was born, belly still ‘pregnant’ looking!

I went to the physio again, who like last time gave me the same exercises to do, but having a 2 and a half year old in toe this time round, life was far more challenging and of course things like myself got pushed to the side. Things were different this time too. I had to wear a support compression belt for 6 weeks after having Sienna and when this time was completed, I had to wear those belly support undies. After 6 months my belly had gone down considerably, but I was left with a bulge that had so much loose skin hanging from it, as my skin was stretched beyond repair!

I didn’t get even a hint of stretch marks with Bailey, but with Sienna I did! I mean I really should be grateful to only get what I did….she was 4.6 kgs born!!!! I remember approaching Sienna’s 1st birthday and my belly was no where near back to its flat state that it was pre baby and post Bailey! But I came to accept that this is how it would be now and if that was the result of being able to conceive, carry and give birth to two beautiful precious gifts, then I was ok with that!

20120511-142122.jpg

At the races for my 30th birthday, nearly 2 years since Sienna was born and still sporting a belly!

The kids loved my belly. It was like a big bowl of jelly that they could mush their little hands around in. I still remember Bailey coming into our bed in the mornings and lifting my pj top to play with my belly. I wasn’t phased by it at all! They would always ask me “why is your belly like that mummy?” and I’d reply with telling them how they grew inside my belly and everytime they grew my skin would keep stretching and stretching and eventually it stretched so far that it didn’t go back anymore! They loved that story!

My support undies became an essential to my wardrobe and I never would go out without them on. I know it sounds stupid but I lacked confidence without them. Things I use to wear nicely, didn’t look as nice anymore and I always had an overhang whenever I bent over or sat down! I was often asked if I was pregnant or not, but all I kept thinking of were my two precious babies and how blessed I was to have them! Then I did fall pregnant with Mia. By now my thoughts were more focused on crap 3 kids how am I going to manage this as apose to how will my belly look now!

20120511-142246.jpg

Hours before giving birth to my third and final baby….my belly had reached its peak and will never be like this again!

Mia’s pregnancy was a cross between my first two so I didn’t put as much weight on as I did when pregnant with Sienna, but more than I did with Bailey and I finally got my wish for a baby in the 8 pounds lol! At 38 weeks, weighing 8 pound 13, Mia Natalie Trew was born and completed our beautiful family! Mia’s birth was very bittersweet as I was diagnosed with a heart condition a week prior so the last thing I was thinking about was my belly, I was happy that I got through it without any complications to Mia or myself!

It’s amazing how different your body feels after giving birth to an 8 pound baby as apose to a 10 pound baby! But third big baby in 5 years, it was always going to take its toll and this time I ended up with an 8cm stomach muscle separation:( Between my heart and my belly, I wasn’t able to do any heavy lifting for the first few months, bit hard with 3 kids under 5! I saw a really awesome physio this time and within 4 months of having Mia, my muscle separation was back to 2 and a half cms, which meant it didn’t need to be surgically fixed….I was stoked!

20120511-142148.jpgBailey and Sienna meeting their baby sister for the first time….my belly is like a shelf in this photo!

Again the excess skin and bulge was as bad as ever and the kids thought it felt as squishy as ever too. As much as I was beginning to miss my lean flat belly, the belly I had now was a beautiful reminder of the three precious babies I carried and nurtured while they were growing inside of me. But something was changing, I was starting to feel a strong urge to reclaim my original body shape that I’d given up hope on, while I was getting use to being a mum of 1, then 2 and finally 3 children. Knowing Mia was our last, the time had come for me to put myself first and do something about my bulging belly!

It’s been 7 months now since I started my weight loss journey and I can happily report that it is possible to win the battle of the bulging belly! It takes time, but with patience, determination and perseverance, the battle can be won! I haven’t spent hundreds of hours at the gym, nor do I spend hundreds of hours exercising each week! I simply walk or run for half an hour each day and follow a healthy eating plan. It took a long time for me to finally put those running shoes back on to reclaim the person I once was, but the timing was right and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

20120511-142018.jpg

15months after giving birth and 7 months of exercise and healthy eating, my belly is close as it will get to pre baby:)

I feel like I have a new lease on life now. I’m so much happier, fitter and healthier, which reflects on every aspect of my life! The kids love me exercising and join in with me whenever possible. I have thrown all my belly undies away and feel as confident as ever! When I tell people I have 3 children, they look at me and say “you!” and I think “why not me!” People stereotype mums and what we should or shouldn’t look like or wear. At the end of the day we are humans and should be allowed to do things for ourselves that make us happy! Losing weight hasn’t affected my mothering duties, I think I’m an even better mum now. My belly will never be back to its original state prior to having children, but it’s as close as it will ever be and I’m so satisfied with that!

20120511-142334.jpg

20120511-142414.jpg