Goodwood Marathon 2022

Yesterday I ran the Goodwood Marathon… for the 3rd time.

This means I’ve now run round the Goodwood Motor Circuit 33 times. That’s a lot for quite a dull course . So if anyone hears me contemplating running it again, please punch me.

The reason I did it again was because after running the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon in December as a “can  I still run marathons post baby” kind of test and feeling like it went really well, I wanted to  do another marathon where I could  push the pace and see how well I could do. The only available marathon nearby and relatively soon was Goodwood. So Goodwood it was!

My training had been really good so I felt quietly confident. My overall goal  was for a sub-3.30 hour marathon. I felt like I could achieve this if things went well on the day. Like the weather wasn’t horrendous and I didn’t have any sickness or injury issues (always a risk during a marathon). And internally I hoped I could get a significant sub-3.30… it just depended how much I could give and how well I could run (of course).

The weather unfortunately wasn’t the best. It was very cold (standard for February obviously) and fairly windy. I’ve run Goodwood before when it’s been super windy and it was really hard work. I spent the first half of the lap battling the wind and then the second half recovering. I wasn’t that excited for the prospect of another race like that. But you can’t control nor change it, you just have to accept what you’re given on the day.

The night before Isaac stayed with my mum and dad so I could get a solid stretch of sleep. I was very grateful! But also, both sets of grandparents really love to babysit Isaac and take turns each week having him for a night. So we just made sure their turn was the night before the race.

I had a large veggie pizza from Asda and went to bed at 10pm. Because I’m breastfeeding, when Isaac stays with the grandparents I have to pump before I go to bed, during the night and first thing in the morning.

Obviously in the middle of the night isn’t the most fun experience but I’ve got it down to 15 minutes of entire wake time for the whole process so it’s really not that hard. This helps keep our milk stores in the freezer topped up so I can give the grandparents milk when they look after him. It also means my boobs don’t feel like they’re going to explode!

Anyway, that all went fine and I was awake bright and early at 6.50am and we were leaving the house at 7.45am to get to Goodwood for around 8.20am, where we were meeting my parents (and Isaac) and Kyle’s mum. I ate toast on route. I normally have porridge but because I know there aren’t any toilets on the course I wanted to limit the amount of liquid I’d be having before the race.

I picked up my bib, went for a wee and was ready to go. It was cold and breezy but I knew once I started running I’d be fine. My family got themselves a bacon bap and a hot drink and wished me good luck.

We were called in waves of predicted start time and I went with the sub-3:30 bunch. I stood chatting with two other ladies while we waited to start. They were aiming for similar times and so once we started we naturally just stuck together in a little group.

One of the women had the Nike Vaporfly shoes on and they squeaked with every footfall. In fact, it amused me greatly that you could tell who was wearing them without even looking because of that tell-tale squeak.

The first few laps were fairly dull. I found I was comfortably ticking along the miles at 7.40ish and this didn’t feel too much of an effort. I love the marathon for this reason. It’s a strategy game. A pace that feels good at the start can be so much harder later, but do you risk it? Do you play it safe and go slower then hope to speed up later? The risk being you might not speed up and might have missed banking those faster times. But can you ever truly bank time in a marathon?

Normally my strategy is to go slow and increase as I carry on. 7.40 isn’t a slow pace for me by any means but it has been a comfortable pace I’ve been running a lot of my long runs. I could potentially knock it down to 7.30/20 later on if things went well. So I decided to try and keep under that pace.

The wind was from the south which meant it was dead against us as we ran along the stretch past the supporters (the complete opposite to the last time I ran it). This was SO much better because as hard as the force of the wind was, you could use the crowd’s cheers to push you along. And then when you got round to the quieter section of the course the wind was pushing you along – exactly where you needed it.

By lap three I was on my own having just gently stretched ahead of the two ladies. The 20 miler race had started so there were more people on the course now and the faster runners were speeding past. It made things somewhat more interesting.

After the first lap, the nanas escaped, sensibly, to the warmth inside but my dad and Kyle braved the viewing deck and cheered me on every lap which was lovely. I will stress that I never ask my family to come and support me. Of course I’m always over the moon when they come to one of my races but equally if they don’t want to I’m absolutely fine with going on my own. After all, it’s my hobby and it’s not exactly a quick thing!

But they were really keen to come. I mean, let’s be honest the nanas love spending time with Isaac so that helped 😉 but my dad and Kyle are always really enthusiastic about cheering me on and getting geeky about pace times and goals. I think they were quite happy it was a race I was actually going for this time as that’s always a bit more fun for them to watch!

Anyway Isaac was having a whale of time apparently while I was out running.

By lap five I’d decided I needed a wee and started to look for good spots to run off the course to a well concealed bush. Unfortunately, Goodwood isn’t that great for hidden spots. The spot I’d seen others heading to (and a spot I’d used on the previous marathons) was quite a way off the course. However I managed to find a concealed spot behind a barrier quite close to the course (I stress it wasn’t an area people would normally walk!).

Ahh relief! I knew I’d only need that one wee during the race so I felt a lot better. Then my next plan of action for the next lap was to pick up my fuel from the aid station table. The race organisers had said we could leave our own water bottles and fuel at the water station so I had a bottle and a box with some Guylian Seashells and my headphones.

I’d decided that I didn’t want to use traditional gels (mainly because I didn’t have any and didn’t want to buy more) so figured chocolate would be a) more enjoyable and b) just as effective. Quick acting carbs! Guylian Seashells are quite melt-in-the-mouth so I hoped they’d be easy to get down.  I have quite a strong stomach when it comes to what fuel I can use (I’ve used chocolate before) so I knew it’d be OK.

Unfortunately with the cold weather they weren’t quite as melty as I’d hoped and involved a bit more chewing. This was fine tho, it just meant I needed to hang on to my water for a bit longer so I could wash them down. I had two and felt a bit more peppered up!

I have to say there isn’t much to talk about from then until mile 20ish really. The laps were ticking past and I was bored out of my mind. To keep myself amused I was counting up to 100 and back down again. There really wasn’t anything else to do other than look at other runners and smile at the marshals (who were incredible by the way – standing out in that windy cold weather cheering us on. Utter heroes!). I ran past my friends Mike (who I ran the Portsmouth Coastal with) and Gabby. They were going a more leisurely pace without a goal time in mind. They seemed very chilled and relaxed! It was nice to briefly speak to them.

As I got past mile 20 I decided to pop my earphones in and listen to some music to rev me up a bit. I stopped at the aid station to grab them and had a bit of a fluster when I couldn’t find my box.  Luckily the marshals had just moved it to one side, whew!

As I got going again I had one lap of music before I decided to switch to a bit more of a higher tempo playlist. Unfortunately for whatever reason this caused my earphones to stop working and I lost the music altogether. Ho hum!

But by now I really only had two laps to go so I was a bit more focused and ready to push as much as I could. I started counting faster in the hope that would help things. From the time on my watch I knew I was firmly in the sub-3:30 territory… and suddenly had the realisation that I could get close to sub-3:20!

My dad and Kyle were being the most fantastic supporters and I could tell they knew what I knew and that I was looking to be getting a faster than predicted time.

I definitely gave a bit too much in my penultimate lap and realised I wasn’t going to be able to take much more seconds off my pace. My legs were feeling incredibly hard done by and I didn’t have much more in the tank to suddenly drop a gear and zoom ahead.

As I got to the final lap I passed Mike and Gabby again and they enthusiastically cheered me on which MASSIVELY helped. My dad and Kyle were shouting at me to keep on pushing but jeeze as I got the full force of the wind again down that straight it just felt impossible to go any faster.  In fact my pace slipped to 7.45+. I tried my best to push through and it was only after getting round so the wind was more of a crosswind that I could catch my breath and bring the pace back down again.

Then I started to feel droplets of cold rain. This last lap wasn’t going to be pretty. I was literally counting down each 0.1. I could see I had the chance to get under 3:20 if I really pushed hard. The marshals were amazing and they cheered me along – as they had every lap. It really mattered!

By the time I was hitting the final mile and seeing the finish line in sight the rain was starting to come down and the wind was stronger. It was such a grind to get to that finish straight and to push myself forward. I looked at my watch and realised I had about one minute to get there.

My whole family were at the finish line and were cheering me on as I grinded my way to the end. I could barely raise a smile to them I was so focused on just FINISHING.

And whew, I finished in 3:19:37!

I am SO chuffed you wouldn’t believe. I really worked hard for that time in this race. It wasn’t a breeze. While I still managed to wave and smile, it definitely wasn’t the level I’m usually at during a marathon when it’s all flowers and rainbows and I’m loving life.

This race was a rarity for me in that I went there for a purpose: to see how I could do. It wasn’t about enjoying the miles, like I normally do.  It was seeing what my body could achieve seven months postpartum. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the race. It was bloody hard and I fully grafted my way through it, but I still get such a thrill. Just not to the extent of some of my other marathons where I’m not going for a time.

I’m very proud of myself. I honestly didn’t think I’d do as well as I did. I thought I was in a sub-3:30 shape, possibly 3:25. Realistically I knew I’d never be in reach of my PB because honestly I’d have had to have gone out a lot faster and felt more comfortable increasing the pace later (which I definitely wasn’t able to do), but I didn’t think I’d get my second fastest marathon.

So I’m very pleased! A tough marathon but one I’m very proud of. And again, I can’t stress how much I appreciate my incredible supporters – especially now we have Isaac and can’t just swan off whenever we want. I’m beyond grateful to them and feel very lucky to have such a supportive family 🙂

Now on to the next marathon – Southampton in April (fingers crossed!).

7 months postpartum

Hello! So I thought I’d dust off the old laptop and write a few things down.

Things have got a bit less crazy and I feel like I have a bit more time to write. I love writing my blog – regardless if people read it or not. It’s very cathartic and I love that I have a space somewhere where I’ve jotted thoughts and memories down. I mean, obviously a lot of it’s about running but I want to share some aspects of motherhood and life lately too. Significant stuff basically.

Isaac is now almost 7 months old. Like a broken record I’m going to say how incredible it seems that he’s that old, and yet it also feels a lifetime ago that he was born. So much has happened, so much has changed – with him, with us, with life in general. Of course it would… but yeah it’s just a bit mental.

I won’t lie though. It has been incredibly hard. I’ve struggled a lot with being a mum. So much anxiety, so much second guessing and wondering if I’m doing a good enough job. Constantly wondering if Isaac loves me and is happy I’m his mum. Hoping every day I’m doing a good job and doing the best for him. I know I’m not alone in these feelings and it’s kind of par for the course, but god it’s a lot. Throw in lack of sleep and it’s quite overwhelming at times.

Crucially I’ve learnt that it’s important to not compare yourself or your child to anyone else. I mean, I knew this before about running, but applying it to being a mum and seeing other babies and how they’re doing and what they’re doing, it’s another level. Everyone wants to do the best for their child and I’m sure everyone is doing the best in whatever shape that takes, and every child is different so comparisons are really pointless.

But anyway, Isaac is doing marvellously. His personality is coming alive. He’s more aware of the world and just wants to be fully involved at all times. It’s lovely and exhausting! I just love that we can play a bit more – rather than just dangle things in front of him.

I’m also thoroughly enjoying weaning him. He’s still being breastfed so coupling that with “real” food now is another fun challenge but I love seeing his reactions to different foods and seeing what he likes and what he doesn’t. Obviously it all changes and things he hates one day he adores the next so that’s a fun puzzle to play each day!

Loving porridge, like his mum!

Running is going really well. I can’t believe how my fitness has improved. I’m running around 30 miles a week currently, four times. Usually a 6 miler, a 7 miler then 3 miles (possibly parkrun) and then a longer run. I’m currently training for the Goodwood Marathon on 13th February so that’s been taking my focus.

What’s hugely helped has been running with Isaac in the running buggy. We use the Out N About Nipper Sport running buggy and it’s brilliant. Super light, lots of suspension (great getting up curbs). But the only thing is the fixed wheel at the front is tough when you’re turning corners but you just get used to it.

It’s hard though. It’s a lot more effort, obviously, than just running on your own. But I think this has helped my fitness. I run slower with the bugger, of course, but the effort level is a lot harder and it’s almost like strength training. So doing that for my 6 and 7 milers each week has ramped my strength and endurance up nicely. Long time readers and anyone who knows me knows I hate and rarely do speed training!

I also do two strength sessions a week as well. One is just a home workout I do with lighter weights for about 30-45mins. And the other sessions is with my personal trainer at the gym. We focus on lifting quite heavy weights rather than volume. I’m really proud that my squats have worked up to 8 reps of 82.5kg! This is more than I was lifting before I was pregnant (just!). So my legs feel nice and strong. It definitely helps keep injuries away.

So that’s a little update from me. I hope to get more into the swing of things again with blogging. Fingers crossed 🙂

Portsmouth Coastal Marathon 2021

Sooo it’s been a while since I last blogged!

I wont lie, the desire to blog has been very low. Time is very precious right now and when I have a few moments to spare I don’t really fancy blogging. I do a lot of updates on Instagram but it’s just not the same as having a bit of a ramble on here. And what better time to have a little ramble than post marathon! My favourite blogs to write are race recaps and I love to keep the memories of the race, while they’re fresh, alive on here (even if no one cares or no one reads!).

I came back to running after 12 weeks of giving birth to Isaac and I did it sensibly, but I also did it with the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon in the back of my mind too. From starting running to that race it was about 12 weeks… which could be doable for an “easier” paced marathon. A marathon that I really enjoy for its festive and fun atmosphere, it’s literally on my doorstep, just before Christmas and one that isn’t about PB attempts (at least for me).

My comeback to running went well – nothing felt off, my pelvic floor held out and I slowly built up the miles. I hope one day to write a bit more about this journey but for now the Sparks Notes is that I built the long runs up, did supplementary strength training to keep my body strong and just ran consistently 3-4 times a week.

I’d managed to (gently) coerce my good friend, Mike, to run the marathon too. We’ve run another marathon together before – the New Forest marathon – when I tried to help him get a sub-4 hour.  This time though it wasn’t about me pacing him, just about us running together enjoying the race and each other’s company. I wasn’t aiming for any sort of fast time and Mike just wanted to get round, which sounded perfect as that would roughly be around an “easier” pace for me considering the long runs I’d managed to do beforehand.

I had a Papa Johns pizza and some chicken wings (sage and onion festive flavoured – they were incredible!) the night before. And my usual porridge in the morning. Kyle’s lovely mum had Isaac the night before so we could get a good night’s sleep before the race, which was just so helpful! He’s waking 2-3 times a night still… So Sarah came over in the morning with Isaac and to drive down with us to the start.

It was so so lovely. Kyle’s mum, sister and brother were coming to support Mike and I as well as my parents. It was really lovely of them and it meant so much to us to have those cheers throughout the race. I’m very lucky to be part of a family who are so supportive.

Yes it wasn’t a goal race but it was my first race post baby. The Portsmouth Coastal isn’t a big race in terms of numbers (less than 1,000?) and while the marshalls are incredible there isn’t a huge amount of consistent support round the course. So knowing we’d see my family 4 times around the course was such a boost.

I met Mike down at the start area about ten minutes before the start. I had a quick pre-race pee and then we were off. The weather was fantastic. No noticeable wind. Not too cold. No rain. It was perfect.

For the first seven miles (before we first saw my family) Mike and I had a nice relaxed start, chatting away and catching up on life. The miles flew by! We also saw a few people we knew from Hedge End Running Club as well as some other familiar faces. It’s such a local race that you just see so many people, which is great.

The annoying bit where you run across the shingles wasn’t too bad. There hadn’t even been a bottleneck to get onto it like there had been the two times I’d run it before. So it was just a quick amble across – try not to break your ankles! – and we were done. Whew.

We did go a little too quick perhaps as we bumped into people we knew and without realising we were speeding up. We all laughed and realised this could be problematic and that none of us wanted to go too speedy! So we slowed down again. It’s always dangerous during a marathon to go too quickly at the start because you feel so good. You’re so fresh and the miles haven’t really hit you yet. But it’s a long race and you have to be cautious because you have literally hours to go!

I was feeling really good though. Nice and comfortable and like I said the miles seemed to fly by. Suddenly we were at Farlington Marshes where our support crew were waiting. We got a big cheer which was lovely, Mike picked up his Lucozade which Kyle was holding for him (handy having supporters for this!) and we were on our way again. Isaac was having a nap in the car so I didn’t see him then, but he was in excellent hands of course.

The course had slightly changed from the previous races but it was still mostly familiar to me and I’m sure I bored Mike to tears with “when I ran this a few years ago…” conversations we had. I’m a broken record!

Both Mike and I were feeling good and enjoying ourselves. The miles were ticking off and around 10 miles (I think) we started seeing the front runners of the marathon heading back. Wow!! We cheered them along – it’s amazing how fast they were! I love and out and back race because you get to see the faster runners coming back and it helps pass the time.

We passed the Lambrook pub where my family and I were actually going to go for lunch after the race. It was funny to think in a few hours it’d all be over and I’d be sat eating a big carvery there later.

Mike and I got to around 11 miles where there’s always a festive aid station (shots of port, cups of mulled wine, mine pies and Jaffa cakes) and where the next location our supporters would be. The last time I ran this I was waving so much and paying too much attention to the cheering that I almost ran into a bollard (a hilarious video was of course captured). As I ran past them this time my dad shouted “mind the bollard!”. Haha I definitely saw it this time!

As the route had slightly changed, we wouldn’t be running too much further on. The turnaround would come sooner. This was a nice thing to do because previously it used to be quite a long run out at this point and the route was quite samey with the terrain and scenery not changing too much. It sort of goes a bit off road (not crazy off road, just on compacted trail and away from the traffic etc.). I needed a wee at this point so was on the lookout for a well concealed bush. Thankfully I saw a fork in the road and ran off there to do my business. A few people shouted I was going the wrong way but I said nature calls and they laughed.

I’d told Mike to keep running so now was the job to catch up with him again. I felt a bit uncharitable picking up speed and overtaking people and (they must have wondered what the hell I was doing suddenly sprinting along). It was also tough going to suddenly be trying to run a lot faster than I had been before, but it wasn’t too long before I’d caught Mike back up and could settle back into a more reasonably chilled pace (and catch my breath!).

Eventually we reached the turnaround point and headed back the way we’d come… all 13.1 miles of it. I love this point of the race because now you know exactly what you’re in for. The route does slightly change from what we ran to begin with but it’s basically the same (we avoid the shingles this time because the tide will have come in).

I sent Kyle a quick voice note on my phone to ask him for some Vaseline as I could feel a bit of chafing happening but as we got to the cheer spot we couldn’t see them. Then suddenly across the road I saw Kyle and his brother Zack race over shouting that they didn’t realise the turnaround was quicker this year haha! Thankfully he had the Vaseline and threw it over to me as I waited for them to cross the road and told Mike to go ahead. Then I had to catch him up again.

As we got to about 16 miles Mike started to slow down a little. But we were still going a nice clip and were in good spirits. We had another annoying bit of shingle which wasn’t nearly as fun to cross this time with all those miles in our legs!

At mile 19 we saw my family again and they gave us a lovely cheer. I gave Isaac a quick kiss as he was now awake. It was just so lovely to see him mid-race. Something I would never have dreamed about in a million years!

And then we were off back towards Southsea seafront. Things were getting trickier now. We were starting to slow down more and more now. I wanted to keep Mike’s spirits up so kept talking rubbish to him (which I’m sure he really appreciated…) and hopefully helped him. We stopped at an aid station and I decided to risk it and have a mulled wine. It’s Christmas why not eh! It was delicious.

The changes in terrain as we headed over some grasslands didn’t help Mike’s twinges that he was starting to feel in his quads. I wish I could have helped him but there’s nothing really you can do but keep encouraging. Our pace wasn’t descending too badly and we were still trucking along so this was good.

I needed another wee and knew there was a toilet ahead so I told Mike I’d dash in and catch him up. And now we were on the Southsea prom, just one long stretch to the finish along the waterfront. We had slowed a bit more now and Mike needed to do some run walking to help with his painful quads. I knew he felt frustrated and just wanted to get to the end now.

Mike said he was happy though as this had happened a lot later in the marathon than he thought and we were actually on for a faster time than he’d expected. We literally had only a couple of miles left and despite the long straight dragging out in front of us, we’d be done soon.

We saw my family again right at the end and we got ourselves together and ran to the finish. Ahh it felt so good! My time was 4:13:19.

Despite Mike’s painful legs, he said he was really happy with the race and the time we’d done. I think we’d both expected to be around 4.30 so to be so much faster was a happy surprise. Our intention was never to smash out a fast time or go for a sub-4 but to get so close to his PB (around 4:08) this was such a decent result!

Myself, I was so chuffed. Yes I’ve run faster marathons but I’ve never run a marathon after a baby and to feel so strong all the way through has given me such confidence. To know I can do the distance again and not break has made be very happy indeed. I can’t wait to see what I can do in another marathon now.

I got reunited with my little man which was just lovely. Though he had been fed by my family while I was running, I did need to feed him myself as my boobs were quite full now! So I sat on the grass and fed him while I enjoyed a post-marathon glow 😊

After doing some post race celebrations and chats with Mike, we headed off for our carvery. It was delicious. Nothing like a gigantic plate of roast dinner to refuel after a marathon eh!

So in a nutshell, I’m SO pleased with how this race went. I had a fantastic time running with Mike. He’s a great person to run with and it’s such a festive fun race before Christmas you can’t help but enjojy yourself. I mean obviously it’s still 26.2 miles, but for me during this race they just seem to fly by as it’s so varied and enjoyable. And of course, a huge thank you to my incredible family who just made the race so much more amazing by being there for us. I feel so warm and fuzzy 🙂

Now on to the next race eh! 😉

11 weeks and how it’s going

Blimey it’s been a while!

I mean it’s to be expected I guess – it’s a lot looking after a little newborn (well, let’s be honest he’s not that much of a newborn anymore and he’s definitely not that little). At 11 weeks he’s rather the chunk weighing in over a stone and in the 98th percentile for length!

In terms of how I’m feeling, I have to say, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my maternity leave. As a self-declared “lady of leisure” it’s been quite lovely. Of course it’s super tiring, sometimes stressful, sometimes emotional and the hours aren’t the best, but on the whole it’s so nice to be off and to spend such quality time with Isaac, family and friends without having to worry about work.

I’m not going back to work until April so I’ll have a good few months of this still but it really does feel like it’s flying by. I know I’ll blink and suddenly it’ll be over and then we’ll be juggling childcare and work… scary stuff. But thoughts for another time!

What have I been up to lately? Well, quite a bit! We’ve been back to parkrun – though I’m not running yet. I’m still 11 weeks postpartum and don’t intend on “coming back” until at least 12 weeks. And even then it’ll be a gradual return. To be honest, I’m a little terrified and not even sure it’ll be a success even then. I’m working on my core, my pelvic floor muscles and general strength each week so finger crossed.

But walking parkrun either with the pram or the carrier has been lovely. It’s nice to still be involved in it and of course parkrun is so welcoming and lovely that walking it hasn’t been an issue at all. I get lots of comments about the youngest parkrun being in attendance and Isaac seems to love it. To be fair, he’s very used to going for walks having been on a walk every single day of his life so far!

I also went up to Stoke and North Wales with my mum so Isaac could meet his great grandparents.

It was lovely to see them and for them to see him – we go lots of special memories and photos.

The trip wasn’t too difficult either and we only had one night out of the three where Isaac struggled with sleep (and I’m thinking this is potentially because I had a very large non-decaf coffee – my first since before I was pregnant!).

In general though it’s been a lot easier as Isaac has gotten older. Sleep has been better, though I’m still waking up 2-3 times a night to feed. But Isaac is so easy to feed, change and put back down to sleep that I’m not awake for long. And he even let’s us sleep in till 9am which is glorious!

He’s been for his first couple of swimming lessons as well.  I say swimming, more like floating. But after the initial first lesson which he really wasn’t happy about he now seems much much better in the water. It’s so important for us to get him nicely adjusted to the water because we live by the sea and want to make sure it’s something he’s comfortable and safe with.

Of course it’s still a minefield of confusion, worries and stress with looking after Isaac but we feel a lot more comfortable and at ease with things. We don’t feel like he could die at any moment if we look away for a second. We’ve gotten into a good rhythm of days and know what to do in different scenarios. It’s amazing how from being so clueless you can be to being so much more knowledgeable and comfortable.

But of course we have many more hurdles to get over and more changes to come so no doubt we’ll be back to being clueless and hapless parents once again!

How it’s going – being a new mum

I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to write my blog but just didn’t get the chance…  Life as a new mum is quite hectic! I mean, this is probably obvious to everyone of course. I’m just such a newbie to this.

Isaac is almost eight weeks old. And as everyone says in that cliché way, it has gone by so quickly. He’s no longer the tiny little newborn. He’s now quite the unit at 12lb 5oz! I mean to be honest he was never teeny tiny to begin with being 8lb 4oz, but he is so big now, and so LONG. Probably because Kyle is 6ft 2 (and his whole family are on the tall side).

We probably got a few days’ worth of him using his newborn clothes. Now he’s barely squeezing into the 0-3 months. This is a bit sad as there were so many cute outfits he never got to wear.

So how have things been? Well, the first weeks was a complete whirlwind of not knowing what the hell we were doing. I second guessed everything I was doing – from feeding to burping to sleeping. Not being a hugely maternal person or baby person in general, I literally knew squat about caring for a baby. Everything was pretty scary to begin with.

It’s funny because I’m surrounded by so many of my friends who have had a baby/babies and yet I was never keen to find out more about how things were going. You know, the details. The nitty gritty. My own fault entirely and probably quite selfish of me. And now I’m deep in the trenches and finding out about the sides of my friend’s lives that I never asked about.

Cake and boob – perfect combo

I’m still breastfeeding and it’s going very well. I actually can’t believe how well it’s gone. Isaac latched on straight away from the get go and we never had any issues there. Right at the beginning I had some soreness and amost a blister on one nipple, but then after that it just got easier and there were no issues. After listening to podcasts, friends and family hearing about how hard it could it be I was prepared for the worst. So to find it so easy almost feels like I’m cheating. But I am so so grateful.

The only problem I have with breastfeeding is that I don’t know how much Isaac is actually getting. I worried (and to be honest still do) about how often to feed and if he’s getting enough. But as people  keep stressing to me, if he was going hungry I’d know about it. He’s a very content and happy baby and we feed on demand.

It used to be every hour, then every two. And now we’re 2.5-3.5 hours and that seems to work perfectly. I thought I’d be on the sofa for hours at end breastfeeding but actually Isaac is a super quick eater and on average is done within 10 mins.

While we’ve been super lucky with so many aspects of the pregnancy, birth and Isaac himself, sleep has been the one thing that hasn’t been that great. At first he was waking up every our in the night. And we really struggled to get him to fall back to sleep. It was exhausting. Rocking and shushing in darkness and lowering him into his moses basket with the precision of a bomb disposal unit, it was relentless.

We were staying awake in shifts so Isaac could sleep on one of us or on the bed next to us in one of those sleeping pod things (which are unsafe to for a baby to be left sleeping unassisted). But eventually we got out of that and he would sleep in a crib next to us thank god!!

Getting four hours sleep a night was classed as good. However now we seem to be in a better place. It’s sort of a predictable lack of sleep… but we’re averaging 7-8 hours on a good night and 6 on a bad night so can’t complain! Isaac will usually wake up at least twice in the night and then in the morning. It’s relatively easy though as I just feed, change and he goes back down straight away.

And through the day I’m just led by him. We tried to dictate a bit of a routine but that didn’t end well. So now we just follow his lead. He sleeps when he wants and I feed every 2-3 hours depending on what he’s doing.  Reading back this sentence, old Anna would be aghast at such a baby-dictated schedule but honestly it’s the best for us. I don’t want to stress about “awake windows” and nap times. Isaac doesn’t sleep a huge amount in the day despite us trying. He’s a “wakeful” baby. If we take him out in the car he’ll sleep and it’s 50/50 if he falls asleep in the pram. But he seems very content so we’re happy with this.

As much as a routine and strict times would work well for us to plan our day, I’m much more relaxed with how we’re doing it at the moment. In the future I might change things up but I enjoy our days much better when we have a general rhythm rather than a strict timing situation. It’s so funny because pre-pregnancy I was so set on making sure we’d have a routine. Funny how things change!

In terms of what I do through the day, Isaac and I are doing a lot of seeing friends and family. Going for coffees, going out for lunch or brunch. It’s actually quite wonderful. Usually every week I might have one day completely free of plans but every day tends to have something in it, seeing someone or going somewhere and I love it. I’m very lucky to have a strong and large network of support around me to help – whether that’s help with looking after Isaac or just being there for me so I can mentally unload.

So almost eight weeks on and things are going well! I think we’re out of the initial haze and panic of the initial stage thankfully. However I know we have many more hurdles to come. But at least we now have the foundations set inplace. Like, I can keep a baby alive for a few days at least 😉