Our trying to conceive journey

I actually feel a bit of a fraud saying our trying to conceive “journey” because it happened so quickly. I can’t stress enough that we know how lucky we are.

After we’d decided to crack on with getting pregnant, we decided to tell friends and family we’d begin trying next year so there was no pressure. And because I wanted to ask questions without arousing suspicion. Most of my friends have had babies (most more than one) so suddenly they were a fountain of information I’d never really paid attention to before. I guess selfishly I’d never asked detailed questions about how their “trying to conceive” journey (called TTC – got the lingo down). So between my friends, family and the Internet I had A LOT of information about the best ways in improving your chance to conceive.

I mean, I pretty much went from 0 to 100% in a short number of weeks. We were taking all the right supplements. I was using the app I’d previously used to track my period as my guide to ovulation. I had my copper coil removed (I can’t recommend this form of contraception enough by the way – no hormones, no remembering anything and no issues). And I even purchased 30 One Step ovulation tests (FYI very cheap on Amazon – they also come with cheap pregnancy tests too). We were good to go.

So I would say around September/October we officially began trying. Handily just after the Goodwood Marathon. I could take my foot off the pedal a bit in running. I would still run, but I now didn’t have any races or goals (*cough* until my friend Emma tempted me to run a marathon with her at the end of October!).

So when my period was expected and it didn’t come I got very excited very quickly. But a false pregnancy test quickly scuppered our hopes. Now my periods in general have been somewhat irregular in that I tend to have longer than usual cycles and when I have a stressful month or push my body too hard it can delay things. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I lost my period for a time (I wrote about it HERE and HERE) and since then my body is quite sensitive. The past few years though everything has been more or less fine. I’m healthy, things were regular (long cycles and sometimes irregular depending on things happening but mostly fine).

So now I was worried. Had I broken myself again? Had running Goodwood and then the marathon in all that rain and cold stressed me out too much? Work had been very stressful too and the pandemic didn’t help. I was getting ill more often than I had before as well. I was angry at myself. Had I taken my eye off the ball and not looked after myself? My weight hadn’t changed but I did feel stressed. And everyone said stress is the WORST for trying to conceive.

Another week went by and I took another test… nope. Kyle was lovely and supportive and kept trying to chill me out. I ran the marathon with Emma and enjoyed having something else to think about. We decided the Friday after that we’d go out to a pub, get a bit tipsy, eat a giant burger and get an Uber home and just forget about it all for a weekend. Perfect! Then Lockdown 2.0 happened and so our pub visit instead became a plan of G&T’s and Budweiser’s at home.

In myself though I didn’t feel right. I felt like I was about to start my period. I kept saying to Kyle, it LITERALLY feels like it’s going to happen any day. I had lots of my usual symptoms (spots, boobs a bit bigger and uncomfortable, general moodiness). My running had taken a nose dive. Every run felt hard and I was tired. I swapped my morning workouts to lunchtime so I could sleep more. I just felt pretty rubbish. I started taken iron supplements as I was convinced it was that. I said to Kyle how I wish I could just feel normal again.

Friday morning I woke up ridiculously early and laid there. My heart was thumping. Usually my resting HR is around 49-53. Lying in bed doing nothing it was almost 70! I checked back in my Garmin app and could see my resting HR had been slowly creeping up that week. Weird. Anyway I went to the loo and decided the most responsible thing to do was to take a pregnancy test because while I was 99% it would be negative I didn’t want to drink that evening without being certain.

I took the test, put it on the side and carried on washing my hands and all that jazz. Before heading back to bed I glanced at the test, not thinking I’d see anything, and was shocked to see a little second line had appeared. WHAT.

I stared at it in complete and utter disbelief. I started Googling the brand of test and false positives. Nope. False positives don’t happen.

I went back into the bedroom and gently woke Kyle up. It was 6.30am (well over an hour before we had to wake up) so he was a bit confused and groggy. I asked him to take a look at something and tell me what he saw. Well, that quickly woke him up! The rest of that day was a blur of happiness, excitement, fear, disbelief and three more pregnancy tests – all of which came up positive.

We were just absolutely gobsmacked. How did this happen?! I mean obviously I know how but it just seemed crazy. What I think happened is that the stress I was feeling pushed back my ovulation and we just happened to catch it without realising (I only took one ovulation test the night before the pregnancy test just out of interest – the irony). It suddenly made so much sense why I felt so rubbish. When we took the test I was 4 weeks and 4 days pregnant. Side note: technically I ran a marathon when I was over 3 week’s pregnant – I know this is a cheat as it’s such early days but I will take it haha!

We decided to wait until the next day to tell our parents… we also wanted to take one more test first thing just to be certain. The next day happened and another positive pregnancy result. I went from thinking I was broken to suddenly being miraculously pregnant! I went from thinking I was going to cut out running and anything stressful to being PREGNANT.

The next day we went to my parents to surprise them with the news and then to Kyle’s mum’s straight after – neither families having any idea.

Needless to say both sets were over the moon (I mean my mum literally screamed and jumped about the room!).

And we Facetimed Kyles dad too.

We decided to tell all our family straight away because I knew that if something sad were to happen I wouldn’t mind them knowing and would want their support regardless. So Kyle’s and my parents, our siblings, my grandparents… they all knew and were super excited for us. We were terrified but surrounded by so much love that I know everything will be OK whatever happens.

So thats that! Its been so hard not telling close friends but we eventually cracked at about eight weeks. I’m now 12 weeks and just glad to be heading out of the dreaded first trimester (more about that and how my running has been in a later post).

We’ve been keeping a secret…

Well, this is not a post I thought I’d be writing this year but here we go.

I’m pregnant! Wow even typing it feels weird. I’m actually writing this long before I posted because I wanted to accurately reflect on and document my experiences. I didn’t want to actually post it early days because of all the reasons, of course.

So where do I begin?

Firstly, this was planned. Weirdly not hugely far in advance though. Kyle and I moved in together in June (during the first lockdown) and enjoyed setting up our home, buying furniture and getting used to the eb and flow of life with each other and our new surroundings. Luckily being locked down together and both working from home – literally being around each other 24/7 – wasn’t hard (whew).

We began chatting about the future more and more. I’ve never been a maternal person and many times I’ve considered not having children. It’s not been a “goal” of mine or something that has greatly excited me. But being with Kyle… something changed. I didn’t have a maternal switch suddenly go on, but I felt more safe and comfortable with the idea of having a family with Kyle.

So we started talking more about it, like when we were thinking about having a family, fun baby names and how we’d tell our parents when we did get pregnant. Initially we’d agreed later next year to start trying but we were just talking about it so much and getting excited that Kyle turned to me and said “do you want a baby sooner?”.

Turns out we both did! I’m 32 (Kyle is 26) so there is somewhat of a ticking clock for me and while having a baby still seems terrifying and I have fears of my freedom and lifestyle being dramatically, well, locked down… The thought of having a baby with Kyle didn’t feel that scary or like our life as we knew it would be over. I’ve never felt maternal and I never envied my friends having children all around me. But Kyle made me feel very safe, happy and like it would be something amazing. Something we would do TOGETHER as a team.

Having a baby in my eyes has always seemed like it would change everything about my life in a bad way and my identity would change to be being “just a mother” without anything else interesting about me. While I do realise having a baby will change our whole world, I became to realise that I could still be myself as well. We could still enjoy our lives as we were (yes with sacrifices and compromises) and that a baby would add to us rather than take away from us. This shift in thinking was largely due to Kyle’s reassurances and seeing how close friends had babies that slotted into their lives rather than becoming the centre of their universe.

It’s funny because I’ve never had a rose-tinted view of having a baby. It’s mostly been all the negatives and focusing on all the hard bits. The sleepless nights, no time to yourself, the finances involved, living a less selfish life, my body changing completely outside of my control. But I never considered all the good stuff. This baby would part of us, we would be making so many amazing memories, and we would have a lot of help from family and friends. We wouldn’t be alone. Yes it’ll be hard, but hard for good reasons. Good reasons I had never considered before.

Holidays and races… two big things I love in my life which I knew would take a backseat if we did decided to have a baby. But if 2020 has taught me anything it’s that I don’t need these things to make me happy. And actually I’d achieved what I wanted to achieve for the moment in terms of running. Yes of course I want to run more marathons, especially all over the world, but having a baby doesn’t mean this will end forever. I realise it won’t be happening for a while (COVID aside) but I can still run marathons later in my life if I want to. It’s a shame that COVID has meant we couldn’t do what we wanted this year in terms of marathons and holidays and we probably can’t squeeze many holidays abroad (if at all) before the arrival of the baby in July but it just means our focus will be elsewhere for the time being. And we can still have little holidays and day trips for the time being, which I adore doing.

So we decided to start trying. Amazingly (and I know we are so, so lucky with this) it happened very quickly. More quickly than we expected and to be honest it was quite the shock. Shit got real very quickly, pardon my French. I’m going to do another post about this because it’s quite a funny story and I want to share it.

But basically I am now 11 weeks pregnant and while I can’t see any bump yet (though my boobs are gigantic it’s incredible!), I wake up every day knowing my body is doing incredible things and a constant reminder that the future is looking very different indeed…

So that’s it! I’m preggers. Up the duff. Bun in the oven. Mit baby.

I’ll be doing some more posts about how I’ve been finding the first trimester and my experiences with running, if anyone cares 🙂

A weekend of fun and food in Brighton

Kyle and I just love Brighton and we like to go for a little mini trip just before Christmas.

This was our third time going and initially we were worried we wouldn’t be able to because of All The Reasons but thankfully both Portsmouth and Brighton are in tier 2.

We took Friday off and I got in a lovely seven mile run in the morning. Normally I’d quite like to do a run in Brighton but I thought it would just be easier to move my run from Saturday to beforehand on Friday so I wouldn’t have to take my running gear with me and we could have a nice lie-in. As much as I love running in Brighton, it’s also nice to lay in bed and chill with Kyle. He’s not as into running recently (for All The Reasons) and it felt a little sad me waking up early and doing a run on my own while he was back at the Airbnb.

Anyway my seven mile run was really lovely. I ran a new route down to Old Portsmouth and it refreshed things up for me a bit. My runs have become a little  samey recently. Just the same old routes, the same distances… my motivation was getting a bit stale. So changing my route up really helped and I really enjoyed the run.

Then Kyle and I headed to Brighton, all masked up, on the train. Our Airbnb was about a 20 minute walk from the station and super close to the seafront which was lovely.

The room itself was gorgeous – and definitely made me think to earmark if I wanted to do the Brighton marathon again (which is almost certainly something I’d love to do!)

We mooched around the Lanes and the local shops and stopped for a quick pick-me-up at a lovely café called Black Mocha. What I love about Brighton are all the independent coffee shops and shops in general. And they all offer vegan options for milk, which is great. We both went for a hot chocolate (I chose almond milk), topped with whipped cream, big marshmallows and huge chunky pieces of honeycomb!

It was delicious. And because we couldn’t resist we got ourselves a slice of the salted caramel brownie each too. Very greedy but very worth it!

We were then well-fuelled to do more browsing around the shops and enjoying the lights coming on as the darker afternoon drew in. It was quite busy in Brighton so we both decided to keep our masks on outside when it was super busy – it just felt a little claustrophobic round the shops. Of course we were part of the problem too…

We bought some doughnuts from Dum Dum Doughnuts (which we’ve tried before and are divine!) so we’d have some pudding or later and the next day.

Then we headed to Meat Liquor for our dinner. We went here last year and really liked it so decided to go again.

We both went for a fried chicken burger and I went for Buffalo and blue cheese loaded fries while Kyle went for cheesy gravy loaded fries. The food was so good!

We then ambled back to our Airbnb, watched Freaky Friday before munching on some doughnuts in bed. It was absolutely luxurious. I had an Oreo doughnut which was stuffed with Oreo buttercream – amazing.

The next morning we both woke up quite early surprisingly and decided to get up and get out for breakfast. We were going to go to the Breakfast Club, where we’ve been before, but then a café called Moksha Caffe caught my eye on Instagram so we decided to go there instead. While we do like the Breakfast Club it can get so busy and it’s a little bit over-hyped for what it is. We were so chuffed to have gone to Moksha Caffe instead as it was so good.

We easily got a table (I mean, we were quite early for a Saturday!) and both ordered the main big breakfast with homemade hash browns added.

I also had a carrot, apple and ginger juice which was super tasty. The breakfast was so good! From the homemade baked beans to the sourdough toast, it was very nice! We’ll definitely go back.

Then we headed back to the train to go back home. It was such a lovely trip to Brighton. So Christmassy, so full of happy memories – of which we added more too. I love this tradition for us!

The next day I got up early to meet my friend, Martin, for a rather wet and soggy run. I haven’t seen Martin in real life for maybe over a year which is mad! We had lots of catch up on and it was lovely to run with a friend on such a miserable day. I certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed the run as much on my own.

I ran 6.5 miles with Martin then 3.5 miles on my own before getting home and dry with a much needed bacon roll!

And of course we finished our weekend with another doughnut 😉

This was a Lotus Biscoff cronut (doughnut cross with a croissant). Honestly one of the best doughnuts I’ve ever had!

It was such a lovely, albeit tiring, weekend. I’m so glad we were able to maintain some kind of normality through all the craziness. Who knows what the new year will bring after all…

Have you still been able to do “normal” things you’d do around Christmas?

Do you prefer chicken, beef or veggie burgers? I love chicken burgers.

Things I’ve Been Loving Lately – October/November

So we’ve almost survived Lockdown 2.0, hurrah!

Christmas is just around the corner and I’m feeling positive for 2021. Here’s what I’ve been enjoying recently.

MINI Runner’s Gift Box

The lovely people from Adventusaur sent me one of their personalised running letterbox hampers which I think is just the sweetest and fun idea.

Basically it’s a little box full of handy running essentials. It’s such a great gift to send someone before a big race they’re about to do. It contains things like Vaseline (we’ve all been there…), a gel, Haribo (of course), a protein bar (handy for post-race recovery), amongst other items.

They’re a small up and coming business so I really hope people go for this sort of thing. During these COVID times it’s nice to be able to send someone something like this if you can’t actually see them. I guess it doesn’t even have to be for a race – but someone new to running as like a starter pack for them.

Free Train

I’m a big fan of taking my phone out with me on a run – whether for listening to music or a podcast or for the standard mid-run selfie/photo.

This is a very secure way to carry your phone and what’s handy is that you can fish it out very easily on the move, or if you want to stop.

I do love a running belt and the Koala Clip I have that attaches  to my sports bra, but it’s tricky to get my phone out easily if I want to quickly change a song or whatever. It feels super secure, doesn’t bounce and didn’t rub. It’s a great idea!

Floreseca Dried Flowers

I saw this on Instagram and just fell in love with their dried flowers. I’ve become a big fan of flowers in general but they never last long (obviously). However dried flowers obviously last a lot longer. And I knew they were about to launch their Christmas collection. They’re a small business so sell out quickly so I set my alarm for when they were launching and managed to snag myself a one of their Winter arrangements.

Ahhh they’re so beautiful! Love our sparkly and Christmassy they are, but not overly in your face Christmasssy, you know? I could potentially leave them up after Christmas – so very much worth their money!

Care packages

My amazingly talented baker (and runner) friend Emma sent me the sweetest care package recently.

It contained one of her freshly baked sourdough loaves, brownies and a GIANT 1kg bag of peanut M&M’s.

This was such a lovely thoughtful gift! I will have to show great restraint not to eat too many M&M’s in one sitting though haha.

Hello Fresh

So I’m back on the Hello Fresh train again. I really do love it. Previously I’d find myself scouring the Internet for recipes and wondering what to cook every week night for Kyle and I. I wanted healthy, filling and tasty but I was finding we were just falling into boring routines and bad habits. And takeaways, while I do love them so, were becoming easier to just fall back to if we’d had a particularly tough day.

Now we have three guaranteed week night meals of healthy, exciting and very tasty meals. I thoroughly enjoy cooking and this is just perfect. I love listening to a podcast while I prepare dinner. And then Kyle and I will sit down to something new and see what we think.

Most of the time we love the meals, occassionally (though it’s rare) we’re a bit “meh” (there was a Mexican tostada meal that didn’t float our boat for example) but we always enjoy trying them regardless and always feel full and happy. There nice and balanced too. It’s made my week far less stressful now! I also like that the company is very eco-focused too.

If you’d like to get £20 your first week you can use my link HERE (I get money off as well then too FYI).

Bare Grill’s Smokehouse and Mrs Potts

A few weeks ago I saw two of my close uni friends and we went out for an epic lunch at Bare Grills in Bristol. It was GIANT and exactly the type of meal I love. BBQ ribs, pulled pork, smoked sausage, chicken wings and brisket with a mountain of deliciously seasoned chips. It was epic!

How we then had room to go to Mrs Potts for dessert I have no idea. It was a good job that we had to queue for a 10-15 mins to get a seat though. It’s a very popular café in Bristol and serves so much chocolate-related items, like hot chocolate made from melted chocolate, brownies, cookies, cake… it’s incredible.

I went for a brownie hot chocolate and took away a slice of cake (with a pot of melted chocolate to drizzle over), a stuffed cookie and a white chocolate rocky road.

Kyle and I shared and the cake and cookie later that evening after I’d gotten home (and made space!). They were absolutely divine. The cookie was definitely the best out of the bunch but the cake with the chocolate over it was incredible too.

Caithness Paperweight

My grandad who lives in Stoke-On-Trent sent Kyle and I such a lovely present. He called it a “glass dump” which just doesn’t do justice to the beauty of the gift. I guess it’s a kind of paperweight, but it’s basically a unique hand-crafted glass ornament.

It’s such a gorgeous gift and will sit proudly in our house. I do worry about my grandad living alone in Stoke in this horrible time but I ring him regularly. He does so much volunteering which had to stop during the lockdowns so I worry he’s a bit out of sorts, but he seems in good spirits. He has such a positive and happy outlook to life.

So here’s to just as happy a December 🙂

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the Free Train and Adventusaur for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

How we’re surviving Lockdown 2.0

My blog has been a little neglected recently. It’s hard to find things to consistently post about when realistically nothing is happening.

I’m sure we’re all feeling this. In the running community, there are no races and no parkruns. And in the wider setting, with lockdown 2.0, you can’t go anywhere or do anything (again).

(I will stress that I’m hugely grateful that the lockdowns haven’t personally affected me in a big way and my complaints are very much “first world problems”).

For running, it’s hard to create any goals when we still don’t know what 2021 is going to look like. Since my first lockdown marathon in April, I’ve just been running intuitively in that I run what I fancy when I fancy. I mean arguably this is generally how I run anyway as I’m not a big PB hunter and never follow any firm and hard plans. However I do usually have a marathon in the plan to aim for so tend to have a build-up of miles and then a peak, then recovery and then we go again.

I’m very grateful that during this year I’ve managed to run three marathons, one official. I mean I know I am very lucky to have achieved these, but now it’s hard to know what to do. What to aim for. I thought I’d definitely have the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon at the end of December but as that’s been cancelled I’m now a bit lost.

Each weekend I seem to just randomly pick a long run distance and see how I feel… I feel good? Run a bit more or run a bit faster. Don’t feel as good? Slow it down or run less. There are minimal pressures in my running life right now other than slight feelings of mediocrity and lack of purpose. Injury-wise its pretty good because I’m not trying to squeeze in another marathon or pushing the mileage. And I’m being super consistent with my strength routines, despite not being at the gym anymore. Because I don’t spend as long on my strength workouts as I would have done at the gym I prioritise the stuff that I know works and keeps injuries at bay (touch wood).

So in way my running is generally been quite consistent with very few niggles. Compared to last year when I had two major injuries that knocked me out of the running game for months, this year has been pretty plain sailing. Maybe a few calf niggles here or there but nothing that has really stopped me running or caused me major issue.

But running is something which is helping me mentally. Keeping fit, staying healthy, getting outside, doing something I enjoy. It’s part of my weekly routine. And if lockdown has taught me anything it’s the necessity of a routine to stop me going slowly mad.

What also helps is that Kyle and I have something each week to look forward to. Or a few things. So Friday night is always takeaway night and we tend to get something a bit more exciting than the standard Indian or pizza affair.

Chicken loaded fries

We try and choose something local but a bit crazy (I say “crazy” lightly because in all honestly it’s not crazy at all but times are tough to reach the lofty pre-COVID excitement heights).

Crispy lemon chicken wings

We’ve been enjoying lots of hot dogs, chicken burgers, chicken wings of all varieties (of course) and loaded, dirty fries. While of course we’d love to actually go out for dinner or lunch, getting food delivered is the next best thing. And eating in your comfy clothes in the comfort of your own home is pretty damn good too.

Lockdown roasts on a Sunday help too 😉

Perfecting my roast potatoes…

Going forward? Well, I’ve run out of steam a bit for another lockdown marathon. I’m just going to continue to run whatever I fancy and just take each week as it comes. After all, a lot can happen in a few months! A lot can change.

How are you surviving?

Are you ordering more takeaways?

How do you stay motivated with your running?