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!
I feel like I’m so behind and so out of touch with my blog at the moment and it’s really making me sad.
I love my blog. It’s like a diary. I like documenting things, putting photos up and rambling. And if people read it (and thank you if you do :)) it’s a huge bonus.
Work has been taking up my mental capacity to write. It’s not just that it’s busy, but it involves a lot of brain resource that leaves me dwindling at the end of the day. And weekends are packed with everything that doesn’t get done in the week.
And not just work,
but life in general. It seems to be moving 1,000mph. It’s good – really good.
I’m very happy and content and life is moving in the direction I want, but my
blog has unfortunately taken a back seat.
But there’s so much
I want to talk about! So I’ll do my best…
A couple of weekends
ago Kyle and I went to Bournemouth. Bournemouth is about an hour from us and to
be honest we had no real reason to go other than it would be nice to go
somewhere and there were a couple of foodie/fun related things we wanted to
So we booked a very inexpensive Airbnb for the Friday night and went straight from work. We’ve been so lucky with Airbnb’s in the past. We’ve had one that was strange but not unpleasant but every other one has been absolutely fine, which is obviously why we keep doing it.
This one in Bournemouth though wasn’t great. It was described as a “quiet family home” but on arrival it was clear it was more a “chaotic family home” with children racing around the place and dogs barking loudly. It was a tricky to find out from the host where we were allowed to go, where the bathroom was, did we need a key and trying to explain to them what our movements would be (if we meet the host we like to explain our plans so we’re not just coming and going through their house – especially as we were going to be off early for a run in the morning). She didn’t seem interested at all or like she knew what was even going on.
In the later evening (past 10pm) the children were still running about and playing (they were very young children) and to top it off at 6am we were woken by a loud argument outside our door (lots of “you need to f****** get out”) which was VERY unsettling. To the point that we left ASAP and didn’t even shower after our run. You win some, you lose some!
But anyway. We had a fairly good dinner on Friday night in a place called Mokobo Burger (we still don’t know how to pronounce it).
I had three different types of chicken wings which were really good (though one lot was super spicy) and Kyle had a burger and loaded fries. I have to say that while my wings were good, Kyle’s burger was a bit disappointing (it was slightly burnt) and the “loaded” fries were just insipid fries with a small lump of pulled pork on top… which came out about 10 minutes after our mains.
It was a shame because originally we were going to go to our favourite burger place (Monty’s Burger Lounge) but decided to try somewhere new. Sadly it was loud and hard to talk to each other and just a bit “meh”.
So far, not great for our trip! We woke up early to get in five miles before Bournemouth parkrun as we wanted to get eight miles total for the day. We had grand ideas of running 2.5 miles before and after but in the end it just seemed simpler to get out and do the 5 miles and finish with parkrun.
It was a nice 5 miles, though somewhat unsatisfying because we didn’t really have a route planned so decided to run 2.5 miles towards the sea, and then back again. We could just see the sea a few 100 metres in the distance before heading back.
Obviously I know
this already but I really do prefer longer distances. My body just gets into
the groove after about three miles and feels nice and in the zone. So by the
time we got to parkrun I was ready to go.
is literally right next to the football ground so getting there felt very much
like I had a half marathon or full marathon to run as this was always where the
portaloos were for those races in October! But no, just 5k left today.
We lined up in a big
huddle and then we were off. It was a bit chaotic to begin with as we were
literally just running across a field. It bottlenecked in slightly but was
still rather crowded as we got onto the first loop. I found the first mile
tough – not because of how I felt running but because of the crowding. It was
hard to overtake people and I got wedged in to lots of people. I was scared to
knock fellow runners or step on their heels. Eventually though we spaced out
and I was able to get past people running slower than myself.
Then I got into my
stride. It was like I was suddenly unleashed and I was off. I checked my watch
– woah where had that pace come from? And I felt fantastic! Yes it was hard but
it was hard in a very manageable way. It felt gooood!
We finished the loop for the second time and then headed off onto another loop for the half (ish?) of the run. I found myself picking runners off and running past. Grimacing but in a good way, I pushed the pace and finished strong.
My time was 22:43, which I’m super pleased with! And eight miles in the bag.
And it was Kyle’s chance to rock his 50th parkrun t-shirt for the first time! (Super impressed how quickly it had arrived).
After parkrun we
walked back to the Airbnb and then took our stuff and left sharpish. We then
headed to the centre for breakfast at the lovely South Coast Roast. It was very
“hipster” and I mean that in the nicest way. Lots of milk options,
environmentally friendly and all the avocado options on the menu.
We went for the Bondi breakfast which had avocado toast, tomatoes, poached eggs, chilli jam, pickles (I LOVE pickles!) and then you could add extras. So I added halloumi and Kyle had chorizo. It was delicious.
From there we walked to the nearby Cat Café. Yes, you read that right. It’s a cat shelter but built as a café so you can go in and spend time with the cats (on their terms of course…) and order drinks as well.
We were introduced to the cats and told the rules (no picking them up, no stoking while they’re asleep, being respectful to them etc.) and then ordered some coffees.
Well, I have to say that while the cats were beautiful and the café was friendly and lovely, I happened to meet the most grumpy cat who when I tried to stroke lashed out at my hand and made me bleed slightly. I mean, I am a dog person and I’m not quite as savvy with cats so it was probably my own fault… but it was a bit of a shock.
The other cats were fast asleep so in the end it was a bit of a dud experience. It very much felt like we were there because the cats had allowed us there and we were blessed to be in their presence… As a dog person this is a strange concept to me as dogs tend to just love you and want your company regardless. Cats are definitely more picky and temperamental. They were gorgeous though and well looked after.
Then we headed home! Definitely a weekend of ups and downs – though we enjoyed ourselves regardless.
Are you a cat or a dog person?
Do you need a decent warm up before you get into a run?
Have you ever had a bad experience with a hotel or Airbnb?
I cannot tell you how happy I am right now with my knee.
Things have improved so much! After spending so many weeks with a knee that either constantly ached, clicked, niggled and just felt uncomfortable to slowly seeing different symptoms disappear is just fantastic. To walk down a corridor without thinking about my knee is a relief in itself. I want to do a more in depth post on the things that helped and what I did so keep an eye out for that.
This weekend was full of good stuff. Friday night Kyle and I made rocky road ready for the morning as we would be going to Netley parkrun for his 50th. I do feel somewhat bad about how long this has taken because because obviously Kyle could have gone to parkrun without me or have me support, but when I’m injured we’re both a bit more inclined to stay in bed and make the most of not having to rush out the door on a Saturday. But now my knee feels better, we’re back at it.
We made the rocky road by basically melting a load of chocolate we had stashed from Christmas and random times with a load of butter and then mixing in marshmallows, chopped glace cherries, M&M’s and broken biscuits. SO GOOD.
The next morning we luckily naturally woke up earlier than the alarm and decided to get up and sort out the rocky road as it still needed slicing. Jeeze it was hard work! And I ended up eating lots of little pieces that fell off (“tidying up”). So much sugar so early, oops. It did not make me feel that great I must say… greedy Anna strikes again.
Kyle got a milestone shout-out in the run briefing which was lovely and then we were off. I ran a fairly easy pace with my friend Mike as I hadn’t seen him a while and it was nice to have a chatty run. He was running every day in January so he was happy to plod with me. Kyle had more in his legs so zoomed off ahead.
We ran the winter course which is harder going, but to be honest I felt very comfortable running.
In fact, chatting to Mike just took my mind completely off how my knee was feeling and when we finished I realised I’d just had a normal run!
My time was 24:55 which I was happy with.
We then handed out rocky road chunks and cleared down the course before heading to the café for tea, more rocky road and a slice of cake from someone else celebrating a milestone.
While I enjoyed all the delicious treats, I didn’t feel it did me any favours not having had anything substantial to eat yet. But it was worth it.
After lots of chores and boring life admin, Kyle and I went to Smith and Western for an early dinner. I mean, this really is our kind of place. Lots of ribs, burgers and, of course my favourite, chicken wings. It was nice and quiet though (it apparently gets very busy and loud later with lots of birthday shout-outs).
Of course I’d already checked out the menu and knew I was almost certainly having the chicken wing sharing platter… but just for me. Kyle was tempted as well. We asked the waitress what kind of numbers we were looking at because that would dictate if we would have one each, one between us or need to order something else alongside (yes, we are greedy people).
The waitress said it was 21 wings, 7 of each flavour (Southern Comfort, BBQ and Buffalo). That sounded like a reasonable number for us to have one each. The waitress laughed at us and said we clearly loved our wings. Yep! Kyle also ordered curly fries.
When the meals came
out it looked massive. The waitress then told us that they’d actually just
changed their ratios of chicken wings and it was now THIRTY per platter, 10 of
each flavour. Wowza! The wings were so tasty. I definitely preferred the
buffalo flavour though to the sweeter ones. The BBQ was nice and tangy but the
Southern Comfort was really quite sweet if you had a few in a row.
We were well and truly stuffed afterwards of course. The waitress said she was super impressed. She asked us if we wanted pudding and I was like “we’re good but we’re not THAT good”!
That said, I did somehow manage to squeeze in a couple of pieces of rocky road later on as we chilled watched a film. A sweet end to the evening 😉
The next morning I felt well and truly fuelled to go to my personal training session. With my PT we just focus on leg strength. The idea is to get me strong for running so we do a lot of running focused exercises. It’s only been the last month or so I’ve been back seeing him due to my knee, but now I feel so much stronger. My squats are back up to where they were last year (75kg – not a huge weight I guess, but for me it is!), my hip thrusts are back at 90kg and I feel GOOD. I really like seeing my PT as he knows exactly what my goals are and understands my injury history and fears.
Then I headed off to Kyle’s dad’s to have a lovely pork roast dinner. I know, who would have thought I’d be hungry again after all those wings? But clearly my stomach is a bottomless pit!
FINALLY somewhat of a positive update with ACTUAL running.
I don’t want to jinx anything, of course, but I genuinely feel like I’m (mostly) out of the woods with this knee injury. Obviously things could easily regress back and all go wrong again but at the moment things are looking very positive.
At the weekend Kyle and I went to Southsea parkrun. The week before I’d run a tester mile and another tester two miles and my knee had responded well. So three miles was my next challenge. I could have run the three miles on my own but I really wanted to do a parkrun as it had been so long and we could go for brunch in the amazing Parade Tearooms a short walk away.
Kyle’s mum, Sarah, came with us to support. She’s just started the Couch to 5k programme and was building up to do a parkrun herself. She wanted to see what kind of runners parkrun had and to reassure herself she wouldn’t be right at the back (she definitely wouldn’t be).
The great thing about parkrun is that firstly no one is ever last because of the tail walker and that the run is full of all different kinds of runners, of all different abilities, shapes and sizes. While she has seen a parkrun before, she’s never really watched with the interest of a potential runner.
I woke up and my knee was feeling amazing. It felt almost normal. The ever-helpful Steve Bonthrone had given me some great advice going into this run. He said I should try really hard to visualise and think about the best run I’ve ever had. This way it’ll keep me positive and stop me focusing on “how’s my knee?” or that I think I’m injured and will expect pain. This was fantastic advice.
There’s so much about having a longer term injury that’s in your head. The way you think about yourself, the issue and how much pain and discomfort you believe there to be – or expect there to be. Having Sarah there hugely helped as well as I could chat away to her about her running and her worries, which made me completely forget about mine.
It was very cold.
But I do love a cold, dry and still morning for a run. You know you won’t be
cold for long. We wedged ourselves within the middle – Southsea gets so busy!
There were 657 runners, which is crazy. It’s a narrow area to start and a lot
of bollards, fences and people to be wary of at the start so if you ever want a
PB here you really need to be as much in the front as you can.
The first mile was
an absolute dream. It was like the best kind of running – I felt smooth in my
running and with not even a hint of difference between my legs. Through the
second mile it started to feel a bit harder and I got a slight niggle just
under my knee but it wasn’t concerning and it didn’t last. Whew! More than
anything it was just tough on my endurance. Three miles is a long way, eh! 😉
We finished the run and my knee still felt good. Halleluiah! My time was 24:24.
To be honest, I could have gotten 28 minutes and I’d have been just as pleased! Times right now don’t matter (arguably, do they ever…).
Then we walked to the Parade Tearooms and met up with my parents for brunch. It’s lovely that Kyle and my family get on so well 🙂 My dad and Kyle ordered the fry-up while Sarah, my mum and I ordered the Jayne Salad, which is just a BEAST of a salad.
It has chicken, bacon, potatoes, coleslaw, beetroot, corn, tomatoes, berries, onion, carrot, lettuce AND a mid-way hidden layer of cheese. This salad is not for the faint of heart. The waitress even said “you can box it don’t worry”. Oh pahh-leeeease. I will be fine. The two mums however, epically failed and had to box over half for home.
It was a lovely
morning, and I felt so happy and relieved that the run went well. And for the
rest of the day and days after it still felt good. THANK GOD!
I had another run on Tuesday at lunchtime planned with Kyle. It had been so long since I ran at work. In fact, even people I didn’t know at work had been commenting on my lack of running! So it was so nice to don my gear and head out in the cold sunshine at lunch and go for a run. And while the run was hard work (my legs were feeling heavy from the gym) it was so wonderful to be outside in the fresh air. Yesssss!
So my next run is planned for tomorrow… long may this streak of good running and happy knee continue.
Do you enjoy running when it’s cold?
Do you find your parkrun getting busier and busier?
Ah what a shame it’s all over! Christmas is done and dusted.
I had a fantastic festive time, despite only getting the bank holiday days off (my own choice, granted). But otherwise it was brilliant. I spent it with my family, Kyle and Kyle’s family and it was honestly so lovely.
We all spent Christmas Eve altogether and it just made me feel all the warm and fuzzies. I’m a very family-centred person (how could I still live at home being the age I am if I didn’t get on with my parents so well??) so it’s important to me that Kyle gets on with my family and I get on adore his family, and the fact that they all get on together is just the cherry on top.
And of course over the Christmas period, I enjoyed so much good food… Christmas dinners, buffet fodder, chocolate (damn those chocolate sprouts from Fat Face were incredible), cheese (so much cheese) and everything between.
Kyle and I had a fantastic Christmas party with work – about one of the only times I drink and get a bit merry.
Meaning our fry up the next day at the local café Breezes in Hill Head was SO necessary.
And then we saw Star Wars (we enjoyed it but there are a few niggles). A perfect day off!
Christmas Day itself was lovely. Kyle and I headed to Christmas parkrun. I’ll do a more thorough post on my knee, but it felt OK beforehand so I thought I’d risk it as I so wanted to do the Christmas Day parkrun with Kyle.
We dressed as festively as we could be bothered and went to Lee-On-Solent parkrun rather than my usual Netley purely because it’s literally 5 minutes down the road whereas Netley is over 30 minutes away. Time is precious of Christmas Day, especially when the families are waiting for us!
We took the run quite easy. My knee is still not perfect but it didn’t hurt. My time was 25L50. Kyle forgot his barcode which pained my soul SO MUCH. He wouldn’t get his Christmas Day challenge! He’s also only two away from his 50…how frustrating!
Then we quickly headed back to my house to spend Christmas morning with my family. We opened presents, had Buck’s Fizz and it was lovely. Then Kyle headed back to his family and I cracked on to help my dad with the cooking, something we both really enjoy.
We had the usual roast turkey and all the trimmings which is just so good.
And then enjoyed a lovely post-food family walk before I headed off to Kyle’s to spend the rest of the day there. We played lots of games, watched Gavin and Stacey (BRILLIANT, fingers crossed for Series 4!) and ate a lot of chocolate and leftovers. Lovely 🙂
Boxing Day we went to Kyle’s dad’s house and I ate FAR too much cheese. Camembert, brie, goat’s cheese, stilton, cheddar… oh god I was pretty much 80% cheese afterwards. Loved it though.
Then I was back to work which royally sucked. But it was nice and quiet (although very dull) so it wasn’t too bad.
Unfortunately I did not do New Year’s Day double parkrun. I wanted to, don’t get me wrong, but it was the most sensible thing to do. My knee has good days and bad days. The good days are definitely outweighing the bad days but it’s just not ready to do two 5ks back to back.
Sure I could have done one but in the end we decided actually we’d just prefer a lie-in and laze about a bit – something we rarely do when I’m fully into my running. While it has been very sad not running, it has been nice enjoying these lazy weekends. We did however go to the gym instead. Not for any reason other than get a good sweat on and then justifiably laze about more 😉
And now it’s back to the grind, back to business and hopefully on to a stronger, healthier 2020. Running, I will be back!