Little Jordy is just over seven months old now. It really isn’t that long, but, my life as it was before baby, now seems very distant as I settle more and more into motherhood.
It still amazes me how quickly they develop and respond and interact with you more and more every day. A friend of mine once told me, that since she has had kids, it seems like she has discovered a part of her heart that hadn’t existed before. I think this is also how I feel. The love you have for your own child is something unmatched by anything else.
Jordy tries so hard to crawl at the moment and it is so frustrating for him as he fails time and time again. He makes this really interesting, frog like, rocking back and forward motion on all fours, which results in a face plant as he is unable yet to coordinate his arms in time. Our boy is certainly a persistent and determined little fella though. Teeth are just starting to show. This is proving to be not much fun for Jordy or mum and dad. The routines that we were slowly starting to establish have now completely gone out the window.
“I needed to be an athlete again! So, I decided to set myself a goal.”
The euphoria of the first few months of having a baby has died down and we have settled into everyday life as parents with baby as our number one priority. However, a few weeks ago I found that I was really starting to struggle somewhat. The years of living to a strict day to day training plan of an athlete turned me into a real routine focused person. I found it difficult to adjust to my day being ordered entirely around the wants and needs of a baby and found that I really needed to change something a little bit so that I had something else important for me slotted into my daily routine. I felt like I needed just a little bit of that structure back, a bit of my old self back. I needed to be an athlete again! So, I decided to set myself a goal.
For a long time, I have had the idea in my head that I would one day like to get into ‘Ultra Running’. This is an endurance sport that has always fascinated me. For those of you that don’t know, Ultra Running, also known as Ultra Marathon, is defined as any footrace longer than the traditional 42.2km marathon.
“The physical demands and time commitment of training up to three sessions a day for long distance triathlon no longer fits with my lifestyle.”
Running is much better ‘bang for your buck’, and I have really been enjoying running since getting back into it after having Jordy. With my endurance sport background, it just makes sense for me to give it a go.
I have reconnected with my coach, have a training plan, and am now on the path to tackling my first Ultra Marathon. I am really excited about this. The training and approach differs quite a lot from what I was used to doing as a professional triathlete, but I have regained a love for exercise and running.
“…a mental therapy for me as well as a physical lift.”
We are fortunate to live in a wonderful area for running and trail running in particular. I find that every time I get out onto the trails, I appreciate the surroundings a bit more and I certainly value this time to myself more. It isn’t that I took these things for granted before, rather that the freedom of the surroundings and the time spent training, running the trails, is a mental therapy for me as well as a physical lift. And it also works well as a welcome break away from the routine tasks of the most important thing which is being a good mum.
With the running, I feel like I have gained a lightness back. It is amazing how much energy it gives me, even when I am wrecked from a rough night with a crying baby, which seems pretty regular right now. I still seem to come back from most of my runs feeling rejuvenated and happy. I am really lucky, and grateful, that I have a very supportive partner, Rob, and some very special friends who give their time to enable me to do this.
I now have five months left to prepare myself as well as I can, despite the circumstances, for my first Ultra. I think it is a good decision for me. Since I have returned to training and have a focus on a sporting goal, I am happier and I feel like I am a much more balanced person who can better handle the stresses of parenting and as a result, be a better mum for Jordy.
So this is it, a year and a half after retiring from professional sport and I am back into training again. I definitely don’t call this a ‘comeback’, as things are so very different now, but rather see it as another sporting life opportunity that will combine some of the highs and lows of being an athlete with the challenges and rewards of being a parent. The training is different and the time spent training is much less.
Although sport is no longer my number one priority, the goal is the same; train as well as I can with the time and energy I have got and get the most out of myself in competition. Sleep deprivation and breastfeeding are not optimal components to include in my plan but they are part of it nonetheless, and I aim to make the most of this opportunity. My family is the most important thing in my life now, but being out on the trails following my passion and challenging myself is important to me and makes me complete.
Hopefully, all going well, by the end of the year you will be reading a blog about the challenges of the final preparation for an Ultra Marathon, race day, and recovery, all while juggling the needs of a toddler! I am looking forward to exciting times ahead.
Happy running everyone.
Want to check out more blogs from Britta? Read about her journeys with pregnancy, motherhood, and of course her athletic career by clicking here!
Written by Britta Martin