I did it! I mean… we did it! We ran our first half marathon together. Me – a 32 (and a bit) year old RUNNER, and a new MUM. Him – 8 month old baby boy!

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This wasn’t my first half marathon, but it was my first race running with a pram, which made me as nervous as though it were my first half marathon.

Our race prep was spot on this time. By the time of the race Oliver was used to being in the pram for 2 hours, and so I wasn’t worried whether we will be able to complete the race. However, I was very nervous about how he would react to the crowds before and during the run, and how my competitive runner head would compete with my mum ‘hat’ and stopping for feeds, nappies, etc…. Every second counts in a race!

But let me start from beginning….

The night before

Ahhh I missed this feeling so much.. The feeling of nervousness and excitement you feel the night before the race, when you pack your bag, lay your kit on the floor to take a perfect instagram photo ha ha, and have some fueling carbs for dinner. Oliver did his bit and went to bed at 7pm and slept through the night.

My packing list for the run included:

  • Hand sanitiser
  • Nappies and nappy bags
  • Milk
  • Wipes
  • Rain cover – it rained obviously
  • Two gels
  • Mobile phone
  • Spare change
  • My race number and safety pins
  • Running kit

The race day

I have run the Wilmslow Half a couple of times before and so it felt great to be back in this familiar location. We arrived a bit later than in the past; I just didn’t fancy standing around too much with Oliver. We needed to be there early enough to feed him and change and soak up a bit of the race atmosphere and excitement.

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Arrival. And no, I didn’t run with the carrier.

There’s first time for everything

For the first time ever I started the race at the very end of the group to allow the runners to go through the narrow section of the road. There was just no point in trying to push through the crowds since this is a chipped race. I started the race with a very nice man, who was also running with a pram, but his little one was 18 months old, with a bunch runners in fancy dress and with a girl who ran the entire race backwards 🙂

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Another new thing was that I didn’t listen to any music or audiobooks during the race. I was so worried about the baby that I wanted to stay alert throughout the race. I actually really enjoyed being able to fully experience the race atmosphere this way. I got to chat to many people, which was great. Everyone was super encouraging, the runners and the spectators kept shouting ‘Go on mum, well done’, which made me weep multiple times during the race. Many people joked and asked if they could have a ride, and many blokes shouted ‘are you having a laugh’ when I overtook them! As always the spectators were brilliant and encouraging shouting their hearts out – this was great, but I was praying inside that they wouldn’t wake up the baby. I loved the atmosphere and as always I am ever so grateful to everyone who comes out to cheer the runners, because this makes a massive difference. If you want to believe in humanity – participate in any sporting event, the people are just so kind and lovely!

Pacing

I knew that this race is not about a PB, but about enjoying myself and listening to the baby’s needs – so if I needed to I’d stop to comfort him.

As for pacing, I only wanted to make sure that I won’t burn myself out at the beginning. After a while I went faster, but kept a comfortable speed. I felt strong, happy and very emotional. I couldn’t believe I’m racing again, only 8 months after giving birth, and i had my baby boy with me.

In the end Oliver slept through the race and I only needed to stop once to put the rain cover on. We loved every minute of the race and crossed finish line in 2:04!

Our splits

10km – 56:39
15 km – 1:26:13
20 km – 1:56:07
Half marathon distance – 2:04:52

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After the race we found Daddy to celebrate! We stayed around to have some food from the BBQ, and to feed Oliver as he had finally woken up, blissfully unaware that he just completed his first half marathon.

 

P.S. Our moment of fame in Wilmslow Guardian 
So what’s next?

We are still running roads and trails. We are hoping to run soon in Ibiza, and later on this year we are planning to run either the Manchester Half or the Amsterdam Half. Maybe there will be time to beat our first ‘pram time’?

Thanks for reading x

Ahhh long time, no see! I have a surprise, and unexpected post about free and cheap baby groups and activities. You can see that my mat leave is coming to the end and I am broke! I really, really hope that the mummies on mat leave who read my blog will find this useful.

Maternity leave is a funny time as you have all the time in the world to visit “eateries”, stroll around and have “coffees”, but actually no money💰 to do it. Coffees and eateries are in quotation marks, as I’m really referring to stuff to do with babies to get out of the house….

We do go to a couple of paid of classes that I absolutely love – Baby Sensory and swimming with Puddle Ducks, and we used to do baby yoga, which I wrote about here, but the further I get into mat leave the less money I have, and so the more creative I need to get.

As we live in a big city, we are lucky to be able to choose from a wide variety of groups; from local nursery rhyme type of meetups, sign language classes, which apparently can be ‘prescribed’ by your health visitor to mini classical music concerts (the last one is not free). I tend to choose groups and activities that are a little bit more ‘active’ and varied, as I’m definitely not a typical nursery rhymes and cookies for mums type of person.

I hope that other mummies will find this post helpful, and perhaps an inspiration to find or set up similar things in your town if they’re not available already.

The things in this posts are suitable for under ones, so as Oliver will be one this summer (!!!) I’m already on the lookout for groups for older babies and toddlers – any ideas are welcomed!

Artbaby – Musicbaby at the Withworth Gallery

This is a free weekly sensory workshop led by artists and musicians. Basically, the gallery spreads a few blankets on the floor in the middle of one of the rooms, so that you’re surrounded by the gallery’s exhibits, and provide musical instruments, sensory toys and (safe) everyday objects for babies to explore. The format of the class is really laid back, once you sign up, you can just turn up for however long you want, between certain hours.
There’s something really nice about taking a baby for a group at the gallery; the setting is great and it makes you feel like you’re introducing your baby to culture from their early years.

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Time for a rhyme by BookStart

‘Rhyme time is a rite of passage’ said one of my friends to me. So it is, and it’s also a classic hangout for mat leave mums including me 🙂 I blogged about experience before.

The library near us is not very big, but it has a great selection of children’s books, and I quite like an idea of borrowing them in the future to learn about sustainability, sharing, etc…

Crèche / soft play area at the local gym

I have recently discovered that one of our local gyms has a crèche / soft play area that can be used by non-members for a small fee – it’s £1 for under ones. The area for babies is quite small, but there’s enough to keep them occupied for an hour or so. There are mini slides, a mini baby gym and big soft blocks to play with.
There’s also a small cafe with some cheap jacket potato style options and nice coffee. I tend to go there if I don’t fancy trekking to town, or if there’s a half term and our regular paid for classes are not on, and I want to feel like I actually did something that week.

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Sensory Room at a local children’s centre

Again, this is the place to go if you want to do something different with your little one, and not spend a fortune. I met one of my mummy-friends at her local children’s centre and was totally blown away by their sensory room, which we used free of charge. I can’t even name all of the toys, rattles and fluffy pieces of material that were available, but they also had a big lava lamp type of thing that kept both boys occupied.

I have also learnt recently that this centre hires out toys for a small charge of £1 per month! Bargain!

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Finally, I’ve just started going to a Polish Baby & Mums club, which gives me an opportunity to hang out with Polish mummies and speak Polish,  as I don’t have many occasions to do so, and I’m hoping that my little one will be bilingual. This is just an example to show that there are some niche groups out there where you can spend with like-minded people.

Thanks for reading x