I’m writing this post to set the record straight but first I want to apologize. I realized, after the fact, that I recently did the very thing we set out to rectify with this blog. I shared a “shiny moment” on Facebook rather than telling the full story. And so, to every mom who took the wrong message away from that, I am truly sorry.
I recently ran the Whistler Half Marathon. I trained really hard for four months for it, putting over 500km of road under my sneakers. Running in the rain, the snow, the blazing sun and on two occasions, in the dark – whatever it took to fit it in around working and being a mom. All that training paid off and I crossed the line 5 minutes under my target time of 2 hours.
That’s the shiny version. That’s the one that got me over 100 likes and lovely congratulatory comments. It was only when a few of my fellow moms commented that I was “inspiring” that I suddenly realized that I’d unwittingly contributed to the widespread issue of people taking their benchmarks and inspiration from social media where they are only privy to half the facts. This is particularly bad for new moms – we are tired, we are frazzled, we see posts from other moms and we start to compare or aspire to something. Which is a dangerous thing to do without all of the information.
This Mountain Moms blog came about through our desire to help other moms to see that we all struggle sometimes and that they are not alone in whatever they are dealing with. We hoped that by sharing our honest stories we could help to paint a more realistic picture of life with little ones.
So you can see why, when I realized that some moms were now holding up my half marathon achievement as an example of “What other people can do 17 months after having a baby”, I knew I was going to have to tell the other side of the story.
The side about how my lungs and legs were ready to run but my pelvic floor and bladder were still trying to recover from the stresses and strains of childbirth. The story that includes all those training runs that ended with wet cheeks, crying in frustration over my wet knickers and inability to control my own body. Of all the nights vowing to myself that I will do my pelvic physio exercises every day and realizing when back in bed the next night that they had been missed in the flurry of meals and diapers and meetings. Of finally (thanks to the advice of some good podcasts) going to the pharmacy and purchasing special pads that felt like mattresses between my legs but at least my shorts were dry at the end of each run. Pads that, as I would find out on race day, do not have enough glue on them to keep them attached when they are very full. Which is why (I’m embarrassed to admit!) there is one behind a bush somewhere around the 17km mark – thankfully we were in the forest at that point and thankfully I was to dehydrated that there was no more leaking after I was forced to stop and take it out before it fell out. Good grief. The things we do to ourselves!
So there it is, now you know. I shouldn’t really have done all of that training or run that race. It wasn’t what my body was ready for and in fact, I probably set back my healing process.
I’m still proud of my achievement and if I can inspire any of my fellow moms to carve out time to train for personal goals then I’m really happy but don’t do it at the expense of your own well being and please, please do your kegels!