Article by Leah Anstis.
Around 10 weeks ago, I reached out to James. Seeking some accountability, direction, and sweet gains. We’ve had a turbulent relationship. It’s been about 3 years since James and I parted ways. Besides the fact I became pregnant, for me at least, I felt at that point we had done our dash after 2-3 years stint in a coach/athlete relationship. I was over the training, expectations and feeling a bit drained by the routine. I’d go as far as to say, we were probably a bit sick of each other. We were pretty close to "besties". In hindsight, to have lost that makes me sad. We shared hard liquor before I walked down the aisle, we had secrets and my gosh did we love a gossip. But then life changed. As it does. My path veered in a totally different direction, down a spiral staircase, through a trap door, grabbed a coat of invisibility and before I knew it, I was neck deep in baby vomit and in a place so dark that some days nothing could pull me free of the torment and fear of day to day life. I suddenly missed everything, even James!
Being a mum comes with a long list of physiological and psychological changes. Babies put your body through the bloody ringer! You put on a bunch of weight only to realise that only 4kg of that was the baby (Pretty sure the rest was the daily ham and mustard sandwiches on super thick white bread). It stretches, it grows and it leaks. All weird and sometimes horrifying things to a new mum…But in saying that, my body has done the most incredible thing, its grown a life, its delivered a life, and it tried its very best to feed that life… and now… its transforming again. I’ve worked hard in so many respects over the last 2.5 years. And in hindsight, anything to do with Archer has been 100 times more draining than any physical challenge I’ve set myself. I present to James today a physical version of myself which is leaner and faster than what he’s had to work with previously. I’m excited to see how structured training will impact my results.
As for my head… poor James. Today I present to him possibly the most emotionally charged version of me he’s ever known. That's a bold statement given I’m notorious for having a blubber or the occasional shouty storm off like a toddler huff. Additionally, I’m probably more strong willed, fierce and protective, focused and mature than I’ve previously been. I think its worth mentioning that the maturity goes both ways. When I reflect on how we were, a somewhat explosive, stubborn pair, I can absolutely see that time has mellowed both of us out a bit. There is a clearer and mutual understanding that little people, (or dictators as I think to think of them ) are your world and that time is irreplaceable… So if going to feed the ducks is what needs to happen on Thursday instead of going for a run, that’s exactly what I’ll do and that will be ok. An excellent example was on the first morning I had a planned session to do, I spent 10 minutes arguing with a two year old about getting in the buggy so we could run to daycare…. This was after 20 minutes of protest about wearing undies AND shorts. Gah. We didn’t run, and he certainly didn’t wear undies.
It's fair to say, some days I'm a bit of a mess… but far less of a mess than I have been over the last couple of years. There have been a handful of people who have surrounded me over this time. They have wrapped me up like a king sized burrito and turned my demons into unicorns. They never for a minute stopped believing I’d be back to my former fitness. They have put up with so much. I’ve been slow, I’ve cried, I’ve got shitty, I’ve quit… I’ve even wet my pants without warning (another occasion I burst into tears). There is literally nothing my people haven’t had to deal with from me. And its those people who motivate me, accept me (and Archer - we're a package deal) and have made my journey back to fitness possible.
My aim over the coming months is to find some calm in my life, and find a happy training/life balance (also get fast at running, very important). I want to find some happiness and confidence with my body by fuelling it with a more consistent stream of fresh food while still enjoying my wine (won’t be cutting out the vino thank you very muchly). I’d like to widen my circle of people just a little, or rather reignite some old connections which I’ve been making an effort to do. Just recently I threw down some soulful gravel kms with HRH Duke Matt Rayment of Riverhead. I legit' felt like a weight had been lifted just by a familiar embrace and having an open mind to talk to. Days like that (minus the horrendous hang over and 4hrs sleep I had to suffer through) really reiterated how much I miss the running community and that I want to open myself up again to try share my love of trails, hatred of hard work, and my black & white opinions which typically get a giggle or an "unfriending".
So some things haven’t changed and plenty has. And as life goes on, I will continue to evolve the way I see best. I guess this is a journey to find comfort in myself again, and let that happiness shine out of my face next time I see all of you.
I've decided to include an ‘Archer-ism' to end this. He comes out with some pearlers, but this one resonates with me… on our usual car ride home from daycare, spotting diggers and asking to stop for lollies, I told him ‘I really missed you today Archer baby'. Usually I get a ‘noooo mummy' or a ‘I want my dummy' but on this day I got a very wise response, ‘Mummy, there is only one me and only one you‘ ...a simple sentence to read but gee whizz it meant a lot more to me. We are precious and we only get one chance to be what we want. Spend more time reflecting on what it is that is so important and make that your priority. I’m certain happiness will ensue.
Article by Leah Anstis