In the first of her exclusive columns for iRun, marathon champion Lisa Weightman talks about 2014 and how little Pete changed her life – in a good way. For those of you wondering, Lisa plans to resume running on February 1 and begin the long road back that she hopes will lead to Rio next year.
Our Mr Right
Twelve months ago I was experiencing my own little challenge. After a perfect recovery from my best ever marathon (Melbourne, Oct 2013) I returned to good form by Boxing Day, as did my husband and training partner Lachlan and we were ready for our Commonwealth Games campaign. Boxing Day morning we completed a session around Lake Wendouree and were feeling on top of the world. Disappointingly that afternoon it all changed.
After lunch we spent the afternoon sitting quietly, enjoying the achievement of a great session together and some well-earned holiday time. By late afternoon when I attempted to get up from the chair for my evening recovery run, I couldn’t stand up. The pain in my sacrum was 12 out of 10. Sitting and walking was a lesson in pain tolerance over the next 16 hours and a scan the following day revealed a high grade stress fracture and 3 months off running.
Just sitting at my desk at work was a challenge for the first two weeks, but instead of remaining on the couch feeling sorry for myself I immersed myself in my non-running related commitments and we looked at the injury as a blessing. I worked from home the first week back at work and by week three the pain killers had taken the edge off the injury, aiding the natural healing process, by reducing the tension. I was then able to start the rehab exercises and two weeks later I graduated to some Alter-G running.
Being the family oriented couple that we are, we immediately looked at the injury from a different perspective. We had talked about starting a family after the London Olympics, but it was so hard to break the cycle given the improvements I was continuing to make and the goals I had set regarding my personal best and championship placing.
After six weeks and with the help of the VIS, AIS and Back In Motion Northcote I was able to commence light running on the Alter-G. By week eight I was walk jogging around Rice University in Houston and by week ten I was running laps of Central Park in New York. Surprisingly I had made a much quicker return than expected.
Looking back, this quick return was the first sign that I was pregnant. The second was when I had to stop halfway through a 20km run because I felt queasy and the third was the overwhelming jet lag I thought I had when I got home and tried to complete my first interval session. Jet lag…ha ha!
12 months on and we are now a team of 3. Our little Pete arrived one week and one day overdue on Friday 5th December, 2014. After 12 hours of labour an emergency cesarean was required and our Mr. Right was delivered, full of life, already checking out the world with his eyes wide open!
Named after both his Pas (Peter Weightman and Peter McArthur) and our renowned coach and mentor Dr. Richard Telford our little Pete is one lucky fella and we are truly blessed. He started sleeping well from the minute he entered the world and as I write this blog I can hear his little noises over the monitor as he sleeps in his big cot.
Our Mr. Right was just meant to be!
The two most important questions I’ve been asked throughout my pregnancy have been
1) Are you still running while pregnant?
2) What’s harder, the marathon or childbirth?
Running while pregnant
I had three reasons to walk more than I shuffled during my pregnancy. In the first trimester I had energy only to get myself through a day of work and cook dinner. I’d then fall asleep on the couch, which didn’t leave much energy for running. Secondly, I’d just recovered from a sacral stress fracture and didn’t want to put any further stress on my bones and tendons. Lastly and the biggest reason, I was very mindful of how quickly we’d been able to create little Pete and I didn’t want anything to happen to him and wonder whether my need to run had anything to do with it. So I walked a lot and loved it.
The second trimester I felt fantastic. I started to do some walk jogging up until the time that the jogging part became slower than the walk. This took place a couple of times per week over an 8 week period. On many occasions my lovely friend Kylie completed her session on the weekend and kept me company for the walk/jog along Yarra Flats. I was very grateful for her company.
Trimester three and I shifted back to walking only. After work Lachlan and I enjoyed long walks and talked about our day, just like we do when we run together. It is a time that I will really cherish. By the end of the pregnancy I couldn’t have ran if my life depended on it! I am sure I would’ve fallen on my face with all the weight being confined to my belly!
Deciding whether to run while pregnant is a really personal choice and shouldn’t be influenced by anything other than what your doctor advises you and your own personal goals. The most important caution I received from my obstetrician was to consider where and how you are exercising while pregnant to ensure you are not at risk of overheating and causing ill health to your baby.
I also needed to ensure I had enough energy to go to work and do my job while helping my baby grow and I made the most of the opportunity for a physiological break after recovering from a stress fracture in my sacrum. Not all pregnancy is equal so listen to your doctor and most importantly your body.
Marathon v Childbirth – what’s harder
A week overdue and a nice size bub made it impossible for me to have a natural birth. I tried for 12 hours before an emergency cesarean and given how the recovery is going so far it was a blessing.
After attending an awards ceremony during the year for the Northern Region AFL Coaches I was asked by a few of the male guests, ‘which event would be tougher to endure – the marathon or childbirth?’ I promised to answer that question once I’d experienced the later.
The verdict…the marathon is much easier.
Training goes for 8 weeks with the marathon, compared to 9 months. The race itself, if all goes well takes no longer than 2hr26m05s. Labour for me was 12 hours, not including the surgery. The contractions were close together quite quickly – every 2 mins with varying duration. It was like a 400m session on the track, with diminishing recoveries, where your coach doesn’t tell me how many reps he is going to give you before you start! 16 400m reps is the maximum I’ve completed to run a marathon!
Having said that the reward at the end of labour by far outweighs any marathon finish I have achieved – so as the two sayings go…
No pain, no gain… & All good things come to those who wait!