Thank a Mentor

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The word Mentor, according to Wikipedia, has been adopted in English as a term meaning someone who imparts wisdom to and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague.

This comes in many guises in life… teachers, parents, colleagues, bosses. For today’s #EncourageBeauty though I’d like to thank an individual who has opened my mind up to something new, that has gone on to help me hugely.

When I found out I was expecting a baby, my thoughts turned to my own health and wellbeing. The former I was pretty good at, eating healthily (most of the time!) and exercising at least three times a week. However I was very bad at the latter. Early starts, a busy job and late nights all meant that I spent little time looking after “me”.

I had toyed with Yoga practice in the past but found it flouncy and unfulfilling. How can a class that doesn’t give me immediate “sweaty” results, make any sort of impact on my health? I know now that I just had the wrong teacher.

Being pregnant made be look at my wellbeing with different eyes. I wasn’t just doing this for me, I was doing it for the baby too.

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I found Yogamoo via Google as a simple local area Yoga search. Antenatal Yoga a stones throw away from home on a week night – perfect. Initially I signed up for a taster class, my ever dubious self, but as soon as I arrived, Laurence made me feel so welcome.

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The others in the class too, all at different stages of pregnancy (I started at 16 weeks), were warm and lovely, and after that first class, an hour of postures and meditation, I signed up for the month.

Week after week, month after month, I went to spend an hour with Laurence, also attending a two-hour Sunday Labour Preparation workshop at 34 weeks. I practiced until 38 weeks, all the time getting more and more out of the sessions. Not only did I feel as prepared as you can for your first baby, I also relished the calm that hour brought over me.

Calum was born at 40 weeks, a day after his due date, after a relatively short labour (only a 3.5 hour active stage), in the water with no pain relief other than Gas & Air. My midwife even asked me when I arrived at the hospital if I’d been practicing Yoga as I was coping well… Powerful practice indeed.

Whilst I realise that this won’t be the way for all expectant Mums, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Laurence wholeheartedly for helping me achieve the birth I had hoped for. A wonderful Mentor in a subject I was so sceptical about. My mind has been well and truly opened to practice and I’ve since booked onto some Baby Yoga (when Calum was younger) and some PowerYoga courses run by Yogamoo. Very different, very difficult, but very rewarding. I’ve already seen a change in my body… And these classes are sweaty!

Thank you so much Laurence.

Who has been a stand-out Mentor for you?

Erin, Love from Cornfield… X

The Marathon Diaries: The Final Installment

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I did it. I actually did it. The race I’ve been talking about for the last 6 months is now behind me.
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I’m so proud of myself for finishing, although I always knew I would, in some shape or form. It’s that word again, Persevere. If I had to cross the line by crawling over it, I would have.
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So what can I say of the race? I’m not going to lie. It was tough. It’s a bloody long way, but nothing prepares you for the support of the crowd, and the other runners. The sense of community and charity is amazing, the atmosphere as you are pounding those London streets is incredible. I feel so lucky to have been able to experience it. It was humbling too, given what had happened in Boston a mere week before. The silence we observed at the start line was emotional.

I had highs and lows during the 5 hours 41 minutes. Lots of the former and only one of the latter (that being the toilet facilities at the race. Nerves means toilet visits for me, and lets just say a “women’s urinal” in the great outdoors doesn’t make for a good experience. Stage fright ahoy!)

Highs included the perfect running conditions (a bright sunny, but cool day);
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The run past The Cutty Sark and over Tower Bridge, fond for me since I walk past it daily to work;

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Seeing my folks and Richard at Miles 13 and 25 cheering me on, sign in hand;
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Being spurred on and “thumbs upped” by my fellow Crohn’s runners; the crowd; my last sprint down the Mall; Celebrating at Horseguards Parade, medal around neck.
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I can say with absolute certainty though that I won’t be doing this again. It was a one-time deal, and now it’s done. I’m not saying that I won’t run in any shape or form. A 10K or possibly a Half, I would probably do. The 26.2 mile race though is now checked-off on my Bucket list (although the Moonwalk still appeals). I don’t think Marathon running is good for the body, mine at least.
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Been there, done that and got the two t-shirts. And I’m so very proud of myself for that.

Erin, Love from Cornfield… Xxx
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No Going Back

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The evening before! No going back now. As the quote above goes, at least I’m on my way to turning up.

As you know from my Marathon Diaries posts, this is my deferred run, as in 2012, when I had my first ballot place, I would have been 7 months pregnant.

Here we are therefore, 18 months later, and I’m going to do this. My husband made me cry with his post earlier today, and in so glad I’m able to do this for someone and something. It will make crossing that start, and finish line, that much easier.

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I’ve got my number, and place on the Hall of Fame. I’ve got my charity vest. Now all I’ve got to do is run it!

Good luck to all those taking part tomorrow. I take my hat off to each and every one of you. See you guys on the other side.

Erin, Love from Cornfield… X

The Marathon Diaries: Week 19

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7 days to go

So this is it. One week before the big race. I can’t quite believe its here already. In real terms I’ve been waiting for this since October 2011 when I first got accepted, and then deferred as I would have been 7 months pregnant this time last year.

Could I have taken the easy option post having our Son and decided not to run it this year? Absolutely. Would I have felt always that I’d let myself down if I’d have not at least tried? Definitely. (Two deferred ballot places means you’re out).

And here I am. In excess of 300 miles run from September 2012, having not been a lover of road running prior to this, I feel pretty proud of that achievement alone. My toes and feet have taken a bit of a battering, although my toenails could definitely be looking worse.
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I’m also suffering with a tight, right ITB so lots of work on the foam roller for me this week, along with zero alcohol, 75% more carbs, and a nice easily digestible supper on Saturday night (thanks to Gail & Ian who are kindly putting me up in their home at Blackheath).
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I’m excited, nervous and ready to run the London Marathon. As I said in my very first Marathon Diaries post, it was something that has been on my bucket list, and I owe it to myself to tick it off. An old boss at my student placement once wrote a word on a scrap of paper, then handed it to me on my leaving do. That word was persevere. It’s stood me in good stead ever since. Thank you Phil. That’s the cherry on my motivation cake this week. You’ll find me posting something daily to help me along over on Instagram.

I’m going to end this post with a shameless plug to my chosen charity… Crohn’s & Colitis UK. I was hoping to get to £1000 in sponsorship and I can believe I’m over that. If I can get to £2000 it would be amazing.

Wish me luck. I hope the weather stays like this. My run yesterday was quite hot. I think I may need Capris and my Oakleys!

Erin, Love from Cornfield… X

The Marathon Diaries: Week 18

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14 days to go

This time in two weeks I shall have hopefully completed the Virgin London Marathon! If all goes well, I’ll be seeing my uber supportive Hubby and Bubba who will be at Shadwell, miles 13 and 22, with the Crohn’s & Colitis crew, and then the parents in laws at Westminster at mile 25.

I have to say though, I’m looking forward to the race being done. This last two weeks I’ve been so tired. Drained from the miles I’m putting in as well as working and having a 9-month old, its far from easy. At home, Hubby will testify that at any down time, I’m mostly asleep!

These last two weeks also haven’t been without their lows. A run I was supposed to do 20 miles on went wrong after I stopped, albeit for seconds, to talk to a friend in Priory Park, and then I couldn’t get going again. Rhythm lost.

A blister recurring on my dreaded right foot… Not painful, but annoying. Then today’s run where hubby had to collect me at mile 10 as my knee was really irritated. Ibulieve and a bath tonight I think.

I’m hoping for a better last two weeks. Fitness-wise I’m there, I just hope my hardware (body) stays in the game. Mentally I’m OK too I think. A four-hour stint on the Bike in the Gym (in lieu of a long run due to bruising my L2 in a fall down the stairs) helped with that.

One things for sure. Roll on this time in two weeks. It will all be worth it then.

Erin, Love from Cornfield… X

The Marathon Diaries: Week 9

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75 days to go

Training has been going ok but the weather and a bout of illness made the two weeks previous to this very difficult indeed. I wasn’t going to risk life and limb by going running in the snow, especially in hilly Reigate.

The week just gone has seen me run 12.7 miles in just under 2.5 hours (12 miles or 3 hours was the goal) so I’m pretty pleased. My other miles came from stints on the treadmill at Fitness First near my office as my working week was too busy to get out at lunchtime.

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During my long run on Sunday I also gave one of these isotonic gel pouches a go, given to me by my seasoned triathlete friend Jon, who sold it in to me by telling me it tasted like Ribena. It didn’t but the main thing was I wasn’t sick after it and I did feel a bit more refreshed. YIPEE!

This long run saw me struggle a bit with my right butt cheek, although the blisters, knee and breathing were all fine. Sod’s law isn’t it? A colleague of mine who is also a Sports Masseur has given me some stretching tips which I hope will help. Thanks Jose!

Hopefully the run on Saturday will mark the start of my over three-hour runs!

Erin, Love from Cornfield… X