Given it's the end of January, it's probably a little late to be posting a review of 2019!
(I've done this every year: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
However, time is a funny old thing right now and my baby doesn't care that I usually write this post in the first week of the year!
2019 was of course life changing. I spent the first half of the year pregnant and the second half of the year with a newborn baby! It's safe to say 2019 was the craziest, most transformative, emotional, toughest and happiest year of my life!
I didn't blog very much at all last year, and I'm quite sure this will be a struggle for me in 2020 too, but perhaps there is a new direction to be taken. I'm just figuring out life as a mother one minute, one hour, one day at a time.
I wrote the following in my blog post last January:
I'm sure parkrun will be a big part of 2019 too. My aim for this year is to get to my 25th volunteering milestone - 14 stints will take me there, but it's hardly a chore. It feels so good to give something back.
This is a big year running-wise for Dave too. In two months time he'll run the Inverness Half Marathon, and it'll be my turn to be the support team! He may also run his first marathon this year too; if not then 2020 will be the focus for him too.
There's something big on the cards for this year, which I'll write about in due course. Safe to say, it's pretty exciting!
I'm mostly looking forward to time with friends and family, to staying happy and healthy, and to keep building on some of the lessons I learned in 2018. It was a transformative year in so many ways - tough times and challenges yes, but good times and happy memories too.
I hadn't revealed my pregnancy at that point of course. I set myself small manageable goals, and surpassed them. I reached my 25th parkrun volunteering marathon; I supported Dave when he ran a half marathon; I ran until week 30 of my pregnancy; I stayed healthy and managed to have a natural labour and safely deliver a healthy baby girl.
I struggled massively adjusting to life as a mother, and perhaps this is something I will write more about in the future. I had a tough start to the journey with breastfeeding difficulties (proud to say we got through those and we're still going nearly 7 months down the line) and the lack of sleep during and after labour made life rather tough. Of course every new parent has to adjust to sleepless nights in the early weeks and months, but my goodness I had no idea how tough it would be!
But going all the way back to January 2019, the year started in magnificent fashion with two parkruns on the 1st. Dave and I ran Kirkcaldy parkrun at 9am, then Loch Leven parkrun at 11am. It was a brilliant way to spend the morning and really set the tone for the year ahead.
I ran at parkrun on most Saturdays until the middle of April, when it just felt too hard. In February I wrote a blog post all about running during my pregnancy, which included my decision making around running the Nice Cannes marathon in November 2018 whilst 5 weeks pregnant.
|Vogrie parkrun at 20 weeks pregnant|
In March we took a brilliant trip to Skye and had a really memorable walk up Dun Caan on Raasay, where we got engaged in 2015. It was so special to take some bump pictures at the top, and I can't wait for the next trip to Raasay as a family.
Dave ran the Inverness Half Marathon, and Tig, bump and myself cheered him on proudly over the wet, cold, snowy route. He did really well and it was lovely to be 'on the other side'.
April brought the most amazing surprise in the form of my best friend Emily, who'd flown over from North Carolina to spend a few days with me for my birthday. It really was such a genuine shock, of the best kind! We had a lovely few days together, walking in Stow, visiting Vogrie, and relaxing at Stobo Castle with mum.
I also decided to stop running in April at 30 weeks pregnant, after a rather heavy-feeling parkrun and general fatigue. It was the right call for me, and it meant I could spend the next 10 weeks volunteering, reaching my 25th volunteer milestone on 22nd June (two days after my due date!)
In May we celebrated Ross's 30th birthday, complete with a surprise visit from Colin which was lovely. Our Baby Box arrived and suddenly everything started to feel real! I finished at work at the end of the month, with a lovely send off from my colleagues.
June of course brought my due date! But prior to that, it brought the arrival of baby Arran, a wonderful new addition to the family.
|8 days overdue!|
I found the long hot summer days of June pretty challenging waiting for baby's arrival and not knowing when that would be. I walked a lot, as much as I could, and rested when possible (usually with Tig lying on my bump!).
On the 22nd of June, after volunteering at parkrun, I joined eighteen family members and three dogs to walk to Gameshope Bothy near Talla Reservoir for the third annual Elliot Cursiter memorial walk.
Thankfully this wasn't too strenuous a walk at 40 weeks, and baby seemed to enjoy all the activity of that long summer day.
I started to feel quite frustrated towards the end of June with no sign of baby, and I had eaten at least ten pineapples by that point, as well as curry and any other foods thought to bring on labour. As tough as the wait was, I was confident baby would come when baby was ready.
Sadly I never got to find that out, and was induced (despite my best intentions not to be) at thirteen days overdue. After numerous walks to Melrose and back, baby Eilidh decided to enter this world on the 5th of July, fittingly my mum and dad's wedding anniversary!
|The last photo I took pre-baby, 8.30pm on the 3rd of July, in the grounds of Borders General Hospital|
Life changed forever. It was a rocky start to motherhood with the aforementioned breastfeeding challenges and lack of sleep. The hot summer days took their toll, and my body took a long time to recover. It was strenuous to walk to the park, let alone even think of ever running anywhere again. I was at a low ebb and really struggled to adjust to my new role.
Therefore, August, September and October passed me by - the days were slow but the weeks were quick. There were many baby-related highlights, as Eilidh continued to developed into the happy wee girl she currently is. I even managed to make it to Vogrie to see everyone in August, and in September I walked round parkrun twice with Eilidh sleeping on me. I was so lucky to be visited by my dearest friends from North Carolina, Susannah and Sunjay, and Emily and Blair around this time. Twice in a year was extra special! October brought our furthest trip from home, as we ventured to Loch Rannoch to cheer on Ross as he set a new personal best over a really tough marathon course.
|Post-Loch Rannoch marathon|
I started running parkrun again in November; tentatively at Loch Leven, stronger at Lochore Meadows, and faster at Vogrie in December.
I'm skipping ahead slightly now but I'm so chuffed to say that I've run parkrun twice with the running buggy since the turn of the year - I'll write a separate blog post about that soon hopefully!
The winter has been challenging, but it was lovely to have Eilidh's first Christmas to look forward to, and we managed to see both families over the period.
We didn't see the bells on Auld Year's Night (although Tig woke me up at 1.15am!), but I'm chuffed that I manage to bring in the New Year with a parkrun at Loch Leven.
|post-parkrun on 1st January, looking exhausted!|
I'm not ready to write about my mental health yet, as it's hard to say where I'm at. I'm grateful to be receiving help from a postnatal depression charity in the Borders, and perhaps one day I'll feel able to write more about the challenges I have faced becoming a mother.
I'm very hopeful that running with the buggy will give me a new lease of life - I've really enjoyed the two Vogrie parkruns I've managed to complete with it, although my arms ache for days afterwards!
Therefore my goals for 2020 are fairly simple and straightforward - to stay healthy and as active as possible, whilst developing in my new role as a mother. I have ideas of running goals in my mind but I'm trying to be sensible and not get too ahead of myself. I will be prone to injury with relaxin in my body, meaning joints and ligaments may not return to their most strong and stable until after I stop breastfeeding.
There's a couple of exciting trips on the horizon for the year: Dumfries for a wedding, the Black Isle for a family get-together with Dave's clan, and Loch Tay for a family get-together with mine! I'm looking forward to making memories with the extended families - there's a lot of us now!
It's hard to believe that this time next year I'll have an eighteen month old (nearly nineteen months!) and no doubt life will be very very different again.
For now I'm happy to say we have (almost!) survived January and 2020 is looking interesting already...