Packing my hospital bag…

Collecting things for and packing my hospital bag has actually been one of the most fun tasks of pregnancy so far…all of a sudden becoming a Mum feels real and in just days we will be putting our bags in the car and getting ready to meet our wee one for the first time.

I have followed various guides on what to pack for the hospital and some of the lists I have found make it sound like I am moving away and not heading a couple of miles to the hospital.  However, I have found the NHS guide to be the most useful- check it out here.

Here’s a short list of the essential items I have packed.

For the baby:

  1. Cellular Blanket
  2. Cardigan
  3. Clothes for going home in (including a hat and scratch mittens)
  4. Muslins
  5. Nappies
  6. Baby wipes

For me:

  1. Pyjamas
  2. Pack of string vests (M&S)
  3. Spare Underwear
  4. Comfortable socks
  5. A warm cardigan
  6. An outfit for going home (Comfortable bottoms and loose fitting tops)
  7. Food – this is really important I was lucky enough to have a range of Clif Bars sent to me to help me get through labour and keep my energy levels up!
  8. Drinks- Lots of water and some energy drinks

Here’s a wee peek of some of the things I have packed and ready to go …

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Is feeding young kids with vegetables just a fad?

I thought that a Scottish radio phone in the other day was a joke – but no it was for real!  The topic: is feeding vegetables to babies just another fad?

I can imagine my mum over in sunny Spain having an apoplectic fit when she hears this one.  My mum and dad spent significant time and energy feeding me and my two siblings mashed up vegetables and ensuring we had a balanced diet.  And guess what – we just couldn’t’ have been healthier.

Mum tells me we were happy, bouncy full of energy youngsters and apparently I walked up my first Munro around the age of four.  The only problem at the time was she thought we had to have milk and yogurt and cheese to get our protein.

Based on the scientific research of lots experts in the field of nutrition she ditched this idea and is also now fully plant based.   Neither me or mum are scientists however and we think it best if readers seek peer reviewed evidence rather than just take our word that we don’t need to eat animals for protein.

One of the sources I use for inspiration and to check facts in an easily digestible way is through plant based ultra marathon runner Rich Roll.  In his podcasts he interviews really inspirational folk and a range of professionals including scientists who put the science and the protein issue to bed.

I also swear by the healthy approach of Dr Furhman who sites many, many sources in his book Eat to Live.  You could also try and have a squint at The China Study by Dr Colin T Campbell a great resource and he was one of the excellent interviewees on Rich Roll’s podcast.

Finally and for fun and inspiration checkout The Happy Pear over in Ireland, Mum just came across them and I thinks they are a great pair.  If you want a real giggle listen to Rich Roll’s podcast when he interviews them.

Some books to check out:

The China Study

Eat To Live

 

 

Mum’s skippin’ to the beat…

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After our running challenge mum was literally out of breath.  Having fallen over quite often and also pulling an intercostal muscle taking a breath was a sore effort.  Pretty much mum was sick and tired of running.  However she knew from experience the feeling would pass and meanwhile she didn’t want to lose fitness.  So enter skipping.

 Skipping is a great way to keep up aerobic fitness and strengthen.  Mum has incorporated a tabata/hiit routine which is fun and still challenging.  She warms up with a four minute routine: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, repeated eight times.   This was followed by three cycles of 40 seconds on, ten seconds rest x eight. 

 

After a few days of focusing on coordination (she hadn’t skipped since she was a girl!) this proved a fun and quick way to keep up her training.

Mum is also focusing on stretching for running and is trying out yoga sequences for flexibility and strength as she feels that being a “wee bit older” it might be a wise move for overall body mobility.  I will keep you posted on her progress…

 P.S  she has finally found Spotify and is skippin’ to the beat of 80’s radio!

Staying motivated…

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I keep being asked how I manage to stay motivated with my daily exercise routine.  Well the truth is, and in some ways I’m embarassed to say it, but I don’t really do all that much.  And what I do do is completed in just 16 minutes a day.  I really enjoy Tabata training, some people call it HIIIT which is high intensity interval training.  Basically I do two rounds of eight minutes of exercise.  One in the morning and one in the evening.

Two sessions gives me maximum fat burn and allows me to work my whole body.  Each session comprises of four exercises which I repeat four times.  I started out doing each  exercise for 20 seconds with a 10 second break in between.  I now do 50 seconds for each exercise.  Of course I work really hard during this time and it hurts – but then who can’t do an exercise for 20 seconds – even burpees are achievable!

Check out these videos for examples of my routines.  They are great fun and I can do them anywhere – even in all weathers in Scotland.   Dr John Babraj of Abertay University is researching the beneficial effects of this kind of training and I hope to post an interview with him about it all in the next week or so.

As for my running – well I have completed my four half marathon challenge and need a wee break – but not for long because mum and I are entered for the Venice full marathon at the end of October – who doesn’t like to have a target!

How did we train for the Rome marathon?

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Mum and I have been asked quite often recently how we trained for our first marathon last year and if we had any tips.  Well we don’t feel that we can really give out tips because we are not in any way ‘seasoned’ runners.  However we did follow advice from online sources and from friends who had a lot more experience than us.

 
This is some of the key things we did do…
 
First of all we drew up a 16 week running plan and we made the decision to stick to it, we think in retrospect that was the ultimate decision – sticking to what we decided to do. 
 
As we were already running three or four times a week for 3 – 5 miles we produced a schedule that built up our long runs.  We read enough to realise that it was very sensible to stick to the rule of not increasing our weekly mileage by more than 10% – although that can be difficult in the countryside when you are stuck for finding decent long runs.  Here is more on the 10% rule and lots more advice on all aspects of running.  
 
Each week we also made sure we did a long run so that our bodies got used to progressively  longer distance and longer time on our feet – so that the hours on our feet for the marathon didn’t come as too much of a surprise! Some runners prefer a long run every two weeks and some just one long run per month.  You can read more about the pro’s and cons of your long runs here.
 
Here are some of the things we didn’t do…
 
We didn’t stretch enough (or at all really) a very silly omission – we were lucky we didn’t pick up any serious injuries.  Here is some info on stretching and marathon training.
 
We also didn’t do any core strengthening exercises which was a real missed opportunity.  Here is some advice on core strength training. 
 

We ate too much – mum even put on weight despite the mileage we were doing.

 And … we didn’t learn how to hydrate properly but luckily the Rome marathon organisers knew what they were doing and we were ok on the day.  This is my post on what we do now to keep us going on long runs.
 
Overall as we progressed we realised a one fit plan doesn’t suit everyone for example we had different aches and pains, availability for training and different needs for hydration and food on long runs.  And don’t forget there is a 28 year age gap between us!
 
So what we needed was a whole system that we could adapt to our specific needs to help develop our speed, strength and endurance.