I often hear that once you have a baby, your world turns completely upside down. There is no time for the things that you loved doing, there is no time for passions that existed before, and for sure there is not time for exercises, training and sport in any shape and form. Well, I agree that with a new baby life is changing A LOT but I don’t believe that baby needs to restrict our whole life. I often hear words of admiration about my sports achievement as a new mummy, then followed by disbelief that other mums can’t do it…
Well, I want you to meet Tina. She is a mummy too and last year, in August 2016, she has completed her first triathlon before her son turned 1 year (he was 8 months, to be precise). Yes, triathlon (sprint) – 750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run. And…she’s done it this year again, for the second time…training alongside full time work, her mummy and family life. She is a super hero and a role model to her son, to her family and to other mums – showing what’s possible. She says: “WHERE THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A WAY”. I love that.
When I was doing this interview with her, every single world resonated with me so much…her goals, her mindset, her beliefs, her attitude, her determination and her commitment…I felt that we were speaking the same language. I want you to listen to her story and get inspired by it. Read on about her journey and find out what message she has for you at the end 🙂
Alex: Hi Tina, I’m so grateful for you being here, I love your story, you are a super mum 🙂
Tina: Hi Alex, thank you for having me here, I didn’t expect that at all…
Alex: Have you been active before and during pregnancy?
Tina: Not really. As a kid I was dancing, however in later years it was rather on and off. 2 years before pregnancy I gained a lot of weight but didn’t really do much about it. When I got pregnant, I was going for long walks (min 1 hour) and I was doing pregnancy yoga. I was lucky, I had very smooth pregnancy and I must say, I loved being pregnant, all the hormones in my body had such amazing impact on my mood and general well-being. I can’t wait to be pregnant again 🙂
Alex: What made you sign up for a triathlon? Why?
Tina: I’m a very goal-oriented person. Before pregnancy I was saying to myself: “I should do this, I should do that, I’ve always wanted to do a triathlon…” but it was never enough time. So, after having a baby, there was a lot of time. Navin was born in November and in January, as a New Year’s resolution, I decided to sign up for a triathlon. It was happening in Excel London, very close to where I live, so no excuses. I wanted Navin to be outside as much as possible plus I wanted to be outside as much as possible as well.
After those terrible sleepless nights, constant breastfeeding, I wanted to be out of the house, in a different environment to be able to get my head cleared. I felt that because I was moving, I had much more energy and I believe that all mums can benefit from it.
Alex: When did you start preparing for a triathlon, what was your training plan like?
Tina: I started in January, straight after I signed up. I didn’t really have any professional plan in place. I couldn’t cycle, as Navin was too small, so I started with running. I got a jogging stroller, BOB, so I could take him for runs with me. It was difficult to start, my legs were hurting, but I was building up my mileage slowly. I’ve always been quite a good swimmer, so I knew that I would be able to manage that. I’m always about calculation, so I was thinking – the swimming will be fine, I can’t cycle now, so I need to focus on running and wanted to double my running. I was doing triathlon sprint distance which requires 5k run, but I wanted to train to be able to run 10k – in preparation for cycling. I was swimming in the Olimpic park, they had a creche there, we started with leaving Navin there for 30 min at first, then for an hour, so I could do my session. He liked it very much. I was also going to fitness classes in the local park and it was just great – hanging out with other mums, doing something for body and mind.
So, I was running 3 times a week, or 2 a week plus 1 fitness class, and I was swimming once a week or once every 2 weeks. We started cycling when Navin was 7 months, he was about 9 kg, so just about to start, it was around June time (the triathlon was 6th of August)
Alex: How did you manage that with a small baby by your side, alongside breastfeeding, tiredness, no grandparents to help, etc.?
Tina: Yes, that’s true, I didn’t have grandparents in UK to help. When you are in the middle of everything, you don’t think about it that much, you just go with the flow, just dealing with it, you just don’t know any different. I was training with Navin – running with him in a jogging stroller, and later cycling with him in the bike. I started like that, I was a mum and yes, my life has changed a lot but I didn’t want the baby to restrict my whole life.
I believe that mums don’t need to change everything and give up on everything because they just had a baby.
Don’t be afraid of trying something new, take your baby for a run, if he/she cries, you will stop and feed him/her, it’s not the end of the world. Navin was a bad sleeper, it was hard but being outside and training was great for my mental health, it gave me so much energy, after each training I felt refreshed, energized, confident that I’m capable of everything. I’m quite competitive person, once I have a target, I just go for it. So, I did.
Alex: How was the actual triathlon for you? What was going through your mind before, during and after the race?
Tina: Before: I was excited, I had target to complete it under 2 hours but I had doubts as well, whether I can make it, maybe I should have trained harder, had a better training plan…blah, blah, blah…
During the race: I was thinking: come on, it’s my first triathlon, take it as a trial, just enjoy it, if you can make it under 2 hours that will be great, if not, that’s ok too.
After: I was soooo proud of myself, it was such a great sense of achievement. It was the most exciting experience for me. I was proud for another reason as well, I was raising money for charity – my goal was to raise £500.00 for British Heart Foundation and I’ve done that.
So, overall 2 goals achieved – triathlon completed in 1:55 and £500.00 raised for BHF, whooo hooo.
Alex: What did you learn about yourself in the process?
Tina: That I’m capable of doing things that I was not sure I could ever do. I was very committed, when I put my mind into something, I’ll go for it, I pushed myself to the limits and I won.
Alex: Why did you decide to go for it for the 2nd time?
Tina: I set up a yearly tradition – Navin 1st year – my 1st triathlon, Navin 2nd year – my 2nd triathlon, and so on…So, I’ve done this again this year, just a couple of weeks ago.
Alex: How was the 2nd time for you?
Tina: This year I knew what’s coming, I knew what to expect, how to plan it, the distance, transition, etc. Last year I feel that I was quite hesitant in cycling, I didn’t push myself that much to still have energy for running. This year I knew that I could go faster in cycling and I would still be fine to complete my run. This year I was cycling to and from work every day, so compared to last year, I felt much better prepared for cycling.
I wanted to beat my last year result and I’ve done that, I finished in 1:53.
Alex: What’s ahead of you, any other races planned?
Tina: Next year – another triathlon and I also want to complete a half-marathon.
Alex: What would you say to other mums who don’t think they can ever do any of that?
Tina: Just do it, don’t overthink, don’t think that nonsense that you can’t do it. Where there is a will, there is a way. It will help you not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. You may think you are tired and you have no energy for any of this…believe me, when you go out and do your training, you will feel much better, you will have energy and you will feel less tired. You just need to decide, stick to it and you will do it.
Alex: Any tips to get started?
Tina: Set a goal and work towards it. Start small, one step at a time, build up gradually, don’t try to climb Mt Everest straight away. Don’t be afraid to take a baby with you, if he/she cries, that’s what babies do, they cry, they make noise, so what? It really doesn’t matter…as long as your baby is safe, clean, fed and loved. Don’t be afraid to try, just do it.
Alex: You are amazing Tina, you truly are. I’m so proud of you, you are such an inspiration. Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview, I’m sure that other mums will be inspired by your story, they will see what’s possible and they will be ready to step up their game too. Thank you so much <3
Tina: Thank you for having me, it’s been a pleasure. If I inspired at least one person, that would be amazing.