All posts by Tamsyn Lewis Manou

I love to laugh and live life to its fullest! Honesty gets me in trouble but I prefer to be upfront. Hence my blogs are my opinion and I don't mind the discussion of those who disagree. Life would be boring if we all just said what others wanted us to hear….Be true to yourself and who you are I say...I have two hungarian vizslas, Indie and Willow, who always make me laugh and my turtle Tommy T is just a social little fella. I married a great catch in Graham and have an amazing family with great friends…I also love all sport and was lucky enough to travel the world running.

A beautiful baby girl named Izabella Indie…

ca3e0850-7d31-11e4-858d-0601430fcff3-thumb Firstly I want to preface this blog with a simple fact – I have great support. I don’t want to even begin to preach that being a new mum and getting fit again is easy. And it would be much harder without the support I have around me of my husband Graham and my Mum who allow me to go for a run worry free because I know my daughter is in the best hands, (pardon the pun Graham!!) Also I was extremely lucky during my pregnancy to remain fit and healthy and have a smooth labor (thanks to a great obstetrician and his fantastic team at Frances Perry, thanks Ross!) IMG_9466IMG_9557

As I said, my pregnancy was relatively smooth. I raced a 4x400m relay at 6 weeks pregnant and then just pulled back on the sessions by gradually dropping the percentage that I trained at until I made a conscientious decision (with my coach and brother Justin) to stop running altogether at 7 months pregnant. By the last few months I was literally just shuffling anyway. The last 2 months were spent walking with a heart rate monitor on and just making sure that I remained fit and healthy but always being mindful of the most important result being a healthy baby. I do believe that remaining fit and healthy throughout my pregnancy kept me sane, allowed me to have a great recovery post birth and delivered me the best gift ever, a healthy baby girl.

Gym at 17 weeks pregnant
Gym at 17 weeks pregnant

August 9th 2014 Izabella Indie Manou arrived into our world and these last 6 months have been the best 6 ever. I read nothing leading into the pregnancy, through the pregnancy or after it! I was told, (after freaking out at the literature) that ‘up the duff’ was the best book to read, however I couldn’t even get through that one as it was all too intense for me! So I made the decision to treat it like running, my doc Ross was my new coach and whatever he said goes. I took an extra cautious approach to exercise and I was very fortunate to have no cravings (albeit disappointed as no yuck stories of waking up at midnight to eat icecream with vegemite!). Again everyone is so individual in pregnancies and because I had no cravings and felt great in the last 6 months it allowed me to not stack on too much extra weight. All up though I did put on 14 kg with Izabella born at a healthy 8 pound 5. IMG_0017 In the first 6 weeks after Izabella was born all I did was enjoy my time with her, adjust to my new life and walk. We walked so much. I have two Hungarian Vizsla dogs, Indie and Willow (yes we named Izabella after our oldest dog – Izabella Indie), and they don’t understand, ‘no walk new baby’, so exercise was a necessity anyway. Plus Izabella loved being out and about with the dogs. IMG_0046 GetAttachment-14.aspx

At 6 weeks, I received the all clear from the doc to start some gentle running and get back into it. I had been doing my pelvic floor exercises religiously, yet no one can prepare you for that first run. I managed 1 minute jog (a shuffle at Cliff Young pace) and 1 minute walk for ten minutes. Yep ten minutes…I am not kidding. My first step into the jog I thought my insides were going to fall out and that I would never be able to run fast again! I was horrified.

Product that I love and helped recovery - SRC health recovery shorts
Product that I love and helped recovery – SRC health recovery shorts

Thankfully it did get better. The way forward was slowly, slowly. I am guessing everyone’s recovery is different so I can’t sit here and say do what I did and you will get fit and in shape again. I just listened to my body and took it very gently in the first few months and gradually increased the amount and tempo depending on what my body could cope with. GetAttachment-12.aspx Fast forward 6 months and I am pretty happy with my progress. I have found the time I spend going for a run allows me to have valuable ‘me’ time still and makes me (I believe) a better, happier and more relaxed Mum to Izabella. I prefaced this with I’m lucky to have support as I know lots don’t and would be unable to find an hour a day to do baby free exercise sessions. I have had such days where I couldn’t and those days I don’t stress I just take Izabella along and do stuff with her.

IMG_2424 IMG_2419

I have taken her to the gym, jogged up the hill reps (slowly) or on the track with Izabella in her pram and just ticked the legs over and got my heart rate up. On those days I wait till Izabella is asleep and also do circuits at home. Sometimes it is the last thing I have felt like doing in the hour respite her sleep gives me, however I always feel better after doing it. IMG_2163 Now Izabella is 6 months old I have her in the baby jogger summit X3 pram with a neck support. I never go fast when I run with her as she’s still really young and I can always see her to make sure she is happily enjoying her time along the walk/jog. Even pushing the pram up hill reps, just walking is enough to get my heart rate up and work on fitness and body toning. Of all my ‘get body/fitness back’ sessions that I do now, the ones with Izabella are by far my favorites. What I have learnt since exercising again post birth is that unlike before having Izabella, I have to be more relaxed in terms of what can and can’t happen. My life now revolves around Izabella’s needs and sometimes plans change. Surprisingly I have been relaxed and just rolled with the changes and getting back in shape has just progressed nicely and stress free because of this. photo-2 This weekend is the Victorian State Championships. I have entered the 400m. I may be setting myself an unrealistic goal of competing, however I have missed racing and I think even at the age of 36 and a new mum I can still run fast enough to compete well. Fingers crossed this week goes well on the training track and I can take my spot on the start line and enjoy a few more races before hanging my spikes up for good. I am so fortunate that without reading one book or knowing anything on how to be a mum, I have been given one of those children who sleep through the night and is crazy laid back like her father! As the young kids say…hashtag BLESSED!!!! GetAttachment-8.aspx

Training still – I am pregnant not dying!

“You should be at home making babies, not in here (the track’s gym on an exercise bike) you should be done with this stuff (athletics)” from an elite athlete …

I have also had comments such as

in the gym at 17 weeks
in the gym at 17 weeks

“Don’t you go over doing it, you should be very careful in your condition” (whilst walking up stairs at the beach) from a complete stranger…

My condition – I am pregnant, not dying!!!

Having come into this pregnancy as a fit and healthy 35 year old, I didn’t want to stop exercising because I was expecting my first child. The idea of 9 months without exercise and wrapping myself in cotton wool just didn’t sit well with me. Obviously the health and well being of Graham and my child comes first. I am not insane! I have asked all the right medical people and also other athletic mums who have delivered healthy babies how they went about keeping fit and sane during pregnancy.

The medical advice given to me was if I came into the pregnancy fit then I would be best to keep fit throughout. I was given a percentage to scale back my training, which was 30%, and after explaining to my doctor that as an elite 800 runner 30% less than normal for me is still a lot of training, I scaled mine back to probably more like 50% less and at a far lesser intensity.

What I have worked out is that the key to training whilst pregnant is listening to your body. For me that is not too difficult as that’s what we always do as athletes. I exercise with my Garmin heart rate monitor on and work at keeping my heart rate below a certain number. Everyones heart rate max is different and I know what is a safe level for me. If my heart rate gets too escalated or I feel too short of breath, I stop or take longer recovery between repetitions. I am currently 19 weeks pregnant and feeling great after what was a rocky start with morning sickness. Exercise has kept me not only sane but feeling better when the nausea and tiredness start to kick in.

Below is an example of my last weeks training diary at 18 weeks pregnant…

Monday – Grass Track – easy 5 min warm up jog, stretch, 4 x strides over 80m to warm up, Session – 50 metres run walk 50m, 100m run walk 100m, 150 m run walk 150m, 200m run walk 200m, 150m run walk 150m, 100m run walk 100m, 50m run walk 50m, easy 5 min jog, stretch.

Tuesday – am – 10 min easy jog

– pm – Athletics Track – 5 min easy jog, stretch, 4 x strides over 80m to warm up, Session – 100m, 110m, 130m, 150m, 130m, 110m, 100m at 75% with a recovery of walk 50m jog 80m walk 50m. I loved this session as it was pouring with rain and made me felt like I was an elite tough trainer again (even at this slow pace) as everyone else huddled undercover waiting for the break in weather…Its the little things when you are pregnant!

Wednesday – am – 10min jog

pm – Grass Track – 5min easy jog, stretch, 4 x strides overs 80m to warm up, drills – running ones and lunges, Session – 5 x (50 m 80% 50m 60% 50m walk) rest 4 min and repeat, easy 5 min jog

Thursday – 5 min easy jog, 4 x strides over 80m to warm up, drills, Session – 4 sets of (4 x 60m runs at 85% with 30 sec recovery) plenty of recovery between sets to make sure heart rate back down, 5 min easy jog.

weird pregnancy symptom I can't move the tip of my finger!
weird pregnancy symptom I can’t move the tip of my finger!

Then into gym for neck and core exercises to help with problems I am having with my body thru pregnancy e.g. my disk bulge in my neck that I had in Japan 2012 has flared up and caused nerve problems down my right arm. Sore lower back also.

Friday – 5 min easy jog on sand at beach, stair reps – 8 flights about 100 steps. 6 repetitions with walk back recovery alternating between walking up skipping a step and then running up (70%) touching every step. Don’t need to do many reps or at a high intensity as the burn in the legs still happens and the extra weight being carried makes it tough.

Saturday – rest day

Sunday – 5 min easy jog, stretch, 3 x 80m strides for warm up, Session on the soccer pitch in middle of the track – walk from one corner to next, jog from that corner to the next one and then run (75%) across from that point diagonally across the pitch to the next point. Do this 6 times in a row without stopping then rest before repeating once. 5 min easy jog to warm down before hitting the gym for neck and core exercises.

my beautiful dogs are very cuddly towards my tummy!
my beautiful dogs are very cuddly towards my tummy!

Granted I may look a little strange exercising with an ever expanding tummy. I am not Robinson Crusoe though. Many women before me and many after me will exercise during pregnancy. I have found it helpful and enjoyable to be out and doing things rather than being “at home making babies” like was suggested to me and what I see as a very archaic point of view.  I guess I should be prepared for more comments along these lines as I intend to exercise for as long as my body allows me to during this pregnancy, even if it drops down to just the daily walking of the dogs!

T xxxxxx

Food craving for March – milkos and redskins

A new addition….

Tamsyn Lewis Graham Manou wedding

Well 2014 is going to be an exciting one with a new addition on its way to join our household. I hope he/she will be ready for the craziness that the Lewis/Manou house brings.  With 2 Hungarian Vizlas and a short necked murray turtle already here, we will soon be full to the brim, especially if I get my way of a couple of green tree frogs before then too! More the merrier though!!

My pot belly
My pot belly

Let me take a step back thou to the shock, that I am sure a lot of Mums can relate to, when first finding out that I was pregnant.

It was November 2013 and after completing a full winter season of athletics training, yes retirement was short lived, I was looking forward to being an athlete again this season for my club Sandringham and setting myself some goals for the future. I had come to realize after 2012 that I had more to give in  track and field, my results on the training track told me that I could still win national titles and compete for my country. Plus the old adage of ‘you are a long time retired’ kept ringing in my ears. As I try to live my life with minimum regrets; that coupled with the fact that I still love to run, I was happily training and getting ready for the season ahead. My first race for the year was a 52.83 400m that I ran from lane 8 against the boys at Knox athletics track. My fastest ever interclub 400, which told me age is often nothing but a number!

My ET impersonation
My ET impersonation

The week before Zatopek Track meet I was in Townsville with the girls I coach from Firbank who had done such an amazing effort to qualify for the teams Knockout at nationals. Training in the heat is something I usually love but I knew up there that something was a tiny bit off. Well that and without going into detail but I have always been one of the most female middle distance runners and everything for me works and has always worked like clock work. I am certainly not one of those under weight, malnutritioned, amenorrhoea athletes that are so often heard about in female track running. I am guessing that is also one of the reasons as to why I have acquired very few injuries in my aths career and am still healthy and happily running pain free just like I did when I was 20 even thou I am now 35.

Finding out you’re pregnant is, no matter what age you are, like hopping on the emotional roller coaster. First comes excitement, then freaking out, then the questions and then oh yeah hang on bathroom trip not feeling so great! That and having to deal with the fact that I had a relay coming up for Sandringham at the Zatopek athletics meet that I had made a commitment to and was desperate to help my team mates win. Problem was I couldn’t tell anyone that I was pregnant either as I was still in the first trimester, and felt excuse the language but the only polite way to put it is shithouse with morning sickness that apparently doesn’t only last in the morning! So after speaking with my husband Graham, we decided that we had to tell my coach and brother Justin so he knew why I IMG_7886wouldn’t be running as well and to help me modify training. I will never forget his response as we told him just before warm up that night of Zatopek. First response was the brother, huge grin with congrats. The second response was the coach, ‘well this is a new one from you to deal with just take it easy, don’t try too hard and just get around gently!’ I don’t think I have ever been so nervous before a club 4×400 in my life. Once I had the baton in my hand I remember thinking that this will be a story to tell my future child and I wanted IMG_7887to make the story have a winning ending. Yep you can think a lot while you run around a lap of the track in 51 seconds! I am thinking of asking Aths Victoria for a 5th medal thou as we ran a 5×400 that night and if I can get our child a medal from athletics this early I have one up on the cricket gene that my husband is providing! A link to the relay is below….

The first trimester of a first pregnancy is quite stressful. Well it was for me! I tried google and books but they all freaked me out with the cant dos and the risks that I had to stop reading any of it. I felt really sick most of the day. One time I had friends over and went to get menus for take away and came back 45 minutes later having fallen asleep whilst grabbing them! The sickness along with the extreme tiredness made it very difficult to keep up the charade of being healthy and fit. This included training like an elite athlete without doing anywhere near as much training, so as not to raise suspicion because it apparently has to be top secret till its past the safe first scan date to announce the pregnancy! I had absolutely no idea what the correct amount of exercise was to keep a baby healthy without doing too much. My doctor said the usual is to drop it by 30% but considering the training load of an 800 runner 30% less is still a lot of hard training! That along with the fact I developed a ‘pot belly’ not suited to lycra the secretive weeks of pregnancy were not easy ones for me.

Now I am out of my first trimester I am grateful to have my ‘pot belly’ out and proudly displayed! I still get the strange looks from those who don’t know that are clearly thinking that I have let myself go and enjoyed the pies a bit too much! However I don’t mind the looks as once I calmed down from the initial shock of seeing the two lines, I realized how fortunate Graham and I are to have fallen pregnant so easily at an older age. I am still training and will upload some of the sessions I am doing along this journey to show other fit mums to be what I have done to keep sane, fit and most importantly keep my baby healthy and developing. Not that my ways right, I am just like all pregnant mums trying to enjoy the pregnancy in my own way whilst keeping sane and not throwing up!

In regards to running again all I know is that I still love to run. I am hoping that there are some changes made in at Athletics Australia post Commonwealth Games.  I made a decision post London 2012 that I wouldn’t put my life on hold for a regime of people who can scratch you from start lists or not select you because of their own agendas. I love running for my club Sandringham as it reminds me why I began athletics. The friendly attitudes and the support they give at training and competition is what makes an athlete reach their potential. Having people believe in you and show interest is often enough to inspire a person to greatness. Everyone’s level of greatness is different but just as important as the next person. That’s why I love my club because it creates that family environment that inspires people to achieve their best. Because of this I hope to be back out there next season in the green and black before deciding about having one last crack for Rio. I also have our club presidents Mum knitting our baby a little Sandy top because if our child gets into sport it is this model of friendly, positive, supportive people that I hope they will be surrounded by in their sporting life…I suppose even if it is in the cricket world!

All I know or care about at the moment though is having a healthy baby and enjoying the journey to motherhood and meeting our new addition to the Lewis/Manou household sometime later this year. Bring on the sleepless nights I can’t wait to change my priorities and be a mum.

T xxxxx

Food Craving for February – Rice Bubbles