Monday, September 7, 2009

Thanks, Ina May

As part of the process in getting my doula certification, I have to read five books (from a list of oh, 30) and sign a paper saying I've done so. An avid (rabid?) reader, I'd already read a few of them and managed at least two more in preparation for my workshop. I'm on to the final "required" read and still have several on request at the library. Like I said, rabid reader over here.

I'm in the middle of Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth, a fantastic read, especially for women who have never given birth. The book begins with pages and pages of positive birth stories - real life, some complicated, some too good to sound true, some gritty but all real and positive. No horror stories here. It's refreshing and invigorating to read and we all need to hear more of the good stuff, because most of the time, that's what happens.

But I'm off track. This was supposed to be a training report. Right.

What I found most fascinating in Ina May's book is not that there is a big-time commune holed up in Tennessee pushing out amazing birth outcomes (a less than 2% c-section rate is unheard of ANYWHERE), it's that she documents the power of the mind in labour. She can attest first, ahem, hand, at women actually regressing in dilation when they felt threatened (by a rough internal exam at hospital) or when they had something mentally holding them back. She talks about how simply saying a positive mantra (whether you first mean it or not) can have an amazing impact on how your body reacts and works in labour.

Which got me thinking about training. My 9 mile run last week was a piss off and a disappointment and had me seriously considering dropping the Flatlanders half. But upon reading this book, and reading how real women were able to zip through labours by chanting "I can too open to 10 cm" or actually close down 2 cm because of fear, I knew that I too could do 10 GOOD miles if I told myself I could.

I started out taking my own, Jen P's and P Bear's advice and didn't drink or eat crap for the days leading up to my run. I stayed hydrated and, most importantly, mentally prepared for a good 10 miles. I mapped a much more enjoyable route, had a decent sleep and got out the door only an hour later than I had hoped (and still in the morning).

At mile 6, I did actually say out loud, I can too run 10 miles. At mile 7.5, I was tired and my legs were tired, but I felt heaps better than the same point last week. I took at gel at 54 minutes and then at 1 hr 22 min. That was a good idea. By 1 hr 35 minutes I was tired, my knees hurt and I was slowing down, but I was also very close to home. I decided that I wasn't going to stop at my designated end point (that would have been just shy of 10 miles), instead I was going to run to 1 hr 50 min and just see where that got me. I ended up adding way more than I thought I could and felt positively GOOD at 1 hr 45 min. I turned the last stretch of road for home (an incline!) and stopped the watch at 1 hr 49 min 41 seconds...and ended up with 10.28 miles in the can. Uh yeah, that's over 20 seconds faster per mile than last week, 1.3 miles further and I felt 100% better. The knees were a bit sore, my hams and quads very tired yesterday, so I've got work to do over the next three weeks, but kids, I TOO CAN RUN 13.1 MILES.

Thanks, Ina May.


Jennifer P said...

Of course you can! I know I never had any doubt. Now I just need to think that way when it comes time to my own labour.

Beth said...

Great job using positive self talk. You will run 13.1 and have a great time doing it! Great advice.