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It's quite a common problem that us women have when we've given birth, in fact, here's my useless fact for the day: A woman is genetically programmed to lay down a stone in fat when she is preggers in Mother Nature's often misguided hope that it will be turned into milk. Clearly she's not on the Cow and Gate mailing list – unlike me - how they got my details is still a mystery to me!

Anyway, the point is that regardless of what you do or don't eat you are going to chunk up and once the dust has settled on the new version or normality you might do what I did, look in the mirror and think "Holy SHIT, what just happened!?!?".

I've never been keen on exercise, or at least anything that requires me to get red cheeked without a substantial pleasure payback, but seriously, this was no joking matter. The fact that I went back to work 9 weeks post partum just made matter worse because there is nothing that saps the soul more than a 12 hour day of motorway schlepping and desk driving.

Fortunately for me, there was an easy solution. There is a fairly large group at work who had previously been the butt of my razor sharp wit but who I now find myself joining with all the fervour of the newly converted. This group runs ... at lunch. Those who know me will now be re-reading this whole paragraph in case they misunderstood. I'll save you some time, you haven't. I am now running 3 times a week in my lunch hour. Now pick yourself up off the floor and move on.

We run round a collection of lakes and woodland and to be honest, it is exactly the sort of setting that keeps me amused. If we had run along some roads or even hit the treadmills I would already have resigned myself to a future of elasticated waistbands.

I won't lie to you, the first few times I went were hell, which is unsurprising considering I had done virtually no exercise for the past year. In order to get myself through I started thinking of these runs as preparation for our next bambino.

Again, with the getting up off the floor and moving on, I'm not pregnant and I'm not planning to be in the near future.

The point is though, that I want to be in the best shape I can be when we do decide to give Alfie a sibling to torture and that means getting my backside in gear as of now. It seems to be doing the trick, in that I finished the run today knowing I had loads left, but it has also accidentally led to a bizarre kind of therapy for me as well, a kind of mental preparation I didn't really seek out.

I've started to think of these runs as a sort of labour. The first woodland section is physically quite easy, so it has become my early labour with everything getting going. The first lake is the biggest section, and hard to motivate myself around because it seems to go on forever. Bit like the main bulk of labour really. Then there is a horrible little mud track where my lungs start aching and my calves start burning and I catch myself thinking I can't carry on and can't I just stop for a little while and carry on later. Just after that we open up onto the final straight of the second lake where I can visualise being in the second stage of labour.

You're probably sitting there making cuckoo noises at me now, and guess what, I don't care. This is a really nuts visualisation, I know that, and I didn't seek it out, but it just makes those runs FLY by. What I hope it will also do - and of course this is reliant on me keeping to that same run for the next few years - is that by the time labour is something I need think about, not only will I be physically prepared for it, but the visualisation will work in reverse and I will be able to tap into my memories of running round the lake to help me though.

Or alternatively, I'll just get my waist back. Either is good.

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