Marathon runner Paula Radcliffe is mum to Isla, five, and Raphael, 18 months. She tells Parentdish about her son's dramatic birth, why the whole family will be cheering her on at the Olympics this summer, and how her toddler helpfully likes to have cuddles when she's stretching on the floor...
You're training for the Olympics this summer and have two children under five. Wow us with a typical day in your household...
We're usually all up around 7.45am, and have breakfast together before I take Isla to school. We have a lady to come and look after Raphael, so when she arrives I head out for my first training session of the day, which involves running and weights. I nip back and have lunch with Raphael, and we both have an afternoon nap before I collect Isla. Then it's time for another run, some stretches at home and tea, bath and bed for Isla and Raphael.
Are you actually Superwoman?
Not really! Any working mum's day is busy and full-on, mine is just very physical.
Do Isla and Raphael get on?
Yes, they are best friends. Of course there is the odd moment when one wants more attention than the other but generally they are very happy with each other. Raphael is besotted with his big sister, and one of his first words was 'Isla'.
Do you have to spend a lot of time away from them when training?
Most of the time we stay together, but just before Christmas I went to Kenya for a month of training. It was incredibly tough, but such an amazing training opportunity that I had to go for it. We talked on Skype everyday, which I found was the best way to keep in contact with them. We had regular Skype chats throughout the day, so I would be dipping in and out regularly.
Paula and husband Gary. Pic: PA
Are your children going to be watching you compete this Summer?
Absolutely. They will be there with my mum and dad cheering me on. The Olympics is a fantastic opportunity to get young children interested and involved in sport. There are going to be so many different sports and activities going on that children (and adults!) won't have experienced before.
Are you a very active family?
Yes. We are always on the go and outside, and the children are always jumping around and spending time outside. They're not interested in computers and the TV, they just want to move! That's why I'm supporting the Pampers Little Athlete campaign, helping to encourage active play in children.
Do Isla and Raphael take an interest in your training?
Isla loves coming out with me and jogging the track while I train. Her favourite thing to do is pass me my bottle of drink when I come past. Raphael is just here, there and everywhere! When I stretch out on the floor at home he sees it as an excuse to climb all over me, which can slow me down! Isla knows running is my job, and knows something big is happening this summer. Although she's much more excited about what she's going to be doing at school tomorrow.
How did you find training when pregnant?
The minute you find out you're pregnant, your priorities change, and of course I slowed down. I ran for health and pleasure when I was pregnant, not for competitive reasons.
Paula while pregnant with Raphael. Pic: PA
How long did you take off after each baby?
Not enough with Isla - I was running again after just 12 days! With Raphael I took longer, about three and a half weeks.
How has your body changed since you had children?
To be honest not massively, but of course there are areas which are quite different than before the kids. I definitely have signs I'm a mum, and bits of saggy skin!
You had a 27 hour labour with Isla and dramatic birth with Raphael...
Yes, he was born with the cord twice wrapped around his neck. He arrived grey and pale which was terrifying. He had lots of tests and stayed in an incubator for a few days, but thankfully everything was fine and he is absolutely fabulous now.
Would you like another baby?
Well, never say never, but Gary (Paula's husband) and I always said if we had one of each then that would be it. But you never know...
Paula Radcliffe is working with Pampers on its Pampers Little Athlete campaign to help parents celebrate their own child's play in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. To celebrate your baby's unique spirit of play, join Paula and Raphael on Facebook at Facebook.com/PampersUKIre.
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