BEIJING (AP) — As she lay on her back, hands covering her face trying to absorb the reality of again being a world champion, Jessica Ennis-Hill's thoughts turned to who might be watching.
At the top of her mind were her son, and other working mothers.
Much has changed since Ennis won the 2012 London Olympic title in her home country, where the crowd packed the main stadium on the first morning of competition and for every other session in which she competed.
She had a son, Reggie, last July and added a hyphen and Hill to her name. When she got back on a bike and started training again post-pregnancy, she wasn't sure she'd have time to get into shape for the world championships. Even when she arrived in Beijing, she didn't have high expectations of adding another world title to the one she picked up in 2009.
"We only wanted to come here if I was ready to contend for a medal and we spoke about the bronze medal — that would be amazing — the silver medal," the 29-year-old Ennis-Hill said Sunday, "but we never spoke about the gold medal. I just thought it was a little beyond me this year."
Ennis-Hill won the competition with a season-best 6,669 points, leading from the second through the seventh events. In the last event — the 800 meters — she stayed close behind her nearest challenger for 750 meters before surging past Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada in the final straight. Theisen-Eaton, the leading heptathlete all year, finished with 6,554 points for silver, and Laura Ikauniece-Admidina was third in a Latvian record 6,491.
While Ennis-Hill certainly wasn't back to her career peak at the Bird's Nest, she was consistently good enough after running the second-fastest time in the 100-meter hurdles to hang on to the lead she gained from the high jump.
One of her immediate priorities was getting home to celebrate with family and friends. The hardest part about the world championships, she said, was leaving her little boy at home. Perhaps next year they'll plan a family vacation to Brazil to coincide with the Olympic competition in Rio de Janeiro so that Reggie won't have to watch re-runs on TV.
Ennis-Hill is more confident she can handle the training for that, and thankful for the support she's had on the home front.
"It's hard at the beginning when you've got a newborn and you're adjusting to everything, then getting back into training," she said. "I think now that I am a mother, I look at all the mums ... that go back to work and work incredibly hard and I have so much admiration and appreciation for how hard it is.
"So I hope I am an inspiration to other mums that you can go out and do it, and do both really well."