The chronicles of me getting back into running may or may not be of interest to the general Internet. But whether you were a runner, a swimmer, a crafter, a singer or a writer before you were pregnant, we all have something in common - trying to find the balance of your hobby/passion in life with baby. It's not an easy to just jump back into something when postpartum life involves very little time and energy for old pursuits.
Both of these points were true in my case. I waited until six weeks postpartum to start running again, and truthfully even then "starting" to run again was more like a walk/jog (and its possible I could have benefitted from waiting another week or two.) When I had June I experienced a uterine tear and subsequently received a blood transfusion to deal with the blood loss. I was down to 65 count, and a pregnant woman's hemoglobin is about 115 (it's even higher when you aren't pregnant). So needless to say, personally my biggest struggle since June was born has been energy and liveliness. But I was just so eager to get going and feeling normal again that once I got the all clear from our midwife, I decided I would start back into some sort of routine.
My approach has been "do only what you can do." Meaning, I've had to completely shut down the competitive "just push a little harder" part of my brain; not so hard to do when your body literally, physically won't go faster then a sauntering cat.
Last Monday was my first run - I decided beforehand on a short loop through the neighbourhood. I jogged and walked and spent the time inbetween paying attention to how my body felt. Never before has my butt jiggled so much. Never before has my stomach moved up and down as my butt did. I quickly realized how much my body had changed since a year ago at this time.
I know this won't be the typical case for everyone who was a runner beforehand because there will be some of us who bounce back in two weeks time and others who take a bit more coaxing. I wasn't out of shape before I got pregnant - also I exercised throughout my entire pregnancy - I jogged until it got too icy outside and then I swam up to three times a week. But getting back into running is going to be an uphill battle for me. Luckily I am competitive because while mentally it's a hard blow to feel so drastically different in my postpartum body, I'm also seeing it as a challenge. I think it will be fun to keep track of my progress so that I can contrast just how slow and cumbersome I feel at six weeks postpartum to six months from now.
The second part of the first week back into running involves separation; it was an anxious process to leave my six week old baby, but it was an important thing to do for my sanity. So I tanked June up with milk (and tried to empty my breasts as much as possible because running when you are breast feeding, ouch!) and Mike took a shift. We decided to try a morning routine for running because that's when she's least fussy at the moment (omgosh she just loves sitting and "chatting" with her Daddy right now. It's the sweetest thing to watch I'll tell ya - makes it even harder to get out the door!)
So, a support network is important - it's important in all aspects of postpartum life and in my opinion it was essential to remember that the support is for me too and not just for baby care. It was actually the most elating feeling getting out there. It was the worst run of my life but also the best. Does that make sense? It felt so good to do something for myself, something that I love and something that was so much a "part of me" before I had June.
And that just about sums up week one. I managed to get three jogs in. By the end of the week my legs already felt stronger, and so did my head & heart. I should also mention I signed up for the Army Half Marathon in Ottawa back in February. It might have been a foolhardy decision; the race is at the end of September so I'll have to see if I'm in fact able and ready to get out there by that date. I'll play it by ear and see how my progress goes!