Baby JB is almost 12 weeks old!
And I’m nearly 8 weeks into my new phase of running. I had a pleasant, “medically boring” pregnancy, running through 35 weeks, but initial recovery from birth was not quite a cakewalk. After a marathon 53-hour labor, I had some significant wounds that made just about everything other than eating quite painful, even requiring my re-admission to the hospital. But as they say, time heals and two weeks later I was itching to get moving again.
I’m not always known for smart training decisions, but once that urge hit, I made myself wait another three days. If I felt good enough to walk for each of those three days, I rationalized, then the feeling was true. Finally I climbed on the treadmill and set the pace to 3.0 mph (20:00/mi pace) expecting to jack up the pace quickly. I was ready, right?NOPE – I almost fell off the back of the treadmill and desperately reached for the button to slow the heck down! Willpower got me through a full mile and I called it a postpartum PR.
I spent a full week just walking at a comfortable pace. To hold myself back from overdoing it (anyone else have that problem?), I wore fleece pajama pants and long sleeves and tried not to sweat.
Finally, I got the urge to run. Again, I told myself I’d wait a full three days with the desire present before taking that first stride… and that lasted exactly one minute. Apparently a 9-week break from running is enough to make one forget the importance of a sports bra.
From there, I ran every other day, advancing from 8 minutes (with a walking break) to a solid 30 minutes at almost 5 weeks postpartum. On non-running days I walked, aiming for an average of 60 minutes run/walk daily. Although it felt good to get moving, I felt so awkward! My hips felt wobbly, my quads were sore, and I had somehow forgotten what to do with my hands.
Gradually my 60 minutes of walk/run grew to include more running and the walking faded. I felt like this was a very natural way to increase mileage while keeping the overall stress the same – after all, walking was initially so hard!
I entered my first race at 8 weeks postpartum, a 5k benefiting my workplace. Remember that initial 22:10 mile? Well, I covered a full 3.1 a minute faster! Two weeks later I ran 19:55, and then 19:07 with my 11-week old baby watching. I’ve always enjoyed racing when I’m not in peak shape because it’s so fun to see the seconds drop off, but this is a whole new level of fun! Best of all, now my body feels smooth and natural at any given pace.
I go back to work this week, adding a huge responsibility to balancing “only” baby + running (+ some husband time too, of course. And, uh, my usual minimal housekeeping.). I’m sure I have a lot of challenges coming my way so I’m not planning any specific training goals and am even letting go of the 60 min/day objective for the time being.
Fellow mommas: How long did it take you to feel normal after giving birth? How did you deal with going back to work? Anyone setting all-time PRs postpartum? Do tell!