Running After Baby

IMG_4663Back in January, 2012, 7 months after my first baby was born, I started running.  We already owned a pretty nice treadmill that was sitting in the master bedroom.  In fact, we bought it while I was still pregnant because I knew it was going to be the most convenient way to get active after baby (no heat, no humidity, no jogging stroller, no rain, no trip to the gym, no excuses).  And even though shin splints occurred very early on, I still loved running.  I know there are lots of treadmill haters out there.  I get it.  It’s not very exciting.  I agree that running outdoors is more interesting and scenic.  But I had to do what I had to do with a new baby in the house and crappy Gulf Coast weather.  So I would turn on The Real Housewives and hop on the treadmill during nap time several days per week.  I remember the first time I ran 5 minutes without a walk break.  It was such an amazing feeling.  Eventually I entered my first “race” (I put quotes around that word because I’m certainly not speedy), which was the Houston Rodeo Run 5K.  It was so fun so I entered more and more.  Running and dieting helped me lose all the baby weight, plus some.  I was feeling amazing (except for the stupid ass shin splints).

Fast forward to September, 2013.  I ran a 5K that month and felt so slow and heavy.  Not long after that race I found out I was pregnant with my second baby.  That explains the sluggish 5K I had just run.  So I continued to run during my first trimester but it got more and more uncomfortable.  And although I should have continued to at least walk, at some point, I stopped working out all together.  Our sweet baby girl was born in May, 2014.

That brings us to July, 2014.  My doctor told me that I could run as long as I was careful and increased gradually.  So, that’s what I did.  I would walk on the treadmill and just jog a tiny bit here and there.  I remembered what it felt like to gradually work my way up from when I first started running a couple of years prior.  Getting back into running felt strange, familiar, difficult and wonderful all at the same time.  The lack of sleep certainly wasn’t helping my workouts be any easier, but I did them anyway.  Just yesterday, less than 5 months after having my second c-section, I ran 2 miles without a walk break, plus another 1.1 after that.  I’ve been doing a 5K workout for a while now, but 2 miles without a walk break is the longest I’ve done since before baby.  It felt great, but damn it wasn’t easy.  I could run 5 miles without a walk break before my second pregnancy, but now I begin to struggle after just a half mile.  But I push myself a little more each time and continue to improve (although the stupid ass shin splints are back).  It’s like my mind knows what I need to do but my body is still weak and out of whack, therefore it’s not easy.  I’m tired in places that I didn’t use to be.  I have hip pain during some runs.  There are those oh-so-wonderful random c-section related abdominal pains.  And my legs feel flat-out weak.  Plus, I have extra pounds on me that I didn’t have before I was pregnant.  But they’ll come off gradually.  And I have to keep reminding myself how recent the birth of my baby was and how my body still isn’t even back to it’s “normal” state yet.  So if you’re getting back into your workouts after having a baby like I am, I feel you and encourage you to keep it up.  Being active is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and for our kiddos.  I love that our 3-year-old knows that Mommy and Daddy go running.  He even slips on our running shoes sometimes and pretends to run himself.

I’ll be running my first post-baby race this Saturday to raise money for breast cancer.  With my husband by my side, whom I used to be a bit faster than, I hope I can just keep up with him and cross that finish line.  Then hopefully there’s a cupcake somewhere nearby.

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