Running Post Baby

While I was pregnant, I had a vision of my running after our daughter was born. I looking at running strollers, planned races and planned to be back on the road 6-8 weeks post delivery. I saw a woman pushing her jogging stroller and running approximately an 8 minute mile. I knew she was a badass, and I thought that would be me.

I ran until I was 30 weeks pregnant, at which point my running partner, very kindly and lovingly, told me it was time to hang up my shoes. He was 100% right. It was time, we were walking more than running, my feet hurt all the time and I found myself in the hospital with mild dehydration. It was time.

Pre-baby, I ran the NYC Marathon, PRed the Brooklyn Half Marathon at 1:56:13, ran 4 days a week at an 8:30 pace. I even ran a 24:00 5K. I loved running, my friends were runners, my weekend revolved around running (and brunch), I spent many hours in Central Park watching the seasons change. Running was part of my identity.

Real reality, it took me 3 1/2 years to get back to that place in my running. I wanted to believe I was starting where I left off, but I was not. I was starting over with a new body and significantly less time.

New Body. Nothing prepared me for how much my body would change during pregnancy, nor how it would change after pregnancy, during breastfeeding, after breastfeeding, rebuilding and my current body. Many friends told me my running would be better after having a child, “it opens your hips up.” This sounded great to me as someone who battled hip and IT band issues. However, rebuilding my body was much harder than I expected. I simply did not put my ego away, had I done this, I think the road would have been much easier. After 22 months of battling and trying to force my body to run at paces and distances it was not ready for, I injured my Achilles a few weeks before a race, then still raced on it. I went to a sports medicine doctor. We talked about the injury, but we also talked a lot about postpartum running. He felt that for most women, they get back to where they were running 18 months after they finish breastfeeding. WAIT WHAT?!?! How come this is the first time I heard this? I feel I should shout this from the rooftops. In the last 3 months, I have had several friends ask me how I came back after having a baby. I pass this lovely little nugget of knowledge along and I see relief on their faces. I had that expectation of myself, that I would magically bounce back. At that moment I truly started over. I began with Bar Method and rebuilt my core. I started with 2 miles, 3 times a week. Also, back to this sticky Achilles issue. Part of the body rebuild, was that things shifted. I was in new territory. I did the exercises from the doctor and went back to a basic rule of running. I got fitted for new shoes. I left behind my Mizunos, and switched to Brooks Ghost. The Ghost has a 12 mm heel drop. This solved my Achilles issue.

Time. My Saturdays of running in Central Park, going to brunch and then napping all afternoon were over. My husband is extremely supportive of my running, but if I did this every week he might be a bit annoyed. Time is the biggest challenge for me and probably most parents. I run a lot of mornings at 5:30, even on the weekend. It allows me the time to not feel rushed, anytime I feel rushed, my running suffers. 5:30 is brutal, but it works for me and our family. This also allows me to be home when my daughter wakes up most mornings, and morning snuggles are the best.

There are a lot of other things I learned along the way. When I was really struggling, I joined a running group for a while. The social aspect helped me get back on track. Once my daughter started pre-school, I had more time for running and cross training. I also became a RRCA Certified Running Coach. I am not sure I will ever coach, but it re-ignited my passion for running. I wish I had been kinder to myself in that first year, I did not need to push so hard when I was breastfeeding and surviving the sleepless nights. The most important thing is that everyone has their own journey with running, take it day by day and adjust accordingly.

The medals, both have serious significance for me. 2017 was my worst half marathon ever. I saw the sports medicine doctor 2 weeks after this race. This race humbles me and reminds me always go back to the beginning. Follow your fundamentals of running. 2019 I did not PR, but I am 3 1/2 sweet minutes away. I am not done fighting for that PR. My daughter will not be in the stroller, but she will be at the finish line.

©2020 Made By Mignonne.

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