Confessions & Observations: 7 months
|July 23, 2014||Posted by Lauren under LifeontheRun|
I have been doing this mom thing for 7 months now. That’s more than half a year, which basically makes me an expert on all things running-working-mom related. At least according to the internet.
So today I’d love to impart that
wisdom useless information onto you.
It took 7 months of “recovery” time for me to finally run my first 30 mile week. All my talk about wanting to get right back out there, being anxious to train, and wanting to run miles upon miles again was just that – talk. When it came down to it, I took my sweet time getting back into running regularly, a fact that I do not regret in the least. And while I feel a little silly to be so excited about running 30 miles after 7 full months of not being pregnant, it’s progress!
It took me almost that long to feel like myself while running. I’d say the big shift happened between 5 and 6 months. I suddenly realized that running no longer felt awkward and the stride that felt like it belonged to someone else for so long finally came naturally again. Things were actually starting to flow, and I didn’t have to focus on keeping my pelvis tucked under me when I ran. At least most of the time (downhill continued to be a problem for awhile).
That doesn’t mean my body is back to “normal.” It probably never will be. My stomach is still soft, I still don’t have any feeling around my incision and I seem to have developed a lovely little c-section shelf. Apparently those are all the rage these days (obviously sarcastic here).
And while we’re on the subject, I still have a canyon between my abs. Because, as it turns out, when you have a significant separation between your abs, that gap does not miraculously go away on its own. Sure, I avoided stressing my rectus abdominis for a very long time (still don’t do core work – hence the soft stomach) and for a few weeks I focused on a few exercises to help mediate the problem. But if I’m being completely honest, I didn’t really give the problem the attention it deserves. So it’s either time to accept that I’m going to have a gap forever, or get serious about fixing the problem.
I am terrible (terrible!!) about cross training. Worse than ever before, really. Remember that Barre3 membership I signed up for months ago?? Well I stopped using it and forgot to cancel my membership until last weekend. Smart use of money, right?
And while we’re confessing things, it’s time to put this out there… I’m a (new) mom. I also happen to be a runner. However, that does not, in fact, make me a #motherrunner.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about in the last sentence, you’re probably better off. Look, I’m not really against the hashtag itself. I can understand the usefulness of it (to a degree) and could maybe even get on board with using it once in a while…if I didn’t see it after almost every single post in my feed on a daily basis. I mean, I get it — finding time and energy to run when this little helpless being is depending on you for survival is no easy feat. The fact that you are a mom who runs is significant and commendable.
But, really, the fact that you’re a person who runs is pretty awesome too. So could we just tone it down a little bit? Don’t know what I mean? Here’s an example:
Just ran my fastest BOB 5K ever! Baby was cheering me on #motherrunner = relevant use of the hashtag
I love my new Sauconys! Best running shoes EVER! #motherrunner = not relevant. Unless Saucony starts making shoes specifically for mother runners. In which case I will take back everything I said.
Being a #motherrunner is a cakewalk compared to being a #pregnantrunner. That’s something I’ve actually suspected for a long time. Now that I’ve experienced both, I can finally let you all in on that little secret. Yeah, logistically speaking, it’s a lot more complicated to figure out how you’re going to fit in a run or travel to a race once the baby is no longer permanently attached. But you want to know something amazing? Your body is yours again! You can push as hard as you want to! And you might even have (a little) more energy to do it.
#pregnantrunner — now that’s a hashtag I can get behind.
…and now that I’ve offended at least half of my remaining readers….
I don’t know if I can commit to a fall marathon, and I’m having a bit of an identity crisis about it. At this point, training season has started. Many popular races have already filled up, and my window of opportunity is getting smaller and smaller.
Why the internal battle? What’s the point of signing up for one if you don’t have the desire to train, you ask? Because I think that in some ways the regimented training could do me good. And honestly — when it comes to running marathons, I’m a little rusty. It’s hard to think about another year going by without a marathon in it.
But on the other hand, I just don’t think I have another non-PR marathon in me. Not that you’re ever guaranteed to PR in a race of any distance, but I’m just not sure I can commit to the level of training required to PR at this point. Call it prideful or whatever, but it’s a lot harder for me to muster the motivation to stand on yet another starting line knowing I’m not in shape to give my best effort. Getting my speed and strength back is humbling enough. I don’t need to spend over $100 to find out just how much more work I need to do to get there.
I am, however, craving speed. I raced my first 10K a couple of weeks ago (this one doesn’t count) and as painful as it was, I’m sort of hooked. I can see glimpses of that speed coming back and I want more. There have been so many times in the past where I’ve told myself I was going to take a break from marathons and focus on shorter distances instead, and I’ve just never done it. So maybe this fall is finally the time?
Sunrise runs are actually kind of peaceful. Even though it’s always too foggy around here in the early morning to actually see it.
I don’t think I’ll ever truly love being a morning runner, and I certainly don’t love how slow I am at the crack of dawn, but there’s something so calming about hitting the pavement before most of the world is awake. What I can’t figure out, though, is how people do speed work before 6:00AM? One foot in front of the other in a shuffling motion is about all I can muster.
With the exception of running while pregnant, I’d say running first thing in the morning before nursing/pumping has got to top the charts for most uncomfortable running experiences. Why yes, I could wake up earlier to pump (I refuse to wake up the baby to nurse before I run just for my own personal comfort), but I’m just not that dedicated. I tell myself the discomfort will make me mentally tougher. Either that, or it’s a sure recipe for mastitis. I’ll keep you updated.
Running with the stroller? Also difficult. Especially in the summer heat. I do love running with Amelia though, and I just keep telling myelf pushing a stroller up hills is only going to make me stronger.
I swear there is a stroller in this photo…
I tweeted this the other day but it’s worth repeating. It’s my third summer running in Vermont. And even on the hottest, most humid of days, I can still say that I would much rather run up a mountain than through the middle of the city…even if the route was perfectly flat. There’s just something about that fresh mountain air.
It took nearly 7 months, but I finally ran without a shirt. I know women are on both ends of the spectrum here — some do it all the time and others refuse. The important point is that I have done it many times before, and even had a few very hot, shirtless runs during pregnancy. But, you know, things are a lot larger and softer in that area now, and I’ve been way too self-consious to bare my tummy since.
Except on Sunday it was hot and humid and the shirt I was wearing felt so stifling. So after 3 miles of ridiculous internal debate, I finally whipped that thing off. And you know what? Not only did I instantly feel so much better, but the world didn’t come crashing down at the sight of my soft belly. Imagine that.
Not really a relevant photo. Except to show that on this particular day, it was also hot.
Being a working mom is an absolute roller coaster. Some weeks I actually love being at work. Love the stimulation, the creativity, the adult interaction and responsibility. And then other weeks I absolutely dread it. I have a hard time focusing and find myself in a rut of self-pity and guilt that I can’t be there with Amelia all day (and am giving her over to strangers to “raise”). I’m 99.9% sure stay at home moms feel the same way about their own situation from time to time. So I guess I can just say that being a parent (and all the decisions that go along with it) is hard. This is groundbreaking information, obviously.
Being a parent is also the best. I know I talk about Amelia all the time, and spam Instagram and Twitter with her pictures, but I really can’t help it. I have never been more exhausted, anxious, worried, humbled, or felt more out of my league than I have every day for the past 7 months. But I’ve really never been happier. I know that probably sounds crazy to you…it barely makes sense to me. The truth is that I’ve never felt joy like this; never known love like this. Never truly thought it was possible that this little person who can’t even talk yet could have such a grip on my heart.
Another thing I didn’t know was possible? How a baby who can’t even crawl yet can get into so much! Her reach is incredible. And she never sits still. I used to joke that my baby would come out running…now I’m starting to fear that’s coming true.