The State of Things

This comeback is going to be one of stops and starts. After a semi-successful first week, I took quite a few days off before I attempted another run. First because we had visitors, and then because I got sick. But over the last two days (yeah, I know, only 2…not quite on a roll yet), I’ve been so excited to get in a few miles. So I suppose we can’t quite call it a comeback yet…but it’ll get there.

For the past couple of days, I’ve been too chicken to brave the frigid cold and have resorted to running on our old, slightly broken treadmill. You know the winter weather is bad when a noisy, shaky treadmill with a permanent rut down the middle of the belt is preferable to a run outdoors.

That being said, I think I need to get out for a mile or two today. We have well over 2 feet of snow…I kinda sorta think it would be fun to schlep through it.

Photo  9We’re watching my sister’s dog this week. He is not impressed.

Despite the fact that I’m 20 pounds lighter (and sans baby), my running stride still closely resembles my pregnancy shuffle. So on my last two treadmill runs, I tried working in a few quick sections of high knees, just to practice lifting my feet off the ground. I’m sure it’ll come back eventually. Okay…not really sure. But I hope.

In my pre-baby life, I could run a marathon at a 7:30 pace. Now 8:30 feels like sprinting.

I used to have abs. Now I have a big smooshy hole in the middle where they should be (just keeping it real <– I love Lauren Fleshman). It’s a lovely condition called diastisis recti that can happen as a result of carrying a big baby…and if the muscles don’t come back together on their own, I may need physical therapy. So that’s fun.

Because of the extra “gush,” you’d think I’d be super motivated to do core and strength work. Not so much. I know how important it is to work on strength and I know that I REALLY need to start prioritizing it, but I’m struggling. The ridiculous part about it is that it’s not like I’m even spending that much time working out right now. I run for 30 minutes — I think I can spare a few more to do a little core work while the baby is napping. Or while we’re watching the Olympics at night.

Turns out that running with almost 30 extra pounds can really wear down your shoes. I finally ran in a new pair yesterday and the difference was amazing.

saucony mirage 4.JPGThe new Saucony Mirage 4s…the key to my comeback

You know what else was amazing about yesterday? I finally felt good on a run! (It must’ve been the shoes.) Everything came together and I felt like myself again…only slower. And just for fun, I held a sub-8:00 pace for the last 200m (look at me fly!)! I haven’t seen that pace since…well, early pregnancy. It hurt so good.

After almost a year of not being able to push myself on runs, it feels weird to work hard again. There’s a part of my brain that fights against it and automatically holds me back. But once I get past that, it feels so good to push…in the most painful of ways.

I joined Strava. I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I figured I needed some sort of platform to track my training and keep myself motivated during this comeback. I used Daily Mile a couple of years ago and eventually got sick of it. I’m not sure if Strava will be different but I’m willing to give it a try. So if you want to follow me or secretly stalk my training, here you go. It’s pretty inspiring stuff. (speaking of which: I feel like I did in those early Facebook days. How do I find people? Is it weird to request to follow this person?? Why does this seem so awkward?).

You’ve probably heard a lot of women say that they credit their quick recovery to an active pregnancy. Heck, I probably even said something along those lines to support why I was going to keep running as long as possible. But you want to know the honest truth? I really have no idea if my “active pregnancy” has done a darn thing. I mean, sure, I can suppose that running would feel even harder right now if I hadn’t exercised while I was pregnant. And so I assume that an active pregnancy has helped in the recovery process. But the reality is I’ve never done all this before. I have nothing to compare it to. And after my c-section I wasn’t exactly sprinting out the door anyway. The only thing I can say with absolute certainty is that exercising through my pregnancy helped keep me sane and feeling good. And it sure did help grow a big healthy baby.

Photo  7Who is growing WAY too fast!

And while we’re on the topic of babies…I love this kid more than I ever thought possible. And most of the time, I love being able to spend the day with her. But I have to admit that there are days when I go just a little stir-crazy. After yet another snowstorm or the one millionth sub-zero day in a row, I start to feel just a little trapped. I don’t really want to wish time away, but man am I excited for spring.

neverending snow

That being said, I don’t even want to talk about how fast my maternity leave is going by. I’ll be back at work before I know it. And I can’t really say I’m looking forward to it…

Getting Out the Door is the Easy Part

“The first step is the hardest.”

“The hardest part is getting out the door.”

It’s confession time on this freezing Friday morning: I secretly hate those sayings. Well, I suppose it’s not a secret anymore. But in my opinion that silly idiom is right up there with “you never regret a run/workout!” (umm…I can assure you that I have).

Now before you write me off as a big old grump, let me just say that I understand the meaning behind the phrase. I know it can be really hard to work up the motivation to start when you’re out of shape, or leave the warmth of your house for that long run/tempo workout/hill repeats when you’d much rather stay in bed. But not only does that phrase sort of devalue the hard work many runners put into their training, it’s simply not true. When you’re getting back into shape, especially after a long time off, getting out the door is the easy part. Sticking with it — after the high of that first run wears off and you’re stuck with the realization of how much work you have ahead of you — that’s the hard part. That’s the part that makes it easy to just say screw it. I’d rather just stick to my couch.

Since being cleared for exercise last Friday evening, I’ve run three times (as excited as I am to be running again, I’m really easing back into it in order to avoid injury). And each run has gotten progressively harder.

This is going to sound totally contrived, but I swear to you — my first run back was magical. Last Saturday, after 10 weeks of absolutely no running (my longest break in recent memory), I bundled up against the cold and sprinted out the door. And while the video Evan took (without my knowledge) of me starting out shows an out-of-shape woman tentatively making her way down the street at a pace that barely resembled running, in my head I was flying. Light as a feather. All those things that I had worried about for so long — that my incision would hurt, that my insides would feel like they were falling out, that my legs would’ve somehow forgotten what to do — turned out to be unfounded. Everything fell into place and I was unstoppable.

Until I hit the mile mark, anyway. And my lungs suddenly realized that they weren’t participating in the most fun activity ever. But you know, still…I was running. Pandora was killing it with the music that morning and I was in a cloud of all the emotions – excitement that my legs still worked, joy in being able to move quickly again, and some unexpected sadness about this being my first run without Amelia in almost a year. I had imagined that run so many times in my head. Despite the cold, my heaving lungs, and the fact that a 9:00 pace practically felt like sprinting, the run was everything I thought it would be. I finished on top of the world.

First post-baby runIf you don’t take a picture of your Garmin after your run, did it really happen?

I spent the next day skiing and it was the same — a little weirdness in getting used to my new body but so much happiness to just be out there. I was back, baby!!

IMG 5358

And then I tried running again. And it turns out I’m actually going to have to work hard to get back into shape. Who would’ve thought?

My legs have surprisingly been okay. My stride is different and I know it will take awhile for everything to function seamlessly again, but all that extra load bearing during pregnancy seems to have served them well. My lungs, on the other hand, are struggling. A lack of aerobic activity + cold air isn’t exactly the best combination. I spent my last 2 runs battling major side stitches. Yesterday I had cramps on both sides the second I started running. I almost bailed on my 3 mile run they were so bad. Let me tell you — nothing makes you feel quite so out of shape as major cramps on what should be a short, easy run. As I slipped around on the snow that afternoon, I thought about how easy it would be to just give up. And how humbling this challenge to keep moving forward will be, knowing that running doesn’t feel the way it used to…and won’t for awhile.

IMG 2417

The only thing that keeps me going at this point is knowing what it’s like on the other side. I’ve been out of shape before. Maybe not this badly, but I have experience working my way back from scratch. I know it’s going to suck for awhile. That it might take months of slogging through easy runs that feel difficult. But one day, suddenly, everything is bound to click. My stride will feel natural, my lungs will get on board, and running will be fun again.

Right now, it’s just work. Harder than it should be, different than I remembered. I have a new understanding and appreciation for why many people don’t stick with running for very long. Why new runners look at you like you’re crazy when you talk about how fun running can be. Or describe the joy of an “effortless” 10 mile run. It doesn’t seem possible. Even now, having experienced all those things, I have a hard time imagining ever feeling that way on a run again.

But I just need to be patient. And you know…I suppose it’s only fair to say that my life as a runner has made me a little crazy. Because even as I struggle through my runs now, I finish each one filled with hope. And the more I think about running, the more excited I become to get out the door and try again. Yeah, my hopes are dashed a little bit when I actually start moving and realize just how hard it’s going to be, but it’s not enough to erase the delusion completely. The delusion that I’m going to go out there and suddenly feel the way I used to is what keeps me going

Anyway, I probably could’ve summed up this rambling post in three sentences: I’m running again (yay!). It kind of sucks because I’m really out of shape (boo). But I expected that, so for now I just have to keep dragging myself out the door day after day, hoping that it’ll eventually get better.

And if it doesn’t, well, at least I’m able to run. For now that fact alone is enough.

Okay so that was five sentences. Can I just keep blaming the sleep deprivation for everything?

Postpartum: Perception vs. Reality

Perception: I can’t wait to get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes and look cute in small shirts again! I’m packing up my maternity clothes the second I get home from the hospital.

Reality: Hahahaha!!!

So….not only do I weigh more now than I did before pregnancy, but my body is a completely different shape (who would’ve thought, right?). I packed up the maternity clothes after a week or so just out of principle, but I’m not exactly rocking my old stuff either. Shirts no longer fit the same way they used to and I only have 2 pairs of jeans that I can actually button. My post-pregnancy wardrobe looks pretty much the same as my last days of pregnancy wardrobe: running/yoga pants and loose-fitting tops. I am scared for my return to work.

Amelia Lynne 28Even when I manage to get myself into a nice top, I’m still rocking yoga pants on the bottom

Related: I can’t wait to bundle up in all my cozy sweaters!

Reality: Sweaters and multiple layers aren’t exactly the most practical clothing items when a baby needs to eat every two hours. Sure, I’d love to snuggle up in a warm cozy sweater, but I’m more about practicality these days than anything else.

Perception: I’ll have lots of downtime relaxing on the couch with a baby on my chest and a good book in my hands.

Reality: I won’t pretend that I haven’t spent a large part of my maternity leave so far on our couch (it’s my favorite spot in the house), and I’ve definitely gotten my fair share of baby snuggles. But – a lot of that time on the couch is spent feeding her, entertaining her, or trying to coax her to sleep. I suppose I could be better about making myself sit down to read when she is napping, but it always seems like there’s so much else to do.

Perception: Since I’ll be home all day, I’ll have lots of time to blog/exercise/pick up a new hobby.

Reality: True, newborns sleep a lot but it isn’t always in long continuous chunks. During those first two weeks, I had to wake her up to eat and was convinced that I had the easiest baby in the entire world. Now she’s snapped out of that newborn haze and wants to be entertained. I’m not saying she’s a difficult baby by any means, but she is a baby. And she doesn’t care too much about my schedule or plans for the day.

IMG 5242Don’t even think you’re going to get away with putting me down for one second!

Plus, I don’t really have much to blog about anyway. I’m not training for anything (do you want to read about my super exciting walks on the treadmill?) and my life isn’t very interesting at the moment — well, unless you all are interested in learning about Amelia’s developmental milestones (guys – she stuck her tongue out at me the other day! Can you believe it? She’s pretty much a genius!).

IMG 5230Oh don’t mind the exposed gears…it’s the only way to get my super fancy treadmill to work without sounding like it’s going to fall apart

Perception: I ran most of the way through my pregnancy, so I’m sure I’ll bounce back super fast and start running before long. I’ll go crazy if I have to wait a full 6 weeks!!

Reality: Well, things don’t always go quite the way we had planned. I’m 5.5 weeks out and still haven’t run a single step (well, once I ran down the hall – does that count??). More surprisingly — I miss it less than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a huge part of me that wants to run again. I think about it all the time, and dream about running almost every single night (no lie – I’m either on a run or running to get somewhere in most of my dreams lately). But…there’s also this big part of me that has really enjoyed the downtime. It’s kind of nice to have an excuse not to run, train, or lose that baby weight. Once I start working out, that’s it — the vacation is over. I know I’ll want to get back into some sort of training and will be itching to see results. So for now, I’m soaking up my last few days of having a built in excuse to park my butt on the couch for hours every day.

Perception: I’m going to go running with Amelia the second I’m able to! I can’t wait for stroller runs with my little buddy!

Reality: I’m still excited about running with her (since, technically speaking, I haven’t gone for a run without her in almost a year now). We have the car seat adapter for our BOB stroller so I could take her for runs right away. However, this weather has been awful! It’s not like we don’t take our baby out in the cold — I figure she’s got to get used to it since we live in Vermont and all. But there’s a limit to what I feel comfortable doing. And it’s easier to take her outside when she’s in the K’tan, cuddled up against me than in the stroller. (Is there a baby wrap meant for running?? I kid, I kid).

DSC 0269Sort of hard to push the stroller through all this snow…

PLUS — I’m kinda sorta (okay, really) looking forward to the time alone. I love my baby. So very much. But I’m with her almost every second of every day. The few times I’ve left her with other people have been liberating. It’s amazing how appealing a trip to the grocery store alone is right now. And I think that when I do start running again, I’m going to really love that time I get to spend by myself. Even if it is for only 20 painful minutes.

Speaking of which — how exactly do you manage to run with a newborn when you’re the only one at home?? We have a crappy treadmill that doesn’t really work at higher speeds, but I’m sure I could push it if I really wanted to. But even then…she doesn’t take predictable or long naps yet and we don’t have a baby monitor (our house is small, she still sleeps in our room at night, etc etc). I suppose maybe it’s time to invest in one?

Running mamas who use a baby stroller — how cold is too cold to take your baby out on a run in the stroller? I’m talking for short periods of time. I can’t imagine I’ll be doing long runs anytime soon.

PRs After Baby: The Recovery (Part 1)

So turns out that finding time to blog with a baby is a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. I mean, who would have thought that a little human who eats every two hours, needs to be changed constantly, and has woken up from the  ”newborn haze” so no longer sleeps all day would actually be a lot of work!? (note: read with sarcasm font). Good thing she’s so cute.

Amelia Lynne_1 month

Amelia turned one month old yesterday. I know every new mom always says this, but I cannot believe I have a one month old already! And it doesn’t seem like it’s been an entire month since her birth; since the surgery.

So how are things going one month out? This is the first week that I’ve really started feeling like myself again. My stomach is still loose, my incision still numb, but the pain is gone. I’m walking normally. And I’m dreaming about running again. Although I don’t miss it as much as I thought I would, that familiar itch is coming back. My dreams are full of fast, effortless runs (totally realistic for those first runs back, right?) and my thoughts are on race plans. So far I’ve resisted the urge to sign up for more than just the one half marathon, but I’m ready. Mentally, anyway.

Physically – not so much. I plan on waiting until my 6-week check up before I attempt my first real run. As much as I want to get back out there, I also want to respect my recovery and take things slowly. And really, if I look at where I was a month ago, I’ve already come a long way.

I know recovery from any type of birth is hard, but those initial days after my c-section were some of the most difficult (physically) of my life. Keep in mind that I had never had surgery before Amelia’s birth, let alone been admitted to the hospital. Combine that with a new baby to take care of and it was overwhelming. I don’t really want to go into details of that first 24-48 hours, but let’s just say that like all birth experiences, it was messy. And I was in pain. The simple act of sitting up and getting out of bed was almost more than I could handle. I got myself discharged within 48 hours post delivery not because I was doing so well, but because I hated being in the hospital so much (have you tried to sleep with someone checking on you every couple of hours…or with noisy compression sleeves on your calves that keep inflating and deflating at regular intervals? It’s impossible).

Hospital 3 generationsLess than 48 hours after delivery — still looking very pregnant

The First Week

I was fortunate enough to not only have Evan, but also my parents with us to help. It just worked out that they arrived in town the day I was to be discharged from the hospital. Their help in that first week was invaluable. Walking was slow and difficult. My insides felt like they were going to fall out every time I stood up. And I was beyond exhausted. I couldn’t drive, couldn’t carry anything heavier than the baby, couldn’t stand for long periods of time without pain — in short, I was more helpless than I’ve ever been in my life. But thanks to them, I could take some time to relax and recover. They cooked, they cleaned, they took my stir-crazy pup for long walks. They snuggled the baby so that I could nap, and helped us adjust to life with a newborn. Having help after any kind of birth is important; after a c-section, I’d say it’s essential.

DSC 0391Where I spend most of my time

My first real “walk” was 6 days postpartum. My family went out to dinner to celebrate my younger sister’s grad school graduation. The restaurant was a little over a half mile away and although it was dark and cold and snowy, I was determined to walk there and back. So we bundled Amelia up, put her in the stroller and sloooooowly made our way to the restaurant. It was one of the slowest and hardest walks of my life – worse even than the long post-marathon shuffle to get to the gear buses after crossing the Boston Marathon finish line. But it felt so good to be moving.

Weeks 2 – 4

Gradually I started working my way up to longer and longer walks. Our shuffles around the block turned into walks around the neighborhood. I still wasn’t able to carry extra weight, so I pushed Amelia in the BOB while Evan was in charge of the dog. I tried wearing her* but the weight on my abdomen irritated the incision point in a way that carrying her in my arms never did. So I limited the amount of baby-wearing until after 4 weeks out.

Two weeks postpartum was the first real turning point. I could finally cough and laugh without too much pain, and stopped feeling the need to hunch over every time I walked. I was able to do more around the house and my pace increased from a shuffle to a slow walk.

Week 5

(i.e. today) After 4 weeks, I was given the go-ahead to start “low impact exercise.” I celebrated with one of my favorite winter activities — a hike through snowy trails.

first pp hike

It was the longest and hardest “workout” I’d had in a month…and it felt awesome! Since then I’ve kept up a daily walking routine, averaging about an hour a day. Vermont has had a horrible cold front this week (I’m talking single digits and negative temperatures) which has made getting outside tough. Luckily, we have an ancient treadmill in the basement that’s difficult to run on but works well enough for walks — so that’s what I do. Sometimes with the baby, sometimes with the dog…and on days like today when it’s below zero and we’re all stir crazy, sometimes with both. I’m sure the three of us make quite the sight.

treadmillDon’t be jealous of my super fancy gym set-up (the leash if for the dog, by the way, not for me)

The Plan Moving Forward

Focus on Walking: There’s a lot of research and anecdotal evidence to show that walking after a c-section helps tremendously with recovery. My nurses had me out of bed within 12 hours after surgery and I was encouraged to get up and walk up and down the hall within 24. It was incredibly difficult, awkward (try standing up from a reclining position without using your abdomen) and hurt like hell. But once I was moving around, I found that I actually felt better…as long as I didn’t do too much. This has been a continued trend throughout my recovery. I’ve been slowly increasing the speed and distance of my walks over the past month. I’m still not speed-walking, but it feels good to be going a little faster all the time.

Limit Core Work: This probably sounds counter-intuitive, since my core is pretty weak at the moment AND a strong core is important for a successful return to running. However, I’ve been given strict instructions to not do any exercises that focus on my abdomen for 10 weeks. This seems like a ridiculously long time to me, but I don’t plan on pushing it until I’ve talked to my OB at my 6-week follow-up. Plus, while I haven’t been doing anything to specifically strengthen my core, it’s pretty impossible to get through a day without engaging it. In fact, you don’t realize just how often you rely on your core muscles until you can’t use them (specifically in those first days post-surgery).

Baby Weight Training: Despite what I said above, I do some core work on a daily basis — in the form of bending, twisting and lifting the baby.This little girl isn’t light, either. I’ve also started wearing her more often on my walks and around the house. It makes her happy, lets me get things done, and (I like to think) helps to strengthen my back and shoulders.

Strengthen my Pelvic Floor: The pelvis takes a beating during pregnancy and labor/delivery. It is very important to focus on strengthening your pelvic floor afterward in order to avoid injury when running (among other things). I actually haven’t done too much in this area yet but plan to start working in a few basic exercises over the next few weeks.

Take it Slow: Most importantly, I know I need to be patient and not rush into things. Even when I get the green-light to run again, I know I won’t be out there logging lots of miles. However, I know myself — I’m going to want to push. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to. So when I start getting frustrated by my slow progress, someone please remind me how important it is to take things one step at a time.

Fortunately I’ll be a little busy with other things to help take my mind off the running (or lack thereof)…

DSC 0627#cheesebaby onesie from Steph!

*We received a Baby K’tan, an Ergo, and a couple of slings as gifts. So far I use the K’tan the most, but sometimes will put her in the sling for wearing around the house. We plan to start using the Ergo when she gets a little older.

PRs After Baby: The Plan

From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU all so much for your kind, thoughtful comments on Amelia’s birth story. For everyone who shared the post, shared your experience, or just shared a word of reassurance — I am so incredibly grateful. Despite the fact that I’ve openly shared aspects of my life on this blog over the past several years, I was hesitant to share all the personal details of that day…because it meant being honest about some not-so-pretty emotions that I experienced. In the end I’m glad I did. Not only did it feel really good to write it all out, but it was also nice to be able to connect with others who have had similar experiences. So again…thank you.

Now that my pregnancy journey is over, I’m eager to shift my focus on what’s ahead. The next chapter. In terms of what that means for the blog — this has always been a running blog first. So as fun as it was to share regular updates during my pregnancy, I don’t have any plans to turn this into a baby blog and post regular updates about Amelia. Not that I won’t find ways to work her into posts regularly (because let’s be honest, my days revolve around this little person right now), but I feel a bit more private when it comes to documenting her life vs. my own.

IMG 5072I get this look on a regular basis. Not even a month old and she already thinks her mom is crazy

However, I do really want to talk about my recovery. As excited as I am to be back in racing shape and experience the highs of running fast again, I know I have to be patient. It’s going to be a long road back. A road that I want to document as much as I can, not only because I think it’ll keep me motivated when progress is slow, but also in case there’s anyone else out there who is getting back into running after a c-section (or significant time off for any other condition/injury).

Unfortunately, there isn’t really a clear roadmap when it comes to c-section recovery and running. I have very specific instructions on some aspects (no high impact exercise for 6 weeks, no abdominal exercises for 10, etc) but other things are more vague. My only guideline is how I’m feeling…not really the best rule of thumb for someone whose natural tendency is always to do more. I hate feeling weak, hate sitting around and being waited on. As you can probably imagine, I’m a pretty awful patient. But I’m trying really really hard to fight this and take things slowly. The last thing I want to do is move backwards with my recovery.

Anyway, instead of doing a “body after baby” thing on the blog, I plan to focus on PRs After Baby. I’m thinking optimistically here. I never focused on my weight/body before I was pregnant and I have no desire to do so now. I documented my weight gain during pregnancy just because I thought it was interesting, and obviously those numbers impacted my running. But the bottom line is — as much as I would love to have my pre-pregnancy body back ASAP, how it functions is more important at this point than how it looks. Plus, I know it’s going to be a long time before I look like the old LBC (if ever). I don’t have a scale at home, but I know that I had gained 28-29 pounds total by the end of pregnancy and had lost 18 at my follow-up 5 days later. Based on the lovely c-section pooch I’m still rocking and my obviously expanded thighs and hips, I’d say I still have a bit more to lose. And let’s not even talk about the size of my chest. Even when/if I get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight, I know this body is going to look very different.

So — let’s just focus on the PRs instead, shall we? Because after a year of minimal racing and pregnant running, I have big dreams for this next year.

I want to discuss how recovery has been going over these first few weeks in more depth soon. But first, I want to talk about the plan.

As many of you know, I briefly debated signing up for Boston this spring. Although I’m sure I’ll be a little sad not to be on the course this April, I can tell you without hesitation that I’m so happy I decided not sign up (all of those who cautioned me from doing so…you were right). I’m glad I don’t have the pressure of a spring marathon hanging over my head. And now that I know my recovery will be much longer than anticipated, even if I made it to the starting line of Boston the entire race would be one huge strugglefest.

Instead, I plan to focus on shorter races this spring and summer with the ultimate goal of running a marathon this fall. Ideally I would like this to be a fast, PR-worthy effort. I have absolutely no desire to run a marathon just for the sake of the finish and my 3:18 PR has long out-stayed its welcome. I know I am capable of a faster race. Whether I will be fit enough to run it this fall remains to be seen.

With that in mind, I took the plunge and signed up for my first postpartum race yesterday! The Half Marathon Unplugged in April. It may be a bit ambitious, but I’m looking at it more as an opportunity to find out my distance-running baseline than an actual race…i.e. let’s see how out of shape I really am. Plus, I really want this to be my first big race back for a couple of reasons: 1.) the entry fee is relatively cheap (although it’s a no frills race, so I guess you get what you pay for) and 2.) this was the half marathon I had planned to run last spring before I found out I was pregnant. I technically could have still run the race, but opted to make a last-minute trip out to our parents’ houses that weekend so that we could tell them the baby news in person. A decision I never regretted, but now I have some unfinished business. I think it’s only fitting that it will be the first one back after baby.

I plan to fill in the rest of my schedule once I’m actually back out there. I’m finding that it’s really easy to sign up for races while I’m sitting on the couch like a lump. My last workout was almost a month ago; the pain of marathon training and racing are distant memories. I’m trying to resist that urge until I’m actually putting in some work and have a better idea of what my body can handle. But hopefully that schedule will include a couple half marathons, a few fun shorter races, maybe a relay or two, and of course, a fall marathon.

Speaking of which — I’m trying to figure out what marathon I want to run (since I only plan on doing one this year, there’s a lot going into the decision!) and I’d love your input. What’s your favorite, fast, small to mid-sized fall marathon?

There’s still a few more weeks before I can hit the pavement again, but I’m already excited to see what this year has in store.

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