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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…

17 Responses to The State of Things

  1. I have diastasis recti, too. It transformed my flat, pre-baby abdomen into a much more rounded mess, with a long divot above and below my belly button where the muscles are separated. But, from all the experts I’ve talked to, including my physical therapist and ob/ gyn, plastic surgery is really the only solution, and I’m not ready to go there. It is, for me, by far, the worst thing about having babies.

    • Oh no!! Really? My OB seemed to think there was a chance they would come back together on their own but if not, physical therapy would help. That’s depressing…but I wouldn’t want plastic surgery either.

  2. Maybe mentally you’ve been able to recover more quickly, because you were so active later in your pregnancy. Uh, that sounds awkward…What I mean is, the longer you have to take off from being active, even if you don’t feel like you were doing a ton before, the harder it is to get mentally on board with running and working out again. At least, that’s been the difference between my first and second pregnancies.

    I know it’s not a hard core workout, but the JM 30 day shred might be just enough to help you get started on core work and a bit of strength training. It’s short enough you can fit it in during a nap, not overly complicated or taxing your your still recovering body.
    Steph @ Steph Runs On´s last post ..Houston Marathon Recap

    • Good point! I’d definitely say the mental side of getting back into it has been easier than the physical aspect.

      And good suggestion about the 30 Day Shred!! I have that DVD and may give it a try…maybe in a few weeks when I feel more motivated 😉

  3. A few things — 1, check with your doctor before doing any core work! I hear it can make your recovery even harder and make the DR worse if you try and strengthen your abs too soon.

    And 2, I think a large part of a “quick” recovery (whatever that means, it’s so subjective!) will have to do with losing weight as you go, which in turn will help you be faster. :-) Good luck!

    Oh, and 3, what a CUTE baby you have! Oh my gosh. Those cheeks.

    • Yeah – I need to be careful about the exercises that I do so that I don’t make the ab situation worse. My OB wants me doing light core work but I need to avoid anything that works them directly like crunches/sit ups.

      And thank you so much!! We’re kind of obsessed with her 😉

  4. Here’s what I’m noticing now that I’m back at work: I don’t really want to spend time working out if it cuts into time I could spend with my baby. SO that means I can work out in the mornings before she gets up … but she’s not on any sort of predicable schedule so there have been a few 10 minute treadmill runs that have been aborted as the monitor clicks on. I can get some good runs outside, but only on the weekends, and to your point above “good” has become relative.

    And, I kind of don’t care. I WANT to get back into shape, I miss that part of my life greatly, buuuuuuuuut this time is moving so quickly (she grew out of newborn clothes! Gah!) that I don’t want to miss it… and I’m missing so much when I’m at work.

    LizScott´s last post ..Well, At Least I Come By It Honestly

    • SO many feelings!!

      I think I’m going to be the same way when I go back – not wanting to do anything that takes away my time with her. Right now running is nice because it’s a quick little 20-30 minute break during the day. But once I’m working and away from her all day, I have no idea how I’m going to keep up the motivation to do it.

      Crazy how that all matters so much less now though.

  5. I will warn you, have a box of tissue handy for that first day back to work, it will be a rough one. She is absolutely adorable! Enjoy every snowed in second!
    Jamie´s last post ..Product Review: Runnerbox

  6. Awww she is growing up so fast! You will get back there. Take your time, enjoy it, and I know you will be back to your super speedy self VERY soon!
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun´s last post ..Five Things I Love (Valentine’s Day Edition)

  7. Hi Lauren! Just wanted to say that despite the fact that I’ve never had a baby and I’m not planning on having one anytime soon…I thoroughly enjoy reading about your experience. You give a very authentic look at what being a runner and a new mommy are like, and it’s really refreshing. She is also SO adorable :)
    Robyn´s last post ..Boston Marathon Training Week #1

  8. She is growing up so fast!!! I feel the same way being at home with my little one especially when it snows and too cold for walks. Hope it gets warmer for both of us soon!!
    Jenn@Mark My Miles!´s last post ..A corny question, flight delays and missing the long run.

  9. I guess the only people that would really be able to say “an active pregnancy helped me recover faster” are the people who have experienced an active and inactive pregnancy. I can say working out always boosts my confidence, especially when I feel bigger and bigger these days (and people are MORE THAN READY to say “Oh you just wait honey, it’s going to get wayyyyy bigger…”). Coming back from an injury you wouldn’t be running EVERY day, so you are, indeed, in a comeback! Take things slow, ease in, and the routine/consistency will follow. She’s so beautiful!!!
    kristin miller´s last post ..Baby Things I’m Loving I

  10. she’s just beautiful!! we get snow once every few years…I’ve now had snow twice in 2 weeks and hated it. We (the south) don’t know how to function in it…it’s pretty and all, but bring on spring!! I know I’ve said this already, but really impressed with your honesty. I think you will be back to your old self before you know it. I know mine wasn’t baby surgery, but once I got clearance to actually run, it took me a good 5 months to get back to what I felt was once normal.
    elizabeth´s last post ..Snow to Sun

  11. 1) You have the cutest daughter ever!

    2) I always interpreted the “quick” recovery thing differently. I thought it more had to do with weight loss and getting back into exercise as a habit. I could see how it’d be very difficult to get into a running routine again if you were completely sedentary for 9 months — what’s another month or two? Still, I’m sure this terrible winter is also making things A LOT more difficult for you. The yeah I had Wyatt, it was an incredibly mild winter and I have no doubt that helped. Hang in there, you’ll be speedy again soon! <3

    3) I'm so sorry about the diastisis recti — I hope it heals on its own and quickly!
    Jen´s last post ..Pregnancy update: week 31

  12. It sounds like you’re progressing quite well after pregnancy. Getting new runners, dealing with snow and running on a dodgy treadmill. As soon as that snow clears up, you wont know yourself.
    Alex´s last post ..6 Simple Maca Root Health Benefits

  13. I have this overhang where my c-section scar is. I hate it, but if I don’t look at it, it doesn’t bother me too much. But I haven’t summed up the courage to put a photo online!

    I can’t imagine how cabin-fevery you are at the moment. It must be grim! Hang in there, Spring has to come soon. And Amelia is gorgeous!
    Cathryn´s last post ..Race Recap: Bay Breeze 10k

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