My First Postpartum RunEmily Malone
Sunday morning I slept in late, fed Cullen, and then set him in his bed to do his morning routine of kicking his legs and staring out the window. Since he seemed generally content and Casey was at home too, I felt like it was the perfect opportunity to finally test out the treadmill with my running shoes.
It felt strange to pull out my old workout gear that hasn’t fit me in many many months. I didn’t actually have a plan or strategy lined out, but just figured I’d do what felt best. I started out by walking at a 3.5mph pace for about 5 minutes as a warm-up. For some reason as I watched my 5 minutes tick down, I felt really nervous.
In my pre-baby days, my warm-up jog pace has always been a 10:00/mile (or 6mph on the treadmill). I decided to start out at 5mph just to see how it felt. Initial thoughts: Oh my god my boobs. Oh my god my uterus. This feels really strange.
As it was, even running at 5mph had me feeling pretty rusty, so I kept it at that pace for 5 minutes. I continued to alternate walking and jogging (between 5 and 6 mph) for 25 minutes and then called it quits. A few thoughts now that my first “run” is behind me…
Boobs: Wow, I have never had this problem before. I fed Cullen and pumped right before running, so I knew my chest was as empty as possible, but I still felt like I had to bouncy grapefruits attached to me. I definitely need to get better sports bras or consider wearing two at a time.
Lungs: I was amazed at how horrible my lungs felt I have absolutely NO endurance anymore. My lungs felt scratchy and were burning from the minute I started running. It felt like I was out for a winter run in the cold, not in my toasty basement.
Legs: STRONG! This doesn’t surprise me too much though. By the end of my pregnancy, I was up around 34 pounds, most of which was concentrated in my midsection. For nine months I did what felt best to me lots and lots of walking, even up until the very end. I walked the three mile loop at Greenlake the day before I went into labor, and tackled the hills of Fremont on a daily basis. Carting around that giant bowling ball of a belly definitely helped strengthen my quads, and I’m hoping that will help me bounce back a little faster.
Mid-section: I wouldn’t call it pain, but I felt a lot of pressure in my lower abdomen as soon as I started picking up my pace. Not to be overly graphic, but I sort of felt like my insides were all jiggling around and threatening to fall out. It was uncomfortable, but not painful. I assume everything inside of me is still working it’s way back together again. Considering I had a giant baby in there for quite a while, it might take more time than I imagined.
Pace: SLOW. I have to admit, it was pretty humbling. I didn’t think I was going to be a rock star runner after taking so much time off, but I was surprised at just how rough it felt to be back on the treadmill. I definitely feel like I am starting from scratch! I’m trying to tell myself it will be a good learning opportunity.
Overall thoughts? It was tough, and I only went a little over 2 miles (combo of walking and running)! I have a loooong way to go, but I know it will come in time.
Trust me, I realize I just had a baby and that my body just went through a crazy long and intense labor. I’m actually really proud of where I am at just six weeks postpartum. With that said, it SUCKS to start over at something that I used to do pretty well.
About halfway through my run, I also realized how nice it was to have a few minutes to myself. Since I just started pumping this weekend, I haven’t been able to leave Cullen yet. At ALL. Don’t get me wrong, I love my baby more than I can ever express, but at the same time, it was pretty great to have 30 uninterrupted minutes to just get lost in my own thoughts. It was also nice to listen to loud music full of swear words and not feel guilty about it.
And when my run was over, I came back upstairs to find all my favorite boys waiting for me, and returned to life as a mom.
I don’t have a plan or schedule for workouts yet, and I’m going to play it by ear for the first few weeks. My hope is to be able to carve out a small block of time every other morning before Casey goes to work. I’m glad that my first run is in the books, and even though it wasn’t as great as I’d hoped, it gives me that much more motivation to get back on the treadmill tomorrow.