I have always loved to run. It’s so freeing and so relaxing. It’s one of those activities that frees my mind from whatever holds it captive that day. Or, it puts my mind in the right place for what lies ahead in a given day. I remember trying to corral a group of teenage neighbors in Les Mureaux to run with me at 5am to mitigate lycée stress. Of course, the group shrunk with every passing day. Lazy rascals! Now, many years later, I still love to run. Maybe, I even enjoy it more than before. Maybe because yesterday evening, after completing a loop on a gorgeous solo run (it was better than the lousy photo below, I promise), I glanced at the clock and noticed that I had at last matched my pre-pregnancy running time! No way!
I think I ran until I was about 5.5months pregnant and then picked running back up at about 5 weeks postpartum. That first two minute PP “run” was a total catastrophe. It was quite literally a “PP” run as my entire bladder auto emptied within 35 seconds, which was a little embarrassing… and it felt like I had run a marathon within two minutes. I guess I kinda had run my marathon five weeks before. The second run was equally terrible. That time, I lacked supportive sports underwear, which turns out to be pretty key for the nursing mama. Sigh.
A good sports bra and dozens of incontinence pads later (I now know what it will feel like to be an octogenarian), I worked up to 8 minutes, then 12 minutes, then 20 minutes, then 35 minute loops. How depressing to see that several months later, even though I could run longer and longer stints (anything over 50 mins is still a struggle), it totally felt like a brand new sport for my body each time I tied my shoelaces. Recovery after having a baby just… takes… TIME, I guess. Finally, six months into mommyhood, running almost feels like it did before I was pregnant. What a relief!
Who knows, perhaps I could have reached this milestone much earlier had I been more assiduous in running regularly. But, given the extra kilos weighing me down combined with the extra organization involved in running with or without my son, running postpartum takes dedication. I turned out to be a fair-weather runner, just like my high-school friends, running whenever conditions were just perfect. I’d say that weekly, we went on one short family run – maybe two on a good week – pushing a stroller and I tried to add in one short solo run – maybe two on a good week.
Anyway, now that running is starting to feel a little more “normal”, I am excited to lengthen those loops and maybe even set a small, achievable running goal for myself. I’m not quite sure how that will work when I am still breastfeeding, but if given enough time, I’m sure I can get organized. Runners, do you have any suggestions for a shortish (maybe in the 10-20k range), manageable, Winter/Spring event that doesn’t start at 6 or 7am? I think I might finally be ready to work towards a goal. I think that lazy rascals like me need a goal!