I had grand plans of running all throughout my pregnancy. Of being one of those women who made fitness and pregnancy weight gain look easy and fun. Then morning sickness hit. And pregnancy exhaustion. I was pretty much flat out on the couch nauseous and napping for months, well past the end of the first trimester. Everyone said it would get easier after week 12. For me, it took well until week 14 or 15. My last run had been at week 5, so once I had the energy to get back out there, it had been long enough that my body was starting over, confused, heavy, and slow. Which IS OKAY! I accepted this and kept my run/walk routine until it no longer felt good, and I moved to just walking.
I managed to run two races during my pregnancy. One at 16 weeks and one at 24 weeks. I was shocked at how well I did during the first race, having very little training beforehand, due to the abovementioned exhaustion and nausea. And the second race was awesome. But also the last time I really ran, and ran strong. I mostly walked with some sprints after that.
Postpartum, I was not cleared to exercise in any form until 9 weeks postpartum, and even after that I wasn’t supposed to run right away, instead, letting my body ease into movement again. So it was maybe 11 or 12 weeks in that I even attempted a 1 minute on/off plan.
I very slowly started a couch-to-10k plan, repeating days and weeks as necessary. And now, 6 months postpartum, I can manage 5 miles in an hour, though still with some walk breaks. Running with a stroller is no joke! I finally signed up for my first postpartum race, the same one I ran at 16 weeks pregnant, the Run Free Texas 80s 8k. Not sure how I will fare with those hills and a stroller, but we will see! The goal is to beat my pregnant time of an hour, and since we’re still a few weeks out, that seems manageable to me.
I had grand plans of running a marathon this year. But my body isn’t there. My heart isn’t there. My head really isn’t there. Just thinking through the logistics of racing that long with breastfeeding is more than I care to figure out at this point. So marathon plans are on hold until next year. And instead I think I’m going to tackle Decker as my big end of year goal. Maybe the entire Distance Challenge again. But we’ll see how this first race goes first.
The big lesson learned? Listen to your body. Go slow. And know its okay to change course. Our bodies are amazing in what they can do, especially if we give them the love they need.
Anyone else gearing up for the 80s 8k? This is the third year I’m running, and it’s slowly becoming one of my favorite (albeit hilly!) Austin races.