Returning to running postpartum has been going well. Just as I listened to my body and tapered for birth, I’ve been listening to my body and doing a “reverse taper,” as recommended by Coach Jenny Hadfield. First, I took my time letting my body heal. Then I started walking, going further and getting more consistent. Then, I started run/walk intervals and as my body was ready increased the run interval and decreased the walk interval.
I’ve done two postpartum races, both wearing Emma. The first was a 1-miler that Zoe did with me at the end of our beach trip when Emma was a month old.
The second was a 4-miler we did when Emma was about 6 weeks old. She slept through most of it but woke around mile 3, just as we were nearing the big, long hill. My running partners stopped a moment so Emma and I could get a good latch, and we kept on going, right up that hill! She nursed about 3/4 of a mile and then was set for the finish. It was our fastest mile :)
Now that I’m running without Emma (she’s not old enough for the jogging stroller yet), I’ve been having to figure out when to get a run in. This morning was my first 6am run in a couple months. I was out before the sun was up. Although it wasn’t sunny, I still had to deal with 89% humidity. My legs were sore from yesterday’s tough OrangeTheory workout - my first one since just before Emma was born. So I listened to my body. I shortened my mileage and ran a “sexy” pace. (A “sexy” pace is when you run at a slow, easy pace.) Even so, tonight I’m feeling it - and it feels good. It’s that feeling that tells me I worked hard and that I’m getting stronger.
I had forgotten how peaceful the world is that early in the morning. Very few cars. The sounds of insects and birds waking up and going about their morning. The sun gradually brightening the sky. My easy pace gave me the time and space to appreciate the beauty of the world as it woke up this morning.
Running has actually made postpartum and the fourth trimester easier for me than it was in the past. It was my anchor. I ran right up until Emma was born, and running was there for me again, ready for my reentry. When I felt uncomfortable in my postpartum body, running helped remind me of my strength. (Also, when I felt uncomfortable in all my other clothes, I felt surprisingly comfortable in my Skirt Sports tanks and skirts - of course it would be running clothes that made me feel the most normal and comfortable in my body during this transition time! I've been wearing them for running, for my OTF workout, and for everyday wear.) When I needed to feel like me again, running was there. And, of course, with running came the running community. We were so incredibly blessed with a meal train, grocery trip, gifts, visits, and more from my running family near and far. And when I got out walking with Emma or running at the track without Emma, they were there cheering me on.
I’m still working hard. I have to build my endurance back up. I have to work on my pace again. I have to figure out how to be a mama to two big kids and a newborn and be a professional and be a runner and to integrate it all and manage my time. There will be tough runs, there will be disappointing runs, there will be exhausted days, there will be days I think I just can’t do it, AND there will be easy runs, there will be great runs, there will be exhilarating days, there will be days I know I can do hard things and that it is all worth it. And through it all, there will be running, the running community, and above all else, my family.