Finally a post about running! It’s interesting how this blog was solely about running, then some of life sneaked in, and for the past nearly year it has been all about pregnancy and the arrival of baby. Having a baby does change your priorities, but back to the running.
Saturday I ran my first post-pregnancy race. It was a 4 mile race which I loved because 5k’s just seem too short after running marathons, but anything longer I wasn’t sure I was ready for. I also have never ran a 4 mile race, so there wasn’t any previous times to compare my performance to. I could just run my race comfortably. I was not interested in racing or pushing my body too hard.
During the race my goal was to run under 36:00 minutes and to stay comfortable since I’m still trying to make running feel consistently good. The race ended up being a first date away from the baby for my husband and I and our first run together since baby. Having a running partner was very motivating. There is also something about a race that gives you that extra go power.
Since the race was short I don’t have a mile by mile report, but was able to accomplish all my goals. We finished in 35:36 running comfortable and confident the entire time. I’m most proud of our 4th mile where we picked up the pace some. We ran an 8:09 pace which tells me that while a lot of my runs don’t always have the ease and comfort of the past, I am making progress. I’m getting faster and feeling stronger even if I don’t see or feel it everyday. It felt awesome to race again!
Returning to running has been both easier and harder than I thought it would after having a baby. I felt awesome physically the day after having a baby and that feeling continued after heading home. That was great, but also caused me to raise my own expectations of what I expected I could accomplish.
While still pregnant I had no set agenda as to when I would walk and run and for how often or long after giving birth. This is the best approach in my opinion. Feeling so good after delivery though made me start to change that plan.
Feeling so good made me think I’d be running earlier and with greater ease. Add to it that week 2 after baby I walked 20 miles with the little guy in the jogging stroller without too much effort. During the fourth week post-partum I went for my first (very short) run prompted by a screaming baby who wanted to eat during a walk stat! It felt good…too good. I wanted to run again. It had been a long time since I’d felt those endorphins!
A week later I ran 2.25 miles and it felt AMAZING! I also kept walking and hit the 100 mile mark with Pierce that week. My confidence was soaring!
My next run a few days later was the same distance, but went very differently. It brought me back to reality. My legs felt like I had anchors attached to them. My lower abs were sore after. Many of my runs since have felt tired legged. They’ve been slow. They’ve felt good after for the most part, but haven’t been easy. Maybe once a week I have a great run. Luckily, the lower ab soreness went away a week ago.
All of my early successes made me think I’d be breezing through a 4 mile race much sooner than the 4th of July, but in truth my original time table was much more accurate. I ran 4 miles for the first time almost a month before the race and ran 5 miles more than a week before the race and again yesterday, but that distance is still not always easy.
Everyday is different. Running sleep deprived is no joke. Sometimes the day gets away from you and you can’t run until 8:45 at night. Other days the only time to run is in the peak heat and sun of the day. Sometimes your husband calls when you are on mile 5 of your planned 6 mile run to say the baby is hungry, how close are you or should I heat up a bottle? Some days the answer might be warm up the bottle and other days, like yesterday, I swear the baby felt my misery and I came home.
I’ve learned you just do what your body says you can do. It won’t always feel awesome, but there is a difference between discomfort and out of shape and pain. Ignore your watch for the most part. Be realistic! Even after being active during pregnancy you may not be able to jump right back to what you used to do. Learn as you go! Be proud of the small steps you do accomplish!
I’m new to the whole juggling act of being a mother runner, but I’m loving it! A 4 mile race was the perfect distance for me to return to racing. Longer than a 5k without the stress and obligation of a longer race. Plus, there was time for the husband and I to get a quick coffee together before heading back to our handsome guy who turned 11 weeks on race morning!
Now I’m looking for at least one fall half marathon to work up to as part of my training for a full marathon in November where I will finish state #17-Indiana. Any suggestions?!
Firecracker 4 Mile Race
Overall Place: 173/501
Age Group: 10/49