My little boy is now 5 months old, and I’m just starting to feel like I may be able to participate in activities I enjoyed prior to my pregnancy.
Thankfully, I had no idea it would take this long to recover when I made the decision to try for a child! I don’t know that I would have had the courage to proceed! A couple of months into my pregnancy my ligaments were so overstretched that simply walking more than a mile became out of the question. The larger I became the shorter the distance I could walk pain-free, until I was limited to a two block radius by the end of it. Being out of commission from nearly all forms of activity for almost a year has been a definite challenge. Physically I feel about as in shape as I was when I was an early teen – that is, before fitness ever came into my life. Emotionally I’ve sat with pushing back the ‘start date’ of various physical activities by weeks, then months, and then had to be willing to accept it was going to be a question mark for an undetermined amount of time in the future. I spent a lot of time looking at others running, doing burpees and push-ups and using their bodies and was practically salivating in my longing to get back into the game. Once I delivered, I found my body in such a state of trauma that the standard 6 week rule no longer applied; it was a good 10 or so weeks before I could conceive of a regular routine. I took myself to the gym for a low-intensity weight regimen that would help me rebuild lost strength.
I thought I’d eagerly return to those weights. Nope.
I thought I’d be able to walk and run again without problems. Nope.
Then I though that if I had a program at home to follow I’d be more consistent and successful. Nope.
I thought if I had community around programs I’d be more consistent and successful. Nope.
And truthfully, I’m still finding what success looks like for me. The accountability of individual training (pilates) has been the most helpful in keeping me consistent to any one thing. I also started adding the MuTu system to my fitness regimen. This program is specifically designed to help moms recover after childbirth and is so well designed that I really can’t stop signing it’s praises. After having a regular touchstone of pilates once a week for a couple of months I added this in, and two weeks after doing their core fundamental exercises daily I was able to run across a cross walk without feeling like I was going to lose my innards in the street. I cannot begin to tell you how hopeful that moment was for me (although I suspect if you’ve who have undergone birthing a child or have had major surgery you can relate)! It was a crossing over into recovery that I had waited months and months for.
That gave me the confidence to try a little more and experiment with what my body was aching to do: run.
I haven’t run regularly since 2010. When I became pregnant I still had the cardiovascular endurance to be able to do a 5k, but now a mile is tough, hard work. BUT – I CAN DO IT! And it’s amazing to me … to run a single mile slowly and ardulously is amazing. I feel hope and struggle and desire and motivation and encouragement. Yes, it’s hard, but not in that defeatist way I have been feeling with weights. Yes, it’s worse than it’s been in over 25 years but it’s better than it was 4 weeks ago! So the sum net emotion is positive! I haven’t had physical activity be above a net sum of neutral in awhile – I’ll take this! I’ll take this and (quite literally) run with it!
A client of ours notified me of an upcoming race that The Oatmeal created called Beat the Blerch. The Oatmeal is a local celebrity and well-known cartoonist who has a love of running distances and is using his fame to do things like save the Tesla museum and fund our local parks and recreation areas. When I heard about the race he was putting together I felt inspired to make it a goal to be able to run a half marathon this year with a couple of VIBRANCE clientele. If I can run a mile now, I can train myself to 13 by September. I know this. And I know that it isn’t something I can fake my way through or procrastinate on. I also have discovered, with this decision, that the very tangible micro-goals of adding a mere quarter mile this week to the run I attempt fires me up more than anything else has in the last year.
I am very aware that my post-baby body will likely have some surprises for me that I’m yet to be made privy. I’ll come to those obstacles when they show up and not a moment sooner. But today I’m going to celebrate that I ran 1.2 miles when last week it was only .9 miles. And I’m going to stretch out and continue my MuTu core exercises so I can have the core strength to maintain a good gait as I increase my mileage. I’m really excited that I have two more days planned to run 1.25 miles. And a ‘long’ run of 1.5 miles planned on Sunday. I’m excited to be excited about fitness again.
Aimee the runner has returned.
To learn more about MuTu fitness, click here.
To learn more about the Blerch, and why you’d want to beat him, click here.