Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Postpartum Running: Version 3.0

Good GOD this week is flying by! Normally that's a great thing, but I feel like I haven't gotten much accomplished yet and the week is already half over! I did get to go out to dinner with the hubby on Monday though in (early) celebration of Valentine's Day, which also happens to be our dating anniversary. (18 years this year- what?!?)

So this is what downtown looks like at night!
Anyway...I've been wanting to write a little bit about my experience running after baby #3. So here goes!

My running "career" didn't even start until my firstborn was about 14 months old, at which time I was running about a 12-minute mile. Over the next 2 years, before I got pregnant with baby #2, I ran 3 half marathons, working my way from 2:04:58 in my first race to 1:59:38 in my third race.

While I was pregnant with baby #2, I ran until about 20 weeks before I gave up on it. It was too uncomfortable - especially in the Atlanta summertime. After she was born, I was anxious to get back to it though and started running again at about 3 or 4 weeks postpartum, doing a lot of run/walk intervals. It was humbling. I was SLOOOOW! And it took me a long time to gain any kind of speed back. But over the course of 3 years, I managed to get faster. I ran 4 more half marathons, including my most recent, which was a personal best.

Publix Georgia Half Marathon - March 2015
When I found out I was pregnant with baby #3, I was in almost-peak running shape - routinely running 7+ miles every Saturday, and at least 20 miles per week. I swear I started to get sluggish the second I found out I was expecting! But I kept at it. And I beat my goal of running up to 32 weeks, which was a total postpartum game-changer!!

I was back out there 3 weeks after my little guy was born. Sure, I was much slower than that half marathon PR, but I didn't stop once (although I may have peed my pants 😯)! I made it through a full 3 miles and felt exhilarated.

First postpartum run in April 2016
Flash forward to 6 months postpartum, I worked my way up to 8 miles and was starting to run a sub-9:00 pace pretty regularly. (Even throughout my training for my last half marathon, I rarely ever ran a sub-9:00.) However, I was running 5 days a week and ended up being out of commission with an overuse injury in my right hip. 😐

First week of October 2016
I spent most of October, November and December focusing on strength training and just walking for fitness to let my hip heal. (Although I did run an 8k on Thanksgiving Day against my better judgement...) It was SO HARD to take time off from running, but it was definitely the best thing for me.

I returned to running in mid-December, starting out with a couple days of run/walk intervals, then only running every other day for a couple weeks before settling back into a Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday/Sunday running schedule by January, with Saturday being my "long run" day. And a funny thing happened after all that time off - I got FASTER! I'm now consistently a sub-9:00 runner. In fact, a "slow" run for me now is about 9:00 per mile. I'm back up to 8 miles, and recently ran my fastest run EVER! After THREE BABIES!

January 2016
This most recent (and last EVER!) postpartum running experience has taught me that I really can do anything. Having a baby is the ultimate endurance event - and what doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger!

I'm so excited for my first half marathon since baby #3. I don't like to put pressure on myself with time goals, but I'm really starting to believe that I can set a new personal best if I keep running as well as I am now.

My 21-year-old, Pepsi-drinking, Hostess-cupcake-eating self never would have imagined being this excited about running! 😂

What do you look forward to these days that you used to think was torture?!

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