Monday, July 14, 2014

A new body.

I didn't run during pregnancy.  Well, not really.  I had a trail race, my second race ever, the Skirt in the Dirt 5K planned, and it was three weeks after I took the pregnancy test.  I didn't want to drop out because I wasn't ready to tell my friends I was pregnant.  I was fortunate in that I didn't have morning sickness, but the run was just awful.  Sore everywhere, throbbing ovary, and after the race, that was it.

During the first two trimesters pregnancy I lifted weights, which I'd been doing for years so I was able to do them safely, and worked out on the elliptical.  I also did yoga and Pilates.  By the third trimester I was feeling too stretchy to feel like I could control the weights, and my workout clothes weren't fitting, so I took up swimming until my maternity swimsuit disintegrated when I was 34 weeks along.  Then I walked, usually about 3 miles a day, including the day I went into labor.

So, no running.  I thought I'd have an easy return to my post-pregnancy body, but then labor turned into a prolonged second stage culminating in forceps, and I had severe pelvic floor laxity and all the fun that goes with that  Starting at about six weeks postpartum, I used the Hab-It PT routine.

This was hard for me, because I've been lucky in that I've always had relatively good health, barring the occasional injury here and there.  I was finding it challenging to carry the baby in his carseat.  It helped mentally for me to think of recovering from childbirth as if it were recovering from a major injury.  If someone had taken a baseball bat to my pelvis, I wouldn't be berating myself for not healing quickly.

Anyhow, with the help of the DVD, and a rather intense commitment to core training, I managed to retrain my deep core muscles.  Five months after having the baby, I felt up to daily 3 mile stroller walks; six months post-partum I started gently with a couch-to-5K program.  Kiddo is now fourteen months old, weaned, and things are much improved, and still getting better.  I'm in a position where I can think about a half marathon, and last summer, that seemed to be impossible.

Odd side effect -- all that hip and core strength changed my stride a little.  I used to have to run in motion control shoes and now I seem to be fine in neutral trainers.

Would I run during pregnancy?  I honestly am not sure.  Maybe a little in the first trimester.  But I think I'm living proof that one can decide not to run, and take it very slowly, and get back to it.

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