I’d like to think that you, gentle readers, follow along in reading all of my blog posts. If so, you’ll recall that in January I talked about finding “me” time. If not, I’ve so conveniently linked the blog post from back then here. Go ahead, click on the link and refresh your memory about my previous post, I’ll wait right here. Ok, done? Anywho, I have been finding “me” time over the last few months, slowly but surely. And that little bit in the previous post about running…well I’ve just started running again. I’ll admit, the cold weather has made me grumpy and I’ve been too chicken s**t to layer up and get out and run in the freezing temps. Now that spring is sort of arriving, I’ve had the opportunity to take a few runs.
I’ve been a runner since high school. Outdoor track was my jam, sprinting to be more specific. I earned the title of “The Intimidator” on my track team because I had a knack for giving the “hairy eyeball” to my competition before taking my place at the starting line. Nice, huh? My junior year of track I received the award for most valuable player. I’d like to think it was because I ran so fast, but in reality, I wasn’t that good. I was good for the small town from where I reigned but as soon as we raced against the big-city ladies, I got my tushie handed to me on a platter. I was MVP that year because I was a good leader on the team. Regardless of what I did, it was a good ego boost for my 17 year old self. Something that many young women don’t get at the age of 17. Running became my confidence boost, regardless of how fast or far I ran.
I took up long distance running when I wasn’t running sprints, and it has been my go-to form of exercise since. After having Henry, my first child, I realized that my body didn’t work the same as it did before having kids. So when I set out for a run a few weeks ago, 7 months post partum after my second child, I knew things would be a bit…off. I’d like to share a few things with you that you might want to keep in mind if you’re a runner, have just had a baby, and are now looking to get back out there for your first run:
Peeing yourself in Public: I was so excited for a run, I could just pee myself. I did pee myself. Well not this time…but ladies…(and gents) if you’re a runner, and you just had a baby, and then you go running…things just don’t hold in things the way those things used to. A few years after having Henry I ran a 10K race in the middle of winter in Chicago. We were lined up in the start corral and I felt the urge to pee. I remember thinking, “I can just make it to the first water stop.” The gun went off and I started running. About 10 seconds in to the run, I panicked. I turned to my dear friend Sarah , my eyes filled with tears, “Sarah, I think I’m gonna pee my pants…I’ve gotta go pee!.” The reason that this friend is so special, is that she laughed with me, and pointed out a great shrub on the side of the road for me to crouch behind so I could pee. She even offered to stand in front of me so no one would see my crouching ON THE SIDE OF A CITY STREET TO PEE. That is friendship. Anyway, do the kegels. See Shannon’s post from way back when.
Find an over the shoulder boulder holder: Dude…when jogging, your milk-filled boobs will hit you in the face if you do not restrain those bad boys (girls) with a proper jog bra. I have yet to find one. It’s not that they don’t exist, I’m sure they do…you see…I haven’t had time to shop for a proper jog bra. SO do what I do…layer two bras over each other. I made the mistake of going for my first run in a little cami-bra thing. I wasn’t blessed with a well-endowed rack, but even then, I regretted not putting on proper unmentionables.
We wear short shorts: Listen up… you probably gained a little weight from that pregnancy. I know I did. So just find yourself a pair of running shorts that fit well. If your thighs and butt are eating your shorts while you run, then you’re wearing the wrong stuff. And the worst problem with wearing ill fitting running gear is chafing. I might argue that chafed thighs, nipples, and or armpits might feel worse than labor. Just maybe. I might suggest wearing tight bike-like shorts if your thighs are munching away on your shorts.
Shoes: your feet have gotten bigger after pregnancy. Mine did. It happens to the best of us. Be sure to get yourself a pair of running shoes that fit properly. Gawd, I feel like a broken record here with all of my advice about finding things that fit properly. I wear a size 7 and my running shoes are size 8. They feel awesome. So awesome that after I’ve run them bare on the bottom, I just go in to the store and buy the same exact pair, even if that particular year’s model is hot pink.
Patience: Remember that song by Guns and Roses? Man, I’m getting all nostalgic with this cheese rock, but for real…be patient with yourself. Be mindful and compassionate with your post-baby body (and spirit). I’m starting to talk like my therapist. It’s true though…I have this thing with myself and running. For a really long time I used to beat myself up mentally if I stopped to walk during a run. I saw it as a sign of weakness in myself. This past week when I ran, I had to stop and walk once and hit the reset button. It was ok. Don’t go out for the first time and say, “I’m going to run 3 miles.” Just go out and run and try and stay out for 20 minutes and then build up from there. And if 20 minutes are too much, then do 10 minutes. There are plenty of running mommas out there who bounce back after having a baby, and it just takes a little time. So be easy on yourself.