It has been just over two weeks since little Mary arrived into our lives. We are all trying to get to know each other and get used to not sleeping at night. Why is it that babies like to sleep all day and then stay up fussy all night?!
Last Wednesday I had my first postpartum appointment with my doctor. She was really happy with my progress and asked me if I had been running yet. When I was discharged from the hospital I had been told I had to wait at least four weeks before resuming activity and likely closer to six weeks. I of course told her no but did mention that I had tried two very light arm workouts in the days before I saw her.
I was surprised to find out that it was okay for me to go ahead and start running again. She said to take it easy and just listen to how my body responded.
My doctor noted that I had recovered remarkably in the two weeks since Mary’s delivery and credited this 100% to my running during pregnancy. In fact, I mentioned to her that in the days after delivery I started to feel like an elastic band. I could see muscles returning and feel my body coming back to where I had been. I was of course sore and tired, but I was starting to feel like myself again, for the most part.
With the go ahead to start running, I opted to start off at the local track across the street from where we live. I thought this would be a great way to measure how far I could go and also feel comfortable enough to easily get home if anything should go awry.
For my first run back I did a nice and easy 3 mile run. I felt great and despite feeling slightly winded, my body responded pretty well. I did note that my hips felt achy and a little “wobbly.” During pregnancy your body releases a hormone called relaxin that helps your pelvic region relax and expand to allow for delivery. This hormone affects your entire body but near the end of pregnancy I was really feeling it in my lower back and hips. This run made it clear that my body still was going to have some issues in this area.
After my run I did start to feel some nausea and light headedness. I started sweating profusely and had to cut my shower short and sit down on the couch. It was a little scary. However, after thinking about it later I realized that I was likely dehydrated and should have made a better effort earlier that day to consume more water before I ran.
The following day I was having some pretty good hip pain and very tight quads and hamstrings. It is crazy how three weeks can take a toll on your body! However, as a running coach I often encourage athletes dealing with injuries to allow themselves some time off to recover. I am always reminding them that a week or two off from running to properly recover won’t ruin their training. Despite my sore legs, I can definitely say that my endurance was still there.
On Saturday I tackled the three mile run again. This time I left my GPS at home so that I didn’t worry about my pace. I spent all morning and afternoon downing water and headed for the track in the evening. I kept to a slower pace and let the tightness in my quads and hamstrings slowly work their way out of my body. It of course returned after the run but I was happy to report that I didn’t experience any of the previous sickness from that first attempt.
Over the past week I have also added planks back into my morning workout routine and I can already feel a big difference in my core. Arm workouts have also slowly returned and the combination of all of this is making me feel like myself again.
I honestly give running a ton of credit for keeping me healthy and happy both during and after my pregnancy. I can absolutely feel how exercising during pregnancy really helps bring you back to your old self after delivery. And of course, running always makes me mentally feel like myself again too.
Check out this awesome tank I wore for my return. My friend Gloria sent this to me. She runs for MDA Team Momentum in honor of her son Harry. She is an amazing woman and friend. Check out her inspiring blog and follow her as she trains for her first ever marathon.