Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Hey neighbors, sorry you took cover in doorways and under furniture when the earth starting shaking beneath you again this afternoon! That was just me, trying to run after nearly five long months of lethargy and cake.

It was a gorgeous day for a run: sunny and warm but breezy and not too humid. My oldest son was off at his first day of first grade, and the baby had recovered from his 2-month vaccinations and resumed his sunny disposition. There was peace in my house...the stars had aligned....the time to run had arrived.

As I started my long warm-up walk, I knew right away by the way my legs felt that running would be hard. Exactly how hard would come as a surprise.

Shifting from a walk to a slow jog felt like trying to carry an elephant up a hill. I felt like I weighed 800 lbs and had not a single functioning muscle group. There was pain in places that I'm sure are not supposed to hurt while running, and I was 99% certain I was having a heart attack. And forget about breathing! Apparently I picked up a pack-a-day smoking habit when I wasn't looking, or so my lungs would have me believe. I thought I ran slow before, but today I think I was passed by a little old lady with a walker. Well, I can't be totally sure, since my eyes were fixed firmly on my feet -- seeing them was the only way to be certain they were still moving. I was stunned by how awful it felt, and in my typical dramatic fashion jumped right to wondering whether I could even do this anymore...

And then suddenly it was over! I had completed the intended three minutes. I didn't die, or even pass out. And I could still walk home when I was done. So, forget I said anything about how much it sucked. I ran today, and it felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I'm back. :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

False Start

How did I manage to screw up already, after only one week? I certainly expected to fall behind in my training plan (which is why I built in several weeks in the middle that are overlap and can be skipped), but I didn't expect it to happen immediately. I actually thought the first few weeks would be the easiest to keep on track because I'm not back at work yet so I have more time in which to squeeze a workout...theoretically.

The first three workouts were just walks, and I found the time for them no problem. Then the fourth workout was supposed to be my first run, and despite being excited about it, somehow in the past week I have been unable to make it happen! I don't want to make excuses, but part of the problem is breastfeeding -- it makes it difficult for me to get just about anything done other than goofing off on the internet (I am rocking Farmville these days, let me tell you...). Maybe other nursing moms are just better at fitting tasks between feedings, but I find BF'ing to be inconvenient and a real pain in the rear. Often after a long day of getting nothing done other than feeding and holding the baby, I wonder if it's really worth it...but I usually decide it is. Usually.

This week was also a bit bizarre in that there was an earthquake and a hurricane, neither of which is normal for this area, but if I'm being honest with myself, I won't use those as excuses. The earthquake didn't affect my schedule at all, and the hurricane really shouldn't have. "We" were busy with preparations for the storm, but my husband really did all of the work. And the storm itself wasn't too awful here -- we didn't even lose power, so at the very least I should have been able to get my butt onto the treadmill today. Alas, I did not.

Whether I have any legitimate excuses or not, I missed a week of workouts and am wondering whether I should push on forward from here, or just start over. If I can make that run happen tomorrow, then pushing forward makes sense. If two more days slip past...or three...or more...maybe it will be time to start back over from just the walks again. At least then making a fresh start might give me some psychological motivation and momentum to get going! Maybe. I also go back to working full time a week from Tuesday, and that is when I REALLY will start to come apart at the seams. You'll see. More on that later.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hospital Bed to 10K

Before I get into the substance of today's topic, I want to point out that this is my actual 100th blog post!! Woohoo!! If any of you have read every single entry so far, I thank you for your support, but also doubt your sanity. ;-) A lot has happened in my world since this blog began, and I can't wait to see what the next 100 posts will cover!

One topic that I certainly will write a lot about is my new training plan! I call it my "Hospital Bed to 10K" plan, because I have decided to focus my entire post-surgery return to fitness on one major goal. I have scrapped all plans for fall races because I know I won't be ready for any of them and I don't want to set myself up for failure. Winter races are still possible (to the extent that they exist around here), but I will wait and see how I'm progressing before I set my sights on any particular events.

To allow myself plenty of time to ease back into running while juggling the demands of working motherhood, I have selected a spring race as my ultimate goal. It's the Cooper River Bridge Run down in my hometown of Charleston, SC, and I have always wanted to do it. I walked it once in college, and I was supposed to run it this year with my sister, but my pregnancy interfered. There will be no more excuses -- in 2012 I will finally "Get Over It" and run the bridge!

My HB210K plan is a little more drawn out than your average Couch 2 5K plan, since I have 7 months to prepare. I didn't think I could find a single 10K training plan stretched out that long, so I've pieced together three different plans. I am starting with the "Aggressive Couch to 5K Program" from the Beginner Triathlete website, which is the program I followed to get back into running after my stress fracture last year. After the first 5 weeks of that program, I will switch to Jeff Galloway's 5K and 10K training plans. I followed some of Galloway's plan last year while training for my first 10K, and it worked out pretty well. There is some overlap between the 5K and 10K programs, so if things do not go well for whatever reason, I have those extra weeks built in there that I can skip and still stay on track to be ready by March 31st.

Having a plan has energized and motivated me; it is great to have something positive to focus on instead of thinking about how I'm not living up to my silly unrealistic expectations for post-baby fitness so far. Now I can mark my progress, however slow it is, towards achieving a major goal and making a longtime dream come true! Once I cross that finish line in Marion Square, I'm sure I will no longer care about how this pregnancy affected my body and fitness. Bridge Run, here I come! Who wants to join me?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

6 Weeks PP - Phase One Complete!!

Workouts this week: 0
Most Strenuous Workout: Just normal activity
Weight: 207 lbs
Total pregnancy weight lost: 16 lbs
Pregnancy weight left to lose: 23 lbs

It's official -- I have completely recovered from my c-section! My 6-week-postpartum check-up went well today, and all restrictions have been lifted. This means I am cleared to resume any form of exercise I choose! Yippie!!

Driving home from the doctor, I sang along with the radio while imagining running to those upbeat tunes. I'm feeling really pumped up about getting back on track and setting my new goals and everything! Nothing has really changed with my amounts of energy and free time, though, so I'm prepared to take it slow and not be too hard on myself. I have started working on my plans, and will be excited to share them soon!

Looking back over the past 6 weeks, I'm a little disappointed that I didn't start walking regularly as soon as the pain subsided enough. At the same time, I'm pleased that I didn't gain back any weight after my initial loss. I still have 23 pounds of pregnancy weight to lose before I'll be back where I started. Hopefully those pounds will come off fairly quickly once I'm exercising.

It also is time for me to rein in my permissive eating habits. For example, "ten o'clock dessert" has to end and be replaced with a small, healthy late night snack (I have to snack at night because I stay up late). Of course, I won't be cutting out sweets entirely. There will be birthday cake in our house this weekend, and a few weeks later I'll be making a cake for my wedding anniversary. There will always be cake in my life. This is why I run. :)

Thanks to all of you who put up with my whining and complaining throughout pregnancy and recovery. I hope that now things will return to normal, and I will have more to talk about than just hormones or surgery. The weekly updates are over for now, but posts should come more frequently. Be on the lookout for Recovery: Phase Two!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Flipping the Magical Switch

After last week's post written by Debbie Downer, I figure I owe y'all a little of my more characteristic cheerfulness. I'm feeling rather chipper today because over the past week I have experienced this wonderful phenomenon that now has happened at least twice. With my first two c-sections, the pain faded away probably about a month after the surgery (though I don't remember precisely when).

Last time and now this time, as of 5 weeks postpartum, I was still hurting and popping ibuprofen a couple times a day, wondering when or if I would ever feel better. Then within a matter of days, before I hit the 6-week mark, the pain just vanished as if I had found and flipped the magic "off" switch! Suddenly I feel pretty normal again, sleep deprivation and general exhaustion notwithstanding. Stairs are no problem, and even bending over finally feels okay!! The only movement that really hurts at all right now is rising from a completely horizontal position. In other words, getting up out of bed in the morning is a sharp reminder that my abs are still a little sore. I'm sure even that small ache will disappear soon too.

I don't know what is so special about this week that how I feel changes so drastically from beginning to end of it, but I guess maybe there is a reason doctors schedule the official postpartum checkup for 6 weeks after childbirth. I'd like to declare myself completely healed, but I'll wait until after my OB appointment on Thursday to do the recovery dance of joy. :)

As for Recovery: Phase Two plans, time and energy are still big issues, and I'm definitely rethinking my previous goals. Over the next few days, I'm going to select some specific new goals and develop a realistic training plan, which I will reveal after I've been cleared to resume real exercise. Until then, I'm aiming to go for a couple of 20-30 minute walks around the neighborhood this week, time and weather permitting. Since my goal is two walks, I'll be happy with one. :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

5 Weeks PP - Facing Reality

Workouts this week: 4
Most Strenuous Workout: Walking the length of the mall 2x
Weight: 207 lbs
Total pregnancy weight lost: 16 lbs
Pregnancy weight left to lose: 23 lbs

With only one week remaining in my c-section recovery period, I'm realizing how unrealistic most of my goals and hopes for post-baby fitness are. The problem is no longer pain -- I've gone several days now with no OTC painkillers whatsoever (well, not counting the one dose of Tylenol I took for a headache), and I'm feeling pretty good! Hooray! Despite my expectations, I think I actually recovered faster this time than I did last time!

Now the problems are time and energy. Breastfeeding means I'm literally attached to my baby for a large portion of the day, and just taking care of an infant is exhausting. It has been challenging just to find the time to write this blog post; finding time to go for walks has been nearly impossible. And right now is the easy time! I'm still at home on maternity leave, and the kids are still on summer vacation, and there are few scheduled events putting demands on my time. When I imagine how crazy everything is going to be when I return to work in a month, I just want to cry. I don't really know how I'm going to find time to exercise regularly. I don't even know how I'm going to find time to bathe regularly! I am remembering vividly now why it took me so long to get back to walking/running after baby #3.

Even if I can find a little time a few days per week to get moving, I think my road back to running is going to be a long one. I'm so tired most of the time that I fall asleep when I'm sitting still feeding the baby at all times of day. I don't know when I will have enough energy to move my feet any faster than a slow walk. I'd thought, many months ago, that maybe I would attempt the Arlington 9/11 5K again this year. I figured I'd have to walk at least half of it, but it would be a nice experience to participate without so much pressure on myself to do well, and also in an especially meaningful year (the 10th anniversary of the attacks). The race is just a little over a month away, and somehow I'm doubting I'd even be able to run a mile of it by then. I really thought I'd be racing again in the fall, but now I think I need to erase those thoughts from my head completely and act as though I'm starting all over again from square one. That may be the only way I can ease myself back into running at a pace that is compatible with my current situation.

I'm sorry if the tone of this post is very negative. I think I have to go through these feelings of disappointment and frustration, and almost mourn the loss of how I had hoped things would be, in order to move past it and arrive at a more positive approach to coping with how things actually are. Does that make sense? Soon maybe I will be mapping out a new training plan for myself, and setting realistic, attainable goals, and proceeding with enthusiasm and good cheer. For right now, I'm kicking myself for dreaming too big and setting myself up for this letdown.

I should also include a disclaimer that I'm writing this at nearly 1:00am, when I finally found time and had my hands free for typing. I'm so tired that I can barely keep my eyes open, and everything seems worse when I'm this exhausted. I hope that my readers who are also moms understand where I'm coming from, and that my readers who don't have kids will be patient with me as I work through this phase!

On a lighter note, this is my 100th post! Woohoo! I think I will celebrate...by going to bed. :)

EDIT: Just realized the count I was looking at included some draft posts that were never completed/published. So it's not really my 100th post. Oops. See, I REALLY need sleep.