Tag Archives: running

BRBM: Be Right Back…Maybe

This post is not about child abandonment. Though I’m not afraid to admit of occasional vacation-for-one fantasies.  This post is about abandoning misguiding notions of returning to the way we were.

So often, I hear mothers talk about “getting back”.  They speak matter-of-factly about getting back to work or back to athletics, as if there were no reason to think otherwise. They agonize about getting back to their old bodies and back into pre-pregnancy jeans, as if it were the consummate yummy mummy achievement.  I am guilty of both. Just read any of my 2009-2010 entries!

Yes, there are mothers who quickly get back into demanding careers, triathlon training and hip-hugging skinny jeans – seemingly without missing a step. Perhaps to the credit of their type-A personalities, full-time nannies and striking genetics. Then there’s the rest of us.

We struggle to find the time, energy and resources to look, feel and do the things we did before the birth of our children. With time, I have learned to focus less on getting back to the way things were.  The real challenge is in adapting to the way things are.

When I first starting running in 2008, it was with the Running Room. The long runs quickly became a part of my routine. I was there religiously each Sunday to meet the group for a 6-18K slow run. I could not have run the half-marathon without the preparation these runs provided.

After my daughter was born, I couldn’t fathom being up, out and ready to run at 8:30am.  With the logistics and sleep deprivation involved, it just didn’t work. Giving up my runs was dispiriting. I saw all my running progress melting away and lingering pregnancy pounds that wouldn’t!

Thankfully things have changed. It took almost 16 months to happen. I have finally adapted to my new reality and running is becoming routine again.

I started running regularly just three months ago. Instead of running with The Running Room, I have one scheduled session each week with my super awesome run coach, Charles Bedley.  Tw0-time marathon champ. Look him up!  That’s a far cry from the 3x/week schedule I used to maintain (in addition to my three strength training days no less). From a training perspective, this one session of intervals, hills and run-specific strength work is more effective than most of the group runs I had done before. Bonus.

I have also managed to get out on my own for a few Sunday morning runs. They are short and close to home to help coincide with hubby and baby’s schedules. Now here’s the Hallmark moment that inspired this post.

Instead of staying home today, hubby and baby ventured out along with me. We strolled down to my starting point together. I headed off on my 4K route and they hung out at the park conveniently located at the end of my loop. I had a great run and as I rounded the corner in those final metres, I could see them playing joyfully together in the distance. If that isn’t motivation to sprint to the finish, I don’t know what is!

My tot was content to stay on the baby swings as I completed my workout. Box jumps and push up supersets, in case you are wondering. After a quick stretch, we headed home. I couldn’t help but smile out loud as we walked. It was the perfect way to fit a run into my new family life. It was a wonderful Sunday morning!

This may or may not become a regular thing. I have no expectations. For now, I am genuinely happy to have stopped grieving my old routine. I can’t go back. I can’t do things that way I used to. I don’t know why I, or we, assumed we could. Maybe you’ll bounce back into your old job, your old wardrobe, your  old routine. Maybe you won’t.

Mamas, I hereby grant you permission to toss your hip huggers, your comittment to run a marathon this year, and all those other notions about “getting back”. If you allow things to be different, perhaps you’ll find harmony between an old passion and your new love.

What do you miss most from your pre-pregnancy life? How has it found its way into your new life with baby?

 

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Slam!: Mama hits a wall *TMI alert*

Maybe you’re a runner, maybe not. Either way, you’re probably familiar with the expression “hitting the wall”. If you’ve  experienced it yourself, you know that feeling of total exhaustion and complete depletion. There’s a seeming inability to keep going, but somehow you do. Turns out that feeling isn’t reserved for athletes. Mommies hit walls too.

My dear Naomi has lived up to her name. (Naomi means pleasant in Hebrew). The last month has been pleasant indeed. Such a treat watching her grow, learn and explore the world around her. And I’ve really enjoyed a balance of other fulfilling activities – my workouts, writing, play dates, visits with friends and time with hubby. Then slam! this week hit.

The days suddenly felt like an endurance event. I’d start off fueled and ready to go. Thank you oatmeal. I’d coast through the mid-morning and re-charge in the afternoon. A nap, a snack or good convo with a friend usually did it. Then things would get tough. A fellow mom calls it “the witching hour”. Once the sun went down each hour became harder to bear than the last.

What’s with this whiny squawk she’s developed? Why is she peeing twice as much? How does her tired body fight so hard to wrestle out of my arms? By evening I’d be utterly exhausted.  Not sleepy exhausted, more like depleted. It was a struggle to tolerate that cry, face another soiled diaper and find the patience to soothe her to sleep. I had hit a wall.

When running a marathon, this is when for a moment, you consider quitting the race. Of course you don’t actually give up. Any real athlete knows quitting is not an option. Instead you plow forward, one foot in front of the other, until you miraculously find that second wind. A terrible feeling of guilt came over me when for a moment, I considered leaving her lying miserable in her crib. Of course, I didn’t. For me, that was not an option. Instead, I plowed forward one task at a time. Then it happened. Her beaming smile appeared like the sun from behind a cloud. I’d gotten my second wind.

As I said, this was new.  My days hadn’t been this grueling in a long time. What changed? Was it Naomi. Was it me? Was I pushing too hard? Was it all just par for the course? Then daybreak came and alas, the question marks were replaced with a period. My period.

Three months and three weeks postpartum, my period is back. Aha, that explains the terrible exhaustion. According to Helen Byrne’s Be-Fit Mom site, this is a signal that my body is returning to its pre-pregnancy state. Yipee! I have to agree. I feel different. Looking in the mirror, my face looks leaner. My stomach looks smaller. Perhaps it’s purely psychologial as I am beyond eager for the change. Read: wishful thinking. Or perhaps the healthy eating and gym workouts are starting to show their effects. Whatever it is, I’ll take it. It’s like a sign held high by an encouraging onlooker. “Keep it up. You’re almost there!”

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