Amelia (Baby Elwood bloggy name) is eight weeks old. As each week passes, I feel more and more centered and normal. Pregnancy is NOT a normal state of being, and there’s a reason that the weeks and months following birth are called “the fourth trimester.” Hormones, sleep deprivation, breastfeeding, not to mention your entire brain being rewired as you figure out how to care for this little one – who you love beyond all sense.
All that to say, I’ve realized this week that I need to cut myself some slack in the getting-back-in-shape department.
Honesty compels me to admit that my last real runs were probably sometime last November. I did some run-walking up through February, but not very rigorously, and I did just walks after then. So, when I started running again two weeks ago, uh, I shouldn’t have been surprised at how hard it was. Bones hurt. My core felt like it had been ripped to shreds. I felt off-balance. I was frustrated when I could hardly manage two miles towards the end of the week. The schedule I’d created for training for the half marathon said that I should be running three miles by now.
On Friday, I had an epiphany when I lifted a few weights. Two sets of squats and a set of reverse lunges almost finished me off. Besides my abs still being somewhat MIA, I had lost a lot of muscle tone in my legs. My triceps are sore still after ONE set of French press.
In addition to weights, I need to also make sure I allocate time to stretch and do yoga. Carrying a baby around causes strain on my back and shoulders. In the last few days, I’ve done 15-20 minutes per day, and I’ve already noticed my back loosening up a bit. I could barely touch my toes, my lower back was so stiff.
It’s a different mentality – to think of weights and yoga as important as running. I was so focused on running and races before Amelia was born. Logically, I know all three – cardio, strength, and flexibility work – are important for overall fitness. But I’m also really, really task-oriented and goal-oriented. And races really, really worked for me as goals! After Amelia was born, I was excited to once again get back into races. I even have my sights set on a really cool marathon for next fall! But I almost have to treat my pregnancy like an injury; understanding that this kind of event takes a serious toll on the body and it takes time to rebuild.
Time to begin again.