First post-partum run

Starting today, my blog will also serve as my training journal.
My reasons for this:
1) It will be online forever so that I can review it. I have used Workout Log and Training Peaks for the same purpose, but I’m not paying for the former anymore and I don’t think the latter is especially user-friendly. While Training Peaks is great for communication back and forth between coach and athlete, I am sans coach right now

2) Perhaps posting my workout data online will be an incentive to work a little harder.

3) I haven’t seen any blogs that go into any level of detail about breastfeeding and working out.
A lot of blogs go into a lot of detail about workouts. Some blogs go into a lot of detail about having a small child and breastfeeding. But no blogs that I have found talk about the nitty gritty of both working out and breastfeeding. I’m sure I will figure out how to manage the details of breastfeeding, mothering, and working out as I go, and of course how each person deals with these things unique to each situation. That said, perhaps my experience will be useful to someone else.

Before Pregnancy:
I ran a PR of 3:46 in my sixth marathon, about a month before finding out I was pregnant, and I was in great shape. I didn’t know I was pregnant when I ran the Bolder Boulder 10k in a time of 48:44, a few weeks later. When I peed on the stick and saw the blue line, my first thought was “Holy Shit.” My second thought was “I am not going to break 47 minutes in a 10k this year.”

Personal Records:
Ironman triathlon PR 14:05 (2007)
Half Ironman triathlon PR 5:47:16 (2010)
Olympic Distance triathlon PR 2:58:02 (2010)
Marathon PR 3:46:26 (2011)
Half Marathon PR 1:50:34 (2007)
20k PR: 1:44:48 (2005)
10 Mile PR: 1:20:24 (2010)
10k PR 47:20 (2006)
8k PR 39:03 (2006)
5k PR 22:13 (2004)
1 mile PR 6:40 (2010)

During Pregnancy:
I exercised 4-6 times per week, for about 30-60 minutes each time. I stopped running in July (during my first trimester) because I was just getting too short of breath and it wasn’t fun anymore. I swam, used the elliptical, biked, and walked. I went to Zumba once a week or so up till the middle of my second trimester. I enjoyed prenatal yoga up until the middle of my third trimester. I taught a few spin classes at Movement and I joined a Masters swim group in my last trimester. I modified my workouts so that I wasn’t necessarily doing what everyone else was doing. I always kept my effort moderate. The day before I went into labor, I used the stairmaster (the one that is like an escalator) for an hour, hoping that would get things going. I can’t necessarily say it worked because something was bound to happen regardless; the baby came 2 weeks after the due date (although I thought the due date was a bit off from the get-go).

Right Now:
Today I am 6 weeks post-partum! Which means this is the first day I have the green light to work out! I know a lot of women who had vaginal births are allowed to work out much sooner, but this was my midwife’s policy, and I trust her, so I went with it. I would rather err on the side of caution when it comes to my full recovery. I had my baby at home, and it was awesome. Feel free to facebook me if you have any questions about this. Another great resource is the home birth group on Babycenter.

Pre-pregnancy weight: 115
Current weight: 122
Please note, 7 lbs is a fair amount, considering I am only 5 feet tall. Please don’t think I am complaining, I’m not! I’m just saying. And ladies, the best thing you can do after you have a baby is GET NEW JEANS. I did this last weekend. I didn’t spend a lot of money; I found a great pair in the Nordstrom juniors department. And if shopping in juniors when you’re 33 is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

And I want to say right now, my purpose for working out is NOT weight loss. Yes it is a really nice benefit that when I am fit I feel really good in my clothes, but right now I feel my body’s job is to feed my baby. If I end up losing weight, I won’t complain. But like I said, I have a new pair of jeans, so I am covered if I stay this size for a while.

My Goals:
1) To complete the Boulder Sprint Triathlon (700 meter swim, 17 mile bike, 5k run) on June 17th. I signed up when I was still pregnant, knowing I needed to put an event on the calendar for motivation. As it gets closer, I will figure out what makes sense for a time goal, if that even makes sense. Probably whatever my time was in 2010, plus 5-10 minutes. Bonus: I got Dan to sign up, too! I am coaching him, which basically entails writing his workouts.

2) I am planning to run a 5k on Mothers Day. Again, I have no idea what to expect for time. The point of that race will be to establish a baseline.

3) In the fall, I will run a 10k. My goal is to run it in under 48 minutes, but again, I will adjust that according to what makes sense as it gets closer.

4) Regular workout will give me some time to myself each day and give my day some structure. I realize this is sort of a means to the end goal (see above races), but I also see it as a goal in and of itself. Even if this is the only goal I achieve, I actually think its the most important one. Exercise improves my mood and gives me more energy.

Today, Dan encouraged me to go for my run at 7am. But I had just fallen asleep after one of Sweet Pea’s marathon nursing sessions! I mumbled something about waiting until 7:30 or 8. At 9, Dan told me now would be a really good time to go. Knowing that he had things he wanted to do in the garden, I reluctantly got up. Negotiating with Dan about when I can workout while he watches Sweet Pea will be an adjustment to say the least. Luckily, I am so miserable to be around when I haven’t worked out that this should not be too much of an issue. Seriously, I am lucky to have a spouse who 100% respects and supports my goals. Working out certainly is not his priority, but he gets that I need that time in order to feel like myself.

I pumped 5 oz of milk, which took about 20 minutes… I didn’t think it would take this long, but it did, so I will need to note that if I ever make plans to work out with a friend. There is no way I would attempt to exercise without having pumped immediately prior, at least not at this point. I mentally congratulated myself on pumping so much (normally I get anywhere from 1 to 2.5 oz. at once). Simultaneously, Dan was heating up a bottle for Sweet Pea, so I guess the reason I got so much was that it was time for her feeding anyway. If you are wondering why I didn’t just nurse her myself- that can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, while she can get what she needs from the bottle in less than 15 minutes.

While I pumped I drank about 12 oz of Recharge and about 20 oz of water. I have heard that if you work out while breastfeeding and do not hydrate like a maniac (and replenish calories), your supply will dry up. I also ate a bowl of instant oatmeal. By 10am, with my pump parts soaking in hot soapy water, and Sweet Pea in Dan’s arms, I was out the door.

The Run:
I had not run in 8 months and I had not worked out in any capacity (other than walking) in 6 weeks. The last time I had taken this much time off running was in 2002-2003 because of an injury, although I was biking a lot and doing other things… During my pregnancy I took 2 weeks off working out for medical reasons, and in 2004 I took 3 weeks off while recovering from a surgery. Otherwise, I pretty much have worked out 5-6 days a week, every day of my adult life!
Having taken this long of a break, I didn’t know what to expect.

I did my 3 mile loop (it is roughly 3 miles; I have never run it with my Garmin. It’s just a dirt trail behind my house). This normally takes me about 28 minutes when I take it easy. I jogged slowly and focused on my form, and just putting one foot in front of the other, because it was HARD, even though I was going very slow! At the 28 minute point, I was not nearly done with the loop (maybe about 2/3 done? Started walking just after the dog park parking area), but I felt like I didn’t want to push it too hard. I walked the rest of the way home. Total time was 48 minutes. At the point when I started walking, I realized I forgot to put pads in my bra, and I was wearing a white top… I hoped I wasn’t leaking. I wasn’t, thankfully. I’ve heard the leakage problem gets better over time, but I would really rather not take my chances.

When I got home I stretched, did 15 push ups (the real kind, not the girl kind), and did about 50 crunches. I started with some V-ups but realized I wasn’t ready for that yet.

So… I have a lot of work to do, but that’s ok because I can only improve from here!

What tips do you have from when you got back into shape after having a baby? What mistakes did you make? What time-saving tips do you have, when it comes to nursing, pumping, and exercising? Please comment!

7 thoughts on “First post-partum run

  1. Dara Resnik says:

    So funny– I’m 3.5 months postpartum and started pretty much exactly where you were. I’d been running fairly fast and consistently when I got preggo , and then breathing sucked, so I stopped. I did a lot of hiking and walking and yoga while pregnant but postpartum (also funny, I, too, had a natural birth! And MORE funny, I bought cheap new jeans in the juniors dept at Nordstoms!) I felt like I was way behind where I wanted to be. I was running 12 minute miles and could barely do ten crunches. I felt a big black hole where my baby was.Anyway, I’m happy to report that after nearly 2 months of 6 am workouts (brutal, but worth it!) today I ran 5 miles at 10:30 each, and am back to doing several hundred crunches. I’m also nursing full-time. Strangely, the last 7 pounds aren’t going anywhere, but I have a theory about that. First of all, they’re turning back into muscle. Second of all, us thin girls need a little extra padding to keep producing milk at the rate our kiddos need it. At least, that’s my theory. Let me know how it goes for you!I’m considering a half-marathon in the fall, and maybe the LA marathon in the spring. Sweet pea looks delicious, BTW!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I remember hiking Sanitas with Nick, two weeks old, and feeling so victorious! But it was like the hardest workout I’ve ever had. Kind of miserable. In retrospect and with perspective all I can say is, go easy on yourself! Rest, relax, nurse, change diapers, think it will always be like this. But – it won’t! You will be back in shape and running SO SOON. SO, SO, soon. Months fly. Try not to put any pressure on yourself at all. This hard and overwhelming time is but a blip.Well, yeah, easier said than done. I can imagine how much you want to get up and be the old you again! And get some semblance of routine, order, and fitness back into your life. IT WILL COME, my cute little momma, it will come.Well, more than you asked for, but what mom doesn’t love to pile on the advice?Sweet pea is so dang cute! Can’t wait to see you guys! Amy (Nick and Will)

  3. Pam says:

    @Dara- That is great, we are in parallel universes with this whole thing. Your 6am workouts are inspiring… I will probably end up going that route many weekdays. I will keep you posted on those last 7 lbs.@Amy- Good advice, you are right this is soooo temporary.

  4. Jenni says:

    You are hilarious, and so inspiring! Want to come to my spin class tomorrow at 8:45 AM?PS–the pic of you and Sweat Pea is utterly adorable!! – Jenni

  5. Anonymous says:

    Having a 9 month old at home, I wish you had written this blog back then as I really wanted to hear from new Mom’s who were also training. What has worked for me is learning how to be flexible. There will be days you are too tired, the kid is sick, or whatever and you won’t get out there. Let it go and don’t beat yourself up about it. I also pumped before every workout and tried to plan it so for longer workouts I was home for the next nursing session to limit bottles. Pumping in the car before races is always a good time! Good luck and stick with it!

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