There are a LOT of things I didn’t know about post-partum running. I thought that after six weeks, I would be back on the road, like it wasn’t a big deal at all. I was inadequately prepared for a lot of the hard parts.
Having a baby puts a lot of stress on your pelvis. And your pelvic floor. Both of which you need for running. I expected to feel slow. I expected to maybe not want to spend two hours running. I expecting issues related to breastfeeding. But I didn’t expect for my pelvis and hips to hurt after a 4 or 5 mile run. And I certainly didn’t expect them to hurt 7 months post-partum!
Last year, I walked a 5k. And I talked a lot of game about doing the 10k this year, that of course that was something I would be able to do. And here I am, deciding whether to register for the 5k or the 10k, because truthfully, I can’t really imagine doing a 10k. The last 5 mile run I did really hurt by the end of it. And that was at the end of July! Additionally, a one hour run is a long time without a bathroom stop when you have a severely weakened pelvic floor. And so, I am paralyzed with indecision.
I expected to be slower, sure. Especially because losing the weight has been a challenge. I’m faster when I’m lighter, I’m faster when I’m eating better, I’m faster when I’m running regularly. I’m doing none of those things.
I expected to have a hard time with pumping and running. I can’t run in the mornings right now. I can’t roll out of bed and say, “I’m going for a quick run before work!” A quick run means I have to either feed the baby, who has to want to eat a lot, or I have to pump, or sometimes, I have to do both. That can be 20-40 minutes. I have to get dressed and geared up and leave my house. I expected running in the morning to be hard.
The thing is, when you have a super active baby who spends bedtime fighting you and wanting to just get down and crawl everywhere and play with her toys, or with the diaper dekor, or with the trash can, bedtime is just exhausting. I come downstairs after bedtime and I basically immediately need a nap, not to go for a refreshing 3-5 mile run.
I had a plan to go for runs at work, towards the end of the day, at the end of my last pumping session. And for some reason, that plan never materialized. Maybe because I moved offices and was too embarrassed to be seen by everyone in my running shorts going off on a run in the middle of the day? Mostly because my office is just far enough from a really great trail that I could run to the trail, on the trail for maybe ten minutes, and then have to head back? And mostly because at the end of the day I want to finish my work and get home to my baby.
I also just don’t enjoy running the way I used to. I enjoy racing, but going for long runs isn’t that fun for me nowadays. My running buddy isn’t available because of some health issues, I haven’t found a new one, and I haven’t gotten my act together to go to group runs at our local shop, although I want to. I have been doing other things to exercise, which is fine. I have always felt like the best exercise is the exercise you will actually do, so it doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are moving in a way that is productive and healthy.
I’m confident that my relationship with running will shift again as I stop breastfeeding, as my pelvis slowly moves back into place, as I seek treatment for my pelvic floor issues, as I build strength, as bedtime becomes something that not just I am in charge of. Of course, by the time I’m done breastfeeding it will be winter, and then I have a whole other bevy of excuses to deal with. But who knows, maybe then I will be more comfortable with my running at the end of the workday plan. Or maybe I’ll just drive to the trail on my way home and run there. Or maybe I’ll rejoin the local run group.