Thursday, December 8, 2016

Post-partum Body and Running

So, I'm almost 5 months post partum, everything should snap right back, right?  NOPE.  But...I ran the whole pregnancy! I'm fit!!

My body grew and produced another human being.  That is nothing short of a miracle.  I still struggle with not being as fast or the same shape as I was pre-baby.  I do keep reminding myself that I grew this awesome little dude and so far have been his only source of nourishment.  That's a BFD.

So, what all has changed?
I'm still about 10lbs heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight.  It's mostly in my thighs...which I hear helps to make a smart baby, so I'm trying to appreciate it that way.  My hips spread..and most of that happened during delivery.  Seriously, pants that fit before the baby came out did not fit afterward.  Super weird.  My ribcage also expanded.  I'm hoping this comes with increased lung capacity.  Lastly, my pelvic floor and core are still not exactly what they were pre-baby.  They are a million times better than they were after delivery, but I've definitely still got work to do in this area.  

Lastly was a lie...holy boobs.  The girls got out of control when my milk came in.  Now they're OK...still bigger than they used to be.  Oh, and super lopsided.  

To deal with each of these things:

Weight: Honestly, 99% of the time I don't even think about it (too damn busy or sleepy).  A lot of my old clothes fit, so it really doesn't matter to me.  I do wear longer running shorts, and always spandex.  The loose ones cause some chafe.

Hips: They are slowly decreasing in size, but I think they will always be a little bit bigger than they once were (sigh...) As I said before, all of my old clothes fit, they're just a little snugger around my hips.

Ribcage: This surprised me.  I had no idea my ribs had expanded so much, but they were housing that little guy (and all my organs) for 9 months.  My bra size went from 34 to 36 (probably 35 but they don't sell those), So, I've just sized up.

Pelvic floor/Core: things are still loose, I wear my amphipod hip belt to hold things in place when I run (its just more comfortable) and I do core work 5-7 days/ week.  I didn't end up with any really serious damage, but it will take time to heal.  The time it takes has surprised me some.  I thought it healed up within 6 weeks.  I think it takes more like a year.  

Boobs: yeah...I had to buy a real, grown up sports bra.  I went from a B to a D...  I recommend the Fiona from Brooks.  Skirt sports sells something similar.  Bonus if you breastfeed, the straps unhook in the front providing easy access for a hungry baby.

Overall, I think this is probably pretty lucky.  The hips, ribs and pelvic floor stuff actually all surprised me.  Maybe not that they occurred, but to the degree that they occurred.  The only thing that bears on my running at all is my core.  I work on that daily, so I hope that within the year it will be healed.  

Well, that's all I got.  I hope someone finds this helpful.  I would have liked a heads up on this stuff.    

We have a baby!

So...Skipped right over the third trimester...but to sum it up for you
I got a lot heavier, got a little bit whiny but kept running/walking right til the bitter end.  Yoga was way more tolerable than running though, floating in the pool was my favorite athletic activity....Also, I started avoiding anything with a waistband.  If you are pregnant and plan to run into your third trimester, I recommend the gabriella belt.  It's a life saver.

Now, to the fun stuff.  On July 22, 2016 we got this little cutie:
Henry (Hank), 8lbs, 21".  His size and length surprised everyone in the delivery room.  Except me.  I knew that little dude had been crammed up in my ribcage for months.

We stayed in the hospital for 3 days.  Which felt like an eternity, and not long enough all at the same time.  The day I left, I asked the OB what kinds of physical activities I can be doing.  She said, gentle walking for the first 6 weeks, but try to avoid anything strenuous, like going up stairs...Immediately, I asked when I can start running.  She kind of laughed and said, get through the first 6 weeks first.

No joke.

The first 6 weeks, I couldn't even imagine running.  I've heard of a lot of ladies who get right back out there.  That is not my story.   I spent that 6 weeks holding and feeding a baby, sleeping, eating and watching the Olympics.  I did the occasional stroller walk.  When I got my clearance to run at 6 weeks, I went for a 2 mile walk/run and mostly walked.  The rest of my maternity (6 more weeks) leave I eased back into running by running easy and walking quite a bit.  Long story short, recovery took a lot longer than I thought it would.  I figured I would be back at it at 6 weeks, but you have to spend a lot of time building your core back up so your insides are better supported before you can be pounding the pavement.  So I did what I needed to recover.   I recommend kegels.  Every chance you get.

I also took a few trips home to see family and introduce the little guy to all of his people.  All of the other babies arrived too! My sister had her little girl less than a week before me.  Add those two to my brother's new baby and we had what my mom calls "grandma's hat trick".

So, getting back into running.  I didn't get serious about it til after my maternity leave.  I had a 1/2 marathon to complete in November, not quite 4 months post partum.  I slowly increased my mileage and was able to complete it with a time of 1:56.  Not too bad.  My PR is 1:44, so I think this is a good place to be.  I had been signed up for a marathon in January...I'm just doing the half now.  This is less based on how I feel physically, and more emotionally, I do not enjoy leaving that little dude for a super long run.  Here's a picture of us post race.  My husband and the little guy met me at the finish line.

I'm also breastfeeding.  That deserves its own post.  I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I love actual breastfeeding, I hate pumping at work and dealing with that side of it.    

So, where are we now?

The little guy is 4.5 months old and he's awesome.  We still wake up at night once or twice, but, usually get some good stretches of sleep out of him.  I'm back at work after 12 weeks off, coming back was tough.  I really enjoyed my time home, and could see myself happily settling in to that kind of routine.  Unfortunately, that is not in the cards for us...yet.  I run 3-4 times a week (a far cry from my 2x/day I had been doing) but I absolutely LOVE running when I get a chance to.  Much more so than before I got pregnant.

That's about it for now.  I will do an update on my next race and do some kind of post on breastfeeding and running.

Here's one more picture of Hank, just because he's so stinking cute.