Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Marathon to Mom: How my running has changed.

Marathon.
I am a runner. I started running with the goal of completing a half marathon because why not? I was in my last semester of college with some free time on my hands. I was in great shape thanks to my jobs as a gymnastics coach and group fitness instructor. I wanted to challenge myself to something new. Something more. The day that I crossed my first finish line, I became a runner.



Sometimes it's hard for me to believe that just 3 years ago I completed my first marathon. Not only did I run it, but I ran it in 4:01:51. A 4 hour marathoner. Then I turned around and ran another in 2014 with a 4:03:39! I earned the title of marathoner and remember the pride and joy I felt back then. I was a runner on a mission to conquer my goals and push my limits. I signed up for the 2015 Chevron Houston marathon ready to do it again. This time, I wanted to break that evil 4 hour barrier that I was hovering around and become a sub-4 hour marathoner. God had another plan for me and gave me something much greater than a sub-4 hour marathon time. He gave me the gift of life and made me a mommy.



During my first trimester, I pulled back and decided to still run the half marathon. I wrote about how running in my first trimester effected my training. As we got closer to the race, the harder it was for me to run. My morning sickness was pretty intense and made running for longer than 30 minutes nearly impossible. I learned that my pregnancy pace was quite different than my pre-pregnancy pace. Now I'm still learning that my post-pregnancy pace is quite different again!

A few weeks into my second trimester, I severely sprained my ankle while running. This halted my running during pregnancy. {Except for a 5K that I walked with my boot on despite being told to rest!} I was hoping to be able to run up until the end, but clearly God again had other plans for me. Growing this little baby was far more important than running.



The lack of running during pregnancy made getting back into the swing of running quite challenging post delivery. I wrote a post about getting back to running postpartum and after re-reading it, I feel like these words couldn't be more true! Mommas, don't get discouraged. It's hard to find your rhythm with your new body and new routine. Take it slow and steady. Your body needs time to fully recover, and I've learned now that it will.

Mom.
So where am I now? My baby girl is 6 months old, and my body has had 6 months to heal and begin to return to its new normal. I think I jumped into things too fast which caused some additional injuries and slowed my healing process. I started running again about a month postpartum. Now don't get me wrong, I didn't try to get out there and do what I used to do. I started slow with short distances. I returned to work at 9 weeks postpartum and started physical therapy 10 weeks postpartum. I believe that a combination of all these different types of activities didn't allow my ligaments to continue healing. I ended up staying in physical therapy for 7 weeks to deal with ankle and hip problems. The hip pain I dealt with in October and November halted my running and training completely.



Thankfully, I'm past the pain and injuries and back into my new racing shape. I finished two half marathons this January at 5 and 5 1/2 months postpartum, and plan to continue on this journey.

Here's how my running has truly changed:

  • My new race pace is between 9:15-9:30 minutes per mile. It used to be sub 9:00. 
  • My new easy distance is 3 miles. I used to be able to knock out 5-6 with no problems. These days that distance takes it out of me. Not to mention it takes quite a bit of time!
  • My body aches post run. My hips and hip flexors are tight and need serious stretching post run. 
  • I try to run 3 days per week. I used to run 5 days per week! 
  • Some of my runs are actually run/walks. I'll walk a bit with Chloe, then run for a little while, and go back to power walking. It makes running more enjoyable when I'm not constantly pushing my body and my lungs to their limits these days!
  • When I hit a killer pace, these days it must be documented!



There you have it. I'm far from a momma superstar that magically jumped back into her post baby body. I've worked and pushed for it, and it wasn't easy. I'm still trying to learn my new normal and when to dial back. Pushing my limits isn't something that I want to do as often as I used to. I'm sure I'll get back there eventually, but I have to remember I'm still in the healing process for another few months. After the injuries I've dealt with, I don't want to over do it!

For now, I'm going to continue running. I'm hoping to find a half marathon that I want to run in March or April before it gets too hot in Texas. I'm also participating in the 2,016 miles in 2016 with my friends Julie and Danielle! As a team, we're going to run a total of 2,016 miles this year. That comes to 168 miles per month per team. Individually, we have to try and get in 56 miles a month on average. I finished 60 miles last month! I think the 2 half marathons I finished helped a lot there. I've started February with a solid 3.4 and plan to keep on track each month. It's nice to have a reason to "count" that 2 mile run I did at the gym or the walk/jog I did on the bayou with Chloe. It makes every time I get out there feel like it has a purpose.

Happy running y'all!

Did y'all have any issues with running post baby?
Have you ever had something happen in life that altered your fitness "normal"?

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