Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My triumphant post partum plan to return to running. Spoiler alert -I'm not


When I was first pregnant, it kind of felt like I would be pregnant forever. Obviously I knew it meant a baby was coming, but nine months is just such a long time. I never thought it was before, but when your baby is the size of a poppy seed and you just want to fast forward and meet him or her immediately, you suddenly realize it is LONG. Thinking about the future meant like... the third trimester.

Now, the end is actually in sight. I can conceive of a time in the near future where I won't be pregnant. Of course, this means I'm also pretty close to the process involved in getting to that point, but we'll ignore that as best we can (you probably are better equipped than I am). That means I'm starting to think about another popular blog topic: my post partum body/recovery/fitness.

I'm not going to lie, if there was some magic pill I could take that would allow me to come home from the hospital in my pre-pregnancy jeans, looking great, I would take it in a heartbeat.  I don't want to hang on to my baby belly once the baby is out any more than anyone else. I don't own a single pair of maternity pants (only shorts/dresses) so if I can't fit into my regular pants by Christmas, I guess I'm screwed. I feel this is a pretty strong possibility, so, my coworkers can look forward to seeing me wearing tights all winter.

A common blog theme is the "omg I totally don't care about losing the baby weight! But here is a detailed list of my weights and progress pictures from every week post partum and you can friend me on my fitness pal where I dutifully log every one of the 900 calories I eat daily while breastfeeding." I really, really hope I can fight the sleep deprivation enough to create a post to mock these posts. I actually have a trick up my sleeve that gives me an advantage over these obsessive bloggers though: a job. Something to think about other than exercise and counting calories! Imagine that!

I have two post partum goals - care for my baby, and do my job. That's it. I'll reevaluate in June when the school year ends. I'm not planning any races. Racing isn't going anywhere, and I have no desire to push myself to the brink just so I can say "I did such and such race at only x weeks postpartum!". In fact, I have no interest in doing any fitness event at a time when I'm still measuring the post partum period in weeks.

It's all relative, and there are tons of careers that are WAY more demanding than mine. I seriously hate teacher martyrs that whine and post articles on social media about working 15 hours a day and grading papers from dawn till dusk every weekend. No. If that's your life, you are doing teaching wrong, and no one is impressed. (I will continue to complain about my lack of bathroom breaks.)

However, it's also not like when I worked at Starbucks, for example, and you punch in and punch out at assigned times and when you punch out, you're done for the day. You do generally have to devote some evening and weekend time. Personally, I find teaching to be a huge emotional investment. I feel like it's draining to do my best normally, and I'm fairly concerned about balancing that with being a mom.

Obviously, caring for the baby and work are non-negotiable. I just can't see adding anything else on top of that in the early stages. Plenty of women are able to balance infants and challenging jobs and train for races, so it's clearly do-able. But that would require a ton of dedication, and something would have to be sacrificed (I'm guessing it's sleep). I'm certainly not saying it's impossible, in fact, I think it's really impressive. I'm saying it sounds too hard for me and I don't want to do it.

Here's my post partum "plan" 6 weeks before my due date.

1. Sadly, it doesn't go without saying in the blog world, so I'll say it: I won't be doing any exercise before I'm cleared by my doctor. Hopefully we will take some walks, since a huge advantage of a fall baby is supposedly nice weather. That's it though.

I can say that much definitively, and the rest of this post is just my na├»ve musings from this side of the delivery room. Maybe I'll follow it, maybe I'll laugh at myself.

2. I won't be making a paper chain like the kind kids make to count down for Christmas to count down to when I can run/exercise again after delivery. I'll start when I feel ready. That might not be until 2015. Right now, I just feel like my 12 week maternity leave is going to fly by, and soon I'll be handing my baby over to someone else to spend the majority of his day with. I just want to enjoy the time I do have with him. Of course, that's super easy to say now when I'm living in an idealized mother/baby dream world and not actually sleep deprived and caring for a crying infant. Maybe I will be chomping at the bit to get outside for a run, in which case, I'll go for one. But I'm not putting some arbitrary date on it, aside from waiting till it's medically safe.

3. Once I return to work, I'm hoping to do some type of workout 5 days a week, because health/fitting in to pants/etc.  We have Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and Insanity T25, which are both 25 minute exercise DVDs. They pretty much make you feel like you are about to die for 25 minutes, so I'm thinking they might be the way to get the best bang for my buck with limited time. I don't relish the idea of waking up several times a night to nurse, then getting up at 4am to do an 8 mile run before getting myself and a baby ready for the day and being at work by 7:30 or 8.  Maybe this kid is going to be a phenomenal sleeper right off the bat and I can easily train for a marathon this spring, but I can barely even type that without laughing.

4. Eating. I actually have no plan here except that I definitely plan to continue doing it. I've only made two freezer meals so far. I should probably make more. They are both dairy free though, just in case. If I'm still really fat and it's getting towards summer, I'll probably try to limit desserts or use My Fitness Pal or do something. You'll know if this is the case because I'll only post pictures of the baby or myself from the neck up.

I apologize in advance to anyone who was hoping the nonstop baby talk was coming to an end and I would return to blogging about running soon. Not likely. But, my running buddies and I do have very, very tentative plans of meeting to do the St. Louis marathon (one of them moved there recently) in October 2015, so there is that.

Tl:dr version: duh I want to get re-skinny after baby, but I only have room in my brain to obsess over so much, and being a good mother and teacher at the same time has prime real estate.

If there's one thing I value, it's strangers opinions on the internet, so let's all weigh in. You don't have to be a runner, mother, or #motherrunner. Anyone who has a keyboard can participate!

15 comments:

  1. I just noticed your hashtag on the left sidebar, #runningfortwo...
    pintsoficecream. This makes me laugh probably more than it should! Props to you for being realistic about how hard it is to go without sleep and then attempt to run a million miles. Don't bother with that shit until you're ready.

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    1. Ha, finally, I didn't think anyone had ever noticed that! I feel like I can't really be realistic until I actually experience it, but I at least try to accept that it will be way harder than I can imagine and not set ridiculous goals!

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    2. Ha, I totally noticed it awhile ago! Made me smile :)

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  2. I live in St. Louis!

    It's actually really nice to read your baby posts because they sound so much more real to me than a lot of other bloggers. No offense to them, but I have a hard time believing that pregnancy is all unicorns and rainbows and that post having the baby, the weight just fell off and you you were faster than ever. I love real posts :)

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  3. I was ready to run when I was cleared just for an excuse to leave the house. I felt so coupled up for the first few weeks. But I took the baby with me and didn't go far. Also, I've decided not to do any races that require training until I'm done breastfeeding. I feel like that will be good for the baby and my sanity.

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  4. I did not work out back when I had kids. My brain hurt so much from sleep deprivation after my first that I couldn't fathom even doing more then a walk with her. Of course you have the new mother high but I remember vividly thinking how I've never felt so tired in my entire life but never felt so helpless about it. My second on the other hand came in like a feather and slept beautifully and I didn't miss a beat with that one....so my point is, each child is different. Some are amazing sleepers from the start. Some are not. BUT this too shall pass. By two months in you're going to feel like a pro. You'll have a schedule and know what to expect out of each day. You'll get through it and before you know it, you'll be back out there pushing him on your runs. I used to take a ton of walks when Katelyn was a baby because she loved them so much and would just sit there quietly the entire time. We'd have peace and quiet and all was right in the world for those walks. Running might just turn into that for you!

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    1. I should say I did not work out when I had babies. BABIES. I still have kids.

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  5. have i told you yet how much I enjoy your level-headedness? It sounds like a great plan to me! My neighbor actually lost about 30 pounds just by walking, (she seriously eats crap, hates vegetables, etc) so there ya go!

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  6. I mean, I don't have a kid or anything...but just wait til you're ready! Enjoy your little man's early days because the one thing I've heard from EVERYONE is that they go by way too fast!

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  7. smart plan! I didn't worry about working out at all for the first 6 weeks, it was more important to sleep and snuggle with the little ones. Once I had a little sleep I started with the walks. There is time for running and there is time for baby, you will get it figured out when the time is right

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  8. This is pretty much my plan too. I'm all about going with the flow. If I feel like going for a run 6 weeks after she gets here (and the doc gives us the green light), then I will. If I don't, I'm not going to kill myself over it. I think I'm more worried about fitting into my pants before going back to work in December/January so I don't have to buy more pants.

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  9. Not a #motherrunner, but I am a #badass #runner who plans to start trying to conceive sometime within the next year (yikes!). I'm at a period in my running where I'm FINALLY starting to get faster (read: 10 min miles) and my husband keeps saying things like "You'll totally be running 8:30s next summer!" Uh, maybe, unless I get pregnant, buddy.

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  10. Well put. Like I'm going to waste money on a race entry just so I can suck at it!

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  11. It's amazing how a short run can fulfill my desire to run now. I can generally only go in the evenings when John is home and then we also have to feed ourselves, feed the baby (just me!), bath, books, bedtime, so it's hard to go longer than 20 minutes. Joining a gym with childcare I think I will love, but I know that'll be tough with working, so would probably not work during the week. Even though it's been almost 12 weeks, I have no desire to sign up for a race because of how early they start. I'm not sacrificing a few precious hours of sleep to run when I'm still up for 4 hours each night. Sleep is so fragmented now, it's hard to feel rested enough to run. Also, sometimes I pump or feed before running so it's not uncomfortable. :/ Or you can just work through it. I did an on demand workout yesterday for 15 minutes and didn't quite finish it because Nathan woke up. But I was proud for attempting that.

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Thanks for commenting! Comments make me probably more happy than they should.