Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The running, it has begun

There's hardly anything in the world I look forward to less than a first run. There are all kinds of first runs: the first run ever, of course, the first run of a new cross-country/track season, the first run after taking time off for an injury, the first run in America after living in a non-exercisey country, and the first run after being sick. It really seems like your body should just remember how to do it instead of giving you such a hard time every time you take so much as a week or two off. Running is a cruel mistress, I suppose.

But the most hated of all first runs, at least for me, is the first run after giving birth to a baby. I got it over with about two weeks ago and wow, it was excruciating.

The good news is that the second, third, fourth, etc. runs are never as bad as the first. In fact, I almost feel back to normal now. I don't mean that my body is back to normal yet (ask me in about a year), just that as I'm running, I feel much as I used to when I was in the daily habit.

I still have a long way to go, though. Maybe I'm just not self-sacrificing enough, but I have to admit that I find the "pregnancy - going through labor and giving birth - recovering pre-baby body" continuum more than just annoying. It is grueling in many ways. Physically, it is so hard on the body - gaining and losing so much weight within the space of a year. Emotionally, there are so many changes going on that it's hard to keep a handle on normalcy.

The most superficially annoying part about it all is the impact it has on your wardrobe. I know there are people out there who never really wear maternity clothes, and who immediately pop right back into their pre-pregnancy duds, but I am not one of them. Instead, my closet and drawers are in constant upheaval as I change out clothes that no longer fit me - during pregnancy because they're too small; after pregnancy because they're too big - which goes against my sense of order and organization. Then there's the complication added by nursing: some shirts work, some shirts don't. You can see how this gets tiresome, and how it happens that I can go a year or two without wearing large portions of the clothes I own.

But the running is good now, so I'm just trying to remind myself that it will take time - lots and lots of time - to get my old self back. Magdalena is not big enough to fit into the double bike trailer/jogging stroller yet, so for now I've just been taking one or the other of the girls with me in our single jogger. When I take Miriam with me, it's one of the small ways that I can imagine things are like they used to be: "just you and me, just Mama and MéMé," as she likes to say. Also, I've figured out that knowing a hungry, crying baby is waiting for you at home is a great motivation to run really fast.

It will be nice when I can take both of them with me. As it is, I have to wait for a peculiar convergence of circumstances to occur before I can head out the door: it can't be too hot (we're still pushing 100 degrees most days), Jeremy has to be home, Magdalena has to have been fed fairly recently, and it can't be dark (dark = dangerous). Still, it feels so good to take advantage of the times when all the above is true and it's just me, my iPod Shuffle, and one of my girls, getting some exercise and getting myself back again.


Liz Johnson said...

I only walk briskly (if that), but I've found that I can put down a bunch of blankets and arrange them so that Nate can lay down in the stroller next to Connor. It isn't perfect, but it definitely works as long as you keep an eye on him. :)

I'm with you - I forget how much of a pain this whole thing is. I really, really wish I could just get out of my maternity/fat jeans!

Eevi said...

I can only imagine how it feels to run post-baby. I dread going for a run about once a week; sometimes your body just feels so tired and your muscles heavy. I love it once I start but it's hard to get going.

I know your runs are your special times with one of the girls. However, if you do feel like some adult company one of these days, let me know:)

Jennifer said...

I'm with you on the multiple wardrobes. I still can't wear any of my pre-pregnancy shirts--and Ellen is almost 8 months old! I guess I'll just have to wait until I'm done nursing. I can't wait to wear some of them again--it's been over a year!

JackJen said...

I'll let you know how my first run goes.....if I ever go on one.



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