On Friday I successfully ran two miles. This came after I had to cut Tuesday’s planned two-miler down to one. I have mixed feelings about the run. I was really pleased and thankful that my pelvic floor felt good the whole time. I also felt disappointed and discouraged. The first mile felt good: at 10 min/mile pace I was breathing easy and focusing on my cadence. This feeling carried into the second mile. At the 1.5 mile mark I rasied the incline to 4% my heart rate increased and I felt like I was working hard. I kept the incline at 4% for a quarter mile or 2.5 minutes. Those 2.5 minutes felt LONG. I was watching the treadmill display screen the whole time waiting for the 1.75 mark when I knew I would drop the incline back down. Even when I dropped the incline back down to zero I wanted to quit. It was hard. Way harder than I thought it would be. Honestly I wanted to step off the treadmill. I was feeling fatigued, out of breath, my legs were tired.
For that last half mile I was looking at my Wall of Inspiration, telling myself I WILL get back there at some point. But I have a long road ahead of me: if two miles feels difficult it is going to take a while for 10 miles to feel easy-for 26.2 to be an attainable goal. Which is understandable. Pregnancy changes everything.
I guess I thought I could outsmart it. That pregnancy wouldn’t change everything if I didn’t let it (this is a loaded sentence that is probably a whole other post in and of itself). I was under the impression that if I ran up until delivery that I would have a better chance of maintaining my fitness postpartum. What I didn’t anticipate was all the pelvic floor issues I’ve had. So it has been over two months since I’ve run. I’ve kept up cardio with walking and riding the recumbent bike, but even though it helps maintain fitness, it’s not running.
When I was stretching out after my run I felt exhausted, like I had just completed a long run. I felt a little queazy too-which is odd because I never feel that way after a run. My stomach settled back down after I hydrated and ate something, but that fatigued feeling stuck with me the rest of the night.
It’s hard for my mind to accept where my body is right now. Because in my mind I am capable of lacing up my shoes and easily running 10 or more miles. But my body is in a much different place. I need to build strength in my legs and cardiovascular fitness. This is going to take time. Especially if I want to avoid injury or strain on my pelvic floor.
I have to remind myself that my road to recovery is my own. I have to remind myself not to compare myself to other runners who have bounced back after having a baby much more quickly than I have. I have to let go of the expectations I had of myself before delivery and just listen to my body. I have to learn to quiet the voice inside me that tells me to push, push, push. There will be a time and a place for that voice, it just isn’t now.
Have you ever had to come back from an injury or a long period of not running? How did you do it? What advice do you have for people returning after a running hiatus?
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