- Running is not a top priority anymore. I had to put this first because this one is huge and also probably the most obvious. Before getting pregnant running was one of the most important parts of my life, second to my husband who was number one. My days and weekends revolved around it, and we planned our lives around our training and the races we had planned. Then I got pregnant and while I continued to run, I had to make some changes and take measures to ensure my baby was safe. Then after having my baby my life revolved around him and running was an afterthought- I was sleep deprived and couldn’t get myself up early enough to go while he was sleeping and I wasn’t willing to sacrifice time away from him while he was awake. Then when I had breastfeeding supply issues, I scaled back a bit to make sure running wasn’t affecting it. There are many more examples, but I realized quickly how running had slipped back a few spots in my priority list. And I am fine with that! Motherhood put everything into perspective for me. I LOVE running, but I obviously love my family more.
- I am stronger physically. A combination of motivation, hard work, and luck kept me healthy and active during my pregnancy. I ran until the day my water broke and gained 26 pounds total. Running with extra weight and continuing to go to Body Pump kept my body and muscles strong. After having my baby I was approved to start running again at 4 weeks post partum and bounced back relatively quickly without feeling like I lost too much fitness. Since then I have continued to get stronger physically by running with the stroller. I have definitely felt the effects of a stronger body now as I get back into marathon training. I’m excited to push it again and unlock its new potential 🙂
- I am stronger mentally. This has been an important realization for me. After experiencing childbirth without an epidural (and with pitocin contractions- ouch), I know I can get through anything. The worst pain and discomfort that I could possibly feel while running will never compare to giving birth. Knowing that gives me a HUGE amount of confidence and mental strength. There are a lot of similarities between running and birth too, like that the pain is temporary and there will be a finish line and an amazing reward at the end of it all, and I find myself thinking about that when things get tough. I also have gained strength from knowing how to fight through the fatigue that fills the first year of a new baby’s life. I think about this when I get tired while running. I think this mental strength will be my secret weapon when I run my next marathon.
- I am getting faster. A strange thing started happening after I had Kevin… I started to get my speed back relatively quickly. I attribute this to a few things, mainly my increased physical and mental strength, and also lack of time to run which means I have to get done more quickly! The summer heat has me slowing down again recently, but before that I ran a few awesome races that had me shocked at my speed. I PRed at a 10K Turkey Trot at 9 weeks post partum, came within seconds of my PR at two separate 5K races, and ran a 1:51:35 half marathon which was less than 3 minutes from my PR. While I was pregnant I doubted whether or not I’d ever get back to where I was before. Now I have no doubt, I know I will.
- My running gait is different. I had a feeling that my running gait had changed a bit after pregnancy. I could feel that something was different and had new aches and pains in my knees and other parts of my body that I hadn’t had before. I also saw some pictures of myself running and noticed that I looked different than before. I went to my local running store and had them do a running gait analysis on me. Previously I had been told that I overpronate pretty badly, meaning my feet and ankles roll inwards. So I have always worn pretty supportive stability shoes, most recently Brooks Adrenaline. The running store employee watched me run in those and also in a neutral pair and told me that I wasn’t overpronating very much anymore, so the shoes I was wearing were making me overcompensate for a problem I didn’t really have. I was surprised to hear this, but it makes sense since my hips have gotten wider. So I ended up buying a new pair of shoes that were a little less supportive but still with some stability, which means I am leaving my beloved Brooks brand and trying some Asics for the first time. I hope they work for me and my new running gait!
- I focus on quality over quantity. This one goes along with having less time to run these days, but I am definitely trying to focus on running for quality miles over quantity of miles. Since I do have limited time and don’t want to be away from my baby for too long, I want to make sure every mile counts and I’m truly putting in my best effort.
- I appreciate running more than ever. More than ever, I love running because it’s my “ME” time. I love being a mom, but it is so nice to get out and do something for myself that is healthy and makes me happy. Running makes me a better person in general. It allows me to release my stress and frustrations, stabilizes my mood, provides me with energy, and makes me feel confident not just in running but in my roles as a teacher, wife, and mother.
Yes, things are different now, and getting out the door to run is definitely a little more complicated. But I would never want to go back to how to was before. Now I’m running for something bigger than myself. I’m running for my own health so that I can live a long, healthy life with my family. I’m running to set a good example for my son. And I’m running to keep myself sane through it all.