Here’s how I imagined it: I’d lace up my sneaks, head outside, warm up with a brisk walk and then get to jogging. Maybe I’d do a twelve-minute mile, work up to my pre-pregnancy 10:30 average, and come back home feeling accomplished and limber.
Look at me, world, I’m a runner again!
Here’s how my first post-baby attempt at running went: I laced up my sneaks, headed outside, walked for five minutes (look at me, world, I’m a runner again!), attempted to run for sixty seconds and had to stop because I was pretty sure if I didn’t that I was going to fall over.
Let me repeat – I attempted to run for SIXTY SECONDS.
I limped back to my building, dragged myself up to the apartment – in the elevator, of course – and tried not to throw my iPod at Mister Jess’s face when he said, “You’re back already?”
World, I am not a runner. I am not even much of a walker right now. I’m not sure which hurts worse, the stitch in my side or my pride, but they are both rather pained at the moment.
Have I underestimated the havoc pregnancy wreaks on the body? Sure, it’s been a good nine months since I’ve even thought about running, but shouldn’t it be like riding a bike? Shouldn’t the memory of running kick in? “Hey, I remember this! Let’s go, Jess, weeeeeeeee.”
Guess not, because my body remembers nothing about running: not how to do it, nor that at one point we kind of liked it. And though I have a good excuse for being out of shape, part of me can’t help but be a little POed at my body for failing me this way. I don’t think I’m expecting too much from it to run for sixty seconds without crying “Uncle.”
That’s the drill sergeant part of me, though (which has gotten bigger since I became a mom. Coincidence?). The kinder, more understanding me realizes that it will take time to get back to where I was before. And maybe I never will get back to where I was before.
That’s one of the lessons of parenthood: everything changes. It’s impossible to get back to the life you had before your little bundle of everything entered the world. So you adjust, and along the way you occasionally mourn The Way Things Were, because now sleeping in means 7AM instead of 10, and weeknights are for feeding and bottle-washing and wrangling your kiddo to sleep instead of sprawling out on the couch and watching “The Voice.”
With all of that in mind, I’m going to approach my return to running in the same way. I’m going to adjust. I’m going to give myself some slack, remember that my body did some pretty crazy things not too long ago and this is its way of saying, “Hey, lady, I need some time.”
And if my husband ever says, “You’re back already?” after a run again, I really am going to throw my iPod at his head.
Have you ever had to start training all over again? Give me some tips (and encouragement, please!) in the comments.