Thursday, January 16

Training for two: postpartum fitness

BB's little baby feet...
My last prenatal "training for two" post went live on November 7th. A few days later I walked 4 miles before heading to the hospital to deliver Breech Baby (hereafter known as BB).

I bounced back quickly from the cesarean operation, but I have a new appreciation for basic life skills like walking up and down stairs. For the record: It is one helluva knock to the ego to go from track workouts... to speed-walking at least 3 miles a day... to clawing your way through the 30 minutes it took to walk a single mile. Hello post-op body. What did you do with my stamina?

BB's favorite book, and my postpartum fitness motto
But with a combination of patience (read: not trying to do too much too soon), luck (read: no infection), and perseverance (read: I think I can! I think I can!) I kept at it, and was walking (sort of) like a normal person by week 3.

At 4-6 weeks postpartum, my workouts looked like this:
Monday: Post-cesarean core workout from BabyWeightTV
Tuesday: 2-3 mile walk
Wednesday: Post-cesarean core workout
Thursday: 2-3 mile walk
Friday: Post-cesarean core workout
Saturday: 4 mile walk
Sunday: 4 mile walk to BRUNCH (some things never change)

Honestly, I thought the post-cesarean workout video was great for weeks 4-6 postpartum, but my Type-A, track-workout-loving self absolutely HATED how slow the workout was. I know the gentle exercises were a necessary transition between surgery and a good, ache-inducing, sweaty workout, but the whole process sort of made me feel like an invalid.

Admittedly, my core muscles are still woefully weak, but I credit good prenatal fitness with my speedy recovery. And with that in mind, I was back up and working(out) as soon as my doctor gave me the green light.

My first non-postnatal workout was Kelli's Favorite Bodyweight Workout from FitnessBlender. It kicked my butt! (Truth: I'm not kidding about the weak core. At 10 weeks postpartum, I still modify some of the ab-toning moves.) My workout weeks now look something like this:

Monday: bodyweight workout + 3 mile walk
Tuesday: 2-4 mile walk + energizing yoga (a sort-of antidote to sleepless nights)
Wednesday: bodyweight workout + 3 mile walk
Thursday: baby yoga + 2-4 mile walk
Friday: HIIT workout (this Bodyweight Cardio workout is a current favorite)
Saturday: 2 mile run
Sunday: 4 mile walk or 2 mile run

I'll keep posting my progress in coming weeks. Eventually I'd like to get back to running 4 days/week and then add speedwork back into my running routine, but the body has to finish healing (and ligaments need to firm back up) before that's a realistic goal.

Public Service Message from Captain Obvious: These posts are not intended to be a set of week-by-week postpartum workout guidelines. Every woman needs to do what's right for her and her baby, with a doctor's guidance, of course. I'd just like to keep y'all up to date on how things are going in my little world.

Sunday, December 29

Liquid sunshine

This morning the rain was pouring. Rivers of water threatened to overwhelm the storm drains in Alexandria.

Still, I laced up for a run.

Not just any run.

My FIRST run since August. My first run since my OB doc said the cesarean stitches were healed and I could resume "normal" exercise. My first run as a new mom without my baby at my side.

I pulled on my snuggest-fitting sports bra (a recommendation from the OB). I laced up my shoes. I left a bottle of milk with Hubby and Baby. I headed out into the deluge, fully expecting to have to run-walk this foray back into the world of "real" runners.

The first few blocks felt mysteriously easy. (I credit/blame euphoria.) The rain soaked through my sleeves, and I danced around puddles to try to keep my toes dry as long as possible. Within a quarter mile I was drenched, breathing hard, and... still running.

As I passed a car idling alongside the road, I heard the driver quip - with sarcasm - to the rain-soaked women she was picking up: "Beautiful weather we're having!" One of the passengers replied, as she shook water off of her umbrella and slid into the back seat:
"Yes. Beautiful weather, indeed. The sky is full of liquid sunshine."

Liquid sunshine view from The Dock bar in Pensacola
Liquid sunshine...
... is the name of a fruity orange drink at The Dock bar on Pensacola Beach.
... is the way I felt about the rain, because I had the pavement all to myself for this first run in nearly five months.

The women may have been sarcastic in their interpretation of the weather, but to me the rain was liquid sunshine!

I laughed out loud.

Onlookers, if there had been any others out in the deluge, might have thought I was crazy.

I kept running.

I traded thumbs-ups with the one other rain-soaked runner I saw.

A sunset like more liquid sunshine
I kept running.

I reached the mile mark, still running, and welled up with tears of joy that my legs and lungs were still working. Maybe they weren't as strong or as fast as they once were. But they still worked.

I kept running.

After 20 minutes and two miles I stopped for a celebratory cup of coffee (that other liquid sunshine), and I headed for home.

My miles weren't beautiful. They weren't effortless. But they were mine.

By the time I was finished, I was soaked with rain, sweat, and salty tears.
Liquid sunshine, indeed.