Running after pregnancy (episode #1)

One of the things that worried me the most with being pregnant, was whether I would be able to recover, and be active again. I like being active, but more than that, I like feeling that I can challenge my body to do things such as climbing or even training for silly Spartan races.

When Lucia was born, I had the incredible support of a doula who's also a Yoga instructor. She was amazing help to get me slowly into some movement: first through breathing exercises, and then yoga. When I started feeling well from the yoga and didn't feel pelvic pain, I then started training with my all time favorite personal trainer of 9 years, Jamie. Pandemic has its upsides, as she can train me over Zoom. Nobody thought about training over Zoom before this pandemic, confess it. I didn't. But since Jamie knows me very well as we trained together in person for 7 years, it works pretty well.

So I was almost there: I was back doing some yoga (now stopped because pandemic), I was doing some weight training, climbing is out of questions because pandemic...but I could try to start running again! 

Gisela (the doula) suggested me to check myself up with a pelvic floor specialist before running, and also told me that "it takes 9 months for your body to change and prepare to birth, it might take at least that to get back to what it was before". At first for me that was a shock because I honestly thought the recovery of a birth was the postpartum: 6 weeks. How naive. 

Anyway, fast forwarding, when Lucia was almost 9 months old, and I was well down with my pelvic floor exercises, plus I had bought new weights for the training with Jamie because I was feeling stronger, I felt it would be a great time to start.

The pelvic floor specialist told me to use a tampon meant for incontinence for running. She said it would help reducing the bouncing of my bladder, which could cause incontinence (I do not have any now). I ordered the test kit for the tampons, and went for my first run.

I picked a workout from C25K: 90 seconds running, 120 seconds walking. Times six. That did not feel bad at all. My heart rate didn't go up significantly, and I felt I could probably speed up through the C25K program. It felt great! I was running, Mark was running with me, and Lucia was with us on the jogger we got as a gift from Kacirek (thanks!). It was a sunny day in Zurich, everything seemed perfect.

Except that night I felt very strong pain in my pelvic area. It was so bad I cancelled training the next day. I went into a mom's group that I am part of and I asked about returning to running, and I was surprised with what I found: some women get back into running pretty fast (up to 6 months after birth) but some others have to wait until 1.5 years after in order to stop feeling pain. 

To be honest, I've never thought 1.5 years would be a timeline. Anyway, I decided to wait a few days for the pain to go away, and then went back to the whiteboard: ok, next time I will do the easiest C25K workout: 60 seconds running, 90 seconds walking. Times eight. I felt great, and have done the workout twice in the past week.

Today was the second time I did that. I do not feel pain, but I feel my pelvic area. I am committed to wait for this discomfort to pass and try again, and again, and continue to follow up with the pelvic floor specialist, but I never thought it would be this hard.

I am so serious about following through with this, I've started tracking it on Strava (lol!).

Hopefully, the running will feel ok soon. I am curious what will happen next time I climb (besides having sore fingers), as it is an exercise with lots of movements that cause the pelvis to be misaligned momentarily.

I will continue posting updates on my journey. Perhaps it can help other women to prepare mentally better and not think that 6 weeks postpartum their bodies will be back to normal. I feel this journey will be longer.

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