Every expectant mother is told horror stories about labor and delivery by well meaning women. However, no one really shared with me how difficult the first few weeks of recovery are on the body. I am not sure of what I expected, but I was certainly naive in thinking that I would bounce back quickly.
My fitness has been coming along slowly but surely in the six weeks since I arrived home with Jack from the hospital. Many in my life have commented to me that I am so good and so lucky to be able to do so much at this point. Like Jenn, these comments make me cringe a bit, even though I politely smile and say thank you. I have worked so hard over the past few weeks with the help of Mary. It is not luck and it is not because I am good. Rather, it is a result of working out up until the day before my water broke and then working with a coach to rebuild my base fitness. There are definitely times that I would rather sleep or snuggle my little baby, but I know that for the sake of my sanity, I need to embrace the fitness wagon.
Needless to say, it has been frustrating to see how slower miles were hard though I certainly have improved in the six weeks. Yet, I seemed to still be stuck lately in the 9 minute range, and I was hoping for a breakthrough.
Last week, I could not get Sally Meyerhoff out of my head. In her last blogpost before her sad and unexpected death, she wrote, “Things are going very well and I couldn't be happier. I can tell my fitness improves weekly, which feels nice, ha! My run fitness is not where I want it to be right now but A is giving me great workouts that test me and improve my strength.”
She also wrote, “I cannot express how HAPPY I am with where I am in my life right now though, and how grateful I feel for being able to do what I do. I just wouldn't trade it for anything and any time I am feeling not very motivated, I think about how miserable I feel when I am not training or doing something else I don't LOVE. I totally and completely love this life I'm living and the most fabulous thing is that I know it's only going to get 20 times better by the end of the year.” As I look at my little Jack sleep in my lap as I write this post, these words really hit home.
So sad. RIP Sally…. her words were resonating with me as I reflected on my own state and my goals for this year.
With Sally in mind, I tackled my workouts for the rest of the week. Luckily, we are beginning to see glimpses of spring in New England. I was able to run in my running skirt on both Saturday and Sunday. (Sally was a BIG fan of the running skirt and though I did not know her, I wanted to pay my own little tribute to her.) And no, my white legs were not what boosted my confidence. My runs were actually both great this weekend; Sally was clearly inspiring me as I traveled along the roads.
Saturday’s run was short, just 35 minutes on the schedule. I wore the Garmin but covered it up so that I could just run by feel, knowing where the 2 mile turnaround was and figuring I would be a few minutes over 35 once I returned. What a nice surprise it was to see that I was right at 35 once I returned home- 8:30s felt like a big victory.
I woke on Sunday morning and headed to L St. My best running friend Leann agree to run with me, and I told her I wanted to hit 9s, feeling bad I as know this is slow for her. We were running a bit fast, but I did not feel as if I was trashing myself. I spent the first 9 miles of the 15 mile run worried that I was going to blow up- could I hold onto this pace? Why did it feel good? Somehow, I did, and we finished 15 miles in about 2:08. This run was a huge improvement from last week. I arrived at Sunday night feeling a world better about where my running is and where my fitness is post-baby.
For the rest of marathon training, until April 18th (thanks Liz- how did I mess up the day of the marathon in my last post?), Sally will inspire me. I want to be grateful for this opportunity, to be totally in love with the life that I am living. With all the small things that happen in daily life, it is easy to lose track of this big picture. I need to place that in front of me and use it as my focal point.