Getting back in the exercising game, 2 months post-baby

Well, today I jogged 2 miles on a treadmill. For the second time. I am 2 months postpartum and definitely have the belly to prove it. There are a lot of things I do not like about my body at this moment in time, and even though I want to be kind to myself I do not want that kindness to turn into passive acceptance. This is my second time around, and I definitely never put in the time and effort to restore my body the first time around. I know how much this dragged me down: the time wasted feeling bad about the way I looked, the lack of energy because I was out-of-shape.

My husband–who is the tall, athletic type–had been looking for an endurance event to challenge himself in his own fitness journey. He found an 11 mile trail run and signed up. You may guess where this is going. I have sheepishly signed on,  terrified of my own ability to go from a freshly postpartum mother who hasn’t run in years to someone who can dash of 11 miles through mud and woods in a mere 14 weeks. I have never enjoyed running, finding it tedious and uncomfortable. Heck, I was the statistician on my high school’s cross country team.  Nonetheless, I found a couch to half-marathon plan on a running site dedicated to women. With my husband’s assurance that he would watch the baby while I ran, I began the plan this week.

The overall approach to the plan is to mix walking and running intervals in the early weeks to build up the stamina to do the runs. The first day was a 2 mile walk/run interval and I shocked myself by doing the whole thing at a very slow jog. I mean, 14 minute miles slow. Still, I felt elated. I had never believed that I could actually run 2 miles. I am not sure if I have ever run that far in my life.

Today I repeated that hurculean task. My legs ache the way that a fit person’s might after, say, a half marathon. But I did it. I persisted. I kept with a pace slow enough that I knew the only barrier to completion was in my head. And I persevered.

I am still too uncertain of the outcome to share this publicly. I mean, can I really do it? The mileage cranks up at an incredibly fast pace. Already my next run is supposed to be 3 miles. 3 miles? That is an extra 50% more than I am currently struggling to do. But I have already surprised myself, so maybe I will again. As a sign of my own commitment, I bought expensive running shoes today. I am committed to trying my best to reach this sudden, unexpected goal.

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