My Pregnant and Postpartum Year of No Running

by - Friday, May 03, 2024

It's been a little over a year since I was medically benched from running because of complications discovered during my 20-week ultrasound when I was pregnant.

I remember how hard and disheartening it was at the time to get scary news about a pregnancy complication and in the same breath find out that all my favorite ways to manage stress (running, working out in general) were largely wiped off the table. 

I cried a lot, but eventually with a few weeks of space from the news, got to a place mentally of knowing this was just a temporary setback. I started plotting my postpartum running comeback. 


But that comeback has been so humbling and not at all what I imagined it would be. 

Originally, I had a target half marathon in mind for March. I figured I had all summer to heal and then in the fall could slowly start building up my mileage and by winter, I'd be back to my normal training volume. 

Then I had all those postpartum health issues and needed surgery again in September, and I threw the idea of a March 2024 half marathon right out the window. 

I set my sights on a five miler in December 2023 instead, thinking maybe I could do a run-walk situation, under the impression from my doctor's initial thoughts that this recovery would be quicker. It wasn't quicker, and that race got thrown out the window too. 

Ever since then, I feel like it's been one step forward and a bunch of steps back trying to get back to regular running. 

I got an initial clearance to slowly work some running into my walks around six to eight weeks after that second surgery. I proceeded cautiously, introducing running in 1 minute increments. Then bumping to 1:30 and 2 minute increments. 

And then I had some more surgery setbacks and more doctor follow ups, and finally, finally in December, I think I was really cleared. 

All that time healing meant, I was unable to run for almost my entire maternity leave, and that was rough. But I told myself that once I was back to work, I'd be able to get back into a running groove. 

Pre-baby, I either worked out before work or over my lunch break. I knew before work was largely going to be out of the question, at least for running, while I'm still breastfeeding. That's a level of discomfort I'm not really into. So I was ready to really embrace lunch time runs. 

And then I went back to work and was so overwhelmed by trying to catch up that for the first three weeks, I don't think I took a single break of more than five minutes. 

As I've settled in more, I've managed to run about once a week, sometimes twice. It's not what I envisioned, but it's better than nothing. 

And I'm finding a new problem cropping up with my toes, that I think is related to perhaps some slight foot growth I had during pregnancy. I got it checked out by a podiatrist and he told me I didn't need to stop running as long as I've adjusted my shoe size.

Now the only other main barrier to getting into a really good running routine is the constant daycare sicknesses that seem to be cycling through our house. Every time I get in a string of consistent runs I feel like we knocked out with another illness. As of now, it's been about two weeks since I've run last because I've had some combo of strep throat, some other upper respiratory virus, maybe bronchitis, and who even knows what else. 

The baby has been home sick from daycare for over a week too now so that's been rough to juggle. 

I'm hoping we're coming out of this phase soon. I'm so antsy to get back to running, especially as the weather is getting nicer. I'm eyeing races for the fall, and I'm hoping I'll get this huge part of my life back soon. 

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