Monday, August 10, 2009

Being A Runner AND A Mom

I was nominated by Maddy, after an inquiry to her by Nicole, to compose this post. Specifically I was asked to write about training with a baby. So here goes!

I was a runner long before I was a mom (5 1/2 years, to be specific). Before Isaac was even conceived, I made plans (and a promise to myself) to keep running once I was a mom. When I found out that I was expecting, I just listened to my body and slowed down. I was able to run through the first 20 weeks of pregnancy; after that I walked. I TRULY believe that's what made recovery from Isaac's delivery a piece of cake.

So there I was -- a brand new mom on February 15th with a goal to "get back to it ASAP." Because we had some pleasant weather, Isaac was able to go for his first stroll at 3 days old. The next one was at 11 days old, I think. After that I got out there and walked with him (about 2 miles) on each sunny day prior to my 6-week check-up with my OBGYN. During this time I was chosen to be part of Team Point Two.

Once I was given the "all clear" from my doctor, I started the "Kick The Couch 5K" training plan at the suggestion of my Team Point Two Marathon Advisor. That was the best idea ever! It so very gently eased me back into running. My abs hurt like the devil after each workout, but I guess that is to be expected after pregnancy and childbirth. I accomplished most of these workouts this spring on my garage treadmill as Isaac was asleep each morning (nap time). He was tiny and slept a lot! Eight weeks into the program I ran my first 5K with Isaac in his stroller and it was A JOY.

As Isaac gets older, it is becoming more difficult to train with him. You see, I live in the HOT South, so it is very necessary to run in the early morning, i.e. before Isaac wakes up. If I can get the run done before 7 AM (when my husband needs to get up and get ready for work), that is best. Then I am home and ready for Isaac. The difficulty here is being able to get to bed early enough to not make this seem like a daunting task. It was a piece of cake back before I was a mom!

Or, I can use my garage treadmill... but it is like a sauna out there, even with the door up, at any point during the day. I can technically take Isaac out there in his bouncy seat, but it has to be unseasonably cool that day... which it rarely is. My husband just bought a big fan for out there yesterday!

The final option is to hit the roads when my husband returns home from work (so as to have child care). This puts me out there in the heat, even if I wait until nearly dark. Some days this is just necessary. But if you want to train, you gotta do what you gotta do!

What I'd LIKE to do is be able to hit the neighborhood with Isaac in his stroller after he wakes up and has his first bottle, but that will require cooler weather. One of these days I'll have it! I work from home, for myself, so my workload just might let that happen.

As I predicted, being on Team Point Two has been wonderful for getting me right back to marathon training. What I could not have predicted, though, is just how much the aforementioned training constraints could compound and make me just want to throw in the towel until the weather cools off. I was ALWAYS an early-morning trainer before, but add a baby and some sleep deprivation into the mix and it is a whole new ballgame. So my best advice is to make sure you have a plan in motion for post-delivery! I am very regimented and scheduled... but having a baby can throw even a Type A personality off the mark!

Having a baby gives you the opportunity for a whole new level of motivation. Not only do you want to be healthy for your child, but you've GOT to get your body back in shape! I am still working on the second part... little by little.

Being a mom is the best thing EVER. I hope I can continue to share my passion for running with Isaac year after year!


Petraruns said...

Great post Susan. And you're right - the challenges change but continue. But you do get out of those woods - my kids now wake up later and can be in the house with my husband asleep upstairs ;) It does get easier and you will be so pleased you put in this HARD work.

Maddy said...

I agree with Petra as kids get older it does get easier. My son is old enough now to stay home alone and for a short period of time he can watch his sister (with instructions to both of them not to kill one another).

I was on a break from running when both of my kids were babies so I didn't face the same challenges. I am so proud of you! Keep at it the hard work does pay off!

Nicole said...

You're an inspiration Susan! Just do the best you can and you'll have cooler weather before you know it! If I ever decide to join the Mommy world I'll defitely have some good people to turn to for advice! Just think, in a few short years Isaac could be doing a "kid's run" with you!

ShirleyPerly said...

I just read a similar post about juggling momhood and training from a pro triathlete and both of you are so inspiring!

Irish Blue said...

It's tough being a mom in training, that's for sure. However, the girls are right - the older they get, the easier it is. Just wait til he's a teenager and you'll have til noon on Saturdays!! LOL...Bill says we could run a marathon before ours roll out of bed.

You're doing a great job. Keep up the good work momma!

Anonymous said...

Susan forgot to mention that she still finds time to be a pretty good wife and friend too.

PLANET3RRY said...

I don't know about the wife part, but Susan is a KICK ASS friend and a Stellar Support Crew during a race.