The back-to-running post

Ah, the inevitable back-to-running-after-baby post. You knew it was coming, right?

If all of this pregnancy/birth stuff is a crapshoot, then I rolled an eleven on physical recovery. After my hellish labor, I guess the mommy gods must have cut me a break, because I felt pretty decent just a couple of days after delivery. At my two-week postpartum check-up, I was more or less feeling back to my normal self. (Well, an exhausted, sleep-deprived, slightly delirious version of my normal self.)

The midwifery group I see is pretty laid back and I was surprised to hear that I could return to my normal exercise routine whenever I felt ready. Was I still bleeding? No? Then I didn’t need to wait until the magical 6-week mark if I didn’t want to.

Even running, I asked?

She shrugged and smiled. If I felt up to it, sure.

In spite of my midwife’s breezy attitude, I waited a bit. My first postpartum run was four weeks after Annika’s birth. Which I know is still quite early, but it was a sunny Saturday afternoon and the baby was happily hanging out with my husband and I had some free time, so I went for it.

It was…well, it felt like you’d expect a run to feel after a three month break. The pace was slow and my stride seemed a little halting and unnatural. The big hill leading up to the park felt slightly steeper than it used to. I noticed some bounce and jiggle in formerly stationary body parts – an observation later corroborated by chafe marks.

I wish there were something more dramatic to say about it, because that would make better blog fodder. But so far, postpartum running has been just that: running, albeit slower and heavier than usual. (Although compared to how I felt running at eight months pregnant, I’m a goddamn gazelle.)

So I’m running a marathon next month, right?

Yeah, no. No marathons this year. I’m managing three or so runs a week and I don’t see that changing any time soon – at least not until Annika is big enough to ride along in the running stroller, which won’t be for a few more months. (I know a lot of people are okay with doing this sooner, but I will probably wait until she is 6+ months. The sidewalks in our neighborhood are old and bumpy and littered with big cracks and tree roots. I just can’t imagine it being a comfortable or safe situation for her until she has full head and neck control.)

I’m also hoping to return to my old bootcamp class a couple of times a week. For now, if I can run 10-15 miles a week and get one or two bootcamp sessions in, I’ll be a happy camper. I’m signed up for Peachtree (10K) in July; I’m good for 4 miles now, so I should be able to add a couple of miles to my weekly “long” run (LOL) by then. Obviously I’m not gunning for a PR, but after having to sit out last year’s race (when I was newly pregnant, and spotting, and scared shitless) I’m excited to participate.

Anyway. Remember that part about the bouncing and chafing?


(This was 4 weeks postpartum. I debated about posting these, but I am always interested to see these types of pictures when other people post them, so I suppose it’s only fair if I add mine. Please ignore all of that crap laying around in the background. The baby did it.)

I’m almost back to my pre-baby weight, but there is zero chance that I’ll be wearing my pre-baby jeans any time soon. Somehow, my body is shaped entirely differently now and those suckers won’t even button. Wider in the hips and flabbier…well, everywhere. And the boobs…oh, the boobs. I’m afraid I might have to suck it up and buy some sturdier sports bras because my beloved Nike Pro Compression bras (the same type I’ve been wearing for years) are not cutting it, even in a size up.

It would be dishonest to say that I am totally thrilled with this body, but I’m making peace with it for now. Even though I only gained about 25 pounds while pregnant, I was about ten pounds above normal when I started, so there’s a whole section of my closet that’s been benched for over a year and probably won’t fit for several more months, at least. Ah well. If I’m still feeling meh about things this fall/winter, I will make a more concerted effort to drop a few pounds, once Annika is no longer solely dependent on me for food.

The upside to all of this is that we have this cutie in our lives now! Seven weeks old:


Serious baby is serious. No smiles yet, but she’s got a wicked right hook!

I will save detailed musings on early parenthood for another post, but for now I’ll just say that she is the most amazing and amazingly frustrating little person I’ve ever met.

Thanks for all of your comments on my birth story post, and thanks for sticking with me though this period of very sporadic (and very not-food-or-beer-or-running-related) posts. I hope it won’t take me another month to assemble the next one!

28 responses to “The back-to-running post

  1. You guys are so goddamn cute! <3

  2. omggg that second picture. such a great expression. things here are similar here with respect to running although i think i’m probably moving a lot slower. i also started before the official 6 weeks – at about 3 last time and 4 this time. re: bounce – i love the moving comfort juno bra for this lovely time period. they won’t move even if filled with milk :) (although also recommend feeding or pumping right before!)

    • I doubt that – I read your post about running and was impressed with your pace! I’m leaving my Garmin at home right now but am guessing I’m still in the 10 min mile range most days.

      Getting out of the house is definitely an ordeal, what with making sure boobs and bladder are both completely empty, as both will leak otherwise! :/

  3. oh, and i want her shirt.

  4. Thank you for sharing your photos. I think you look great. The boobs won’t last forever I promise. Annika is so cute.

  5. Happy to hear from you. Whenever a post of your’s lands in my inbox, I sort of feel like I’m getting a message of catch-up from a far away friend. {Dorky right, because we’ve obviously never met. }

    It’s good to see your little lady looking happy & growing, and it’s good to see you looking so awesome so quickly too. Bravo Shelby.

    • Aww, thanks! <3 I enjoy keeping up with your blog too...most of the time I am reading on my phone so I rarely have a chance to comment these days. Sorry! And sorry my posting has been so sporadic.

  6. I’m a big fan of Moving Comfort bras, I find them to be super supportive. But a bonus that I didn’t think of until a friend who just had a baby pointed it out – many of their bras have straps that can be undone in the front, and thus can function as nursing bras.

    Also, serious baby is adorable.

  7. You look great and the baby is adorable! I am 28 weeks pregnant now and starting to feel miserable, so it’s nice to see there is some light ahead!

  8. Sounds like you have a positive attitude about everything! That’s great. :)

  9. She’s super cute and you look great!

  10. She’s gorgeous and you look beautiful!

  11. Happy to have you back writing. Beautiful little girl you’ve got there :)

  12. Second the suggestion for the Moving Comfort Juno bras. They are pretty comfortable but sturdy enough to keep everything in place. Oh, and I never needed Body Glide before my son was born. Now it’s a necessity. Pregnancy changes your body – or at least your belly button – forever. But it’s totally worth it :)

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