Running is one of those things that most people hate while they’re doing it. But they keep doing it and tell everyone else that they love it, because it makes them seem healthy. And because it’s free. Well, that last part could just be me.
The first couple of runs of the season on any given year are challenging.
But the first run after having a baby? That’s a whole new brand of awful. After having my daughter three and a half years ago, I was able to get my running stamina back. But this time around, it’s going to take a goddamn miracle.
Two summers ago, I fell down some rain-slick stairs outside our family cottage. I suffered from a concussion, which ended my running early that year. Then I got pregnant (to my complete surprise, pregnancy takes over so much of your brain, the concussion ran south and caused a big pain in my ass instead) and had my second child at the beginning of last summer. And when a 9-pound, melon-headed baby emerges from you after just two hours of labor, you and your pelvic floor decide it’s OK to have some time off from exercise.
Now, at 10-months postpartum, I have completely run out of excuses. So I finally did it one recent morning. I pulled out my dusty running sneakers, poured myself into my exercise gear, and talked myself into putting one foot in front of the other—well, you know, faster than usual.
As I dragged my sad ass down the trail, here’s what went through my mind:
1. I’m too fucking tired to run today. I need another coffee first.
2. Wait, what time is it? Goddammit, Facebook!
3. OK, while I’m on Facebook, I’ll post that I’m going for a run so that I can’t change my mind.
4. I hope I still have one of those Couch to 5K apps on my phone.
5. OK, this stupid app is telling me to “warm up.” What the fuck does that mean? Do they want me to do yoga or something?
6. Whatever. I am a running goddess.
7. This Lululemon tank is too short. Oh my god, the white pasty flabbiness of my non-baby baby bump is on display for the whole neighborhood to see. It didn’t do this before. I did not spend part of my baby’s college fund on a Lululemon tank top that shrinks in the wash.
8. Holy crap, five minutes is a really long time to jog. Maybe I should have been walking?
9. Thank god. I get to walk for 90 seconds.
10. Running again, already? Oh shit, I think I just peed a little.
11. Didn’t I go pee before I left the house? I totally did.
12. Wait. Did I leave my baby in the house alone?!
13. No. No. My husband took him and his sister out this morning. Don’t be ridiculous.
14. Did I just pee a little bit more? Christ, this didn’t happen last time. Fucking 9-pound baby.
15. Why the fuck didn’t I take my friend’s advice and do the goddamn Kegels.
16. Did those construction guys just ogle me?
17. Nope, they just called me “ma’am.” I am old. And my Lulu shirt shrunk so there is no doubt.
18. I’m never wearing this stupid top again. I look like an idiot, pulling it down every two minutes.
19. I’m really happy I’m wearing black running capris, because I think I just peed a bit more. Again.
20. Do they account for running uphill when they calculate calories burned? They really need to. I’m pretty sure I just burned twice as many calories during that last interval.
21. Am I at the stage in my life when admitting that I love running to the Best Of The Spice Girls album can be viewed as campy and ironic? Hmmm, probably not.
22. Seriously, did I accidentally leave my baby in the house? Stop it.
23. I’m going to pass out. How long do I have to do this for before it starts being enjoyable?
24. Oh thank god, cooldown!
25. What if my husband gets home before me, with the kids? What if they’re freaking out? He doesn’t even know I went for a run to begin with. I should just run home.
26. Breathe. Walk. Everything is fine. You are allowed to have “me time.”
27. See? They’re not even home yet. Sheesh, talk about overreacting.
28. Stretch it out. I am a stretching goddess.
29. I should do this all the time!
30. I think I may need to eat two lunches today, because I’m pretty sure I just burned 3,000 calories. Also, a cupcake.
OK, so my first run wasn’t perfect. I arrived home with a pee-soaked crotch, a decimated ego, a flabby belly exposed, and some sore muscles. All right, it was fucking brutal. Maybe I’ll just stay home and do jumping jacks—perhaps that would have been a more appropriate postpartum workout.
Nah. I’ll be back out again tomorrow—with clothes that fit and a pantyliner firmly in place.