4 months A.B.

That's After Baby, of course. I'd love to write a long post about everything that's new, but if I wait for the time to do all of that I'll probably never post here again. And besides, this is a running blog and I like to try to stay on topic as much as possible. So for now I will type what I can on my phone..

I had my baby on May 8. Childbirth, wow. Nothing has humbled me more than pregnancy, birth, and recovery. I still cannot believe how physical it all was (is!), and what my body has been, and is still going through. No amount of running could have prepared me for it. I am so glad my son is here and healthy, and also so ready to start getting back into running shape after sharing my body with someone else for 9 months.

I'm trying to be patient with myself w/r/t running, but I have been itching to do the hard workouts I have missed so much. I went out for my first "run" (run/walk) at five weeks postpartum (early/mid June) at around an 11 or 12 minute/mile pace. Although it was truly freaky-feeling, it was amazing to move and sweat again. Then I completed a loose Couch to 5k plan, working up to three miles but no more. My pace is slow, no faster than about 10 minutes/mile. Since then, not much has changed. When I run, I do about three sloooow miles. They haven't gotten easier; I haven't gotten faster.

Summer in North Carolina is the worst time to run if you're not already in great shape (and let's be honest, even if you are) but I am chugging along a few times a week because I know it'll get easier and far more fun by autumn. I also completed a four-week "beginner" (though very challenging for me at this stage) bodyweight strength training plan on the Nike Training Club app. Pregnancy did a number on my posture and back, but both seem improved after (gentle) strength-training.

Unfortunately, since going back to work I stopped doing NTC strength training and only manage to run about twice a week. I consider myself an organized person, but man, trying to balance my career with my baby and relationship and basic self-care (including exercise) is tough. (I know literally every parent says this , but it didn't sink in until it happened to me.) As someone who loved long stretches of unstructured, quiet time to do nothing but chill, the adjustment to living by someone else's clock has made me feel a bit claustrophobic. And the time crunch got a bit tighter two weeks ago after the baby started daycare. And breastfeeding/pumping adds next-level logistics: I've (half) joked that my #1 interest these days is milk. Nursing, pumping, storing it, transporting it, supply anxieties, milliliters, ounces, flanges, scales, oxytocin, fenugreek, tongue ties, suck patterns, the whole thing. In a parallel universe I have a blog about milk, in which I go into excruciating detail about our breastfeeding troubles, remedies, and solutions. It is all-consuming; I had no idea about any of this before I had a baby -- even during pregnancy, I managed to stay blissfully optimistic that it would be "easy" because it's "so natural." If you are pregnant now and reading this, I will direct you to this incredible documentary which is a great intro to the personal and political issues around milk. But, that is not this universe! This blog is about the non-milk hobby I used to enjoy, running.

So let's talk about that: I'm not sure how to fit in training anymore. Seriously...when? Right now, it seems possible to do a maximum of one thing in addition to baby + work, nothing more. Is my one thing going to be running? I'm not sure. Most nights, I have and would gladly choose a walk around the neighborhood with my family or a movie on the couch after the baby is down for the night + a 9pm bedtime over dragging myself out for a run. Is it a question of being more committed, more organized? I'm never going to be someone who wakes up before the baby's up to crank out 8 miles before the sun rises. Will it "get easier" as people have promised, once my baby is older?

Few things are more boring than a half-committed person idly stating goals she may or may not actually work for, but here I go anyway. Goals: I would really love to run a fall race, even if it is a short one. I am not expecting to set any new PRs (PRs -- ha, ha, hahahaha), but running is a part of who I am and I don't want to give that up. Absolutely, I want to run a spring race. A half marathon, maybe.

I'll probably do ADIML and try to blog about how I'm running and working at the same time, if I ever start, uh, actually running on workdays. And while I'm at it, I might actually register for a race, train, and blog about it. In the meantime, I need some inspiration. All the running bloggers who have had babies seem to quit their jobs to sell Beachbody. Is that because work+baby+running is not possible, or because the ones who do it are just too busy to blog about it? If you read any good ones who still have 9-5 jobs and manage a semi-serious running hobby, please share!

I've reached Mile 22 of this pregnancy

Another post from the drafts folder!  I wrote this on May 3, the week that I went into labor. I'm slowly rejoining the outside world and will maybe, hopefully start posting more regularly again.

I'm 38 weeks pregnant, which, for me, feels about equivalent to mile 22 of the marathon. It's kind of a turning point -- I was feeling pretty good up until now, cruising along patiently, but now I'm scanning the horizon for that finish line. I'm so close, but still so far: Our baby could be born any day now, OR not for nearly a full month.

And also like mile 22 of the marathon, I'm daydreaming about all the things I'll do (and beers I'll drink!) when it's over.

How I know I'm nearly at the end:

Our midwifery practice doesn't do cervical checks or anything like that until 40 weeks or so, but the world is telling me it's almost time. I've reached the point where total strangers come up to me and say "Wow, soon, huh?" and colleagues ask, "Have you had that baby yet?"

I don't mind this at all. Yup! I say. Nope! This baby (as fetus) has come with me to three weddings and I've danced furiously at each one, including the one we went to just on Saturday, where there were many jokes about who would be responsible for delivering if I went into labor right there. We've traveled on planes and trains and subways, we've camped, hiked, and wherever I go I imagine what it would be like to bring my child with me some day, the things I want to show him about the world.

We've had three lovely showers -- one hosted by James's family in Pennsylvania for both of us, another by my work, and a blessingway.

The room that looked so terrible is in nice shape now -- nice enough to host my first born child!

I go see the midwives every week and they listen to his heartbeat and tell us everything looks good. I'm okay to wait a while longer -- I'd like to get quieter and more centered with myself before I do this hard thing I'm more than a little nervous about.

I am cautiously hoping/planning for a "natural" birth, but I am actually pretty agnostic about most interventions. I can envision several scenarios in which I'd gladly take an epidural; I'm hoping to stay open, positive, and flexible regardless of what happens.

Exercise during pregnancy

I ran until week 15 or so, then called it quits. It retrospect, I wish I had stuck it out a little longer because I'm aching to run again...but at the time it felt uncomfortable and awkward. I like to feel fast and strong when I run -- not out-of-balance and lumbering. Maybe I would have gotten used to it had I stuck with it, but I just wasn't having fun with it so I stopped. After that, I started taking a prenatal yoga class on Sundays and doing the occasional YouTube yoga at home, albeit irregularly. I also walk about a mile a day as part of my work commute, and try to get in at least one "long walk" weekly. Honestly, I haven't enjoyed pregnant exercise much. I'd much rather spend my evenings and weekends doing nearly anything else. Even though I'm grateful that I've been healthy and not as miserable as a lot of pregnant women I know, I miss my old body and I feel irritated by how difficult and uncomfortable even supposedly "easy" and "relaxing" forms of exercise feel. Also, the pain. I didn't know how painful pregnancy is, and how hard it is to get a good night of sleep. 

Bitten by the training bug

Around the six-month mark, the weather started to improve and I really, really wanted to register for a race. Specifically, I was looking at a half marathon in the fall. James and I do a lot of running/racing together, and we had a facepalm moment when we realized we had to think about who would watch the baby if both of us were running the same race.

That realization gave me whiplash -- I realized (again) how little I know about what the next few months of my life will be like. While I'm still hoping to get back to running relatively quickly and possibly do some racing in the fall, I don't want to commit to anything until after the baby is born (hopefully safe and healthy), because I really have no idea how labor, birth, recovery, breastfeeding, adjusting to life, returning to work, etc. will go, I think the safer thing to do is to wait and see. But man, I am super jealous of everyone I see running in the mornings before I go to work. It will be so freeing to move like again that after nine months of pregnancy.