Sunday marked my first training day for the 2016 Pittsburgh half marathon and my official “return to running” day since the birth of my beautiful baby girl in October! In fact, I quit running last May (after carefully & slowly running the Pittsburgh half) because I felt like I was pushing myself a little too hard and was going past my comfort level on my runs as my belly grew bigger. I initially really wanted to run throughout my pregnancy, but I switched to weekly spin classes as my body started telling it was time to slow down. Spinning can be a very intense workout, but for me it was easier to keep my heart rate down in spin class than it was on a long run, and it was still a great way to keep in shape throughout my pregnancy (something I highly recommend doing– I felt like it helped SO much with labor). So spinning it was, and I put running on the backburner until after baby girl was here. Before I had H, I planned to return to running as soon as my OB gave me the okay. An emergency C-section changed those plans, though, so even when my OB cleared me for exercise at 6 weeks I just didn’t feel comfortable jarring my body around at that point. Now, at almost 14 weeks postpartum, I finally feel like it’s time to start running again. And I’m so, so looking forward to it.
The weather in our area was absolutely beautiful yesterday (well, relatively speaking– a 50 degree, sunny day in January is much more appealing than a 50 degree, sunny day in, say, August– so I wasn’t complaining). It’s rare to be able to wear capri pants and a short sleeve shirt on a January run, but yesterday’s temperature was perfect for it. My younger brother and I are training together for the Pittsburgh half, so he came to my house and we set a goal of running a steady 5K distance for our official “kickoff” training run. That’s a lower distance than I’ve ever started my training at in the past, but since I haven’t done much of any form of exercise since before H was born, I wasn’t even sure if I could run that far. My brother has been doing treadmill intervals for months, so he was looking for a relatively-short-distance steady run as well. We just wanted to test the waters since half training has been out of our vocabulary for so long– we usually run at least one half marathon each fall, and obviously we skipped doing that last year. We are essentially starting our training from scratch for the first time in a long time. With the exception of two stops to catch our breath (something we usually do on this particular route– PA hills can be killer), we were able to run the entire distance with no problems! Our overall pace was a bit slower than usual– we ran an average pace of 10:52, and we usually aim for a 10:00 pace on our training runs– but we were both happy with our first run of the season. We even did a short sprint at the end of our run, just to get our fast-twitch muscle fibers going. We both felt great afterwards. And now I’m more excited than ever to keep moving and keep training. It feels great to get my “running legs” back again!