C-Section to SeaWheeze: My road to my first half-marathon

Sorry another long post! I figure by starting this blog I should start with long posts so you can get a feel for what I’ve been up to & how I tend to look at life.

My best advice to anyone who is wanting to recover from a C-section and get back into an active lifestyle is to TAKE IT SLOOOOOW.

I had decided prior to my C-section I wanted to run a half marathon one year after having my daughter. Well, perfectly timed the Lululemon Seawheeze half marathon would be nearly one year exactly from my C-Section. So in January, I waited online and hoped for one of the 10 000 spots up for grabs! This event sold out in about 15 minutes, but luckily my cousin and I both got our registration. I have never been a serious runner, I actually questioned the sanity of those who regularly ran marathons. As I (slowly) trained for the run, I really enjoyed the time I took for myself getting back into shape. Running was quiet. There was no pressure to clean, cook and keep people from crying on a rotating basis.

After doing very little the first 8 weeks after my C-section – walking to the mailbox was a big accomplishment – I decided it was time to start re-teaching my body how to get back into shape. I was in decent shape before being pregnant and I was able to do pilates up until 7 months pregnant. Once your belly gets so big the only thing thats really comfortable is child’s pose, and who wants to do that for an hour?

I knew I would not enjoy pilates at 8 weeks post-op. My body could not bend and stretch and move like I was used to it prior to pregnancy. So I started with warm yoga at 8 weeks. This is the best thing anyone recovering from any type of surgery can do. The first class was extremely frustrating, my range of motion was terrible, my balance was off and overall I had a pretty rough time with the poses and holding them. But it was also extremely relaxing to have an hour to myself, in a warm room re-connecting with my body.

Every week I would learn what had healed and what had not. Anyone who has had a C-section will tell you… below the belly button there is not much toning/training you can do. I am over a year out from my section and I still have numbness and am unable to strengthen that part of my body.

I am lucky to live near a gorgeous 5 km trail, so along with yoga I started walking that with the stroller & my chocolate lab in tow.  At around the 12 week mark I was able to lightly jog some of the trail and every week in yoga my range of motion and my strength were improving. I started going to hot yoga to challenge myself a bit more and around the 15 week mark I started with pilates. I would try and get to classes twice a week and go for a walk twice a week as well.

Making time for yoga/pilates is tough when you’re a new mom. The ‘mom guilt’ is overwhelming and especially if you’re at work all day. Weekend classes worked best for me or ones that were on my day off. I loved walking/jogging because I could take her with me and the fresh air was great for both of us.

… And then came the winter from hell…..

Any training for my half marathon (which was still about 9 months away) went to crap. It was -30 celcius, there was a ton of snow and basically it was miserable any time we wanted to leave the house. However, I discovered the BEST time for hot yoga is during the winter. So I at least made sure I kept up with that. Once February rolled around and we had a lot less -30 days, I started cross country skiing again. Something I haven’t done in over 10 years. It took a few runs, but I got back into it and enjoyed going out for 30 mins to an hour a couple times a week. Once spring came I was shocked at how conditioned my legs were to start training for the half marathon.

Personally, I cannot stand gyms or treadmills. So those were not options to help with winter training.

When I began to run again, I would run based on time, not kilometers. I found if I was watching my kilometers I would get bored pretty quickly. So I would start going for half an hour runs, then an hour, then an hour and a half and the longest runs I did before the half marathon were 2 hours. Lots of time to think about how crazy this was and how I would rather be at home eating french toast with my daughter.

I chose to do the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver, B.C. At the very least I would get a summer vacation out of the whole thing. They have a fantastic training app that I would love to say I followed to a tee, however taking care of my family, working, owning the business (which were in the middle of a huge renovation/expansion) , and trying not to go crazy made it pretty tough to train. I would make a point of running at least twice a week and doing pilates or yoga once a week. This worked well with my schedule and minimized my dreaded mom guilt.

August 23, 2014 rolled around pretty quickly. Myself and 10 000 other Lululemon clad runners rant the 21.1 km through beautiful Vancouver. My goal was 2:30, I ended up finishing at 2:13.25!! It was incredibly, hard but also really satisfying. Plus my husband, daughter, mom & aunt were all there to cheer me on.

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Later that day we were able to enjoy an amazing yoga class in Stanley Park led by Blissology’s Eoin Finn

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I can honestly say I’m glad I did the half marathon – prior to that the longest I had ever run was 5K – however, I’m very happy sticking to 5K & 10K from here on out. I found after 15K my knees really started to hurt, not just during the half but also during training as well. I have loads of respect for all those moms who run half & full marathons on a regular basis. You’re my heros.

Since doing my half marathon I did one more 5k.. in Traverse City, Michigan through the Ciccone Vineyard. THAT was a tough, uphill, muddy race. But well worth it in the end when we were able to go on a wine tour for harvest weekend 🙂 I have done a few runs around home since and I do still enjoy it. However I’m someone who needs a goal to work towards, so once I find a new race/event that sounds more exciting than it probably is… I’ll start running a bit more. maybe.

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