It’s been hot so I’ve been doing treadmill runs, and Owl has been unsettled so I hop on the treadmill for 20 minutes, run like mad and then rush back home. Five 2.5-3km runs in a week and I started getting a bit of back pain and yeah, left buttock pain. Ouch. Something about those ligaments being more stretchy and all (though it doesn’t feel that way – I feel quite stiff).

However, energy and wellbeing are great, and I’m slowly chipping away at those last 2-3 kg of extra love. This week I’ve been finally able to put Owl in my favourite piece of gym equipment, the Baby Bjorn carrier, and go for some long walks. Best way to get those transverse abdominus muscles back into gear. Back is better, and I’m all fired up for a long run in the park tomorrow, Owl willing! Speaking of the devil…!

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So much for waiting until 12 weeks – I went for a run yesterday. And today. That’s naughty of me, as I haven’t checked with my doctor yet. But I’m a doctor, and hell I’m also now a mum of two. That’s upped the ante, and I have to be even more efficient than before. So when I felt strong and walking started to feel dead slow, I ran for a while, then walked, then ran for a bit more… I felt wonderful. Strong, confident, resilient, triumphant. Proud. I had no adverse effects from my short run yesterday so I ran again today. Again, stopping whenever I felt like I needed to.

Owl still isn’t sleeping any better (surprise surprise, he’s only a month old) but I am. And I feel wonderful. Contemplating that half marathon in October this year – in seven months time. Watch this space.

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I have a confession to make. I didn’t run much in my second pregnancy. The first time around, I prided myself on being able to run right up til 28 weeks. Not so this time! I was heavier and showed much earlier (at nine weeks). I ran about 6 times, perhaps 8. Fatigue followed me right up til 20 weeks. I just didn’t feel right when I ran.

Amazingly, my energy levels are so much higher now even though my sleep is broken. But because I had another Caesarian section, I’ve got to wait until around 12 weeks for my first run.

I started doing Kegels and abdominal exercises a few days after Owl was born. On day 6 I took my daughter to her daycare centre – about 400m away. It was a somewhat ginger and slow experience, but since then, short walks around the block have been easy, and today (3 weeks) I went for a longer walk.

I was delighted to find that I’m doing exactly what’s recommended in this Runner’s World Guide to getting back to running after pregnancy. This week, I’m to keep walking and add some strength training (planks). Next week, cross-training and more strength training. Hopefully Owl will keep sleeping at night and allow me to focus on getting back to running. My goal: a Half marathon by July 2014.

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It wasn’t as easy as I thought, getting back into running. Months of sleep deprivation, plus an ever-changing routine, has seen me struggle out there about once or twice a week, if lucky. Each time has been wonderful, of course.

When Star started sleeping through the night (about a month ago) and feeding just four times a day, it became a lot easier. In the past week I’ve managed to get out there four times – twice with her in the stroller! Stroller runs are actually quite enjoyable – I time them with her naps, and she’s usually out like a light as soon as I start. Lately the challenge has been the weather though. I did try to run on the treadmill one rainy day and Star lasted about ten minutes in the stroller before she got bored and started to squawk.

I’ve progressed from running 4km once or twice a week to 5-6 km four times a week, and I’m aiming to get to 10km first, before my target of 14.4 km for the Mothers Day fun run in May 2011, followed by a half marathon (22km) in August 2011. This will mean training four days a week and making it a top priority. Wish me luck!

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It was a Wednesday morning in midwinter. The mercury hovered a few degrees over zero. My husband was home, the baby was fed. I had the go-ahead from my obstetrician and had already been walking an hour a day for weeks – as much to get my baby to have a nap as well as to keep up my fitness.

As I headed out sans stroller, I suddenly felt a lot lighter – the freedom was palpable. I did a few warm up stretches and set off, relishing the welcome sound of my runners crunching on the gravely track. This is it! This is the moment I had been dreaming of for the past six months – my return to running. For weeks I had been looking enviously at the runners speeding past me as I toted my baby around the park. I envied their freedom, especially the men. I envied the way men could conceivably (pardon the pun!) never have to give up running because of pregnancy or a baby.

As my body eased into a familiar rhythm, the tension in my shoulders – from weeks of carrying and feeding my baby – melted away. Keep your head up, look where you want to go, I repeated to myself. Inhale inhale inhale exhale exhale. My legs rejoiced in being able to go faster than the pace of a heavy stroller and my soul sang out. I remembered all the things about running that I loved –the sense of strength and challenge, the physical highs, the knowledge that I could set goals and achieve them. The feeling of striving to become better at something, something that I used to find oh so difficult. Some five years ago I would have told you that the term “fun run” was an oxymoron.

I headed home with a clear head and a good dose of exhilaration. It felt good to break out of my “baby bubble”, to regain a sense of my old self, and to know that I could still do it. I can’t wait for the next time.

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