me versus the marathoners

Do you think a blog post about a post-pregnancy mom trying to lose weight is a bit cliche? Okay, good, I think so too. Just so we’re on the same page as I begin to talk about just that. [If you have a strong aversion to cliche, please feel free to stop reading now. Have a great day!]

I’ve never been in amazing shape, but certainly there were times in my why-oh-why-didn’t-I-sleep-in-more-and-save-more-money single 20s in which I was diligent about exercising. I kick-boxed, lifted weights, went to yoga class. Heck, employees at the gym knew my name. And I even remember a period in which I’d do p90x in the morning and “get in some extra cardio” at the gym in the afternoon. Ha. [I even walked across Spain two summers ago.]

Well, I am now a flabby shell of my former self. Thanks to the glory-and-trial that is nursing a baby, my actual “weight” is back to its pre-preggo-ness, but alas things don’t quite fit as they should. [If “fitting” strictly requires being able to zip up jeans all the way, that is.]

Because of a – how shall we say -“less than ideal” labor and childbirth, I wasn’t able to exercise for the first few months after Philomena made her appearance. [I also had to eat many, many cookies and drink lots of wine. Because of the labor trauma, of course.] So, over the past few weeks I’ve been attempting a Jillian Michaels DVD that my punk 20-something self used to deem as “too easy” and some walks with intermittent jogging.

Like every other middle-class white person in America, I thought the couch-to-5k program would be just perfect for me to get back into the swing of things. Oh, I’ve attempted this system several times previously. I’ve printed off the chart from that cool runnings site, written down my goals, wore my polar heartrate monitor watch to time myself. You know, an intense start. And, that’s all that ever happened. A start. Umpteen starts.

But, this time would be different, naturally. I was now a stay-at-home mom with loads of time [enter laughter] and a determination like never before.

And thus, last week, I drove to the park, baby and stroller in tow, to begin this step towards being “a runner.” I’d been to this park many times before, but usually it was in the afternoon, when most people are working and baby is napping. My no-forsight-at-all self didn’t see any problem with going at 5 pm.

My first clue should have been the parking lot full of cars. My second clue should have been that at least half of the cars bore “26.2” bumper stickers. [It took me quite a few minutes to realize this meant the owners of said cars had run a marathon. Yup.] I quickly learned that apparently this particular park is a haven for perfectly-sculpted, svelte runners with tans and silky hair. And they all decide to run at 5:00.

Not deterred yet, I set off. I walked for 90 seconds, “jogged”-ish for a minute, then repeated. Keep in mind I’m in terrible shape, naturally a bit clumsy, and was trying to push a non-jogging stroller. Not a good recipe for success. My face was bright red; I kept steering the stroller off the path; and I was continually stopping to catch my breath.

Beautiful, in-shape people kept gliding effortlessly by me. Most would smile, some would offer sympathetic looks. A few even said, “good job!” This platitude, though most likely well-intended, my cynical self saw as deprecative. At one point I almost shook my fist in the air and proclaimed, “I was in labor for EIGHT DAYS! I am strong too!” But, I didn’t. Mostly because I was out of breath.

And then it happened. The inevitable melt-down. Far from my car, my precious usually laid-back baby started to s-c-r-e-a-m.  So, I attempted to console her while continuing the walk-jog-walk. “Twinkle…(pant)…twinkle…(pant)…little…(pant)…star…” The sympathetic glances from the marathoners increased exponentially to my child’s shrieking. “Oh, it looks like he’s having a tough day” [Um, yes, HE – who is wearing hot pink – is having such a difficult day of being fed, held, and entertained, save 15 minutes of Mommy’s exercise in a pretty park.]

Finally I made it back to the car and comforted the little needy one. I consoled myself with a trip to Super Target and some new nailpolish.

When I try to put on those jeans that now create a muffin-top, or that dress that is not conducive to nursing, or I see my hairline receding from all the post-partum hair loss, I’ll admit my first reaction is self-consciousness. I’m a vain gal, no doubt about it. Nevertheless, through the grace of God, my second (and lasting) reaction is to go pick up my little girl, give her a squeeze and kiss her unfathomably cute cheeks and sigh, “you are worth it. All of it.”

[See, here’s a good example of a blog entry that starts off with snarky-cliche, then ends with sappy-cliche. I like to mix it up like that.]


15 thoughts on “me versus the marathoners

  1. maybe you could make a shirt with “i was in labor for EIGHT!!! DAYS!!!! ” on it. or just not work out like me because you’re too self-conscious. oh pride : (

    good work sarah. stick with it and soon enough you too will be a svelte gazelle.

  2. Keep up all that hard work! (but find a jogging stroller stat! Craig’s list is good for that.) seriously you are more daring than I. I wouldn’t dream of running without one. I’d say you were probably working 75%more than any of those other runners. Add that up and you are golden :) also check out They provided a daily workout that is modified 3 ways for 3 different levels and will give you an awesome workout (cardio/weights) that will make you truly stronger than those runners :)

    Oh and do you have a birth story on here? I’d love a link to that marathon story :)

    • Thanks for the tips, Christina! Aw, I can kind of joke about my birth story now, but it was a pretty tough week. I don’t think the blogging world is ready for that one. Maybe on her year birthday I’ll have recovered enough to tell the story.

  3. Oh Sarah, reading your blog is such a breath of fresh air! It’s like listening to you tell a story. Always good for some laughs. :) Good luck on your 5K plans … maybe there’s a mommy and me sort of 5K you could train for? One where jogging strollers are highly recommended.

    And Robin might have some good recs for jogging strollers. I know Kristine has strong preferences, but she’s a bit more of a ‘dedicated’ runner than I think I ever hope/intend to be.

  4. Thanks for this, it brought back good memories of a similar time I had shortly after Alaina was born. And trust me, the stroller you have now would have been considered a “jogging” stroller compared to that box on wheels. And Alaina seemed to really *hate* whenever I tried to go jogging or do much of anything actually. Do you have any home workout videos? I would suggest Leslie Sanson’s running/jog/walking videos. You could do that at home and build up your confidence and then go show those silly marathoners what’s up.
    I like Mary’s comment about you becoming a svelte gazelle :)
    Also, on a somewhat random note, I was thinking about you this morning and how much I’m enjoying your blogging…no pressure but I hope you can keep it up!

  5. Hilarious! You will do it. I have no doubt. I have been there myself and you will get it back! And definitely get a jogging stroller.

  6. Pingback: a new look | sarahunfiltered

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s