“Mom, it smells like poop in here.”
“Well, I’m pooping can you close the door?”
“Mom, why do you shave your business? It looks like Dad’s goatee.”
“Can I please have some privacy?”
“Mom, do you have your period again? It seems like you just had it.”
“Can you shut the door???”
It is this lack of privacy, this total dearth of alone time that makes jogging so appealing. I can put Lucy in the stroller, fill up a few water bottles and put on some tunes and go. I’ve not yet figured out how to poop, shower or check a menstrual cup while jogging, but if I do I will get back to you. I’m not alone. But it is quiet. No questions. I’ll take it.
I gained more than fifty pounds while pregnant with Lucy. I was Wedding Thin to start with and likely gained ten or fifteen on our honeymoon so it is not fair to blame it all on Lucy. But I do anyway. I did not have preeclampsia or excessive water retention. I just had a new husband that brought me M&Ms and bowls of ice cream because he loved me.
I made peace with my post-baby body. I put a picture of my stretch marks on the internet for all to see. But even if I can deal with the shape, with the number on the scale, I can’t stomach buying a new wardrobe. I gave myself permission to wear elastic waist bands for a few months. A few months are up. Summer affords me the opportunity to wear the empire waist sundress. And while Memorial Day weekend is only a week behind us, I know from experience that September is around the corner. I will not wear maternity jeans as I play with my nine month old baby.
So, I jog.
It’s peaceful. And quiet. And eventually something should happen to my body. I know the “it took nine months to gain it, it will take nine months to lose it” adage.
I have jogged intermittently over the last seven years. I trained for the OBX half marathon when Em was teeny, running 12 miles at my farthest before I stepped on a sippy cup and elected not to run it. I was jogging again two years ago when my back started giving me trouble. I drank the chiro kool-aid and things started improving.I bought a pair of Vibrams. I read “Born to Run” and I got to work on correcting my heel strike. It was slow going. For years I had perfected what I thought of as a more efficient way to jog. The longer the stride the fewer times I had to actually move my legs, right? The searing pain I was creating in my hips wasn’t helping me. I watched countless you tube videos on chi running. And then I got pregnant and sat on my couch.
When I started jogging again recently I found that the shorter stride, the midfoot strike, the forward leaning body position, it was all so much easier than before. What was different? The extra thirty pounds I was carrying can’t take all the credit for this new and improved running form.
It was during Sergio Mendes’ “Yes, Yes, Y’all” that I had an a-ha moment last week. It was 89 degrees outside and I was jogging at Em’s soccer practice. Week Seven, Day Two of Couch to 5K was telling me to run for 20 minutes without stopping. It would be the first uninterrupted twenty minutes I had jogged in more than a year. MQD volunteered to hang out with Lucy so I could give it a go without the stroller.
A few minutes in to my jog I felt my old familiar heel strike form returning. “Yes, yes, y’all, freak y’all, freak y’all, to the beats y’all, and you don’t stop and you don’t quit” Sergio says and I fell in to a slower groove thinking, damn without the stroller I don’t have any water, I better slow down a little. WITHOUT THE STROLLER!!!
Hours of Chi Running videos and Danny Dreyer never suggested you just get a stroller!! It was the stroller that had fixed my heel strike. I have to let my feet fall under my body. I naturally lean slightly forward when I jog with a stroller.
I’ll be damned. This kid might be to blame for the extra thirty pounds. But she just might be the key to curing my shitty running form, too. And if all goes as planned my fat ass will be long gone someday and my new, pain free running will be here to stay.
(For the record, I love the Five Fingers, but the heat was making my normally marginally sweaty feet insanely sweaty. I opted for the New Balance Minimus. They have a Vibram soul. Heh. So far, so good. About twenty five miles in them so far and I like ‘em.)