December 2017

I walked in the middle of the pack, we were all heading towards the startline. It was a fresh morning –  pretty cold but sunny, and the surroundings were just beautiful. We were in the countryside, and an amazing scenery was to be expected over the course ahead. A perfect day for a half-marathon. I was excited to support my close ones that day, and I was so happy to have been part of the training leading up to this event, although in another way now than being the actual athlete myself. I had been the coach, and was about to see inspirational achievements take place in the next couple of hours, and it really was an exciting moment. But the feeling of walking amongst the runners also brought me back to memories of a past which no longer is reality for me. The emotions a few minutes before start – it would be nerves mixed with a thrilling sensation about getting to do what I loved the most. To run on a cold, fresh and sunny morning, together with other likeminded people. A perfect day.

I walked in the middle of the pack but when we arrived to the startline I would take a step aside because this time I was there as a spectator. And nobody knew, but tears were running down my face. Will I ever be one of the runners lining up on that startline again?

 

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Time went by, and I gradually increased my training. I mixed little jogs with spin sessions at the gym – these were the ones that actually got my fitness back to a somewhat decent-ish level. My runs were so far not doing loads for me on the cardiovascular side of things.. I have always enjoyed a good spin class, but in the past they were something I would turn to in periods of injury when I couldn’t run as much as usual. But now spinning became a critical part for me in order to get fit agan.

A health professional suggested I should try the gym class ‘legs, bums and tums’ as it would be such a good workout for me – she was speaking out of own experience as she too suffered from a prolapse. Excited about trying a new class (except from spinning I have never actually been a massive fan of exercise classes but here I was living my new… post-partum life…) I attended ‘legs, bums and tums’ twice. Each time the prolapse got much worse afterwards. And each time I had to skip several bits as they were simply way too much impact for me. I could have tried different sessions, different instructors and eventually find a class that would potentially work better for me – but I didn’t. I basically gave up there and then after attempt number two. Leaving the class feeling unfit as I had to take a pass on the jumping squats or the burpees, and with a sensation of the bladder falling out of me, a general feeling of that I wasn’t doing any good for my body – well that was not what I wanted to get out from a fitness class. Therefore I quickly left that behind me, I just didn’t want to have anything else affecting my mind in a negative way when it came to training, especially if I could choose to avoid it. (Please note – this is is my personal experience and the particular class mentioned may work really well for someone else, with or without prolapse issues!)

And pilates came into my life! This turned out to be an amazing way of getting a really tough session done but with no high impact what so ever. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t always done pilates, as an addition to my running also in the past. It made me feel stronger each time and it gave me confidence that I was doing something which was actually helping my body. At times, especially in the beginning I would get a slight symptom worsening in the evening following the pilates, but I instantly knew which positions to be a little bit cautious with, and soon enough I could pretty much go 100% on each and every exercise during the class.

Apart from ‘running’, spinning and pilates I would do a bit of core stability and strength training from home when I could (and of course pelvic floor stuff), and on a daily basis there was also lots of walking with the buggy going on… yes, I started to accept ‘walking’ as a form of physical activity. Not a leisurely stroll in the park but whenever I got out for a proper, good paced – 45min at least – walk then I would include it in the total. I do believe that all these things combined helped me growing stronger each day.

Jogging more and more turned out to be ok, and before I knew it I was doing 2 or 3 kilometers without any major problems. I just needed to make sure that I planned my running days well, so that I didn’t do too much walking on top of it on the same day. If I did, I soon noticed it would make my prolapse worse in the evening and the day after. Running is also always better in the morning rather than the evening, as that’s always when my pelvic floor is at its strongest!

So as long as things seemed to be going ok, I decided it was time for a more proper target: I wanted to do 5K before the end of the year – to keep you on the timeline this would be 16 months after giving birth.  As I reached 4K I knew it was doable but I wanted to make sure I didn’t do it straight away just for the sake of it. I wanted to make sure my body was totally ready for it. And a silly part of me wanted it to be a bit special…! So I did 4K many times, and I did 4.5……

New Years Eve. In my hometown, in the beautiful countryside. To make the whole thing even more perfect I would have of course ran together with my dad but as he had come down with a bad cold at the time he couldn’t. (We had of course done a couple of runs together earlier during my visit!)

I had a great experience this cold and fresh winter morning. It was frosty, it was quiet… and before the end of the year, I did 5K. And I felt good.

Was it time to get excited for real now? What would be the next step?! 

 

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