By Charlotte Colehan
A month ago I made a decision.
“Enough,” I thought. “It’s time.”
In the past three years I have undergone two pregnancies, two births, cared for two babies and experienced a bonkers amount of nocturnal activity (NOT the fun kind).
“It’s time,” I thought. “Time to get ME back to ME.”
Genetics have been fairly kind to me in terms of weight gain during pregnancy, and so far my bottomless pit of a breastfeeding baby has worked hard to minimise the impact of my nightly tub of ice-cream. But although the outwards appearance may be different by a mere dress size, that’s not really the point. I feel different; things have shifted, bulged, sagged and the huge box of just-too-tight pre-pregnancy everything leers at me from the back of my wardrobe every time I open the door to select another oversized button-down shirt. Despite developing unseemly arm muscles from holding the toddler steady on the toilet to do the world’s longest poo whilst trying not to wake up the baby who is strapped to my chest, I don’t feel fit. My body is weak, my stamina is gone.
“It’s time,” I thought. And I went for a run.
Now, the build up to My Run (capitals fully intended) was intense. I nursed the idea for a few days. Then I casually mentioned it to my husband who was unflatteringly enthusiastic very supportive about my tentative return to exercise. Then the baby partied all night and I lost the will to live for three days. Then I spent a whole evening turning the house upside down in search of my trainers. Then I booked in Run Night with the hubby (ie, please be home on time to take on full parenting responsibility for the duration of The Run, and for at least an hour after I return so that I can recover). I even pumped a bottle of milk for the little one (cos, y’know, he goes at least three hours between feeds now, but you never know how far these weedy legs might take me).
Rapidly running out of motivation, I scraped my fringe back behind an ancient headband that makes me look like a startled convict, turned on my Nike app (which instantly made me feel like a Pro Runner) and bounced out of the door.
I found my running gear at the very bottom of the Feel-Bad-Box, languishing alongside my decent underwear, heels and bikini. The leggings went on alright, although I had to spend a few minutes trying to figure out whether the waist band would be more comfortable over or under the muffin top. The sports bra was a different story, mainly because its two contents were somewhat, um, lopsided at that point on the feeding schedule. A lot of jiggling and manhandling eventually secured them into their bulging container with not a whisker of space to spare, and a frightening amount of over-spilling cleavage.
Breast pads were the next problem. While I was attempting to wedge these in, my husband walked past the bedroom door, did a double take, quickly disguised his horrified expression and then offered me his large cycling t-shirt to wear instead of my skin-tight fitted running top. Cos, it’s all, like, breathable and stuff, babe. Rapidly running out of motivation, I scraped my fringe back behind an ancient headband that makes me look like a startled convict, turned on my Nike app (which instantly made me feel like a Pro Runner) and bounced out of the door.