New Life: Running Post Pregnancy
Kimberlie Meeker owns Carpenter Real Estate Group, and is a mostly silent partner in Runologie. An accomplished marathoner and small business owner she just recently celebrated the birth of her first child, Wright Carpenter Meeker. Heading through this major life change we reached out to Kimberlie to see if she would be willing to document her journey. This is the first in her series.
After Brent and Alex asked if I’d be interested in writing this post for their blog, I wasn’t sure I’d want to tell this story because I didn’t know how my priorities would change after giving birth. And now that I’ve given birth, I realize my priorities have changed drastically. I didn’t know it was possible to love someone as much as I love my new son. I didn’t know how much fun it would be just to hang out with him. He’s my priority now, but I do hope to get back into a shape (there will be a new normal) and hopefully run a marathon in a year. The fun and scary part about this story is we don’t know how it will end yet. My son was just born on February 20th so I don’t know if I’ll actually get back to running marathons, but I’m going to take a shot at it.
At one point in my life, I was consistently running marathons around 2:50 and ran a 2:46 PR in Boston for 13th place among the American females. I won the City of Oaks and Tobacco Road marathons and halves in Raleigh as well as a few others in the southeast, but that all seems so far away now. I was injured for a year and then pregnant for the last nine months so I haven’t trained hard for a good two years. My goal now is to get back down to a 3:30 marathon time. That seems so far away right now, but where’s the fun in aiming low?
Running during pregnancy didn’t go as planned for me. I had to stop running almost immediately because of extreme hip flexor pain. My new belly and stretching ligaments made my hip flexor hurt and it was just too painful to run at all. So for the first 3-4 months, I could only walk and do the elliptical. Honestly, I’ve never enjoyed anything but running so I pretty much only walked a few days a week. Then at the 4 month mark, a PT suggested wearing a sacroiliac belt to stabilize my hips, and after wearing that, the hip flexor pain started to fade and I was able to start jogging again. My pace had gone from 8 minute miles to 10 or 11 minute miles and would slow further to 11 or 12 minute miles, but it felt so good to just be out there. I was running 3-5 times a week for 4-6 miles up until a week before I gave birth.
A week before our scheduled c-section (baby was breech), I actually fell walking in our parking garage, I didn’t fall on my belly and the baby was fine but it made me nervous enough about running so I just stopped. It’s something you worry about when you are on uneven surfaces and clumsier than normal.
My belly was pretty big, as runner pregnancies go, so I know I looked awkward out there. However, getting in some exercise and being able to sleep better after working out, made whatever embarrassment I felt worth it. There were folks who questioned whether running was a good idea, but there were also several doctors who said it was just fine, so I just went by feel. If things hurt, I stopped, which did happen on more than one occasion. But when things felt good, I did try to get in a few miles.
Wright Carpenter Meeker joined us on February 20th after a C-Section. My doctors were great and everything went smoothly, but the recovery will take time. I’m not supposed to run for 6 weeks so I don’t tear the sutures and to let my body heal. I’m walking gingerly because of the surgery and stomach pain, my feet are swollen like Fred Flintstone’s, and I have way too many other things to worry about before running, like getting back to selling homes so I can make money to pay for this little guy.
There is a desire to get back into shape, lose the weight I had such a good time gaining (white carbs are my bugaboo, as one of my doctors put it), and hopefully run a marathon in a year. But I’ve got a ways to go.
Stay tuned for more posts on this journey. It could go any number of ways, which should keep things interesting.