Runday Monday- Confessions of a postpartum runner.

Her eyes keep drifting back to the clock. It’s has been a long day. Work, home, work, home. All she wants to do is pass out on her bed. But it’s playtime. She is playing fetch with The Little One. 

She feels restless and anxious. Irritable. Maybe a run would help. She mulls over going out for a run- at 7 pm. She is torn; between staying home and chillin’ with her little one and dragging herself up, putting on her running gear and hitting the road. The clock’s ticking by, not waiting around for her to make her decision. And the later it gets, the more unlikely the run becomes.

It’s 7:30 pm by the time she hits the track. The stark floodlights and the crowded track irks her. She tries to tune them out. She plugs into some high bpm music and starts warming up. Her body ain’t so responsive anymore. It seems to take longer to warm up. The muscles don’t feel so supple, the joints seem creaky. 

Fifteen minutes into the run, and she still hasn’t found her groove. She should be in cruise mode by now, but her lungs seem tired, huffy. Her breath is choppy and there is no economy in her breathing. She is slouchy and her muscles don’t fire the way they usually do. 

It has been this way for a while now. Ten months on, and things are yet to go back to how they were before. She had deluded herself into thinking that things would be “normal” in about six weeks of training/ running. It is 6 months now, since the day she put on her trainers again (a year and a baby after her last run). For the first few weeks, her pelvis seemed wonky. Then her calves started to spasm. The knees soon commenced their protests. And beyond all this, there seemed to be something else…. things just did not seem right.

Half an hour into the run, and she can barely go on. Maybe she is coming down with a fever. Or maybe she is too tired. Her throat seems parched and breathing through her mouth doesn’t help matters. She repeatedly licks her lips, swallows and tries to take deep, conscious breaths. She soldiers on. Her body protests, but she keeps pounding the track.

Out of  nowhere Nausea creeps up on her. It builds up slowly. And then it hits her with full force. She stops, gasping for breath and trying to keep the contents of her stomach from hurling onto the ground.

As the nausea dullens it’s intensity, dizziness takes over. Nausea is a sensation that she is well versed with. She did her Masters in Nauseous Sciences during her pregnancy, but feeling dizzy or faint is an entirely novel feeling. She sits down, and gets her head between her knees and breathes hard. In and out. In and out.  

It takes a good fifteen minutes before she can get up by herself and make the long trip home. Tired and thoughtful, she searches within for answers. A 30 minute jog inducing nausea and giddyness? Where have things come to? And this has been happening often. Every time she wants to crank things up, or push herself, her body refuses to cooperate. Her young, healthy, fit body feels alien to her now.

And then, a fleeting, seemingly disconnected thought/ memory floats up to the surface of her consciousness. A few days ago, while applyin kohl to the rims of her eyes, she remembers noticing how pale they looked.


It finally dawns on her. Damn. The tiredness. The huffing. The inefficient oxygen carrying capacity of her blood. And the utter carelessness during and after her pregnancy when it came to iron supplements. But her Hb levels were always more than good. Did she lose a lot of blood during childbirth? That should have corrected itself by now… Or have her eating habits deteriorated? Is it the nursing? Is she really anaemic?


Hella folks!

I have a confession to make.

I ain’t worthy to be called a “runner” anymore. There, I have said it out aloud.

It has been a struggle, these last few months. Paucity of time. Lack of energy. Deficient motivation. Precedence of sleep. A lot of things have contributed to me becoming an insincere runner. Add to that my recent “episodes of giddyness” and troublesome knees and I am nothing more than an exalted “walker” now. Yes. It is painful to admit, but ’tis the truth folks. I still have my good run- days, but they are few and far between. Warming up takes forever, and cool down never seems sufficient. The fluidity and economy of motion are conspicuous by their absence. Dare I say, running isn’t so much “fun” anymore.

I wonder, is this permanent?

I need to re-discover my love for running. Before that, I need to sort my health. Eat better, get my hemoglobin levels checked, maybe even start taking some supplements. I have so many roles to play at the moment that I often put myself and my health to the back-burner. That has to change. An unhealthy mother is a useless mother. A tired, irritable wife is a bane. A physically unfit, weak- in- body surgeon/ fellow will never produce her best work in the OR or be up to the daily challenges of a gruelling workday. An ill daughter is of no help to ageing parents. So yes, a few things have to change. In my head and inside my body.

A sizeable chunk of the readers here are new mamas, or soon-to-be mamas (going by the popularity of the “Qatar birthing” and the Ma Wednesday posts). I hope you ladies take some lessons from my tales and make changes in your lives too. It is that time in our lives when we are so busy that we may sometimes completely neglect ourselves and our health. Health is often taken for granted, but ill health is something that can ruin the most precious moments of our lives and make everything seem dreadful and meaningless. Hope none of us have to tread that path.

I hope to regain my love for running and feel good about my level of fitness again. I know it will not be easy from now on, with so much on my plate these days. But I shall honestly try. You should too!


Till next time..

Dr J.

6 thoughts on “Runday Monday- Confessions of a postpartum runner.

Add yours

  1. This made me sad for you because I love to run so much. i know you like to shop so maybe some new kit will help? Do you have a running app like run keeper or strava? That is really fun to use. New music? Or go with a plan that you are only going to run for 10 minutes then walk 5 then run 10 and walk 5, maybe do 3 sets? Or can you go with a friend? Hugs to you Dr J, hope you find your running mojo again. X

    1. Yes doc, I am considering sprucing up my running wardrobe and gear… Apps, well would love to try them but I don’t carry my huge, chunky phone on my runs…but ultimately I guess it’s the overall tiredness and dip in general health that is killing my running mojo!

      P.S. I like running alone 🙂

      1. Yes, me too. Maybe the tiredness is the issue. My son didn’t sleep through the night until he was 9 months and it wore me down. On a sbopping note, I got lovely new running tights from nike that say “just do it” down the leg that I am loving right now. PS how about a new garmin running watch if apps are out?

      2. I have a feeling I would love those tights too! And yes, Garmin…. Now that’s something I should look into 🙂

      3. Tights are from netaporter, they even kept me warm at minus two degrees; perhaps not your first concern! They arent too hot for the gym though either. Id recommend a garmin, I have the 220. Have you checked your thyroid? X

      4. Haha…funny it is…increased appetite, hyperhidrosis, mood swings, intolerance to heat, skinny frame…hence co- workers constantly ask me the question that you just asked doc! I end up doing TFTs every year almost…so far all good…

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