It was a historic Monday night for me. After close to 10 weeks of no running, I went for my first postpartum run.
It wasn’t beautiful. My legs felt weak and rubbery. My head felt a little dizzy. My shoulders felt tight. And yeah, I had to run/walk most of it.
But I did it.
I ran until I was 35 weeks pregnant and then delivered at 38 weeks. I got the OK to start running again six weeks postpartum, but have been wrestling with dizziness again, so I’ve put it off.
I’ve run with vestibular migraine before. Every few steps feel like you’re running on marshmallows. Lawns and houses seem to move by quicker than your eyes can keep up. Your head swims. It’s jarring.
My motto the first time around with vestibular migraine was “If I can run with this, I can walk with it." I needed to know that I would be OK day-to-day and the best way I knew to test that was to push it any day I could.
I learned there are days where I needed to scale back or days where I just needed to stay off the roads. But when I could, I logged a run.
In most cases of vestibular dysfunction, patients are usually referred for vestibular rehabilitation, a program that tries to retrain the brain, eyes and inner ear to compensate for the loss of function. In other words, it’s a possibility to rewire your brain to work together again.
In most settings, that rehab consists of head circles and moving your eyes back and forth and focusing on a single picture set in front of a busy background. It’s hard. It’s tiring.
So I take my rehab on the road. And this time, I’m rehabbing my body as much as my brain. So there I was, on a Monday night, postpartum body limping through a run, dizzy brain struggling to keep up.
I don’t have a training program lined up for postpartum because there’s not one for postpartum women in their early 30s with vestibular dysfunction.
So I’m taking it day by day. One mile at a time. Once foot at a time.
When I do work out that strange, personalized training plan, I’ll post here.