Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pregnancy and Triathlon

Yep, so that's me, Coach Angela.  Today.  Almost 25 weeks pregnant.   Here to talk to you about triathlon and pregnancy- which clearly have nothing in common unless you are a female triathlete of child bearing age.  And then they have everything in common.

I have a delightful five year old daughter, Alexandra.  My pregnancy with her was a bit of a surprise and for a planner like me, I took that as a blessing.  There is never a "best" time to have a child and when you are presented with a positive pregnancy test and just need to start planning your life around the arrival of that little baby, it forces you to be ready.  I liked it that way.  

On the contrary, when Alex turned 2, and then 3,  people were starting to ask me when I was going to have another.  Instead I decided to register for an Ironman.  Which meant I was putting off getting pregnant til she was almost 4.  And then USA Triathlon announced Age Group Nationals was going to be in Milwaukee and 2014 and Age Group Worlds in my hometown of Chicago 2015.  And I had to try to qualify, which meant if I did Alex would be 6 before I would be pregnant....you get the point.  I could basically put off having another baby forever.  

So last August I qualified for Age Group Worlds which will take place in Chicago in September 2015.  As I ran my way into the 25th and final qualifying spot I was doing the math in my head. August 2014 to September 2015, that is thirteen months.  Gestating a baby only takes 9 right?  Maybe I could squeeze this in instead of putting it of.  

Lo and behold, within a few weeks of nationals I was pregnant.  It was shocking.  I had been ready to try for a month or two and then put it off til after Worlds but really did not think I would get pregnant so quickly. But I did. I felt blessed. And determined. Determined to stay in tip top shape throughout my pregnancy so getting ready for Worlds in 4 months would be a piece of cake.

The first few weeks of September were a breeze.  The weather was good and I was feeling great- still running, biking and swimming almost everyday.  I had plans to run the Vegas Half Marathon in November and was certain I could still do it.  

September 27th, 6 weeks into my pregnancy, I ate a kale salad for dinner and have not been the same since.  The nausea hit shortly after dinner and lasted until December.  I could not look into the fridge or brush my teeth without gagging and I certainly will never be able to eat kale again.   I could not make it through a night of sleep without severe nausea, which meant I could hardly drag myself through my morning clients until I could take a nap.  The few times I actually worked out during those weeks I still felt like puking the entire time.  Not one food sounded appetizing and if I managed to run a few miles my hips would hurt for days after.  Not exactly the picture of health I had imagined myself.

The Vegas Half rolled around and I made the trip with several clients.  By that time I had no aspiration to run but instead planned to just be a great spectator. Sadly, I ended up in the ER in Vegas the night before the race with severe stomach pain and nausea and slept through most of the runners the next day.  Everything turned out fine, but I felt like I had let everyone down.   Again, not the picture I had in my head for a trip to Vegas with 15 awesome people.  

Since Christmas I have felt better, but nowhere remotely like myself.  I do swim a few times a week and lift weights or do the elliptical on other days.  But after four months of no running and several extra pounds on my stomach, I don't feel like now is a good time to start hitting the pavement again. Not to mention that leaning over on my bike is now impossible.  Staying in tip top shape is no longer my goal- it has been replaced staying sane and not getting huge.

My new little girl is set to arrive at the very end of May, which means after a month off I will have 10-12 weeks to whip myself into shape for Age Group Worlds.  Getting the last spot on Team USA means that I have no aspirations to place or break records, but I truly just want to participate in this huge event that will take place in my amazing Chicago.  While my previous goal was to have a fantastic race at this event, my new goal is to finish with a respectable time and lose my baby weight by then so I don't look silly in spandex.

Kids change our priorities- in and out of the womb I have learned.  I have 15 more weeks left of being pregnant and am getting through it by envisioning snuggling with my new little daughter and then heading out for a run after I put her down for a nap.  And let's be honest, following that run up with a glass (or bottle) of wine :)

-Coach A