Monday, February 01, 2016

Real Life Training with a Baby: The Honest Truth

Lately, I have had a lot of people ask me how my training is going post baby.  It's funny because when I was pregnant I had these ambitious goals and ideas of what I wanted to do and accomplish post baby.  (Especially after having a superfit pregnancy like I did.)  After being blessed with a new life to take care of 24-7, sometimes things change and priorities shift. During my pregnancy and even right after, I had 2 big goals:

1. Qualify for Boston and do my first solo marathon outside of an Ironman (@ 4 months post partum)
2. Crush 5 hours in the 70.3 (@ 7 months post partum)

Post baby, I started out pretty well and was cleared early to exercise even considering I had a c-section.  I was super stoked to start tackling training.  Despite early clearance and shedding baby weight quickly, I proceeded with caution to get my glute and core strength back first.  While I was back to the swim, bike, and run and even CrossFitting pretty quickly, things didn't exactly proceed like I had hoped.

With an extremely poor sleeper, no outside family help, heading back to work, and being a single mom for 75% of the time while my husband was deployed, my training quickly took a back seat.  Although I was still able to work out, my training plans were anything but consistent.  No matter how well I planned my meals, training, etc somehow - someway things just would not sync.

I beat myself up pretty hard... I would see other athletes back to hard core training/racing and I just kept saying---

"You aren't trying hard enough."

" You aren't tough enough."

"You are lazy."

"You aren't planning your schedule well enough."

"You suck as an athlete."

I would see other athletes saying things like "Don't use your kids as an excuse"....."Ugh am I doing that?"



As my marathon drew closer and closer, my self doubt increased even further as I realized my mileage was nowhere close to where it needed to be.  I  backed out last minute and dropped to a half marathon. In retrospect, I was extremely glad I did. With cold temps, rainy conditions, and a broken 2 hrs of sleep the night before the race, things didn't go exactly as planned. Fighting severe sleep deprivation, I had a small break down at mile 5 and started crying uncontrollably.  I never in my life or days of racing wanted to quit so badly.  I quickly got over my pity party and finished although the results were a bit ugly.  I finished a good 14 min behind my goal of a 1:30.


Moving forward, I decided things would get better and I would sign up for the FL 70.3. I used January to test the waters before I shelled out the big race entry fee.  Once again, January didn't exactly go as planned with several baby sleep regressions (waking up 3-4x a night) and again just lack of consistency with my training.  I was up to 10 mile runs, 2 hr bikes, and 3000m swims but just not getting in my 2x a week of each discipline and sometimes going a full week missing a full discipline.

So here we go again... "Heidi failing and backing out of a race".... Negative self talk ensues....

BUT this time I'm not looking at it that way.  Right now logistically I can't swing 15-20 hrs of training a week, work, and be a good mom and wife.  Yes-- I could easily knock out and finish a marathon or a 70.3.  But why?  To half ass a race and be a crappy mom?  I'm more of an "all in girl." I don't do well not being truly invested.  I know what it takes to race fast at long course and I am just not there.

So what's next? While there is definitely time to work on my original goals for the 2nd half of the 2016, for the spring I'm focusing on 2 more half marathons, the Gate River Run 15k, and lots of Olympic/sprint triathlons all while rocking out the CrossFit open. Things may not have gone as planned, but I am still optimistic! In the end, I think I will be a better athlete and a better mom with the added benefit of realistic goals/expectations.

While I cheer on those of you can logistically get back to long course racing right away post baby, I'm not quite there yet.  For now I am doing what is right for me, my baby, and my family.  That is far more important than any race.  Triathlon will always be there.  The early days with this guy...not so much!


Probably not one of my most uplifting blogs, but I had to get it out. What is my point with all of this?

1. Be realistic with your post-partum goals with TIME FRAME especially.

2. Your fitness will return but it may take longer than you think.

3. Although triathlon is high on your priority list, that will change after your have a baby.

4. I would NOT  have listened to (# 1- # 3 on this list pre-baby ) lol...

5. Even though you have already given birth, if you continue to nurse your body will take longer to bounce back. (For me the scale is normal but body composition is not and my ligaments are still very lax)

6. Stay positive and definitely don't compare your journey or situation to others. Super hard not to do... Definitely a daily struggle for me...

7. Be flexible! Throw in some sickness or bad night of sleep, things may not go according to your coaches schedule.

8. Don't rush your body otherwise you will get hurt (especially with running). If you have pain or are peeing yourself you are not ready for running/impact.

9. Try to be creative! I can't count how many times I did walking lunges/squats/pushups throughout the house during nap time.

10. You don't know until you try. I find the more I get out and do stuff with the baby, the more flexible he is. For example, I am able to go to a full hr CrossFit class and leave him in his stroller with toys. He does just fine and loves all saying hi to all the athletes... The more I do it the better he is :)

Anyway good luck and send me a message if you have questions! I will be back I promise... might just be a little later than expected :)



5 comments:

  1. A couple things from one of your guy readers.

    1. Chill out. No need to beat yourself up over things you have no control of. Nothing you can do to make sure you give birth to a great sleeping baby.

    2. Don't be so competitive in life things. It will just make you miserable and angry.

    3. Like yourself. I do. You and I have had a rocky road as far as being acquaintances. I am used to it though. Most people eventually learn to hate me. :)

    Take care Heidi, and my best to you and yours.

    :)

    Laterzzzz. :)

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  2. Love this! You are an amazing athlete! And Babies are really hard work; hard, hard work!

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  3. Yes to all of this! I have a 16 month old and also had big plans post-baby that I THOUGHT were realistic enough, and also thought I was bouncing back quickly post-partum after a fit pregnancy, only to be sidelined for a couple months by SI joint dysfunction (since, as you stated, though my weight was almost back to pre-baby, my joints and ligaments were not). Becoming a mother can be a very humbling experience for an athlete! It's absolutely ok to readjust your priorities and expectations, and you should never feel bad about that.

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  4. This is such a great post. It will be so helpful to many women, thanks for your honesty and sharing.

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