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 :)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

2016 Race Schedule

Jax Bank Half Marathon
Gasparilla Half Marathon
Red Hills Triathlon
Gate River Run
Pittsburgh Half Marathon
Sandestin Tri
Brett Robinson Tri

Thursday, August 13, 2015

9 Month Training Plan: Creating a Human

Most of you can guess where I have been over the past few months. There isn't a whole lot to write about as you watch your fitness steadily decline for 9 months. Regardless, I thought it would be nice to share some pearls of wisdom to those who may be going through the same thing or considering it. (Especially given the void of information out there for pregnant athletes as well as the plethora of  pregnancy myths)

Despite a small hurdle in the 8th month, a combination of endurance training and CrossFit kept both the baby and I more healthy. More specifically, my blood pressure stayed within normal limits, I had no incidence of low back pain (even with a history of a pelvic fracture/ORIF), no lower extremity swelling build up, proper weight gain, and pretty good energy levels throughout.

Overall, I continued to swim, bike, and run until about 8 months preggo. Around 8 months/32weeks preggo, I strained my achilles pretty bad to the point where I could barely walk. My weekly track workout did me in as I awoke one morning with a swollen achilles and inability to bear weight on the affected leg. Combine that with a little ligamentous pregnancy laxity + being on my feet all day at work+ history prior calf injury = mobility nightmare and rookie mistake.....

In the end, I took almost a whole week off with no working out, added a heel lift, and did some Graston to my calf/achilles. I was able to walk normal about 2-3 days later. The whole incident gave me a little bit of a scare as I know professionally what happens if you tear your achilles. (usually it necessitates immediate surgery otherwise the achilles will shorten) I put running, swimming, jumping on hold for a good 3-4 weeks.

With no running/swimming from 32 weeks-36 weeks, I shifted my focus even more to strictly CrossFit. As my achilles mended, I spent a lot of time air dyne spinning, squatting, ski-rowing, and regular rowing for cardio. I also was able to do my usual CrossFit WODs pain free.

Besides my physical fitness, at 39 weeks pregnant my weight gain topped off at around 20 lbs and was all localized to the right areas (my belly)! My nutrition had not changed much- I mostly avoided processed sugar, gluten, and obviously adhered to the normal pregnancy restrictions. There may have been more splurges here and there but I simply listened to my body's needs. My progress was closely monitored by my physician who recommended that I workout until close to the end of the 3rd trimester.

To all my fellow female athletes who are pregnant, considering becoming pregnant, or simply afraid because of all of the bad info out there... I'm sharing a few things:

1. My 1st-3rd Trimester Training
2. Pregnancy Fitness Goals
3. Pictures from my Journey
4. Baby Benefits from Exercise

1st-3rd Trimester Training:

1st Trimester
  • Swimming-2000-3000 meter workouts 
  • Biking-1-2 hours (trainer/outside) 
  • Running-1-2 hours tops
  • CrossFit-2x a week 
  • Ab/Transversus Abdominus(TA) Isometrics/Glute Strength 2-3x a week
  • Weekly Volume- 6-12 hours exercise
  •  Total Weight gain-2 lbs
2nd Trimester
  • Swimming-1500-2500 meter workouts 
  • Biking-1-2 hours (some outside/trainer)
  • Running-Kept running workouts 3-5 miles. (At the end of the second trimester, I started having severe round ligament pain and resorted to mostly shorter distance running and running only on soft surfaces (beach/track/trail)). 
  • CrossFit 2-4x a week. As my ability to SBR diminished, I transitioned to more METCON style workouts. At this time, I lightened up my squats, deadlifts, and general lifting weights to about about 65%-75% of my norm. I discontinued hand stands/inverted work. For toes to bar, I stuck to knees to elbows ONLY. I was still able to perform kipping pull-ups, but shifted focus to mostly ring rows because of ligamentous laxity. 
  • Ab/TA/Glute strength-2-3x a week
  • Weekly volume-6-10 hours
  • Total Weight gain-10 lbs
3rd Trimester
  • Swimming-1500-2000 meter workouts (held swimming temporarily during achilles injury)
  • Biking-No more trainer @ 7months as belly was in the way. After D/C bike trainer work I resorted to Air Dyne work with occasional tabatas. 
  • Running- short and interval based on soft surfaces ONLY. (held running from 32-36 weeks secondary to injury)
  • CrossFit-5x a week. I dropped my weights to 50-65% for most Olympic lifts. I rarely did movements where my belly impeded the bar pathway (snatches). Instead, I opted for single arm dumbbell snatches. I still jumped rope, but DC-ed double under secondary to achilles. Burpees were executed from a box or plates. I substituted ring rows for pull-ups and occasionally did box jumps onto plates. 
  • Ab/TA/Glute strength 1-2x a week 
  • Weekly Volume 6-8 hours
  • Total Weight gain-20lbs (38-39 weeks) 

My Fitness Goals

#1. Maintain health pregnancy : Check
2. Finish CrossFit Open Scaled Division: Check (first CF open ever @ 5months preggo)
3. Keep weight gain under 25-30 lbs while maintaining healthy pregancy: Check
4. Finish Donna Half Marathon: Check 1:47 (4 months preggo)
5. Finish Gate River Run in top 10%Women: Check (4.5 months preggo)
6. Maintain good core, postural, and glue strength to prevent low back pain: Check

The Transformation:

 17 weeks 
18 weeks
 19 weeks

20 weeks 
21 weeks 
 22 weeks
23 weeks 


 24 weeks 
25 weeks 
 26 weeks 

27 weeks 


28 weeks 
30 weeks 
31 weeks

 32 weeks
 33 weeks 
34 weeks 

35 weeks


36 weeks
37 weeks 
38 weeks
39 weeks 

Baby Benefits of Exercise

While exercise helped me stay physically in shape, more importantly:
1. Maverick was born super healthy.
2. Both Maverick and I were D/C-ed from the hospital a day early secondary to good health and quick ability to bounce back after birth.
3. I avoided HBP, gestational diabetes, and pre-eclampsia (All of which can cause premature birth).
4. Maverick will hopefully someday have a higher IQ secondary to improved oxygenation while in utero and has a increased likelihood of being an athlete someday (compared to babies of mothers who did not work out during pregnancy according to some studies).
5. Maverick was born with an extremely healthy heart and lungs secondary to again improved oxygenation again from my exercising.

I could keep going but you get the picture :)

The reward of this 9 month training plan:

Maverick Steel Austin 

Feel free to contact me with questions! There are more myths than factual information out there. As for references, the books that further helped guide my journey were:
The Better Baby Book
Primal Mom
Pregnant Athlete

Sunday, February 01, 2015

New Chapter: Gut Check

As age 35 is coming up quickly on the horizon, my priorities in life, triathlon, work have shifted. I have been putting "this" off for years and years... mostly for one race and then another race... and then another goal and then another IM and then partially due to some self confidence issues/self image issues over the fear of getting fat. Overall, mostly for selfish reasons...

I have matured enough to finally realize that there is more important things and bigger things for me in life than triathlon. Although I have been saying I have wanted a family for awhile now-ha- ha -maybe years.... it finally happened. A lot quicker than anticipated of course... first try in fact.... I thought just maybe I could squeeze out another 70.3 and rock my cute betty kit??? The guy upstairs had other plans. For that I am so thankful. Yes my friends in case you haven't figured it out already- I am pregnant.

Gut Check: 8 weeks 

Gut Check:12 weeks 

As of this week I'm already over the 1st trimester. Yay for that! Scott and I had a small scare initially and really thought it would be smarter to keep it quiet. Who likes everyone up your business anyway?So far I have been pretty fortunate with only mild nausea, zero weight gain, and have been continuing to train -swimming, biking, and running, and CrossFitting.

I'm doing no-where near the volume I used to but am working out a total of 8-12 hours a week. I cut back initially to excessive fatigue but feel like I have bounced back in the last few weeks. And yes my pull ups are still there :)

So what I have I learned initially? A lot. I feel like there is still a long road ahead. Here are some big lessons I've learned thus far.

1. Pregnancy does not equal sickness. You can still work out!
One of the biggest thing that amazes me is that our society thinks it's ok for pregnant chicks to chow down on fast food, pizza, and ice cream but yet criticizes those who keep fit. Gaining excessive weight while pregnant seems acceptable or the norm.  I have seen a lot of fit chicks harassed and labeled as selfish or narcissistic.  And beware there are way too many workout myths to keep track of.  I can see how some pregnant gals may simply be scared to get off the couch. Either way I am going to continue to work out and listen to my body.

2. You can still eat healthy!
I was pretty strict no sugar/no grains for the first 8 weeks and fell off a little the past few as my appetite has changed. This week my normal diet has been back on target. Depending on how much nausea you have, this clearly will affect your diet. This is still no excuse to eat daily ice cream and bon bons. Gross. You are feeding your baby that shizit.

3. You can lift heavy things.
Yes-you shouldn't start anything new while you are pregnant. But if you lifted heavy weights before -you can continue to do that. I can't tell you many times already I have been told "Don't lift anything heavy!" I tried so hard not to laugh in one of the doctors faces as I deadlifted almost 200 lbs the day before. As for now, I'm going to continue to train, work out moderately, and listen to my body. And yes I did an AMRAP of the workout below at 8 weeks pregnant. Oops ---there  may have been heavy weights involved.

4. Keeping this a secret for 13 weeks may not have been the best idea. 
Although we told our families a little earlier, not being able to talk about this with friends was very challenging. In fact, it made me feel withdrawn for awhile. In case you were wondering where I have been...

5. Making smaller less ambitious goals will help keep you sane. 
For a type A triathlete who normally has the race season mapped out a year in advance, not having a race calendar to look forward to was down right depressing. So instead, I signed up for a 5k, a half marathon, the Gate River Run, and the CrossFit open. Yes I may not be qualifying for Kona, but I have smaller fitness goals to keep me on the right path. My selfish goals can take a back seat for a few months to create a human :)

And don't worry this will most definitely NOT turn into a pregnancy blog. In fact, I think pregnant chicks are annoying lol...I still do. I just want to share the learning experience with my fellow female athletes. There is still a huge informational gap out there concerning may of these topics. Feel free to email me if you have questions As for me, I still have a lot to learn.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sick of HR Monitor Chaffing?

A few months ago my husband and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. Being a pretty active couple, our gifts to teach other are a little off the wall ranging from Rogue bumper plates, Lululemon diggs, and Betty Design stuff to chaff-free HR monitor straps.

Yes you heard me right-- I got a chaff-free HR monitor strap that no longer goes around your chest but fits snuggly around your wrist like a watch. We are such a romantic couple right? HR chaffing definitely is not sexy.

Anyway this new strap is called a Mio Link. Its a watch strap that is much smaller than your typical Garmin that detects your HR via your wrist pulse. I wear it in addition to my Garmin 910xt to replace the pesky HR strap on the opposite wrist.

Let's say goodbye chest chaffing and old chest strap! In addition to being uber comfortable, there is also a colored flashing light that correlates with your heart rate zones. Now you have both a heart rate and a flashing colored light to keep you in the zone! No more excuses right coach?

Here is a view from the back and the removable sensor:

The only small downside of the Mio Link, is that it requires charging. Since I'm doing mostly Olympic distance triathlon training,  I haven't had a problem charging 1-2x weekly. If you doing 70.3 training and beyond (15+hrs), you would need 2-3 charges weekly.

So what about compatibility? I have paired my Mio Link seamlessly with Garmin 910xt. It supposedly pairs with all ANT+ technology including most iPhones/Androids. I also set my 5 HR zones with the color coordination system:

So are there any downsides? The product description states that the strap is water resistant up to 30m, not water proof... From what I read, you should avoid doing any type of diving with it. Would it be ok in a triathlon? I'm going to test it out this weekend.

Either way, I'm happy do do lots of training minus a battle wound on my chest :) Send me a message if you have further questions-

And thank you Scott for continuing to take care of me-even if it's just reducing HR monitor wounds !

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Paleo Dessert?

Over the past year I've discovered the next best thing to delicious fro-yo.... It's called Yo-nanas. After hearing about it on several podcasts and trying it officially at a paleo friend's house, I knew I had to get my hands on one.

What is it? Ultimately, it's a rotating grinder than smoothes out frozen fruit into a fro-yo type consistency. 

Although it's called "yo-nanas", it works with far more than just bananas. In fact, we've tried starfruit, honey dew, papaya, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and even dragon fruit. Ok maybe we stretched the creativity a bit far :)

Here are my two favorite new recipes:

Pumpkin Yonanas
Frozen Pumpkin (slightly thawed) 1/2 cup
Cinnamon pinch
Cloves pinch
Nutmeg pinch
1 banana frozen

Honey Berry Yonanas
Honey Dew (1/2 cup frozen)
Blueberries (1/2 cup frozen)

I'm not getting anything from the product review, but I figured I would pass this along to you fat adapted athletes, "no sugar no grains" peeps, and just the paleo population in general. This will help you kick the dessert habit of sure... 

Now how to kick the wine habit :) ?