Friday, July 11, 2014

Pregnant is not a synonym for Invalid

Ok I promise this wont turn into a total pregnancy blog, I have some fun ones coming up recapping my adventures using a borrowed bike at TriRock Philly and the MaccaX Training camp before Challenge Atlantic City!  I'll still be training away and exploring Colorado over the next few months :)

Obviously some things have had to change.  Gone are the 20+ hour training weeks, pushing my body to the limits mixing intensity and volume and seeing what this body is capable of.  That doesn't mean I'm going to spend the next 5 months sitting on the couch and eating bon bon's :p  Its been great having access to the blogs of some professional female athletes that have recently had babies to see what they went through and that I am not totally insane training (well I call it training but its more like exercising) through my pregnancy as long as the doc and my body give me the ok.  One thats been great has been Beth Gerdes blog.  She is a professional triathlete that just had her little one and is navigating getting back into training and a newborn with an Ironman on the books in the next few months.

As for me it's been a variable schedule just being sure to listen to my body, some weeks were just above 10 hours in the 1st trimester with the fatigue and nausea making even that tough!  Now I'm back into a routine and the 2nd trimester is honestly a breeze, symptoms are gone, I'm not really showing yet and energy is back so there should be some consistency around 15+ hours a week, but its mostly aerobic so its not too stressful on the body!

4 months along, not much to show yet!

This weeks schedule:

Monday: 45 minute swim, 60 min bike at MAF, 45 min Strength train
Tuesday: 2 hour run scheduled...but ended up being a rest day! Blood drawn and a house of contractors by the time I got a chance to run I was exhausted so I cut the run.
Wednesday: 60 min swim with drills, 3 hour bike ride w/ 4*20 minutes zone 3 (yay a little bit of work outside of MAF feels soo good!)
Thursday: 70 min run with strides in the morning, 50 minute run at MAF in the afternoon, 60 minutes Yoga
Friday: 30 minute swim w/sprints, 60 minute bike ride MAF.

Saturday and Sunday are still to be determined but likely a 2-3 hour ride on saturday and a 2 hour run Sunday.  Love it, Lucho adjusts my training and gives it to me 24-48 hours in advance so he can keep an eye on how I'm responding and adjust accordingly, before it was to keep me on the razor edge getting to peak fitness, but now its so I don't overdo it.

So, not quite sitting around on my ass these days.  To help with that I got the BEST baby gift from the hubby!  I must have lost my mind to want this, but I think its more this triathlon obsession that rattled my brains than baby, I got a treadmill!  I never thought I would be so excited about drawing on my inner hamster and run while not going anywhere.  I love my toys and this thing is pretty bad ass, it has incline, decline, fans, wireless, I can map any route on google, wirelessly upload it and it will show me the street view and adjust the elevation as I run through!  It will be awesome when baby comes along and I cant get out of the house to run, I can just cruise on this, not to mention I can program any race run portion and get a feel for the course beforehand.  Right now its being used to get out of the heat, its been over 90 degrees here the last few days so I've been on the treadmill so I don't cook the baby!

Street view of the beginning of the Kona Run!
Yesterdays run, did some video work for analysis.

Now heres the fun part, as soon as you get pregnant EVERYONE becomes an expert on your body and pregnancy...seriously.  There has definitely been some unsolicited advice along the lines of the baby will fall out if I keep running, or I cant swim because my water will break and I wont know it did and that I'm in labour.  Its not completely new, most endurance athletes have had the friends and family tell them how they are killing their knees, hearts, and call them crazy and overambitious to do this insane sport (ok cant really blame them for that part it is crazy).

I know a lot of it is said out of concern for my wellbeing, but at the end of the day I'm going to do what my doctor advises and what feels right.  If you have experience as a pregnant athlete, I'm always looking to learn more, if you've never been pregnant and heard from a friend who knew someone who's 2nd cousin got pregnant and ran a disastrous mile I'm not interested.

So I apologise in advance if I stick my tongue out at you and keep running by as you tell me baby is about to fall out :p  Thats all for now, I'm going to go torture my pregnant ass with the foam roller and I promise I'll get back to the training and travelling fun with the MaccaX crew, stay tuned.

Carpe Diem

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

BIG NEWS & Ironman 70.3 St. George Race Recap

This is long overdue, but I didn't have much to say between when I found out and now without letting the cat out of the bag!

So I am writing this a few days after Ironman 70.3 St. George so everything is fresh in my mind, but by the time you are reading it, it will be June or July!

This race was very unique, and a challenge in a whole new way for one very big reason...I had some company for the race...


Before I recap the race a little update.  The 1st trimester is over, that was an adventure trying to train around the insane fatigue and nausea.  I've slowed down a lot, my MAF pace is about 2 minutes/mile slower than it was a few months ago, my heart is busy pumping away the extra blood volume and making sure baby is taken care of.  I tell ya 25 hour training weeks have nothing on pregnancy fatigue, that was out of this world!  I'm back into a training schedule these days, but its all aerobic work but some very short bits of intensity or ME work, I'm still able to do a fair bit especially now that most of the symptoms are gone and I'm not really showing yet.  My doc has been monitoring my blood work and cleared me to do as much as feels good, and right now I'm feeling great, but I have my trusty coach Lucho to keep me in check, and I will be working with him throughout the pregnancy.  Some interesting results from my blood work, I was really curious to see what it would look like as I was consistently doing more volume and intensity than I had ever done before (even in the peak weeks for Ironman) at elevation for a few months.  I felt like my body was absorbing the work, but it was cool to see the 1st results from the blood work right when I found out I was pregnant, everything was right where it needed to be, thyroid, iron levels, and it turns out this elevation works my hematocrit was sitting at 46.  Cool to see that my body was absorbing the work, and I was in perfect health to be home to a growing baby even though I had been piling on the Ironman training load.

Ok Back to the race:

So needless to say my racing strategy had to change a bit for this one.  We had started trying to start a family after Ironman Kalmar last year, and thats why my race season has been so last minute and I haven't been able to confirm much, I didn't know if I would be racing much this season.  Even though I wanted another shot at that Kona spot being 14 minutes off qualifying last year I didn't sign up for an Ironman.  I did plan on doing Challenge Atlantic City and had been training hard for that, but that was something I knew I could sign up for later in the season instead of Ironman where you usually have to commit a year in advance.  

Well funny enough about a month ago it still hadn't happened so I decided to throw a big race on the calendar, I couldn't keep waiting around and doing everything last minute so March 23rd I signed up for Ironman Canada...April 6th I got pregnant :)  

Ok back to Ironman St. George, I found out I was pregnant two weeks before St. George.  I'll admit it was a shock after trying for a while, and my head was instantly filled with happiness, worry, excitement and questions.  So I did what I always do and started trying to learn everything I can, especially about exercise and pregnancy, and started trying to decipher the American Health Care system to find a doctor.  Next Lucho.  First I told my husband, then my mom, then Lucho :p.  I wanted to hold off telling people until the 1st trimester when things are more likely to proceed all of the way through to a healthy birth, but I couldn't follow a 20+ hour training schedule, things were going to have to change!  "Soooo I have some big news" (after skipping 2 or 3 days of training which is unusual for me) "Are you pregnant??" "YES!!!" is pretty much how the conversation went, I swear he was almost as excited as I was :D.  

This is where it pays off to have an experienced coach, he has worked with pregnant athletes before, is a dad so has an idea of what his wife went through and had suggestions of resources and people to talk to.  So we talked a lot about the race and his opinion was to talk to my doctor, but with the last few big training weeks hitting well above 20 hours a 70.3 wouldn't be a huge stress to my body with the caveat that I don't race it like I usually would, with strict HR guidelines to hold me back.  So I talked with my doctor, and after dissecting my history and training the last few months, along with very positive blood test results, she gave me the go ahead with a number of guidelines around listening to my body, HR and feel.  The last question she asked before giving me the go ahead was can I hold back my competitive nature and put the baby first.  Priorities changed the instant I found out I was pregnant, I knew I could put my urge to win aside for the health of this little blueberry on board.

The race went pretty good, I was nervous with forecasts of 95 degrees race day, I knew I would have to keep it pretty comfortable effort to keep from cooking the baby!  

The Swim: 
Panic Attack! Crap, I stopped having these in the back end of last year once I got more comfortable in open water but turns out after 6 months of no open water swimming or wetsuit it returned, I'm sure it will go away with a few more open water swims...hopefully.  The buoys were easy to see and follow, still I managed to do some extra distance, I definitely need to work on sighting and going where I sight!  I probably went easier than I needed to but the freak out in the beginning had me cautious.

The Bike:
Here is where I realised how hard this was going to be.  It wasn't the heat, the bike course was tough but mild compared to some of the riding I had been doing in Colorado, the canyon was solid but nothing that had me too worried.  The hard part was letting my competition go by!!!  I was sitting at lower watts than I raced Ironman last year, my legs felt great like we were just cruising along, but I had to hold back and keep my HR from getting too high and it was busy pumping all of the extra blood my body was making for baby.  In racing I have this seek and destroy attitude, I come out of the swim down and the fun starts I get to chase down the competition getting a little boost from everyone I pass.  I was in phenomenal shape so I still did some passing but had to let people go when they passed me.

The Run:
Well legs were fresh! The run starts with a 3 mile uphill, which sucks in the beginning but that means the finish line is downhill, and I LOVE running downhill.  Lots of practise in Scotland running hard downhill at the end of long runs my legs can handle it without destroying my quads.  This was a beast of a run course, hilly and hot.  Hills on the bike I can do, hills on the run are my weakness.  There was no flat, no chance to get into a rhythm and again had to keep HR and effort in check.  Again I spent most of the time fighting the urge to go after people who passed me! 

The Finish - 5:31
Ok this was bizarre, usually at the finish line of a 70.3 I am dying, I look like I could collapse at any second totally wasted.  Well this time I cruised across, got my medal and water, and well felt fine.  It sucked :p 

I am so in love with this course though, it was tough but stunning.  I definitely want to come back and give it another crack!

While so drastically different racing experience, it will be very cool to tell this little blueberry about his or her racing resume with mommy.  It was hard not pushing to my potential, but at the same time I kept smiling to myself thinking about this shared experience and the new adventures that are ahead.  I have lots to catch up on, 2 weeks ago I went to Philadelphia to race TriRock Philly my first Olympic Distance and then to Atlantic City for the Team MaccaX camp and to cheer on my team mates doing the race :)

Stunning course!

Terenzo Bozzone

Andy Potts

Scoping out the finish line pre-race