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The Canadian Triathlon

You may have seen this picture on Facebook:


Yes, I was a spectator at my goal triathlon. No, it wasn’t because of injury. It was that damn FIRST TRIMESTER again…..YES my friends, I am PREGNANT!

Now, you all know how motivated I am. I think I miss an average of two workouts every six months (barring travelling). I was convinced when I saw that positive pregnancy test that I would be competing regardless. First, I was in peak form, I had gotten pregnant on the toughest week of my speed training program. Second, it was the summer and nothing could stop me from getting outside to run.

Well let me tell you, friends, that pregnancy has other plans.

I went through a mild depression where I could barely stand the idea of unbundling myself from my cocoon on the couch to pee. Food was…unappetizing to say the least. Cereal, tuna and white rice, and the odd Subway sandwich, if I had any at all, meant I was getting less than half my usual calories, and no fresh vegetables (couldn’t even look at em). Those calories had to feed me, a rapidly growing baby, and a nursling….which meant exercise wasn’t a smart idea, even if I could drag my ass out there. I was doubled over with nausea for five straight weeks. Standing up from sitting I nearly blacked out from the dizziness. I would get winded walking up the stairs.

I know all the physiological reasons for all of these changes and I won’t bore you with the science. I know exercise is supposed to help, but my friends, the decision was made for me. I could not do anything. My body wanted me to stay still, to lie down, try to put on a few pounds, and there was nothing I could do to make it change its mind.

I am now 13 weeks into this pregnancy and very happy to say goodbye to the storm that is the first. The depression has lifted. I started taking Diclectin for the nausea. I ran four 4 milers last week, and I can eat all the things again (with only the odd “ew hell no”). I stopped breastfeeding, and R seems pretty ok with it.

But…it meant I wasn’t going to be able to compete in the triathlon. As much as I would have liked to, it really was a non issue when I had to decide. I couldn’t train on the bike (had a little bleeding after a bike ride once that made me nervous). It was too hot to run during the day, which would have spiked my core temperature – a huge no when you’re pregnant. Swimming was the only thing I enjoyed but getting there meant enduring motion sickness in the car (not to mention I would have to get up off the couch) so I opted to watch elite athletes perform at their peak in the Olympics instead. On the couch of course. It was a nice distraction.

Huge props to my buddy Ian who completed his first Super Sprint Triathlon! He is the one who, years ago, mentioned a try-a-tri, which I didn’t know existed, and hence planted the seed. I now have the gear and the motivation to do one after this baby, and it is a great goal to have for 6 months post partum. Distance TBA….

This pregnancy, I do have my sights set on The Cookie Run 5K in November though! Hey, 22 weeks pregnant running for Girl Guide cookies….how does it get any better?!

Bike!

Well folks, it’s done – I finally have a bike!

newbike

I was surprised at how challenging it was to buy the right bike! Not having any base knowledge was a challenge, but after two stops in sports stores, several internet searches, and Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes, I think I have finally found my match. Let’s say, for now it meets the requirements I think I have!

  1. Road – sleek, fast, and light. Smaller surface area on the wheels, drop handles, and eventually I can add aero bars (yum).
  2. Women’s – handlebars are narrower, frame is a little bit smaller, cranks are shorter. I am not short, but I didn’t feel comfortable on the bigger bikes.
  3. NEW – with a 30 day guarantee and free tune up. (I do love Canadian Tire – we scored $15 in Cdn Tire money!)
  4. …it’s pretty!

So there ya have it, my first bike since I was 14. Now let’s hope the old adage is true.

List Crushing – #2 and #3

Went for a swim on the weekend! I was pretty surprised how tough it was to walk after half an hour in the pool…but at least I know I can swim over half a km in the pool and live to tell the tale! I’m far less self conscious now about my Walmart bathing suit, and a swim cap can wait until I have figured out how the heck to even breathe while I’m swimming…it’s not like I need the speed right now.

As for the training plan goal…dear Lord I think I have it! (I LOVE MAKING THESE BTW)

trainingdraft

I am giving myself two weeks to “recover” from the Kilt Run and the training I have been busting out. Damn, speed work is HARD but the payoff has been GREAT so far! Since it’s my first time trying to fit so many things in, I decided to work on a rotating two week template – three key swim workouts (in blue) every two weeks with several potential other swims here and there. Two key bike workouts a week, and three key runs because I gotta….

Oh yeah! I forgot to mention, I have decided to do the MEC Race Five Marathon at Gatineau Park on October 30th! With an entry fee of $25 who wouldn’t?!? I built the triathlon training into a marathon plan I borrowed from Brain Training for Runners. I’ll just drop the intensity of the Bike and Swim after the Tri, hopefully the cross training sticks nicely through to the marathon.

This is going to be a fun summer!! Now to get a bike….

Never say “Never”: Triathlon Edition

Whenever I say or think “oh I’ll NEVER do that” I always end up doing it. It’s like the seed is planted with that word NEVER, it begins to sprout and years later I’m obsessed with something I wouldn’t have given the time of day in my youth. My most recent seed: The Triathlon (thanks Ian). I haven’t ridden a bike since I was 13. During my last swimming lesson I “climbed up the wall like spiderman” – in grade 1. I’m afraid of fish touching my legs in open water and I don’t know anything about how to fix a broken bike chain 40 miles from home. But I said I would NEVER do it, and here I am today, dreaming about completing an Ironman.

The appeal might be the novelty of it all. I started running when I was 30, and I have now figured out what pace is and how much fun it is to race. Add a bike and I’ll get to play with speed (and deal with some new chafing and strained muscles). Throw me in some water and now breathing is a whole new ball game. What is possible? How fast can I swim, bike, and run to the finish line? What will I learn about myself along the way? What teachers will I find? Who will inspire me? Will I inspire my baby girl, or anyone else?

The underlying message is clear: I must use my body. I am an athlete. Dancer, yogi, runner, pregnancy, it’s all about making your blood rush and your body work. I run today because I can, because my legs let me and the will drives me. It’s important to keep options open though, because staying active and healthy into my 90s is going to require flexibility of mind as well as body. I have been reading a lot about fitness and the aging woman. Over the past 40 years, thanks to the revolution of women in sports, we are still just touching the tip of the iceberg of possibility.

My ultimate goal is to feel the way I do today, always. If you push yourself just beyond what you think you are capable of, at least once a week, that might not be an unrealistic expectation.

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