Happy Holidays 2013!



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The Holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year. Racing season has come to a close, training winds down and this equates to more time with family and friends and accomplishing Christmas shopping!  I also use this time of the year to reflect, look back at all the highs and lows and what I have learned to carry over into the next year.  I re-evaluate my goals, focus on any season injuries or issues that need to be addressed, and recharge myself mentally.  I find the most difficult time of the year is January-March; when training is really ramped up and racing season has not yet begun.

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This year I did not have any races to reflect upon, but it has been plenty busy!  I had lots of changes this past year; going through pregnancy, giving birth and now entering parenthood.  The past few months I have focused on juggling training with caring for my newborn.  The needs of my baby girl will always be first on my list of priorities, but I am also navigating how I can best prepare myself to get to the start line of my first race healthy, happy and ready to rock!

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Getting back into the swing of training has been much easier with the help of my husband/coach, Nate.  He helps me out as much as he can with Caroline and helps me to get the most out of me every day as an athlete.  When we push our bodies hard in training, it’s tough to stay mentally positive.  Nate always reminds me to smile and just do the best that I can.  It really helps to have those reminders, especially when you are several weeks into a hard training block.

The hardest part about balancing being a professional athlete and parenthood; is having to leave Caroline for my training.  I know that she is in great hands with those caring for her, but as a mother I do have a bit of guilt leaving her.  I do feel blessed that my job is intermittent throughout the day and I can schedule my training around her naps.  I love returning from a morning swim workout and getting to spend some quality time with her before my next workout.  She also gives me the strength to dig deep when I am hurting in the middle of a session.  When I am pushing my body on the Computrainer or hitting a pace on the treadmill, I picture her smiling face and this gives me that extra ounce of motivation.  I feel time away from her should be utilized to the max.

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My recovery from workouts is not quite the same as before.  I no longer can go to sleep when I am tired or auto tune my brain out to a movie or television show thoughout the day.  However, the joy I have from watching Caroline learn and play is well worth missing a Sunday morning sleep in.  I have learned to rest when my baby is resting (when I don’t have a planned training session to fit in) and those naps with her lying on my stomach are so relaxing.  Some mornings I wake up not having the best night of sleep, but I stay positive and know that I will get to rest again soon!  All the years of being a professional athlete I have learned to tune into my body.  I know when to keep pushing and when I need to back down.  As a new mother, this is a very important key to my training.

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It’s so important to not put too much pressure on myself to expect my pool times to return to pre-pregnancy in X amount of time or my 10k run pace to be where it was pre-pregnancy six months after giving birth.  I have to take my progression day to day and be happy with the improvements I make.  My passion is staying active and fit and pushing my body to it’s limits.  I look forward to challenging myself next season and getting back onto the racing scene..  Racing is really where you test your body and push to the limit; not in training!

Next year, I will have an extra cheerleader out on the racecourse!  I look forward to experiencing another race season, but look even more forward to watching little Caroline take her first steps and say her first words!

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Enjoy this holiday season and I wish everyone a very blessed 2014!  See you at the races!

Sarah

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