Mid-Season Update


It has been a whirlwind the past few weeks!  Caroline turned one, we visited with family in Minnesota and now I am recovering from an injury.  The season has taken an unexpected toll, but I am focusing on enjoying time with my daughter and healing.  Here is an update regarding the past few weeks!

Two week leading into Minneapolis were extremely tough.  I was desperately attempting to mentally prepare for one of the biggest races of the season (as this was the first race part of the three race Toyota Triple Crown Series); however, my body, physically, was barely hanging on.  I did not know what was wrong.   Towards the end of June, I was doing a hard run on the treadmill, going on and off the treadmill as I was running my intervals (a workout I have rarely done this year).  Towards the end of the short, intense workout, I began to feel a sharp pain on the lower right side of my back.  I figured it may heal up in a few days, but it never really improved after that initial first day.  I saw my chiro and physio and it was diagnosed as SI Joint inflammation.   The following week I tried a 30 min run and after the run, I could not walk!!!  The next day it was better, but I was advised to take anti inflammatories and let the swelling calm down.  My SI joints were moving well, so it was just a matter of time to clear out the inflammation.  I figured at this point, I needed imaging to see what was going on in my back.  I quickly found a doctor right before the 4th of July holiday and was again diagnosed with SI joint dysfunction, but was diagnosed without an MRI imaging.  The following week, I had a flight scheduled to fly up to Minnesota and was hoping with the increased amount of anti-inflammatory medications, I would be ok to race (as I was told as long as I didn’t feel pain, I would be ok).  Unfortunately, I still had a significant amount of pain and had to withdraw from the start line.  

Earlier this week, I had an MRI and got down to the “bottom” of my pain, literally!  My diagnosis is a sacral insufficiency fracture, my SI joints were fine.  This injury is due to my bones being in an osteopenia state.  I suffered this fracture because my bones are in a weakened due to the demands my body was placed under this past year with breastfeeding for the past 12 months and elite level training.   Breastfeeding puts women at risk for temporary osteoporosis, due to hormonal changes.  Often women stop their monthly cycle (which happened to me) and the lack of estrogen puts women at an increased risk for bone loss.  I have never suffered any type of stress fracture before, so this was all new to me.  I have been researching about lactation and what exactly happens to the chemistry inside a women’s body.  

Maternal calcium resorption increases during lactation. That means that the mom’s bones actually break down and release calcium into the bloodstream. Also, the kidneys secrete less calcium in the urine, so the nursing mother doesn’t waste any of that precious mineral.  Elisa Zied, Parents.com

In addition, lactating pulls calcium and other minerals from women’s bones and puts women at risk for bone loss.  For most women, taking a prenatal can help with this issue.  However, due to the required amount of training and racing we forgo as elite athletes I was not able to sustain proper bone health.  The prognosis is four to six weeks off and then I can resume running.  Of course, I will be sure to listen to my body and resume run training when I feel ready.  Unfortunately, I will not be able to race the month of August; however, I hope to be able to race again before the end of the year.  

Although women do lose some bone during lactation (to provide calcium for human milk)—even if they have a high intake of calcium—they’re likely to bounce back and experience an increase in bone density after weaning. During lactation—and at all times during a woman’s life—it’s important to continue to consume adequate calcium to support the health of bones and teeth.” Elisa Zied, Parents.com

My treatment will consist of heavy supplements of calcium and Vitamin D and I can resume light swimming and cycling for the time being, if I don’t have any pain.  I am feeling pain with most movement, so I am trying to be as cautious as possible.  Fortunately, I have lots of family to help me with Caroline as I am trying to limit the number of times I am lifting her.  I am also going through the weaning process as she is now one year old and breastfeeding is no longer recommended for her health.  (Not an easy task!).  Once I complete the weaning process, research has shown that my bones will return back to normal strength with some time.

Knowing what I know now, I still would not have changed anything.  I loved nursing my daughter and so happy I was able to provide the nutrition I felt was best for her. I am headed into a different stage with her as we are leaving the infant stage and headed onto the toddler stage.   

I have to be very happy with the season thus far.  I appreciated each and every six of my wins this season since having my daughter.  I knew that pregnancy/nursing was unchartered territory for me as an elite athlete.

I am very much focused on improving my bone health first and then excited to get back on track for the 2014 season.  I am taking this time to enjoy time with my husband and my daughter. 

Although I am devastated not to be able to compete in the Toyota Triple Crown or the Lifetime Fitness Series, I know that there are many opportunities in the sport of triathlon.  Those series were just not meant to be for me this year.  God has a different plan.  I am so thankful and happy I have a healthy, beautiful daughter and that’s what is most important.

Thank you for all your support this year!  



  • I am sorry that you were one of the few women who experience this extreme loss of calcium from the bones from nursing. I am confused about one statement you made though, “I am also going through the weaning process as she is now one year old and breastfeeding is no longer recommended for her health. ” Was there some reason, other than those that are regularly suggested, for her to need breastmilk? I have nursed both of my children, but I have never heard of it being recommended to stop at 1 year for their health. As a fitness professional this information was all very interesting for advising clients regarding their training regimen while both pregnant and nursing. Just curious as to if there was something more going on. Either way, I wish you a speedy recovery and thank you for sharing your experience!

    July 23, 2014
  • Hello Sarah,
    Quick message to ask if you would you be interested in a mutual following on Twitter. If so, you’ll receive ‘anytime’ #RT support & I’ll mention you in my ‘Follow-Friday Shoutouts’ including your website next week Friday & ‘future Fridays.’ I’m currently following you now & awaiting your follow-back. Note that I have thousands of Professional Ironman Triathletes / Coaches, Marathoners, Ultras following me worldwide. Please check out the number of ‘recent’ Professional Ironman Triathletes in my ‘Photos & Videos’ section, that follow me & receive my continuous ‘Follow-Friday & #RT support. I’m positive you’ll know many of these well known professional athletes…

    I look forward to hearing from you Sarah & hopefully we can share a mutual twitter friendship in the months & years to come…

    “Keeping your sponsors happy through marketing/advertising via #FF #Shoutouts & #RT support is Very Important to ALL Professional Ironman/Triathletes. And ‘Twitter’ is a great source to accomplish that goal!” *Strength In Numbers*

    Professional Public Relations / Marketing & Communications

    August 24, 2014

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