Winter-Spring Blog 2019


The past few years, I have saved up my blog posts for plane rides, because it seems to be the best (and only) time for me to reflect and write.  I am headed back from St. Anthony’s and thrilled to accomplish my goal of attaining my 8th win.  What did the past few months look like towards achieving that goal?  My road was quite curvy, but fortunately it did end up straightening out.  And you know what?  I have realized over the years that the weeks leading into a race are never perfect, but that doesn’t mean a race goal is not attainable. 

I finished my last race of 2018 in December, so I didn’t want to start my 2019 season too early and I figured St. Anthony’s would be a perfect race to start off the season.  When I got back into training mid January after a break, I quickly remembered how three weeks off of swimming makes you feel like cement for three consecutive weeks in the water.  Most of my training is solo these days and that works the best with balancing Nate’s work, the kids schedules, family activities, etc.  The past few years I have told Nate that I want him to focus on what he wants to do for a career outside of my career.  Yes, I miss having a training partner for most of my sessions, but I decided that I did not want my triathlon to hold him back from what he wants to do.  My triathlon is important, but it’s not any more important than Nate’s work, his personal racing goals, the kid’s activities, family trips, etc.  I know I won’t be racing forever and I wanted my racing to have more a overall balanced approach within the family. 

The winter in the midwest this year was wet and cold. We had more snow and ice than normal, so that meant a lot of treadmill running.  I expect to be on the bike trainer all winter, but I realized that doing all my training sessions indoors really wears on me mentally.  I also missed the sun.  Three weeks at a time without seeing any drop of sunshine is tough.  Last winter I recall being able to run outside at least 2x/week, but this year I only averaged one or two runs outside per month. There were many days that it was very mentally challenging to get in the work, but I knew I had a race later that spring and needed to get it done.  I always felt better after the session as well, it was just the starting out part the was the toughest. 

Sometime at the end of January, I started to feel really drained.  I had a bad cold and just seemed like I couldn’t shake the fatigue. I felt ok during workouts, but outside of workouts I felt exhausted.  I would crash every night early after my daughter went to bed (usually by 8:30) and I would have off and on dizzy spells, headaches and bouts of nausea.   I wasn’t sure if it was a sinus infection or an iron deficiency or Vit. D deficiency or just fatigue?  I knew that I needed to do a better job with my diet.  Nate was working many evenings and so I was making dinner for the kids and sometimes would eat their leftovers and cheerios/milk/banana/peanut butter for dinner.   Caroline gets off the bus from Kindergarten at 4:10pm and then a couple of nights a week she has activities (gymnastics/swim lessons/religion class) that start by 5pm, so it’s a mini race for me those nights, (especially the nights Nate is working) and I am trying to get the kids where they need to be and fed in time.  So more often than I should, I was making not the best nutritional choices.   However, I began consciously trying to eat more meat and veggies to see if that was making me feel better.  To all the Mama’s out there, I know we tend to put caring for others above our needs, but don’t forget to neglect what you need to be healthy.  I am trying to remind myself this and be more prepared for better nutritional choices.  I also decided to get a blood test done to check for low iron, but in the meantime, I figured I needed to up my vitamins.  Last winter, I didn’t anticipate that Connor would still be nursing (although he only nurses once or twice a day), I stopped taking my prenatal for several months.   I realized I could also be depleted in key vitamins since he was still nursing, so I started back on my prenatal as well.   Any tips on how to wean my now two year old is appreciated??!! Much, much harder than I ever anticipated!

We had a Florida vacation planned over Caroline’s spring break that I was really looking forward to.  This vacation was a great mental recharge for me.  Ten years ago, I would have thought taking a vacation in March just before race season would be the worst decision ever, but not at this stage in my career.  I realize now, that life and training need to have that balance.  Being in the sunshine and enjoying time at the beach and Disney with the family nourished my soul.  I was also starting to feel better.  No more headaches and dizzy spells.  Most of my workouts in Florida involved carrying around my 30 pound son for eight hours at Disney. He didn’t want to sit in his stroller and it’s best not to have a child screaming at Disney, so I carried him.  I think I got in all my strength training for the month of March during those three days at Disney.  

When I returned back to Missouri after our Florida trip, the weather was warming up and I was feeling much better.  I got in some great training sessions outside and realized how much fun training can be with some company and some fresh air.  I was motivated to be ready for my race approaching.  Unfortunately, the day after we got back from Florida,  I went on a mountain bike ride (which is not really mountain biking…just on smooth gravel).  There was a rain storm the day before and a log was in the trail.  I went over too slowly and toppled over on the other side in soft mud.  I was wearing road cleats that were cranked way too tight and my calf couldn’t unclip and twisted funny.  This lead to a strain in my run off the bike and I couldn’t run for two weeks (when I knew I needed to be getting in my key training for St. As).  I just tried to stay positive and not worry about it.  The good thing about having two kids who keep you busy, is that you can’t get too down about an injury because they take your mind off of it most hours of the day.  And they also put things in perspective, it’s just a little injury.  Fortunately, it healed in time for the race.

In my St. Anthony’s race report, I mentioned how I appreciate each win more than the last and that this past win, “is as much my families win as it is mine.”  Juggling motherhood, being a professional triathlete, and self coaching is a balancing act that I don’t think I could have undertaken without the years of experience I have had in the sport and the support and life lessons from my own Mother. Thanks to all the mother’s out there who inspire me and especially my own Mom who has taught me the most important life lessons of all; to love deeply, have unwavering dedication and a deep respect for yourself and others.   For anyone reading this blog, I hope you can learn through a part of my thoughts and my experiences as I navigate through racing, training and motherhood.  Often on social media, it’s just a smiling picture, but it can’t really portray the life behind the photo!

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