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!
It has been 17 months since I have competed in a triathlon race. Since January 2nd, and was able to get in a consistent hard training block that I feel is preparing me for the race season, which is key for me this time of year. Later in the year, travel starts to add up with all the racing, so the winter is the perfect time to stay put and accumulate the miles from training rather than accumulate the miles from traveling!
Nate, Caroline and I have all gotten into a rhythm of training, eating, sleeping and balancing play time and training time. Caroline is now seven months and starting to scoot around the living room. Her personality is really starting to show and she loves to smile and play with her toys. She loves bath time and I took that as a sign she would love swimming. I have taken her a few times to the heated National Training Center pool and she absolutely loves the water! She splashes, watches the other kids and doesn’t seem to be bothered when she goes under water for a few seconds. Future fish on our hands?!
My first four races of the year will be close to home, all in the state of Florida. Not getting on an airplane the first couple on months into race season is a huge bonus! Especially this year with little Caroline traveling with me to the races, it will be much easier for all of us! I will be competing in my first race this Saturday. It’s just ten minutes from home in Clermont, Florida. No matter what the outcome, I will be happy to give it my all and experience the thrill of pushing hard out on the race course.
I am equally excited to partner with some great companies this year.
Fuji Bicycles: I am proud to be partnering with Fuji for the 2014 season. I love the comfort and speed of the bikes and working with a great team. I am excited to ride the new Norcom Straight, which launched last season. http://www.fujibikes.com/
ISM Adamo Saddles: I first Cherry’s Restaurant best-casinos-online.info division saw turnover rise 5% to SEK 32. road an ISM saddle back in 2006. Nate found a prototype in the USA Triathlon office and thought that I would really enjoy the saddle due to the design. I have loved the saddle since I began riding it. The pain I experienced in my early years of riding is no longer a problem and I have never looked back. The company is comprised of great people who are passionate about the sport and it’s athletes. My favorite saddle is the Time Trial. http://www.ismseat.com/
MissionAthleteCare: I have joined as a partner in this company since 2007. What is unique about Mission is that all the athletes have a say in the product. We get the opportunity to test the product before they are out on the market and have a voice in changing the product to make it better for athletes. Check out all the gear at www.missionathletecare.com My favorite product is the Facestick. One application and my face is protected for a six hour training day!
Polar: This is my first year working with Polar and I am very excited to work with a high quality product to elevate my racing and training. I am able to track my heart rate and pacing during training and can use this information as a valuable tool to help with my fitness progression. http://www.polar.com/us-en
PowerBar: I am excited to partner with PowerBar for my training and racing fueling needs. PowerBar understands the demands placed on endurance athletes and what it takes to get to the finish line. My favorite product is the Kona Punch gel! http://www.powerbar.com/
Rudy Project: I have been racing and training with Rudy Project since I started the sport and completed my first triathlon in 2003. I know my head and eyes are well protected! The casual glasses are comfortable and stylish and a must for me year round while living in Florida! https://www.rudyprojectusa.com/ I love to race in the Abilities!
Skechers: I am very excited to be joining the Skechers Performance Line for the 2014 season. I will be racing in the Go-Meb Speed2’s this season. I absolutely love the feel of these responsive, fast shoes. I can race in these shoes in a 5k or a half marathon! I love the variety of all the shoes Skechers has to offer. http://www.skechers.com/
Toyota: I have been part of the Team Toyota since 2008. Toyota is a revolutionary car company and always creating what the customer wants and needs. I am excited to be driving the Rav4 this year to races and to my training sessions. Team Toyota will be exhibiting during the race expos at the Lifetime Fitness/Toyota Triple Crown race series. It’s truly a great experience for me as fans get to check out the vehicles and enter for a chance to win prizes. In addition, I get to connect with race community. http://www.toyota.com/
TYR: I am joining with TYR for the 2014 season! I look forward to returning to racing in the fast carbon line of triathlon suits. I will be racing in TYR wetsuits as well! Check out all the gear at http://www.tyr.com/
Quarq: I am excited to be using Quarq power meters this year for training and racing. The feed back and data I get from these power meters help elevate my racing to new levels that I could not reach with out them. http://www.quarq.com
Zipp: I will proudly be training and racing on Zipp wheels in 2014. Zipp wheels are the fastest wheels on the market and Zipp puts more into R&D than any other wheel manufacture on the market. They have years of proven wins at the biggest races! http://www.zipp.com/
This past December, Nate and I were asked to host a clinic with members from the St. Louis Tri Club. We spent the snowy winter morning helping 25 members work on their stroke technique, learn open water skills and answer any questions they had about racing and training. We had a great time working with the athletes and look forward to hearing updates about the athletes races in coming 2014 season.
The club generously donated $200.00 towards a charity that I support, Jenny”s Light. You online casino can learn more about Jenny”s Light from their website:
Thank you so much to the Tri Club for their generous donation towards a great cause. Best wishes for a successful 2014 and beyond.
Nate, Caroline and I have been back to Florida for a couple of weeks now and loving the training Clermont has to offer. I am getting back into a training groove and pleased with my fitness progression. My first race is the Clermont Draft-Legal Challenge on March 1st, just ten minutes from my home! It”s great to start off my first race so close to home.
Happy New Year!
My New Toyota Rav4!!! “I am so excited to be driving this in 2014″!!!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Enjoy this holiday season and I wish everyone a very blessed 2014! See you at the races!