It’s hard to believe our little Caroline just had her three month birthday. Time sure has flown by since she entered our lives last July. It has truly been a blessing and a joy becoming parents. Nathan and I have loved seeing her grow and change over the past three months. We look forward to much more growing and changing over the course of her first year and further into the future. We have been blessed with a great sleeper! Ever since Caroline was a month old, she would routinely sleep at least a five or six hour stretch each night. When Caroline was two and a half months, she had a period of sleeping a full eight hours a night! I joke with Nathan that she knows Mommy has to sleep to be able to do her job, so she is already helping Mommy out! Our little girl continues to be very social. She loves to smile, chat and when she giggles; our heart melts.
Caroline has also become quite the traveler. So far, she has done very well on all the trips across the country. Currently, we traveled to Oceanside, CA for the Toyota Triple Crown Finale. I will not be back to racing yet, but I will be hanging out at the Toyota expo and cheering on all the athletes race morning. Flying without race gear is much, much easier; however, the real travel challenge will begin next year while traveling with race and baby gear!!
After the Oceanside race we drove up to Torrence, CA for a reveal of a triathlon vehicle that will be showcased during SEMA next month in Vegas. Our biggest challenge as of yet was flying from LAX to Newark and then flying from Newark to St. Louis the following day. Little Caroline has already gotten in some epic frequent flier miles.
In New York City on Tuesday, October 21st, I was a spokesperson for the reveal of the Marathon Sports Bra created by Champion. New York City is such an awesome city to visit and although we were there for a short 20 hours Nathan and Caroline where able to go around and tour at Rockefeller center.
The past month, I have also been back to a routine of training. I have slowly been building up a little speed in my running and building up volume on the swim and bike. My cycling has been coming along very well and I feel this discipline is the closet to my “race” fitness. My swimming and running are coming along a little more slowly, but I am really enjoying the process of getting back some speed. I am able to push the volume and speed in the pool as much as I wish. In my run training, I have to slowly build back with the speed and volume in order to keep my ligaments and tendons feeling happy with the six month break from running during pregnancy and post partum. I have also included 2x a week of an intense Pilates class, which has really helped my flexibility as well as my strength. The class is taught at Lifetime Fitness and is packed with many women who are aged a young 50 and older….and are much better at Pilates than me and Nathan. Needless to say, we are impressed and improving each week ourselves.
We have been training in St. Louis this fall and have enjoyed the very warm September. With a long break from riding outside, I have loved getting out with Nathan on the roads and climbing all the steep climbs in the St. Louis countryside (fortunately Grandma can watch Caroline). We were also invited to participate in Pedal for the Cause on October 6th. This was a fundraising event to help with cancer research and all the donations remain in St. Louis. Nathan and I chose to ride the 25 mile route and ended up doing a few extra loops on the ride since it was such a beautiful route and inspiring to see so many cancer survivors and supporters out on the road riding for a great cause.
I had the opportunity to travel to Colorado Springs and speak at the International Altitude Symposium. This is organized by Randy Wilber, Sports Scientists at the Olympic Training Center. It was an honor to speak alongside Susan Williams, as she talked about her altitude training preparation for the 2004 Athens Games and I spoke about my altitude training preparation experience before the 2008 Beijing Games. We also got a chance to see many of our Colorado Springs friends and visit the Olympic Training Center, where it is like a family for us. Hard to believe it was nine years ago, Nate and I met…! It was wonderful to have everyone meet little Caroline! We will be back in Colorado Springs November 8-11th, as I will be helping out with a Junior Triathlon Camp.
October was a month filled with travel for us, but we are headed back to Florida in November for a training block to get ready to race next season before the Christmas holidays. It feels great to get back into some quality training and I know the real work is yet to come. I have much more motivation in my training these days….all I have to do is picture the smiling face of my little girl.
As the end of the triathlon season wraps up, I wish everyone a fantastic finish to their season. Enjoy the off-season and heal up any injuries, mentally refresh and recharge for an even better 2014.
I have been invited to take part in a very special event, Pedal the Cause, October 5-6th. All proceeds will be donated to cancer research in St. Louis. I have joined Teri and her team, Powered by Hope. Teri is an amazing wife, mother and athlete and is making an impact in the lives of those living with cancer.
I wanted to share her story and her personal biography:
“I am married to David for 26 years and we have 2 children–Kyle 24 and Kati 20. I love sports and ran my first marathon in 2002. I started participating in triathlons in 2007. Two weeks after completing Ironman Louisville in August of 2009 I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer (a 5 year survival rate of 6%). I never gave up training or my dream of going to Kona for the World Championship Ironman. After radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, the cancer was considered stable and I was placed on maintenance chemotherapy. In 2011 I was honored to be one of the NBC Ironman World Championship Featured Athletes fulfilling a lifelong dream while hopefully inspiring others to never give up. Today I continue to run marathons, participate in triathlons and give inspirational talks. All while I continue to be treated for colon cancer. I am passionate about spreading awareness, inspiring others and raising money for cancer research. This why I joined forces with Pedal The Cause. 100% of the funds raised by Pedal the Cause will go to cancer research — Goal–A world without cancer!!”
Powered by Hope Team Teri is riding for a little boy, Darnell. Below is a bio about this little five-year-old battling Type B Leukemia:
Darnell was diagnosed in May of 2011 at the age of 3. He has to under
go chemotherapy for three years. Currently, Darnell is responding to treatments well and only has one year left. Darnell loves football, basketball, video games, and wrestling. His favorite wrestlers are John Cena and the Rock.
Nate and I will be joining the Team on October 6th and riding 15 miles with Powered by Hope and riding for little Darnell. If you would like to take part in the ride or simply help fight cancer by making a donation, you can find additional information here: http://stlouis.pedalthecause.org/team_profile.jsp?MemberID=12539
Cancer is a disease that affects us at any time and at any age. Let’s do what we can to help those fighting cancer and power them with hope.
Sweet Caroline arrived into our lives on July 18th at 8:27pm! She was already showing her personality by arriving eight days late, but she was born healthy at 7 lbs 3oz and 20.5 inches long. The night before Caroline was born, I started going into pre-labor with my water breaking at 11:30pm on July 17th. I wasn’t in active labor at that point, so I attempted to go back to sleep. I only managed a few hours of sleep; mostly due to me being anxious about what was more than likely going to happen the next day. At 6AM the following morning, I called my doctor and he advised me to head to the hospital. I still wasn’t having any strong contractions, so my husband and I took our time packing for what we anticipated to be a long day ahead!
I arrived at the hospital and was advised that this baby should be born within 24 hours of my water breaking to avoid infection. This would mean that the baby would be born before midnight. Around noon, I started going into hard labor and later that evening, she was in our arms! My labor experience was more painful than any triathlon I have ever competed in from the hours of 2pm to 5pm (I received the epidural just after 5pm and it made the labor experience amazing…thank you to modern medicine!).
Caroline had the cord wrapped around her neck, just like her mother when she was born. She had to have the cord cut a little early, so that she could make her way out into the world. Since Caroline has been born just over five weeks ago; she has been eating like a champ. She gained 3.5 lbs in her first month of life and grew 2 inches. It is amazing how much little babies learn in their first month of life and what they continue to learn. She is already more alert, smiling, and cooing. Soon enough, she will be talking her Daddy’s ear off! When we put Caroline on her tummy, she likes to lift her head briefly and try to crawl.
After two weeks, I started back into light exercise. I was not ready to attempt running, but swimming was a great activity to get back into. The first swim felt amazing, even though I was sleep deprived. It felt awesome to move the body, since I was so tight from the hours of breastfeeding and from labor. I also felt amazing moving the non-pregnant body through the water. I was used to swimming with an extra 15-20 lbs. in my belly and it felt weird to have instantly much less drag! I also forgot how much my aerobic capacity was compromised during pregnancy. From six weeks of pregnancy onward, it felt as if I was always training at 15,000feet above sea level. It was refreshing to have my normal breathing back in place! Just after two weeks, I was surprised how comfortable my ISM bike seat felt. I wasn’t sure if I would be sore, but I have been able to consistently ride since day 16 post delivery.
The run took a little longer than the swim and bike, but I suppose that is to be expected. I had not run close to 16 weeks, and I started off the running much like I finished the running during pregnancy; running only uphill. Around four weeks, I felt recovered enough to resume running on a flat terrain.
Training between breastfeeding and taking care of Caroline has caused me to use my time management skills to the max! I am now very focused when I have the moments to train and even more so enjoy the moments with Caroline after I have completed my work (workouts) for the day.
My rate of training improvement over the past two weeks has been the most significant in my career! I suppose when you start at an unfit state you have lots of room for improvement. I am looking forward to building my fitness and getting back into the routine of training. Caroline started sleeping better around one month of age, so that has greatly affected how I feel during my workouts as well. I am keeping my fingers crossed that her great sleeping keeps up! She typically goes to bed at 9:30-10:30pm and wakes up between 1:30-2:30am for a feeding and then wakes up again between 4:30-6:00am. I think that’s pretty good for a one month old!
We headed up to Chicago last weekend to represent Toyota and hang out at the expo. Thankfully, Caroline enjoyed her hotel room and slept well! It was great to be back to Chicago, as it is such a beautiful city. It was strange to be there without the race jitters, but I hope to be back racing in the Windy City next year. We stopped to buy a baby carrier at Babies “R” Us on the way up to Chicago and I was pleasantly surprised there was a private nursing room. Good to note for our next trip….map out the Babies “R” Us on the way!
My due date is quickly approaching and I have a feeling baby girl is going to make a later than expected arrival. I have not had any noticeable contractions yet, but I suppose they could arise at any point in time now. Nate and I are anxiously excited to meet our daughter, but will try to be as patient as possible in knowing that she will arrive when she is ready.
I have been feeling surprisingly well the past month. My energy levels have been good and I have been able to stay active. My exercising has consisted of swimming 3000-3500 meters 3-4x week, elliptical machine 30 min 3x week, strength training 2x week, and 60-80 min trainer cycling 3x week. I am also adding in some walking, which is known to help the baby get in a proper position and help to stimulate labor. If the baby has not arrived in a few days, I have a feeling I will be increasing my walking load!!
Part of the reason I feel that I have had so much energy is that I have still been sleeping well. I know many pregnant women complain about having trouble sleeping towards the end of their pregnancy, but I find that I sleep better now than when I am in a heavy training load! Of course there have been a few nights when I wake up hot and many nights when I have to visit the restroom frequently, but all and all I normally wake up feeing well rested and refreshed. This feeling is different than when I am in the middle of race season, when I often wake up feeling very tired!
The last month, Nate and I have finished our childbirth preparation classes and gotten as prepared as we can with baby supplies. Now, we just need a baby to put all the supplies to use! We have also been spending time with family over the 4th of July, helping out with swim lessons, and staying busy with activities we normally don’t get to do over the summer. It was very nice this year getting to stay up late to watch several impressive firework displays. Nate has also been doing a bit of local racing. He has competed in two triathlons this summer, Rec-Plex Triathlon and St. Louis 5150. He is planning on racing at the New Town Triathlon this weekend (unless baby arrives).
Overall, I feel very blessed to have such an uncomplicated pregnancy. Everything has unfolded smoothly and I can only pray that my delivery goes smoothly and we have a healthy baby girl. An amazing stage in our lives is about to unfold and we can’t wait for it to begin!
Just over three months ago, I wrote earlier that Toyota did a shoot in St. Louis, Missouri. Since then, Toyota has created several different commercials with the Team Toyota athletes. The commercials all have a different message; whether it be a training tip, motivational tip or words of encouragement. Sometimes all you need is a little extra motivation to get the most out of your workout!
I am down to the final two weeks of my pregnancy (unless she decided to hang out a little longer than her expected due date!). Every day, I can tell that she is getting bigger and is has less room to move around my stomach! It’s so surreal that I will be able to hold her in my arms in just a short amount of time.
I have been feeling good and still been able to get in some aerobic exercise. I typically get in around 3000meters of swimming, 30 min on the elliptical, 20 min of strength training (Monday/Wed/Fri/Sat) and on Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday an 60-90 min on the bike trainer. I adjust day to day with how I am feeling, but it does feel good to continue to move the body. It’s been also nice to spend the summer doing things I have not had the opportunity to do over the past ten years while I have been racing. I took a trip to Innsbrook resort in St. Louis, MO, been able to hang out at the pool for pure leisure swimming and not training, and watch other’s race while I have been a spectator! Nate has been doing several local races in the area and I have been on camera duty! I has been a nice switch and a relaxing change of pace. Next weekend Nate is racing the 5150 at the Innsbrook resort. We plan on being there (as long as the baby doesn’t make an early arrival!).
Nate and I had the chance to take some pictures around the farm. We look forward to sharing the maternity pictures with our daughter some day!
I hope everyone is having a great start to their summer! Stay cool and race hard!