Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Third Trimester - Update

            I’m over 28 weeks along and in the final trimester.  In some ways that makes it seem like it’s gone by quickly, but I still have over 2.5 months until my due date, and then it just feels like a long ways to go yet.  The holiday season makes the next few weeks kind of rush by though and then I’ll be in my final 2 months of countdown until the REAL craziness of life with a newborn and a 2-year-old begins!
            So how are things going?  Baby wise – everything is good under the hood.  Our ultrasound at 21 weeks looked good (and no, we didn’t find out the gender).  So while we’ve had our boy name picked since the first pregnancy, we have yet to settle on the girl name.  Baya is back to sleeping through the night, and good thing because I’ve been one tired momma!  Apparently some of that 1st trimester fatigue can return for the final trimester – I just don’t remember it like this the last time.  I’ve also been having a lot of crazy dreams, some about the baby, but mostly not, and I guess this is also common.  The heartburn/acid reflux is still annoying present, but a friend gave me peppermint beadlets that work like a charm and have me able to sleep normal at night again (I HIGHLY recommend them!).  I feel absolutely enormous (though others may disagree) and it’s starting to affect my ability to bend over like normal. 
            I’m still running 5-6 days per week, just 2-3 miles typically, though 3.5-4 is still okay for a “long” run.  Being slow and stuck inside makes it not very fun, but we recently had a warm-up that was enough to clear the roads in our neighborhood, so I pushed Baya for about 3 miles outside on Monday - it made for a nice change of view.  I haven’t been able to run with her since sometime in October.  I’ve been biking 3-4 days per week and hammering out some hard one-minute intervals once per week (may not sound that bad, but it BURNS!).  We keep the garage around 40 degrees, so it’s great to have a cool place to be able to bike indoors during the winter.  This was the body can focus on the workload and not wasting energy trying to cool itself (and while it’s pretty effective at this, pregnant women have also been warned to be mindful of core temperature and overheating, so that takes care of ay concern of that).  I have a fan out there if I need it too.
             I’ve increased my swimming the last few weeks since I’ve had the opportunity – swimming at least 14,000 yards per week (5 swims/week).  I’m still cranking out those 50-yard sprints on one-minute weekly and I just completed 36 of them this past week, putting me ahead of schedule.  I should hit 50 by the end of January now!  And I’m still squeezing into that one-piece …  I’ve been trying to lift twice a week too.  I’ve also been taking a day completely off once a week the last couple weeks, which has been good both physically and mentally.  I’ve also been planning out the 2015 race season, and it’ll be a fun year with some fierce competition.  It sure keeps the motivation alive for training in the meantime!
Merry Christmas from TRImester Training (celebrate, enjoy, and keep moving!) and the growing Wyss family!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Heartbreak of Competition

            When you put a lot of sweat, blood, and tears into preparing for a race, game, meet or competition of any kind, it’s always tough when you fall short of your goals.  Going into races, I have many goals: swim, bike, and run splits (and watts for on the bike, which is a more fair measurement on windy days or hilly courses anyway), then I have an overall goal time, which allows for transition, and within that there is a range of what I think is doable and what I could ideally put together.  Then I’ll also have placement goals.  While you never know who’s going to show up, studying past results for that particular course can give you a ballpark idea of where you could potentially finish.
            When I started up with triathlon, I had no idea what I was capable of and I would not only surpass my overall goal times, I would crush them.  I surprised myself with what I was able to do.  The more experienced you become, you then start setting tougher goals, have higher expectations, and the gap begins to close.  And if you end up on top at a race (the first time is always a surprise, an exhilaration, a feeling you should remember), the pressure is on then to be able to repeat.  Winning the Steven’s Point Duathlon will always be an awesome memory for me, not just because I connected with Draft Cyclery, but I realized I could be fast – and that I could out-bike all those runners too!  After winning Green Bay and Wausau in ’13, I felt I HAD to win them again in ’14.  Going into ’15, I get a bit of a break, since I don’t plan on competing in either of them, as I will be focusing on bigger races. 
            A lot of courses will throw surprises at you - at Minneapolis it was the rough roads for biking, and at High Cliff it was the rough run course.  You have to learn to adapt and adjust goals as you go if needed.  At Trinona, I wanted to make the Top 5 overall, and I ended up 6th by 6 seconds.  At Minneapolis, I thought I could make the Top 10 and ended up 11th.  Even though the fastest 3 amateur women in the WORLD were there competing that day, I just don’t have room for excuses.  When it came to the High Cliff Half-Iron, I wanted to win it.  Really bad.  Looking at past race results, I knew there was a chance.  I needed to put together a solid race.  I had a typical swim time, and while my watts on the bike were the same as my 2:30 Pigman bike split, I was 7 minutes slower due to the cliff and battling the winds.  It was disheartening.  I pressed on and ran up the hill, chasing the two women still in front of me, but not being able to pull together the best run.  I caught the one in front of me, and then every woman I caught up to I was hoping was the leader, only to be repeatedly let down (it was not only a two-loop run course, but the sprint runners were also mixed in with us).  Running down the hill towards the finish line, the road was empty in front of me.  I knew it was final – I was 2nd.  So many hours of chasing and then I came up short.  I couldn’t help it - I cried.  While I later found out that I lost to a blazing fast pro that I didn’t stand a chance against, I still had come so close – 2nd.  In reality, it was a decent race, but all I see looking back is how I just missed it. 
I can understand why the silver medal at the Olympics is the most disappointing (though I’d think 4th would also be), because you get so close to the top – and you don’t make it.  With third – heck, you’re ecstatic you made the podium!  Others can look at your race and tell you that you did great – and maybe you really did – but all you can see is how you should have done better.  But that’s also what pushes you to become better.  Keep chasing and don’t forget the exhilaration of when you first surpassed your goals.  Use it all to fuel that passionate fire in you to keep improving and moving forward.  There is always something to improve upon.  Stay hungry.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

It's the CAN, not the CAN'T

26 weeks (~6 months)
YOU define your own limits.  You don’t know what you are truly capable of, so quit putting limits on yourself!  I swore I would never run a half-marathon (ran my first at 3 months pregnant), I would never do a half-iron triathlon (have now completed 3), and would NEVER run a marathon, simply because I had zero interest in ever taking on such an undertaking.  As I gained fitness, confidence, and quit telling myself “I can’t,” I began finding out what I COULD do.  I ran my first marathon (and only thus far), alone, and crushed the Boston Qualifying time by almost 15 minutes.  I’m really not lying either when I say I was NOT a runner in the past!  My family can definitely attest to that.
I see things as a challenge now though.  My big off-season challenge this year was actually given to me by my neighbor.  50x50 on 1 minute in the pool – sprints.  Upon first hearing this, my arms already ached just thinking about it.  But I figure I have until the end of February to work my way up to 50 on 1 minute.  So I won’t say, “I can’t,” or “that’s too hard,” instead I can say, “not yet, but I’ll get there.”  So far I’m up to 26x50 on 1-minute, and I aim to hit 50x50 around my 38th week of pregnancy (I’ll be cutting it close!)  So while I can’t run very far or very fast, I CAN swim and I CAN bike.  So I’ll focus on the things that I can do.  We'll also see how long I can squeeze into my one-piece for swimming!
She has also been an inspiration herself.  At my YMCA, we are in the middle of a 100-Mile Swim Challenge.  We have several months to complete it, but my neighbor’s goal was to swim all of it (165,000 yards) before she had her baby (just born on Friday!).  She completed the entire challenge in less than 3 months, which also happened to be her 3rd trimester!  So maybe today there are things that you can’t do, but there are things that you CAN do.  Let’s start there.
The greatest limitations you will have to overcome, are those that you put on yourself.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

When Everything Falls Apart...

            Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but as a whole, pregnancy is definitely not a “sugar and spice and everything nice” type of experience.  I will also readily acknowledge that many women have much tougher pregnancies than I have, and I feel for them.  Even an “easy” pregnancy is rough enough.  Lately it’s been a case of everything bad happening at the same time, so I thought I’d share some of the struggles that I’ve been facing recently.
1)    The pelvic pain started up again about a couple weeks ago.  Since then, my pace has significantly dropped off, and I discovered that my weekly 6 mile long run was also too much.  For the most part the pain is manageable and not always even apparent, but it definitely affects the run.  The upside is that this time around it took a few weeks longer to come on, and I credit regular chiropractic care with Timber Land Chiropractic!
2)    I had an infection with swelling so painful that it hurt to sit, stand, or walk for a full day or more.  I took Sunday off, missing a key ride, and I could hardly sleep the night before.
3)    On Sunday I also experienced very sharp abdominal pain along the top of the uterus.  It’s happened a couple times before but it always went away quickly.  This time it lasted a lot longer, and was super intense (immobilizing even) that brought me to tears both times.  I was told that it was most likely just ligaments being stretched, but I never experienced this kind of pain in my first pregnancy, which made it scary at the time.
Just be my good little sleeper again, please...
4)    Over the past week or so, Baya has been going through a bad sleeping phase.  Normally we lay her down awake, she puts herself to sleep, and she usually wakes up happily and can hang out in her crib for a while even.  With this phase she decided to suddenly not be able to do those things.  She would stand up and start scream crying as soon as we put her down, and could do so off and on for more than an hour.  She would also wake up in this same fashion, whether that be in the morning or in the middle of the night.  And so a few nights we were up for 2-2.5 hours in the middle of the night, with her getting up and crying every 15-20 minutes.  We’ve been exhausted, and I also became sick from the lack of sleep – with a low-grade fever, chills, feeling weak and like I could throw up…
5)    Which leads me into the final part of heartburn.  With both pregnancies I’ve had bad heartburn.  Some nights I’ve had to prop myself up to try to sleep (it’s worse when laying horizontal).  Sunday night I actually threw up a little in my mouth during the night, and I felt sick the rest of the night, and then entire next day.  Not sure if this was heartburn or sickness at this point.  I tried to swim on Monday but I couldn’t do it – I spent half of the time leaning over the gutter thinking I might actually throw up.
Each of these things by themselves may not be all that bad, but when they all happen at once, it makes for some rough times!  Then with all of the snow (we’ve received well over a foot already), ice, and cold, and then the pelvic pain on top of it, I have lost almost all motivation for any running.  With my first pregnancy, the Y that I worked at had a running track that was only 12 laps for a mile.  I ran on that for the majority of my pregnancy.  This time, my Y’s running track is much smaller with super tight turns (18 laps for a mile).  I hate the treadmill (especially since it now takes me even LONGER to reach 1 mile!), so I’m now mixing it up between the two.  It’s better to suffer through a few runs per week still then to quit and have to get back into it again from scratch post-delivery.  I guess that makes it the lesser of two evils?  It’s really all about setting myself up well to come back post-pregnancy.
            I guess all you can do is take some time to recover and then push ahead again, trusting that the setbacks are just temporary.  It can actually be a healthy mini-break (despite also being frustrating in the meantime).  Here’s to getting back at it (and hopefully some more restful nights again while we can)!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Shifting Gears at 5 Months

            The changes keep on coming, and you have to be prepared to adapt. While the pelvic pain hasn’t returned, the running has really started to slow anyway.   Some days feel better than others, but overall it has become a lot more uncomfortable and slower.  Some runs, I may still bundle up Baya to take with me, but it’s gotten pretty cold, and I won’t take her out in rain either.  I’m also trying to prolong the inevitable switch to the treadmill for as long as possible as well.  I want to keep the joy in running for as long as I can.
Last weekend I was still going out for an outdoor ride on the bike – 26 miles with some hard intervals mixed in.  Post-season I was regularly getting in a weekly outdoor 30-mile ride on the weekends, but I learned I even had to adapt with that.  There comes a point in pregnancy when you just can’t make it that long without a pit stop.  You learn to stay on the lookout for a good stopping stop and have to remember to pack tissues to have along with you.  Sometimes it’s just about making the uncomfortable-ness as comfortable as possible.  It has also gotten more cramped down in the aero position on the bike, so there are definitely some benefits to riding indoors on the trainer: sitting more upright and having a bathroom nearby.
            Halloween morning, we woke up to at least 3” of snow on the ground.  This was the third snowfall in October up here, but the first that accumulated.  It’s Sunday and there’s still snow out there.  It’s been too cold to melt it all, though I do expect it to all disappear before the next snowfall (which forecasts have that as late this week again already).  I guess we have moved into winter (we did have a solid 4.5 months without any snowfall, so there’s that….).  While Draft Cyclery has provided some awesome cold-weather apparel for getting outside on rides, there’s a good chance I may be retired to the indoors until spring.  I get tired of spinning on the trainer so much, but the risk of hitting ice out on the roads is currently too high.  So there’s that, and as I said earlier, I at least have a bathroom nearby and can ride more upright when indoors (though yes, I do realize you should always train in aero whenever possible).  Stay positive.  Keep healthy, and keep moving!
            What I love about riding indoors in the winter is that I get to do it in a cold garage!  It can be 45 degrees in there, but I can still work up a sweat.  Not pictured is the fan I also keep next to me.  Staying cool and staying hydrated.  Here’s a full-out belly picture at 5 months (22 weeks) of pregnancy: