Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The (Baby) Belly

I had my last race at 12 weeks, and I felt like I was already beginning to show.  I’m thankfull that most of my pregnancy occurs during the winter, when all my triathlete facebook friends are no longer posting pictures of their fit bodies at races.  I will freely admit that being pregnant brings with it some self-esteem struggles.  Sometimes I think, “Ugh, I wish I could just be back to my normal body again,” or “I miss feeling skinny.”  At this point in the pregnancy, if I was skinny again, it would mean bad news for our baby though, so while I learn to deal with it I remind myself how blest I am to be growing our second baby.  Still though, it’s a relief to have my second trimester in the fall, and my third in the winter.  While I pack on the layers most of the time, I still put on that swimsuit and jump in for some laps, so I’ll get over it for that part. 
Just another 30 miler at 16 weeks!
Throughout the whole pregnancy, the women will most likely also be constantly questioning if she’s gaining too much too fast.  “Was I showing this much already last time?”  “Am I putting on extra weight or just baby weight?”  “Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten all those donuts.”  Yes, I have thought all these things, but let’s be real, donuts are delicious.  This will be a long 9 months (less than 6 left to go!).  And can anyone who hasn’t had a child really understand how long 9 months REALLY is?!  It’s pretty much an eternity!  I'll try to be better about taking more pictures of the "baby bump" this time around too.
After Baby Wyss #2 comes, you can bet I’ll get back to my “former skinny” once again.  In the meantime, I’m staying active and gaining weight anyway!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Best (Pregnancy & Training) Question Ever

I was a speaker at a club meeting the other day, and I was asked by a man one of the best questions I’ve ever heard – “Since you were so active during your [first] pregnancy, did you notice Baya making any early developments (crawling, walking, etc) due to all the neurological connections that were made [from so much exercise while in the womb].”  This was phenomenal on so many levels.  One, when I read stuff online during my first pregnancy, a lot of people had the exact opposite mindset of this – that somehow you were hurting your baby because you were exercising.  Women were made to believe that when you worked out, you were depriving your baby of blood and oxygen because your blood would primarily flow to the extremities that were being used (i.e. your legs when running or biking) and as a result, away from the baby.  Understandable thinking, I mean, if you run for a long time, then your organs will start to go into failure due to the lack of blood and oxygen delivered to them as well.  (Pure sarcasm.  I mean, are you kidding me?!)  Come on, folks, the body is an amazing thing and it knows what is happening to it, and would not respond in such a way that it would hurt itself or the life growing inside it.
Some articles warned that you should not exercise at an intensity where you would sweat or get short of breath.  Sweating would, of course, be a sign that you were overheating, which would hurt your baby.  Let me counter this with the fact that sweating is your body’s natural way of cooling itself, and that a pregnant woman’s body has an amazing ability to regulate core temperature (within reason of course, as heat stroke, etc are still a reality for everybody under the right circumstances).  The body is cooled when the sweat evaporates, so wear light-weight, wicking material and use a fan if on a treadmill or stationary bike.  And again, if you are out of breath, then your baby must be too.  (The opposite is true in fact - as a result your baby receives more oxygen not less).  Some articles said that you should not let your heart-rate get over 140bpm, others said that it should not go over that for more than 20 minutes at a time.  My first doctor (who was absolutely amazing), gave me the guideline of 140bpm for only 20 minute segments.  The number 140 is too rigid though, as resting and max heart rate varies so much from person to person.
While you would hope that at this point, it being the 21st century and all, that most of this would not be still deemed as truth.  Unfortunately, that’s not true.  Some still hang on to these old beliefs and spread them around.  I had a phone call from someone about a year ago who was told by medical staff that she should quit running, as it is wasting calories that should be for the baby.  I immediately advised her to find someone more knowledgeable and who has worked with athletes before.  Don’t people have a hard enough time finding the motivation to exercise?  Why would you ever guilt-trip a woman into stopping?!  Studies show that those who exercise while pregnant, tend to have better health outcomes during pregnancy and delivery.  Simply put, fit mama=fit baby.  
To answer the initial question of whether or not Baya was early in her developments, I would so far have to say that she has not reached the big milestones early thus far.  However, while she did not start walking until 14 months, her language development and other skills have been impressive, though not necessarily ahead of the game.  And of course almost every parent thinks that their child is crazy smart, so we are not original in our own bias either.  It will be interesting to observe how her development continues though.  In the meantime, keep moving!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

2014 Season Review - Pregnancy Perspective

            Every year it seems the stakes get a little higher and I take it up another notch from the season before.  This year was no exception.  It was, however, different than last year in that this time, I was pregnant during most of my races.  While the pregnancy weeks actually started counting at the time of Green Bay, conception wouldn’t have been for about another 2 weeks, around the time of the High Cliff Half-Iron.  Having no clue that I was potentially pregnant at that point though, meant that nothing changed in my approach to the race either.  I did what I could that day, and that was one brutal race.
            I was 6 weeks along when I raced Life Time Tri Minneapolis.  It was muggy but overcast, making it bearable at least.  I don’t have any concerns when it comes to the swim and the bike.  If I’m going to notice any discomfort or warning signs, I assume it would be during the run leg, when the body is already fatigued and then being pushing in such brutal fashion.  The swim was good, the bike was ok, and I had a slow run for reasons I could not figure out.  I felt fine during it, but just could not run any faster.  I didn’t experience any cramping, except my foot in T2 when I went to switch from my bike shoes to my running shoes.  I just had to make my way out of T2 a tad slower in order to work out the cramp as I went.  I felt comfortable with the effort.  I had raced at 6 weeks with Baya as well two years ago at Graniteman.  I had gone hard that day, and that was the only race where I’ve ever become concerned during it, but not this time in Minneapolis.
Nationals at 10 weeks
            I was 9 weeks at the Wausau Triathlon.  I was not as much concerned about times and paces for that one as I was just about doing enough to take first overall.  It was a slower day, but I was okay with it.  My bike leg put me into a good lead that I could take the pressure off of the run.  I was also 9 weeks with Baya at Wausau last time, but that year I pulled back the reigns a lot more in my effort and finished 5th overall.  I felt a lot more comfortable out there racing this time around.  With Baya, since she was my first, there were so many unknowns and so many questions.  This time I felt a lot more confident in my body’s ability to handle a race.  And after learning more about exercising while pregnant, I was also confident that I wasn’t hurting my baby either.  I would still need to watch for warning signs, but since my body was use to this level of intensity before even getting pregnant, then it was safe for me to continue.
            I was 10 weeks at Nationals.  This was the big race of the season – the most important one on the calendar.  We considered delaying pregnancy even because of it, just so I could race without any reservations.  But I was pregnant.  And there was pressure to go hard to make Team USA as well.  So my mindset was this: I would swim and bike hard (again, I have no concerns with either of these two areas).  I haven’t been running very well this season, but I would just go out and see what I could do.  It was difficult watching some of my fellow age-group’ers pass me on the run, wondering if my shot at Team USA was slipping away, but I focused on staying calm and keeping my breathing even.  It was very hot out, so I took water whenever it was available.  I would give what I could.  But if it came down to it, if I had felt a warning sign that I needed to slow down, I would have.  I would have been an emotional, crying mess, but it wouldn’t be worth the risk.  My baby would come first.  Fortunately, I didn’t have to face any tough questions like that.
12 weeks and still taking home the bling
            I wrapped up the season at 12 weeks of pregnancy with the Life Time Tri Maple Grove.  My biggest goal, in all honesty, was to have fun.  I had my big race, I performed well, and I made Team USA.  The volleyball season had started, and I had missed several workouts, so it was time to just go out and enjoy the last race of the season.  And I did.  I swam and biked well (and had fun out there!).  Again, my run was slow, but it was okay.  I also came into the race seated 1st in the MN Series, with number 2 only one point behind me (and she is also a very fast racer – don’t ask me how I beat her at Minneapolis!).  In the end, she crushed my time and I didn’t have a shot at holding first place and I ended up 2nd in the Series.  Which is okay.  It was all okay.  Cause it was fun.  That’s what all this is about anyway.
            Now the season is over, and so is first trimester – hooray!  So how was first trimester?  Racing was honestly the easy part.  It was the day-to-day training that got tough sometimes.  Fortunately, I never dealt with morning sickness (I’ve been blessed both times), but I have been 1) hungry all the time, 2) tired all the time, and 3) having to pee all the time.  Volume at least dropped after the Half-Iron, but my hunger levels stayed at an all-time high.  To try curbing some of the hunger, I tried to eat more snacks.  This basically meant I was literally eating all the time (it felt that way at least!).
            The fatigue definitely hit me, even more so this time around it seemed.  I told Andy that I would really need him to continue supporting the training because I was so exhausted that I started losing motivation (which is usually never an issue for me).  I pushed through, but there was less joy in the process for a time.  I welcomed the end of the season with open arms, when usually I am looking to see if there is one more I can squeeze in.  I pushed hard and long this season, and I was ready for the break, and it was becoming difficult to fit everything in with the volleyball season starting. 
            After two weeks of taking it easy (I’m still active but have cut back on both volume and intensity), I’m starting to look forward to getting back into structure again at some point.  At least I’m running hard while I can – doing the weekly timed mile with my volleyball girls (yes, I’m a mean coach I know).  It was my first timed mile in over a decade, and I’m faster than I ever was back then, which makes it a bit more fun.  Here’s to staying active by doing the things you love, and for me - another adventure of training through pregnancy #2!

Monday, September 1, 2014

2015 Announcement!

So many big things happened this season, and we're starting 2015 off with a bang too!

Next: season recap and what it was like racing pregnant in 2014...