Friday, February 27, 2015

The Final Countdown: Part II

            While every pregnancy can be expected to be different, as every child is different, there have been a lot of both similarities and differences between my two.  I’ve had similar cravings and dealt with pelvic pain with both, though this time the pelvic pain is tolerable with chiropractic care making a huge difference.  I had heartburn with both, but with Baya it was tolerable without taking anything.  This time I’ve been on maximum strength Pepcid AC for at least a month, and I still have to pop the occasional Tums.  I wonder if the difference is a result of this baby being positioned properly instead of being breech?
I also felt hiccups multiple times a day with Baya, but I’ve rarely noticed them this time around at all.  The movements and the pressure now at the end is very different – most likely also a result of the difference of positioning I would assume.  I got acne on my back and arms during both pregnancies (not normal otherwise), and while this second time seemed worse, it also has almost gone away already too.  The first time around it lasted beyond pregnancy.
            My husband and I also kind of expect me to go into labor the same way too (with my water breaking during the middle of the night).  I don’t remember what the start of contractions felt like, as I knew it was contractions because my water had broke, and my back labor was so extreme due to Baya being breech that I don’t know what to expect without that.  Now when I get up to go to the bathroom during the middle of the night, every time I’m hoping something is going to happen…. 
I’ve run more (both further and faster) this pregnancy, but have done less swimming and biking.  The big difference there though is opportunity, since I already have one kid.  But while I’m glad I’m still moving and trying to do what I can, I’m REALLY ready to just be done.  Could someone just let this baby know now, please? This waiting game is not a fun one.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Final Countdown: Part I

            I was doing well with training until I hit about 8 months of pregnancy.  I just finished the 50x50 sprint swim challenge, and we were taking a trip down to Madison.  I hadn’t been sleeping well the past month and it was catching up to me.  I came down sick and what was supposed to be a fun “getaway” to Madison ended up being a bit miserable: fever, aches, chills, terrible heartburn, cough (that respiratory junk that’s in your lungs and you can’t get rid of), sore throat, etc.  While I never actually threw up, I did a little in my mouth while on a run – but that was from the heartburn – a terrible thing.
37 Weeks
I took several days off from working out (you know it’s bad when that happens) and went into survival mode – as Baya then also came down with the flu.  I tried to bike, but it was hard on the lungs, and running also set off coughing fits, and I had to keep the swimming very easy.  After about a week and a half of this, I was full-term at 37-weeks, and dilated to 2.5cm.  The baby was positioned and dropped.  Ready to go, right?!  Well one can only hope.  You can be like this for weeks actually, so while it’s good that things are progressing in the right direction, it also doesn’t mean a whole lot more than that.  (At 38 weeks, I was dilated to 3cm and 80% effaced, baby positioned at -1, and still nothing).
            So while the lungs are still recovering with the cough and breathing properly, then comes the question of how to get back into it, all the while hoping pregnancy is about done.  Mentally, it’s a very strange place to be in.  Is it just a matter of trying to push hard for one more week?  Or will I go over my due date and I end up having 3 or more weeks to go yet?!  That’s a big difference! How do you stay motivated day after day when you’re just ready to be done and move on to the next phase of things?
            The run has slowed even more for the most part as it has become increasingly uncomfortable with the baby so low in my pelvis.  I’ve still been able to do the occasional 4-miler, with my last one being at 38.5 weeks.  Last time, I remember several runs where I had to stop because of Braxton Hicks contractions.  So far, just once was enough to make me stop from it.  I’m looking forward to running pain-free again!  The bike – if my lungs can handle it, then my legs can probably too (for the most part anyway!).  But even the slight forward bend I’m still forced to have while on the bike can be too much pressure at times still, and let’s face it  - a good bike workout NEVER feels good.
            I was doing fairly well through the 50x50’s, then switched to 100 sprints on 2:10, averaging 3 seconds slower than when I did it during my last pregnancy.  So while people keep saying “you’re pregnant, expect to slow down,” I don’t want to be slower than last pregnancy!  It seems that I keep slowing down too, as it is becoming more uncomfortable as the pressure increases.  Mentally, it’s defeating.  It’s good to be nearing the end.  *I asked my husband for a couple snapshots of the baby belly at full-term (37 weeks), not sure if I would even want to share them, as I'm uncomfortable bearing so much skin.  Ever the artist though, Andy has a gift for making me feel more beautiful than how I perceive myself.  So here one is!
Part II coming soon...

Saturday, February 21, 2015

New Sponsor: Trek/Mel's Trading Post!

            It is an honor this season to be racing for Trek/Mel’s Trading Post of Rhinelander.  My first triathlon was in 2010, and I borrowed a road bike from a friend (after “training” on my one-speed Huffy).  Hooked, I looked to get my own bike, but figured that with such a huge expense of tri bikes, I would get a road bike (not much difference anyway, right?).  Andy did a lot of bike shop visits on his own and then told me that a smart move would be to get a tri bike from the get-go.  We went with the Trek Store of Wausau and got the entry-level tri bike Speed Concept 2.5 wsd – aluminum frame (carbon was at least $600 more).  I got it in March, and Katherine (my bestie and race buddy who also just got a similar bike) and I took our new bikes to the roads while there were still piles of snow on the ground.  I loved it – a marvelous machine, with so many ways to adjust it to your personal fit.  I was ecstatic, with a smile plastered on my face for possibly the entire duration of the ride!  I was giddy, delighted.
First ride on our new bikes!
            Four years later, I’m still riding that 2011 Speed Concept, and we’ve had quite the journey together – replaced some parts and upgraded others.  I learned how to change tubes and tires.  September of 2012, I also crashed on it, and my body fared worse than the bike, though both of us still left with superficial scars to remember it by.  We raced sprint distances, moved up to Olympic and had longer rides together.  I discovered new routes and saw areas of the countryside that I otherwise would have never traversed.  Our longest ride in preparation for my first half-iron distance race was over 76 miles.  It’s taken me from placing in my age group, to winning a few races, and competing against elites.  I LOVE the Trek Speed Concept.
            Last year when Andy and I were down in Madison, we also took a tour of the Trek Factory – so sweet!  We learned about the history of their bikes, athletes, and company.  We saw frames being made as we toured, and even custom Project Ones being painted.  We even got to see the incredible workout facility they have their employees, which of course have trainers set up for them to bring their bikes in and ride, and they have group classes as well as many other extraordinary things available for their employees.  So jealous.
            When I moved to Rhinelander and first visited Mel’s Trading Post, I immediately noticed that while they carried road and mountain bikes, there was not a single time trial bike to be found in the store.  While at first I was a bit apprehensive about the level of service I would get on my specialty bike (tri bikes are more complicated due to the aero design and set-up), I was repeatedly impressed with the level of knowledge and expertise the mechanics had.  While this shop didn’t carry any tri bikes, everyone seemed to not only be familiar with them, but had stories of different ones they had assembled or serviced at previous jobs.  They’ve kept my bike working smoothly for training and competition, and have always been super friendly and go above and beyond to give their customers the best service.
            Representing one of the FASTEST line of bikes out there is an amazing opportunity.  I am proud to be riding Trek and that I get to represent our local retailer, Mel’s Trading Post, as well.  This past year, my strongest leg was the bike, and I look forward to becoming even faster with time and continued hard work.  Ride fast.  Ride Trek!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Chocolate Milk Team

            I was down in Madison recently and got the chance to meet with my support team at the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board again!  I’m excited to be able to continue racing and repping for them.  With my roots in dairy, being a farm girl at heart forever, and our absolute love of chocolate milk in this house, it is simply the perfect match!  I appreciate all the support I received from them for this past season.  It was my biggest race season by far (7 triathlons with one being a half-iron, and another being USAT Nationals!), and being able to represent Wisconsin Dairy and chocolate milk through it all was a huge honor!
            A day in the life of a chocolate milk athlete… A sitter was recently over at our house, and when I got home she said she was impressed that we had a gallon of chocolate milk in our fridge.  This confused me, as we were literally down to only ONE gallon of chocolate milk left!  She explained that most people just buy a half-gallon (we only buy half gallon when that happens to be the cheaper option, though it is a pain to have to carry twice as many jugs home then!).  Fortunately I had a grocery trip to make that afternoon due to chocolate milk being on a super sale with no limit so I restocked with 5 additional chocolate and 2 white (there was a limit on the white at the sale price).  At checkout, the cashier seemed bewildered by the amount of milk I had (really?  I mean we’re in Wisconsin and all!), and I later texted my sitter that I was embarrassed by the sole gallon she saw earlier so I restocked with another 5.  There is no shame in being known as the chocolate milk girl.  I mean really, how cool is that?!
            I LOVE seeing chocolate milk at the finish line at races (like our Three Eagle HalfMarathon & 5K!), which provides competitors with easy access to an ideal recovery beverage so they can begin the rehydrating, rebuilding, and refueling process immediately.  You can find the chocolate milk team passing out chocolate milk to participants at the following races during the first half of this year:
-       Trailbreaker Race in Waukesha on February 7
-       Reedsburg Vet Fest (Half Marathon, 5K, 1 Mile Walk) in Reedsburg on April 11
-       Parkinson’s Half Marathon & 5K in Cottage Grove on April 18
-       Oshkosh Marathon on April 19
-       Wisconsin Marathon in Kenosha on May 2
-       Eau Claire Marathon on May 3
-       Women’s Run in Pewaukee on May 9
-       Get it Dunn Half Marathon & 5K in Menomonie on May 17
-       Tour of America’s Dairyland (TOAD) Events in June
You can even find me with the team at the chocolate milk tent at the end of the Eau Claire Marathon in May!  I’m thrilled to be able to take part in this amazing journey, and it is all made possible by the support of my family, friends, and my sponsors.  At the end of the 2015 season, I’ll be racing for Team USA, but I’ll also be racing for all my supporters and myself.  I mean really, how cool is that?!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Perfect Storm

            8 months.  So closet, yet so far yet.  With so many elements to battle against, the final weeks are always physically and mentally challenging.  For me, it’s been about a moth of horrible sleep – troubles falling asleep (persistent heartburn, can’t shut my mind off, or no apparent reason), and then waking up a lot (Baya coughing or crying cause she’s sick, bathroom breaks, or for no apparent reason).  I’ve gone on Pepcid AC and am taking the limit of that, which has helped immensely, but sometimes I still need to accompany that with peppermint, tums, and/or prop to sleep.  I never knew heartburn could be this bad.  The only real cure for this is having this kid!
The lack of sleep has worn on me (and the baby isn’t even here yet!) to where I’m so dreadfully tired that I am at a loss of motivation for getting in workouts.  My immune system has also been work down to the point where now I am also sick on top of it all (fever, chills, achy everywhere).  I’ve attempted a nap a couple times, and though I’m not a nap taker, I finally fell asleep for one today.  Much needed.  I’m up so often during the night that the baby should just be here already (though I know it’s best to a bake a bit longer).  The final month of pregnancy drives a woman mad – to the point where she’d rather just go through labor and delivery and be done with it, then be pregnant any longer.
            We’ve been locked down in winter for so long with so much cold and snow (poor outside running conditions) - it wears on you.  Getting out and skating and Cross Country skiing has been a good escape and a way to find some enjoyment in it, but I’m mostly just tired.  And while I know things will get harder for awhile, as life with a newborn does, and then adding the track season on top of it (have to get us out the door at a certain time and finding sitters or managing practices and meets with kids in tow) really exhausts you, as well as trying to get into a new workout routine that accommodates both kids and the time schedule we have to work within, it all seems overwhelming, a bit hopeless, a bit TOO MUCH.  Frustration and exhaustion will inevitably only increase.
            But then spring will also eventually show up, and with it, new life (beyond just the new baby) and energy and excitement.  And hope.  There is a lot to look forward to this year: our growing family, a season of exciting races culminating in wearing the Team USA uniform at the World Championships, and even a growing team of sponsors that I have for support (more to come on that later!).  So as exhausting and frustrating as it has been lately, the big picture can’t be forgotten, and the setbacks mustn’t be the main focus.  They’re temporary.  A friend shared a quote with me at just the right time: “Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden.  Don’t let the setbacks define you, rather how you respond to and make it through them!