Monday, December 19, 2016

Find What You Love!

            I still swim a little bit (1-3 times/week recently), but I hardly run or bike at all anymore, unless it is part of Crossfit’s Workout of the Day.  I have, however, been doing a lot of weight lifting and cross-country skiing (mostly with the kids).  I’ve been feeling fit and strong again as a result, and I’m having a ton of fun!
            While winter was always my “off-season,” it was basically just a time for training blocks, so I’d still spend it hammering out swim, bike, and run workouts to prepare for the next triathlon season (pregnant or not).  This has definitely turned into a vastly different kind of winter, and I’ve been loving it!  Instead of being stuck indoors on the bike trainer, or running on the treadmill during the week, or in a pool, I’ve been getting out a LOT more! We finally got enough snow up here to start being able to play outside last weekend.  So Andy and I took the kids out on Saturday on a groomed trail.  There is also land nearby our place that is categorized as Managed Forest Land, which makes it public for non-motorized use, such as running, hiking, and skiing!  So now all I have to do is load up the kids and drive .8 miles for some private skiing out in the woods.
I ventured alone out there that Sunday, then took the kids with me Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and did a couple solo ski times as well.  I have to make my own trails on it, so it can be hard going, especially after our last snow storm, but the more times I get out on it, the easier and more fun it becomes.  It’s been a phenomenal workout that has left me more exhausted than I originally anticipated.  Pulling the kids behind in the double chariot has been a lot easier than I thought it would be, in the sense that it is fairly comfortable, but it definitely adds to the workload and slows the pace!  I’m not in a race though, and if the kids stay in a good mood the whole time (even when it's 0 degrees out!), then it is definitely fun and worth being able to do it with them.
Even saw a porcupine while skiing!
Looking to get in shape but hate running? Or are you injury-prone?  Try something new!  Most importantly, find something that you can LOVE doing!  Try a new hobby, or join a league, or find a way to get moving in the outdoors even in the winter!  I’ve read that some triathletes will even use cross-country skiing as an alternative to running during the winter months.  We’ll see how I fare with running on the other of all this after the next baby and track season springs upon us.  But I do know that skiing is something I look forward to, while I was just suffering through my last pregnancy runs because I felt I “had to.”  Enough of that!  Time to quit suffering and have some fun instead!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Raising Little Swimmers

            While Baya and Myles are different in almost every way, they are both awesome little swimmers who LOVE the water.  They usually do a good job of impressing people with how comfortable they are in the water and I’ve been asked many times why they are that way.  This third kid may throw all my theories out the window (cause kids are good at that), but here is what has worked for my kids…
Start them young – but not just in a pool.  It all starts with how you do bath time because it’s far more frequent.  We use a foam bath mat to lay our babies on in the water.  We don’t use little tubs, or prop or sit them up.  They lay and kick and splash with their ears in the water starting as a newborn.  Baya would turn and put half of her face underwater with no problem.  It wasn’t until I saw someone else bathe her with her sitting did it even occur to me to do it differently.  With almost 3 months to go yet until she turns 4, she can swim on her own short distances with her face in the water.  (I’ve also been taking them swimming multiple times a week for the last couple months). 
            Myles was the first to sit himself up in the tub, but they both love to splash and dump water on their heads and faces.  I have already rescued Myles from potential drownings more times than I can count because he has no fear.  In fact, he was emotionally distraught when once he realized he was left behind from swimming.  They love swimming so much.  At the waterpark recently, he insisted he was going on the big red slide because Baya did (even though she’s always been more timid in life).  He did back out both times when he was at the top though (couldn’t ride down with a parent).  This is a boy who’s only 1 yr and 9 months!  He has to do everything he can to keep up with Baya.
Top tips for raising your own little water babies…
  • Lay them in the tub starting as a newborn
  • Allow time for kicking, splashing, and playing
  • Start them in the pool young.  When they slip under accidentally, remember to react calmly.  They look to you to determine how to respond.  If you freak out, they will too.  If you are calm and excitedly tell them, “Good job!” instead, then they often will copy that response.
  • Biggest thing is to get them comfortable so they are ready for swim lessons (Y lessons without a parent start as young as 3!)
  • Think progression: In the pool have them lay on their back with their head on your shoulder first, then support their neck in the water.  Hold them while they swim on their tummy.  Show them how to blow bubbles, put their face in, and do bobs holding the wall. Have them jump in to you while holding your hands, etc.
  • Don’t wait until 8 or 10 to take them swimming or put them in lessons.  I’ve seen it, and it’s no good!

Remember, swimming isn’t just about being competitive on a team.  It’s a life-long sport and life-saving skill to learn!