Back from Baby , 2016-03-06

It’s hard to believe the last time I wrote a blog was 3 weeks before our little munchkin was born.  Now we have an amazing, giggly, wiggly 5 ½ month old! I’m back to work (tear) and after a stomach bug and a 3 week long cold to start 2016, I’m also finally back to “real” training!

So fun to be climbing in the redwood forests again!!


So how have things been going? Pretty well, I think!  Hanna is a super happy baby and has gone pretty easy on mom and dad.  That’s not to say we haven’t had our challenges – for the first 6 weeks she ate every 90 minutes AROUND THE CLOCK (and still eats about every 3, sometimes even at night – no full nights of sleep so far!).  But she hardly every cries, started smiling regularly at about 3 weeks, and is pretty content to be in the stroller while mom runs (THANK GOD!).

Poor little miss has spent A LOT of time like this!


When I wrote my last blog (at 37 weeks pregnant), I was adamant that I would at least TRY to go back to racing pro.  That has definitely NOT changed, although I think my expectations for how well I will race have.  I signed up for the Wildflower Half on 4/30, so in just 8 short weeks I will be lining up with some of the best ladies in the business.  If you had asked me 6 months ago, I would have said I would like to try to be where I was when I raced Wildflower in 2014 (cue the laughter from those with kids).  Now I just want to have a solid day and finish strong.  I have seen new moms accomplish some pretty amazing things – racing WELL at Half or full Ironmans just a few months after their babies were born.  Since the precedent has been set that something like that Is POSSIBLE, I wanted to be able to make it happen, too.  However, now being back at work full-time and squeezing in as much training as possible, while still try to be the best mom I can be (and breast-feeding), I realize if I chase that goal I’ll kill myself.  HUGE respect to those ladies who pulled it off!  Instead, I have decided to nix the version of myself that got into a massive hole of fatigue and illness in my first year as a pro and actually practice some PATIENCE this season.  (patience, what’s that, right?) My new goal is to PR at Ironman Arizona at the end of the season.  It’s time to play the long game! 

A lot of people have asked what my progression back to fitness has been like, so here goes.  The first 4 months I didn’t worry about “training” at all! I started exercising a few days after Hanna was born – walking, jogging, cycling, then finally adding swimming about 3 weeks later.  BUT I kept the intensity low and just tried to enjoy what I was doing.  I think the biggest shock was how terrible I still felt in the pool the first time I jumped in post baby.  I had read that returning to swim post partum (if you had been swimming during late pregnancy) was that you immediately felt amazing – no lung capacity of someone at 14,000ft, no drag from a huge belly.  Maybe I didn’t feel worse than when I was pregnant, but the first swim did not feel amazing!  I felt like I was drowning – I wasn’t sure if my arms were really clearing the surface! And I was definitely still out of breath.  The best part of the road back to fitness is that after having a baby, though, was that because I was SOOO slow in the beginning, I have gotten to make AMAZING progress the last few months.  I think I dropped about 10 seconds / 100m in the pool in just the first few weeks!  I don’t think I have seen that kind of progress since I was about 7. 

Hanna has gotten in a little swimming of her own!  And she INSISTED on watching the marathon olympic trials!


Now I’m building back slowly and paying careful attention to my heart rate in training.  If Hanna (and subsequently I) have a bad night of sleep, I cut back on the training that next day.  Last week I got in just over 16 hours of training and will probably max out around 20-22.  For those of you who are interested, the 16hrs included:

Swim: 3hrs

Bike: 7.5hrs

Run: 3..75hrs (3 of which were with baby+stroller)

Strength: 2hrs

Because I’m not going to be able to put in quite the same number of training hours I used to, I’m just going to have to train SMARTER! I’m also going to have to make sure my diet is 100% in check. I know some of the women (maybe guys, too) will be curious about my weight loss journey these past few months– I know I wanted to know how other moms managed to get their bodies back!  For the first 3 months I didn’t really TRY to lose weight – I wanted to make sure I could keep up with feeding my hungry little girl (and her 12lbs of weight gain in the first 5 months!) AND let’s be honest, I didn’t want to miss out on any pumpkin pie or Christmas cookies.  I was pleasantly surprised that I got back to my pre-pregnancy weight in about 4 months, although my body composition is still a little different (a little less muscle, a little more tummy).  I’m sure I could have done it sooner without the holidays, but man did I enjoy the holidays!  Now, 5 ½ months later, I’m back to my “training” weight, but still have about 5-6lbs before I get to my “goal race weight”.  This is where the challenge begins.  Breast feeding helps the cause, but I had to start saying no to bread and dessert, two of my favorite things.  I THINK about going to the donut shop down the street on an almost daily basis, but I have managed to steer clear (for the past few weeks anyway).  I try to jam as many vegetables into whatever I’m eating as I can, eat HUGE salads for lunch, and even celebrated national pancake day with a grain and sugar free version (bananas, eggs, coconut flour ).  So far I think it’s working, but we’ll see if I can get to where I want to be by April 30th.   My husband laughs at the hours of pain through which I’m willing to suffer for training and racing, yet somehow I can hardly stand to be hungry for 30 minutes! 

First attempt at cauliflower pizza - thank god for the sauce, pepperoni, and cheese!


In addition to getting back to fitness, I hope to be a better blogger this year.  I hope to continue telling my story of juggling all the things that life throws at me, while still pursuing my passion.  I don’t share my journey to impress or awe, but to hopefully show that if I can do it, any mom (or dad) out there can do it, too!  You just need a little determination and desire – and some solid planning ;)



My VIP this blog is an amazing athlete, mom, coach, and friend!  She recently launched an online coaching business, Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching (RTTC), and was kind enough to let me join on as a coach.  She has an incredible wealth of knowledge when it comes to training, racing, and how to work with athletes and I feel INCREDIBLY lucky to be able to join her team! 

VIP#38 Sonja Wieck!!

I first met Sonja in Austin back in 2012.  We were friends of friends and decided to meet up for dinner after the race.  I knew I liked her instantly.  She’s extremely positive, but real.  She is an incredibly hard worker and I’m so inspired by the way she has pursued her passion on and off the race course.

The countdown is on! 3 weeks until D-day , 2015-08-30

I have been planning to write this blog now for about 4 months, since I went public with our “big news” about baby Smith coming in September.  I mentally committed to blogging more than ever about my experience with training and pregnancy, but here I am 37 weeks into the process, fnally squeaking out my first write-up in about 11 months.  I expected to have all the time in the world since I wouldn’t have to train 30 hrs a week, spend countless hours preparing food and eating it, go to bed at 8PM for a 4:45AM wake up call, or spend all my free time being lazy on the coach for “recovery”.  As it turns out I am not really saving much sleeping, recovery, food prep/eating time as those commitments are basically the same for pregnant women as they are for busy triathletes!  But the training time – where is that going?!?

Training in the early days around 15weeks! CAF charity ride (4 hrs on the trainer, okay, so I finished 3:30), and Thursday night tempo loops when I could still keep up (almost!)


Some of that extra time is going back to my job.  I have gone back to a full time schedule to sock away a little extra $$ before the little one arrives.  I’m also still trying to “exercise” about 10-14hrs a week, albeit at a much lower intensity than before.  Most of the rest of the time has been spent with the hubbs.  Although I love training and racing, I also love spending time with my better half.  Without the pressure of a looming Ironman and 8+hrs training days on the weekends, we actually have time for weekend breakfasts, trips to the coast, camping excursions, hiking, etc…  We have done a bit of traveling this summer including jetting off to Destin, Florida for a week with his family – a special spot since that’s where we got married almost 8 years ago!  And off to Boston and Maine to celebrate the wedding of some friends from Stanford.  Really, the last 8 months has taken me back to life before triathlon.  When Mark and I first got married, I had done a couple of triathlons, but wasn’t that serious about the sport. It was a hobby, not the all-consuming passion it is today.  Although I know I, once I’m able, I will be itching to get back into racing, I have really enjoyed the forced pause in my triathlon career and the reminder that I have a pretty amazing life outside the sport.  It’s also a great reminder of what I sacrifice when I put in those hours in the pool or on the bike so I had better make them count!

Trips to Yosemite (+ my first purchase for baby Smith), visiting family in FT. Worth, TX, my gym setup in gorgeous Destin, FL, and a fun camping excursion to Portola Redwoods State Park - surprising comfortable sleeping in a tent at 29weeks!


People ask me about my triathlon plans once baby Smith is finally here.  Maybe it is naïve to think I can return to triathlon faster and stronger than ever, but that’s just what I plan to do.  I have seen it happen with other women and I know it’s POSSIBLE.  I realize it’s going to be a struggle.  We won’t have a house keeper or a full-time nanny.  I’ll probably maintain a full-time work schedule and we will only have child-care 3 days a week.  Training sessions will have to be squeezed in wherever they fit, and sometimes they might not fit.  I know this will be one of the biggest challenges I have faced as an athlete, but I don’t need easy, I just need POSSIBLE.  I realize these are my pre-baby plans and have been told things might change dramatically once our bundle of joy is here.  I don’t doubt our lives will be flipped a bit upside down (in a good way), but I also know myself.  I know it’s not in me to give up without a fight so I might not be winning any races in 2016, but I will be part of them.

There has been lots of hiking (walking) with my favorite mommies to be - Jenny Ford (who know has a beautiful 7 week old baby boy, Sebastian, and Sumi Hachmann who is about 3 1/2 weeks behind me!  And sadly a picture from my last climbing ride outside at 6 mos pregnant.  I definitely got some wide-eyed looks at the top of this 1,800ft climb!


Since it has been my goal all along to continue racing as a professional in 2016, I tried to be thoughtful about the kind of “training” I would do during pregnancy.  Of course I wanted to stay as active as possible anyway, not only to give my little one a healthy start in life, but also to make pregnancy, labor, and delivery as easy as possible.  But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t also want to shorten the road back to fitness post baby.  Once I found out I was expecting, I did a fair bit of research (or tried to) on what was a safe level of activity for me.  Unfortunately most of the guidelines are for “normal” women – keep your heart rate under 140, no intensity, short duration, don’t exercise to fatigue.  I’m a distance athlete – if I’m not exercising to fatigue then why even bother??  What does that even look like? When I told my OB about my athletic background she said the 140bpm heart rate ceiling probably did not apply to me, but the waters were as uncharted for her as they were for me.  I found other women’s blogs on the subject of training and pregnancy extremely entertaining and useful (thank you Sarah Haskins, Beth Gerdes).  It was helpful to have a guide from other ATHLETEs to follow.  I know every pregnancy is different, just like every athlete is different, but I was confident from reading about other athlete moms, I could continue training with a moderate amount of intensity at no risk to myself or the baby.  I actually think it’s because of this that, relatively, I have been able to thrive during pregnancy – and according to the doc it seems Baby Smith has, too!


Of course I had my grand plans: training 15-20hrs a week, running until the end, AM Masters at least 3-4 times a week, and biking outside for as long as possible, after which I would commit to 2-3 trainer sessions per week.  I was actually sticking to this plan pretty well, outside of weeks 7-10 where I needed an hour nap every day and only wanted to eat bread, muffins, and cake.  Once I hit the third trimester I had to say goodbye to riding outside.  It was sad to let it go, especially heading into the best biking months in Northern California, but I knew it was the right thing to do.  Of course those sessions were NOT replaced with the trainer work I had originally planned.  I have continued to teach an hour spin class every week, but most weeks that’s my only hour on the bike.  It’s really just not that fun to ride easy on the trainer, even if you have episodes of Orange is the New Black to catch up on.  This is partly because I get bored easily and partly because an extra 25lbs on the saddle is not very comfortable, nor is kneeing myself in the stomach every pedal stroke (even with the handlebars flipped upside down).


 I have maintained my time in the pool, although I think I get slower every time I go.  And probably the saddest change late in pregnancy was the realization it was time to start walking instead of running.  In the first trimester I did a couple of 2 hour runs, no problem.  Slowly, as the weight started piling on, I cut those runs down bit by bit.  Even at 32 weeks, though, I was able to complete 60min sessions, 45min of which was “jogging” with a few walk breaks built in.  Sure my “moderate” pace jumped from about 8 min/mile to 9-9:30/mile, but hey, I was still running!  Unfortunately at about week 35 I realized running just wasn’t worth it.  I would feel good while I was out, but my pelvic floor would harass me for hours after.  Now our precious little one has her head right on my bladder so even if it was comfortable to run, I’m not sure I would make it 5 minutes without having to pee (and there just aren’t that many bushes on my neighborhood running route).  Luckily we now have a treadmill in the garage gym so I can walk as long as I want with a bathroom just a few steps away. 


Swimming has been interesting.  I pretty much lost 5 seconds / 100 as soon as I found out I was pregnant so it was off to Masters lane 3 I went (1:30 / 100meter base interval).  I was slower, but I still had good stamina and was able to put in a fairly high level of intensity – I even completed 100x100’s in February (granted I was only about 8 weeks pregnant at the time).  I continued to lead the lane or at least swim pretty close to the front on most days, until about 3 weeks ago.  Baby Smith has been growing pretty rapidly, the opposite of what is happening to the space for my lungs and diaphragm.  Over the course of about 2 weeks, I went from feeling like I was swimming at Lake Tahoe altitude to thinking maybe it was more like Mt. Everest.  Now I’m pretty much out of breath with even the hint of any intensity, unless I wear my fins, or pulling gear and snorkel (which I do, A LOT!).  I have moved to the back of the lane and I have to say it’s pretty nice back there.  I let go of the idea that I HAVE to make the interval and I’m really enjoying a more leisurely work out.  I figured I don’t get to slack off like this for much longer so might as well take advantage of it!


While I wouldn’t want to be pregnant forever, overall it hasn’t been so bad.  I have enjoyed experiencing the changes in our little one over time and can’t wait to meet her in a few short weeks.  Sure I’m slowing down a bit more each day as I near the end, but I have no doubt maintaining a super active lifestyle has helped me and my baby thrive over the past 8 months.  I know each woman is different and I was extremely lucky not to have “real” morning sickness (just a short window where I might have tried to murder someone with any vegetables they might have wanted me to eat) and I also didn’t have any high risk factors or physical limitations to exercise (other than being a bit heavy and slow).  I’m definitely no expert at this having only stumbled my way through this once.  But if I had any advice to moms-to-be, it would be to stay as active as possible.  Listen to your body and rest / take naps when you need them, but you are pregnant, not disabled.  Keep moving – you and your baby will be glad you did!

How I'm looking today with just 3 weeks to go! (thank goodness 'cause when you're short there's no where for baby to go but OUT!) and my favorite ultrasound picture  - can't wait to see that little foot in person.


I’m sure many of you don’t care about my “typical” pregnancy training weeks (especially the guys).  BUT I wanted to include approximately what I have been able to maintain throughout each trimester.  It was something I really wanted to see from other moms-to-be when I first found out I was expecting – just to have SOME idea of what I might be capable of.  Of course I didn’t follow this plan every single week – there were weeks where I had to take 1-3 days completely off and just sleep in my free time.  Or weeks where we traveled and I just fit in whatever I could.  BUT when I look back at training peaks (yes I kept updating my log), here is pretty much what my schedule was for each of the 3 trimesters:



Trimester 1

Monday – 45min easy recovery Ride, 45min moderate run

Tuesday – 60min masters swim, 60-75min track session,

Wednesday – 45min recovery run, 90min Ride with intervals

Thursday – 60min spin class, 70min moderate+ run, 45min strength

Friday – 60min masters swim

Saturday – 2-4hr Outdoor Ride (mostly moderate, some climbing)

Sunday – 60min masters swim, 90min long run, 45min strength

Total Swim: 12-15k, 3-4hrs

Total Bike: 130-150miles, 7-8hrs

Total Run: 30-40m, 4-5hrs

Total Strength – 1.5hrs

Total Hrs: 16-20



Trimester 2:

Monday – 45min easy recovery Ride, 45min moderate run

Tuesday – 60min masters swim, 45 moderate run

Wednesday – 30-45min walk/jog, 45min recovery ride  

Thursday – 60min spin class, 60min masters, 45min strength

Friday – 60min masters swim

Saturday – 2-3hr Outdoor Ride (mostly moderate, some climbing

Sunday – 60min masters swim, 45-60min long run

Total Swim: 12-15k, 3-4hrs

Total Bike: 80-100, 5-6hrs

Total Run/walk: 20-30, 3-4hrs

Total Strength – 1.5hrs

Total Hrs: 12-15



Trimester 3:

Monday – 45min walk/jog

Tuesday – 60min masters swim, 60min walk/jog

Wednesday – 45min walk/jog, 30min strength

Thursday – 60min spin class, 60min walk

Friday – 60min masters swim

Saturday – 60min masters swim, 60min walk/jog

Sunday – 60min walk/jog, 30min strength

Total Swim: 9-12k, 3-4hrs

Total Bike: indoor riding only, 1-2hrs

Total Run/walk: 10-15m, 4-5hrs (mostly walking)

Total Strength: 1hr

Total Hrs: 9-12