Sunday, March 20, 2016

Bits and Pieces

I'm starting a new addition to my blog called "Bits and Pieces" that I hope revitalizes things a bit around here and helps me get out all those things I want to say, without committing to a novel or a chronological play-by-play of my last week/month/season (which you will still be subjected to if you visit this space). It's a bit of a rip on Erin's "currently" posts (thanks, Erin!), but as you'll see below, my creativity has been lacking lately.

"Bits and Pieces" is one of about a million Australian (so probably British) colloquialisms they seem to use all the time:
"Just heading down to the shops to get some bits and pieces"
"Spending the morning organizing all my bits and pieces"

Anyway, my Bits and Pieces will be snippets about my current events in (mostly) triathlon. What I'm thinking, loving, disliking, fearing, wanting, doing, sipping, and generally humming and hawing (another Australia, likely British one) about.

Bits and Pieces: March 2016

EATING // Training is so full-on that we've actually standardized our weekly meals to make things easy. After we pick up Wynne at little-people-school on Mondays, we shop as a family and I always buy enough for the following 5 easy dinners. This gets us through the week as we usually eat out one night and often go to Luke's parents for a night. Each meal takes me less than 30 minutes to make and is a good mix of protein carbs and healthy fats. I make some other meals too, but these are my 5 go-tos and a very typical week in our house.

MONDAY: Rotisserie chicken, big salad, roasted potatoes
TUESDAY: Taco salad tuesday: Grass fed lean ground beef w/ spinach/lettuce mix, tomatoes, salsa, fresh corn, guacamole, chips, a bit of cheese and sour cream.
WEDNESDAY: Salmon quinoa kale bowls similar to this recipe

THURSDAY: Steak (filet mignon for me, rib eye for Luke), a big ass spinach/arugula/avocado salad, and roasted sweet potatoes.
FRIDAY: Spaghetti bolognese made with grass fed lean ground beef or turkey. I mix it up with zucchini noodles made with my Vegetti. Simple salad on the side.

TRAINING // Training has been 110% focused since we returned from the U.S. in mid-February. I am currently 6 weeks out from Ironman Port Macquarie and we have most definitely been putting in the hard yards. I've been joking (sort-of) lately that I've lost my personality to Ironman training. I'm even struggling to put together a coherent/funny blog post, so instead I'm just listing out things. I'm also excited to head to Putrajaya 70.3 in Malaysia in just a little under 2 weeks! Though the full Ironman is my focus, I always like to test my fitness in halves and I'm excited to visit Malaysia again. Luke and I are both racing which is always a lot of fun.

Ironman training problems

photo by Tommy Zaferes

READING // I finished "Fates and Furies" by Lauren Groff about a month ago. It is one of the most-deep dive character portrayals I have read in a long while, following the two main characters from young-and-in-love through the course of their lives. I thought it was funny that at one point, Matilda goes out for a casual 80-mile ride... Until I later found out that Groff's sister is none other than Olympics-bound triathlete Sarah Groff. Um, hello, TIME magazine or TODAY show segment, is this not the most talented family of the year? Anyway. Loved the book.

PLANNING // The Island House Triathlons 2016! We are getting soooooo close to being able to tell you about this year's installment of the Island House Invitational. It will be bigger and better- details coming very soon.

SIPPING // In an effort to get race weight to come a little easier for Ironman Port Macquarie, I'vecut back on wine, so I don't have any big reds to brag about. However, in this same effort, I've transformed Luke's daily "smoothie" (quotation marks used as this is actually a milkshake considering the ingredients are milk, chocolate syrup, and ice cream). I bought  a new Ninja (with the money we're saving from forgoing a few bottles of wine per week) and gave his smoothie a makeover. It now includes lots of fruits and veggies and whey protein. He's impressed and I'm impressed with the Ninja. With 1500 watts, I find it just as good as my old Vitamix (so far) and you can even choose whether you want to make the whole pitcher or use just a single serving on-the-go cup. Mine also came with a food processor which I've been using for pestos and cacao/banana/avocado "mousse".

LAUNCHING // Ok, launching is a bit of a stretch of a word, but I did "launch" a new Facebook athlete page. I got to the point where I was no longer answering Friend requests on my personal page because I couldn't be hassled to research whether or not requesters were true or spam. Also, I feel that by having an athlete page, I can make my personal page a bit more family-oriented and private and keep the athletic goings-on to the athlete page. I will post links to my blogs, etc from the athlete-page only, so If you have a chance, please "like" it here

That's it for now... Will check back in before Putrajaya 70.3 with some updates on recent races and life!

Monday, March 14, 2016

For the moms...

I've been thinking a lot lately about being a mother, being an athlete, being a career woman, being a wife, and how they all can fit together. It truly is impossible to "do it all", but you can do a lot of it. What's important to remember is that it is your choice and if possible, tune out the noise from all over of what you should or shouldn't be doing. Do what is right for you.

My daughter is admittedly no longer a baby (she's nearly 2!), but I still find myself drawn to posts, articles, podcasts, and people who are going through pregnancy, childbirth and life with a newborn.

As I look back on the story that I shared with 'you', I feel as though I didn't do many of the new moms justice. Somehow, without meaning to, I made it look 'easy'. Sure there was the odd 'help me get some sleep!' tweet. But mostly, it was all "Oh, I popped out this baby, now let's do an Ironman yahoo!"

Funny enough, that's never really the story that I wanted to share. However, I felt, at the time, that others were making it so 'easy' for me that it wasn't my right to complain about mastitis, or trying to cook dinner when you are so f*&cking tired from caring for a newborn and training that all you want to eat is a big bowl of sleep.

After all, I had recently left my full-time job to focus full time on being a professional athlete and being a mom. I had lots of family help and a supportive partner who encouraged me to get babysitters every day to ride my bike and be the best I could be. What did I have to complain about?

And so, I went about acting like it was all so easy. But in doing that, I feel as though I've sold all you other mothers out there short. Because even with the amount of support that I had, I still (2 years later!) cannot imagine ever trying to do that again. It was ludicrous, but in saying that, I wouldn't change a thing and I love the journey that I have been on with my family.

I think that part of the impetus for this post is that I recently read a blog post criticizing the "competition" for women to see who can get back in shape the quickest after having a baby. Ew, this a race now?

I want us to stop judging each other for how quickly we do or do not get "back in shape" post-baby. The most important thing after you have a child is to be their mother. Period. Forget about how everyone thinks you should parent or work out or not work out (except your doctor, of course.)

And guess what? Everyone's circumstances are different. Everyone's circumstances are different while they are baking that child as well! I continued to exercise 1.5 to 2.5 hours per day throughout pregnancy but guess what? I wasn't doing much else! I was coaching athletes from home, but other than that... free time to sleep as much as I wanted and exercise for fun. Not many other moms have that luxury during pregnancy. If I had been going to the office every day from 8-5, you can bet your bottom dollar that I wouldn't have been waking up at 5 every day to get a workout in. Because you know what? Pregnancy is TIRING!

For me, after I had Wynne, I was returning to my job as a professional athlete, and unfortunately, I had some really time-sensitive goals that I wanted to achieve to help with my long-term job security. I had one year from my daughter's birth to amass enough points to qualify for the Ironman World Championships with 35 other women in the world. Big goal. Stupid timeline. But you know what? It was important to me to try. And it was my job. I think it's ok for me to have "rushed" back to the start line a bit more than an age grouper with an office career or a stay-at-home mom. My job is different. And that should be ok.

As someone who has always been able to support myself, not creating an income from my new career  as a pro triathlete was not an option for me in my mind. At 35, I also was facing potentially my best few years in the sport head-on. So, I resolved to get my ass back into the sport as quickly as possible after having my daughter. Not to prove anything to anyone or do something shock-worthy (or dumb) like completing an Ironman basically in the 4th trimester. I did it because I wanted to go back to work and I wanted to be good at my job. I wanted to put myself in a position where I could help support my family, help us buy a house, secure better long-term sponsor partnerships. And what I am most proud to say is that I did that.

But I sacrificed a lot for that. I didn't have too many lazy snuggles with my daughter. I was only able to breastfeed for 7 months before I didn't have any more milk (yes, probably due to training).
In fact, if I do it again (not planning on it at this point, though), I would do it differently! I wouldn't be racing back to a start line because although I have no regrets, I'd like to enjoy being a new mom a bit more and have that experience as well as the one that I already had. I think it can be really enjoyable, but I admittedly took some of the fun out of it with all of my rushing.

I guess this is all a long-winded way of saying that you should honor your own journey as a new parent, whatever that may be. I like that I've given (along with the likes of Sarah Haskins, Gina Crawford and many others) professional women another story about what is possible after having a baby. In fact, when I see other professional triathletes get pregnant, I like to hope that they think, "she came back, so can I."  But I also want to say hey to all the other moms out there who should know that just because something is possible, doesn't make it right for you, or even something to strive for. I am honestly more in awe of moms who have a child, go back to work full-time, and then bust out a sprint or Olympic distance triathlon a year later.

They're the ones doing it all. I'm just doing my job.

And with that- here's a pretty cool documentation of that journey I took. Thanks to Gatorade Endurance for believing in me, being a part of my dream, and documenting it.