Tuesday, June 21, 2016

On the comeback!

It feels like a lifetime ago that I wrote the last post, and in many ways it was a completely different life, but in some ways (which I have worked hard on) it is still the same.  I just raced my first half Ironman back since baby 12 weeks ago and am happy to report I didn't die :)  I actually did well, and am very proud of my results because I know what it took to get there.

Hunter was born 2 weeks early, on March 24.  I won't get into the birth, but after a very healthy and enjoyable pregnancy it was not a smooth birth process.  None the less, I had a baby and there started the whole new life of mommy-hood.  After an initial struggle getting going with breastfeeding (who doesn't struggle the first few weeks!) we hit our stride and are going strong in the feeding department.

However obsessed I might be (follow along on Instagram), I don't want to focus on my amazingly cute baby boy in this post.  I want to focus on the route I'm taking getting back into triathlon and how it's working out.  I'm going to break down some key 'mind-set' points and then share what I've done the last couple months.

1.  Baby's take A LOT of time.  When you think you can get stuff done around the house while they nap, you are probably wrong.  When you schedule something, they probably have other plans....this includes workouts.  Because of this, not many workouts will get done and you have to be ok with that and also going with the flow of baby.

2. It takes a while for your body to get to where you want it, so be patient with yourself.  This is a tough one...especially if you are at a higher level in your sport and you are eager to get going again.  It is a slow build.  Push it too much, you will be dog tired and potentially injured.

3.  It is not selfish to take time to yourself to workout.  Use the gym childwatch, friends, family, whoever is willing (and eager many times) to help by snuggling your sweet baby so you can go get your head right (and feel like some version of your old self) with a run or swim or yoga or whatever you need.   There is plenty of time in the day for baby snuggles - it's ok to do a 30 minute run.

4.  It has to be a priority.  This is a little confusing, because obviously your new family is at the top, but if getting back into shape is a goal, it better be up there on the priority list because it is REALLY easy to just lounge and snuggle and watch every single thing on Netflix and eat yummy treats with little baby.   Working out is a habit and although some days will be tough, from a time or motivation standpoint, it is very important to stick with it.  Sometimes it's easy to do it during the day (nap time) but many times I have found myself up and on the trainer at 4:30am or after bedtime at 8pm.  This is just part of the mom-athlete 'dance'.

5.  Lack of sleep is a real issue.  This is why you really can't do much of anything the first month.  If you do, then you are some amazing, non-sleep machine.  I like love sleep.  I used to pride myself on getting plenty of sleep and maximizing recovery.  Now, with baby, I sleep as much as I can (which will not be even close to what I did before) and make due with energy levels for workouts.

OK, enough of all that.  Let's get down to what the heck did I actually do??  Let's back up just a bit to pregnancy- I was able to workout/exercise the entire time...even posted a gym baby belly pic the day I went into labor (had no idea I would go into labor or I would have been home napping!).   SO, I think the process after baby has been much easier because I stayed active the entire time.

Weeks 1-2: nothing.  just survive.  sleep, eat, drink lots, feed baby

Week 3:  start walking.  first walk was to the mailbox.  then around the block. and so on.
Training Hours: 1

Week 4: I started feeling better and like starting some exercise again.   I went for a swim, and went on a couple run/walks of ~20-25 min. Training Hours: 4:30

Week 5: Continued to build on week 4. Still short and easy.   First bike ride! Training Hours: 7

Week 6:  Same as week 4. couple swims, a few run/walks - still pretty slow, lower abs/pelvic region still would get sore after ~25 min. Training Hours: 8:40

Week 7:  Getting into a groove - Using the health club childcare up to 2 hrs at a time.  Continued with the swims and run/walk almost daily.  A couple yoga sessions.  Long ride, 37 miles. Training Hours: 9

Week 8:  Training more regularly, feeling stronger.  Did Donald Dash 10k trail race with Mark and Stewart.  Building consistency running 3-5 miles per day. Also a couple bikes and swims.  Long ride 35 miles (not fast).  Training hours: 12:30

Week 9:  Building consistency running 4-7 miles per day, Long run 10 (hilly) miles,  Rode (and bonked hard) Milkman course. Training Hours: 13

Week 10: Easier week, raced Lake Mills Sprint tri.  Good confidence builder, ran 6 min miles!
Training Hours: 9

Week 11:  'Panic Training'  EEEK.  I did a big week, including 12 mile run on Wednesday, Milkman course ride and 30 min run off Saturday. Training Hours: 12:30

Week 12: Taper?! For Milkman Half Ironman!  I took 2 full rest days, 1 swim only day and a few brick sessions with race simulation efforts.  I was optimistic...feeling good but pretty unsure if that would transfer through the entire distance of a half Ironman.

I'm happy to share more specifics on this, if you are interested, but main thing was listening to my body and not pushing it too far too soon!

Quick Milkman Race Recap:

Started in Elite wave w/men - swam fine, fairly controlled...noticed I'm not swimming as straight as I used to!!  Swam 27min and change

Bike: This is where I REALLY didn't know what would happen.  My rides have not been fast at all (fastest Milkman ride just under 3 hrs) and my bike legs have certainly not come around yet.  I rode as hard as I thought I could to cover the distance (duh, I guess that's what you do every time!).  I was looking at watts, but not using it too much to determine how hard to go.  I based it on feel, making nutrition a high priority as I know with breastfeeding I need to take in a lot more liquid and calories (in addition to the temp rising during the ride up towards 90 degrees).  No one caught me on the bike so I knew I was good to go for a nice run around the lake.  2:37 I think :)

Run:  I predicted I could run 6:50's, but that was not really planning for such hot conditions.  I took some extra precautions for the temps, and thankfully was still able to run very close to that, finishing the half in 1:30.  I was on maintenance mode for the run, which is really exciting, knowing that if there is close competition I could likely get more out of this.

Overall: Happy to take the win for the inaugural Milkman, which I hope to do every year!  4:39 finish time.

I'm taking a few days easy recovery (just a swim Monday and off today) and then will start another small build up to Racine 70.3 where I will be racing the big girls again :)

Thanks for following my progress back and I hope to continue to improve to where I was last year and beyond!

Huge thanks to support from Timex, my team since I started back in 2009.  Also from great companies like Newton Running, Rudy Project, and Computrainer who keep me using some great gear.  Locally I could not have such fun racing without my friends at Speed Cycling,  Endurance House West, Perfect Circle Cycling, and Race Day Events!

Lastly, my hubs Mark....celebrated his first fathers day cheering me on...how did I get so lucky :)