Racing Can Wait
In the summer of 2018 when I got pregnant, I’d already taken a temporary step back from endurance racing in order to spend more time building my business.
I never stopped enjoying all that goes into training for Ironman and marathoning on a regular basis; rather, as an age group athlete, I simply got to the point that I felt I’d accomplished a lot and, although I still have goals to achieve in my sport, I needed more.
I’d come to the realization that since nearly every client I’d worked with in my nutrition practice over the previous fifteen years was suffering from some degree of inflammation and / or gut dysfunction and needed a focus on gut health, bone broth was a given for all.
And while there were some good options out there in the marketplace, I felt the one I’d been making at home for years would be one everyone could enjoy because not only was it rich in all the gut boosting health benefits, it was sourced properly and delicious!
And so it began.
No longer was I choosing to do a 90 minute masters swim on a Saturday morning followed by a threshold bike ride and brick run; I was instead, up at 330 to pack up and head to the commercial kitchen where I’d begun renting space in order to start broth production and then straight to the farmer’s market.
Same for Sunday.
My workouts shifted from first thing in the morning to after the market.
And Monday wasn’t a rest day anymore, it was an easy swim at 5, then downtown to broth it up all day.
I fell in love with it and found it far more fulfilling to produce this healing elixir by hand, not to mention to become part of two new communities – the other food entrepreneurs I’d met in the kitchen as well as the vendors at my markets.
Things all started to fall into place; broth sales started off well and continued to grow and, much to my pleasant surprise, my new communities also had the nice side effect of being great places to connect with new clients who were genuinely aware of the impact of gut health on their overall well being.
I never stopped exercising and in fact, I still managed to pull out a single 70.3 at Honu in 2018. Although I didn’t perform as I typically do, I still eeked out a 5th place position for my age group.
So was it the lowered training volume that led to my body being ready to have a baby, at the ripe old age of nearly 44? Hmmm… I feel from the gut, pun intended, that it was the sense of fulfillment I had of being part of something bigger and doing a much more involved job at serving others that brought me energetically to the place I’d personally need to be in, in order to become a mom to a human.
I did not follow many of the recommendations passed on to me over the years including to stop exercise completely or to add processed carbs in order to increase my body fat percentage.
I did, however, as I’ve blogged about before, do a heck of a lot of work to learn to meditate regularly, to achieve a genuine sense of calm and belief that everything truly does work out exactly as it is supposed to.
As a result, a combination of I believe of all of the above, the pregnancy I had was magical.
I felt incredible for the most part and when I felt less than, such as being nauseated for a good four months, I was able to simply not pay attention to it, trusting that my body felt a certain way because I was pregnant and to move right past it.
It all started with the single decision to believe that the pregnancy would be magical and that by no means would, I need to pay any attention to anything touted as fact that did not resonate.
One of the ways in which this manifested was knowing that although I’d never experienced anything like the change in my body that I did during this time, I never felt worried I’d gain too much weight, my skin would stretch too much or I’d lose fitness.
I was completely able to bring down the training volume and intensity, to walk and hike beginning and five months because it felt too awkward to run, to ask my husband to put my bike handlebars in a silly upright position because I could no longer lean forward and to commit to regular yoga because I genuinely felt it was a priority.
I kept active every day and got in around 90 minutes of some sort of movement on average per day, plus continued to be active during my workday.
My main MO was that I was exercising, not training.
I’d never not trained!
But undoubtedly, it was the thing to do that just felt right. And what better time to trust your gut then when you’re expecting?
At the same time, I never didn’t miss it.
In fact, when the elite runners at the 2019 LA Marathon ran down San Vicente, passed my Sunday Brentwood market, I was in tears to not be running! Funny how you can feel two very different things at the same time.
I also knew that I would not be gunning to get back into training too quickly after my son was born, especially due to the complication I had after his safe and smooth delivery.
I thought I’d continue to exercise for 2019, and then on January 1, 2020, training would resume.
I registered for Honu, deferred my invitational entry to the NY Marathon to 2020 and let it be.
But once 2020 rolled around, one thing became glaringly clear: if I chose to train and not race, I’d lose precious time with my son.
My schedule had become such so that the only time I am not with him is during two yoga classes and one pilates session per week.
Three days per week, we’re out with the stroller doing our 12 mile walk / run in the neighborhood. We have our once per week hike with hubby and the dogs. Weekends after market, which we do together, I’m in our gym at home while he’s in the playpen three feet away. Client calls are done from home and I’m able to keep him with me.
Was I really ready to give that up?
I wrestled with it for quite a bit. It’d be a lie to say it wasn’t a tough choice but in the end I realized one thing: if I were to fast forward the time and look back, would I really ever say I’d wished I’d returned to racing a year sooner, or would it be far more likely I’d wish to have more time with my son as an infant?
The decision was made and it feels so right.
I have unfinished business; I haven’t broken 3:00 in my open marathon and I was 57 seconds off podium in Kona. And I’m very keen to see how having become a mom and gone through pregnancy and childbirth will affect my race performance.
But I can do it when I’m 46. And 47.
Sticking with exercising as a 45 year old mom and taking advantage of the luxury that my work and my family allows me to be with Yves almost all the time is a gift I’ll be eternally grateful for.
Racing will still be there when the time is right for me… for us!