It’s safe to say that life has changed quite a lot since my last blog. My last update came in January fresh from my return from Chile and the Cayman Island: two half ironman in two weeks and I was setting out my race plans for 2016. Soon after coming home to Boulder we learnt I was pregnant! Big news for us! Big excitement! And, big changes ahead!
It’s taken me a while to write an update about pregnancy life and that’s for a few reasons. Early on we wanted to keep things quiet. I found the first trimester to be a….I think confusing is the right word…time. We were massively excited and felt great joy seeing the positive pregnancy result, seeing our baby on the scan, hearing the heart beat but that excitement was coupled with a nervousness. During the first trimester the risk of miscarriage is at it’s highest and I felt like I was balancing a desire to plan and imagine the adventures ahead whilst at the same time feeling a certain reserve to not let myself get too far ahead of myself. Oh and my body was creating a shed load of hormones that made me more tired than I’ve been from any Ironman build, I felt nauseous about 80% of the time and oh my Golly Gosh we were going to have a baby!!!
Being pregnant meant big and immediate changes to my life. Without taking away from the joy, change always takes a little adjustment and that’s coming from someone who likes change! Change is challenging! For one, I wanted to tell my sponsors as soon as possible. I would feel uncomfortable accepting payments when I knew I wouldn’t be racing more in 2016. For my own comfort level I decided to tell sponsors before I was out of the first trimester. My worries about letting sponsors down were needless. Without exception all my sponsors were delighted at our news and have been very supportive: Thank you Cervelo, Endura, ROKA, Team Bravo, ENVE, PowerBar, Oakley, ON, The Island House, ISM and Ceramic Speed.
Away from the “business” side of things it has meant a bit of a change in how I measure my goals and “purpose” on a day to day level. It reminds me a little to adjusting from being a full time lawyer to being a full time triathlete. Back in 2008/2009 it took me a good few months to learn what being productive meant as a triathlete. It was so different from my days in the office when I could measure my success in a day on a matrix of how many hours I billed on Carpe Diem software, how many contracts I negotiated and the satisfaction of my clients and boss!!! It took me time to learn a successful day as a triathlete went beyond completing my training hours. At first I neglected other aspects. Rest and recovery made me feel guilty as I was used to my days being ruled my military timings to ensure training was squeezed in around work. It took a while to adjust to lose the guilt about resting and doing nothing for chunks of the day. Eventually (probably after a year or two) my self identity shifted from being “a lawyer who does triathlon” to a “a triathlete who used to work in the law” (although thankfully I have always identified as other things beyond this too).
So these past months my identity has been taken another shift. I still identify as a triathlete but for sure even before baby has arrived I feel myself identifying with this new role I have as a mum. I feel protective about this life inside me and decisions around how much exercise I do in a day, what I eat and rest have been about balancing my wish to protect and nourish this life whilst maintaining my sense of self. I know that sense of self is going to remain important to me and will ultimately make me a better mother come September.
Honestly, I have felt guilt at having the extra time I have had on my hands. Similar to the guilt (not sure that’s even the right word for this feeling!) I felt in 2008/2009 for a while this year I had a sense of a lack of productivity or maybe purpose is a better word. Professional sport is a big space to fill. The nature of elite sport forces you to hone your focus on peaking for those big events that motivate you. To base so many decisions in your day on what will help your perform better: bedtimes, meal choices, travel. Of course starting a family is a massive focus but it doesn’t involve sitting on the sofa thinking “Today baby grows from a turnip to a beef tomato” (….the choice of vegetables chosen to tell you about baby’s growth is worthy of another blog. I mean who wants to imagine a turnip in their belly?!).
Now I have smaller focuses. Not quite as all consuming as that one big thing and it’s been fun to make these changes. Working with TriEqual, Women For Tri, completing the Ironman U coaching course and volunteering with Intercambio are some of the things that I now add into my days plus as well of course as exercising.
There it is! I’ve ripped the band aid off my first pregnancy blog. I plan to update my site more regularly from now. Yes I will be talking about pregnancy, how I’ve adjusted my training but other stuff too. I am mindful that not everyone wants to hear about the pregnancy journey but I can’t ignore it – it is exciting for us and a big deal and it is my reality right now!!