Postpartum Racing

Lately I’ve been thinking about how racing is different for me this year compared to previous years.  I know my experience is mine and doesn’t apply to everyone who just had a baby, but I’m sure some of you can relate.  

Motivation – I just don’t have that “killer instinct” right now.  I was chatting about this with Becky at Nelson Bay pre-race (like, a minute or two pre-race) that I’d been in Mommy Mode, then Social Mode, but somehow was missing Race Mode.  It was like “Oh, they’re saying GO so I should go and yeah, I should go hard.”   It worked out fine, but if it came down to a close race, I’d probably be too busy waving and smiling to fight to the end.  Sure, I try to speed up towards the finishes, but that’s because the sooner I get there, the sooner I can stop, which is only important because it’s hurting pretty good by that point.  Maybe it’s the nursing hormones and I’ll be back into the ring again once we’re done with that.  Or not.  Maybe I’ve just done enough that if I’m never the same athlete again it won’t matter all that much.  Priorities and all.

Weight – I don’t have a scale and it’s probably for the best, but the weight loss seems to be stabilizing and I’m definitely not back at fighting weight.  The extra is all around the middle and chest area.  Speaking of…I needed an extra bra during Nelson Bay.  That “shelf bra” in the tri suit doesn’t count.  Or shouldn’t.  These girls need TWO real jog bras.

Speed – This, I’m pretty sure, is partly related to weight and the fact that I don’t train as much as I did before.  Admittedly, I’m running a little more mileage more consistently, but it’s mostly slow.  The slow is a little less slow than it was a few months ago, unless I’m rolling the baby stroller.  I just can’t get myself to push hard when I’m lugging that thing around.  I think 9:15 pace is my record.  I jogged with it Monday and averaged 10 minute miles and that’s a lot more typical than I’d care to admit.  Well I’m admitting it and I don’t really care all that much.   My biking is a little closer to the mark and the lower swim power has nothing to do with the pregnancy.  It has everything to do with the very small amount of swimming I did between November 2007 and this past April.  Yes, I’m talking about last month.  Now I’m on a whopping 1-2 swim sessions per week.  Usually one.  Sure Nelson Bay came out pretty good, but then I had on a wetsuit and drafted off someone without one.  Legal?  Yes.  Honorable and impressive?  No.

Originally, I figured that I’d be back in fighting shape by August-September, which is when Tri Nats and Du Worlds are.  Now, I’m beginning to wonder.  I’m sure that the rest of the weight will drop right off once I’m not breastfeeding any more and that this will have a positive impact on my performance, but no way am I weaning my child before he’s ready just so I can race faster.  I would like it if he were less reliant on breastmilk for his calorie intake by then, but that may not be the case.   I’m sure things will work out fine.  Alicia in Social Mode will enjoy those two events regardless of speed.

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10 comments to Postpartum Racing

  • Allison Chapple

    I can relate on many levels. Though I am not as competitive as you are, I find that it all is on the back burner compared to Baker’s needs. And that’s A-OK with me.

  • Thanks for the perspective on this. I LIKE what you said about priorities…not that racing was ever your 100% focus, but that there are so many other things. If anything, I think that you’re becoming a much more well-rounded athlete. I think the killer instinct WILL return – maybe in a little while though. Hey – a draft is a drat, wetsuit or not… Take what you can get and run with it. :)And, I feel the same way about the scale. We actually DO own one, but I’ve finally realized that when I weigh myself I get too uptight about weight loss or weighing too much, etc, and everything else – so I just avoid it and figure that my body knows what it needs. Glad to hear I’m not the only one out there…

  • Julie Haight

    Alicia- I TOTALLY can relate and in fact Bill and I were just speaking about this when I got home from the ISO ride Thursday nite. Between tutoring 2 nites per week and trying to ride 1 nite per week I have been gone quite a bit. If I had to choose, I would give up the ISO ride. Why? Because the desire/killer instinct just isn’t there. I hate to say it out loud and now on paper, but I just don’t care about it the way I used to. Maybe “it” will come back (I do hope so) but if it doesn’t, then being a MOM is something I wouldn’t trade for ANYTHING!!!

    And yes, pushing that baby stroller is killing me. And now that Zoey is approaching 24 pounds, it just gets harder and harder. I am trying to find time to run without her (ie at the butt crack of dawn) but sometimes I just have to do it with her and it definitely hurts. What hurts only makes us stronger, right 😉

    We just need to keep S-B-R ing cuz only good can come from it… whether it be top racing form, spending time with friends, keeping ourselves fit, or even being a role model for the new love in our life.

    Thanks for the post as I now know that I am not the only used-to-be-super-competitive-new-mom-with-a-change-in-focus out there!! Now it’s a beautiful day so I think I’ll go for a RUN :)!

  • Angela

    From my experience, nursing definitely keeps some of those hormones running ramped and I think you’ll surely see the weight and the competitive drive return after you’re done breastfeeding. Or at least that was my experience. I’m more fighting fatigue from two kids when it comes to training these days and the fact that to be as good as I can be and realize that potential would require more time and effort than I am willing to take away from my family right now. So I’m patiently waiting until the moment is right and things are where they should be.

    I think you’re doing great actually. And Remi is all the better for you having your priorities in line.

  • Angela Kidd

    Given your recent race results I’d say you are still one fast mama. I’m not sure why I am so crazy driven this year. I feel like I have something to prove to myself. But Zach comes first. I am exhausted from always getting up crazy early to train so I don’t miss time with him being able to crawl around on the floor with him and scream at one another is worth a little sleep deprivation. I am only pumping now because Zach has started biting me (and biting hard and then grinning proudly about it when I yelp). My supply has been dropping so I am just trying to make it to 9 months and then we’ll see.

    I am really impressed by how balanced and “in perspective” you keep everything. Remy has a great role model.

  • Rebecca

    It sounds like you are having a ton of fun racing and still kicking butt at the same time. In my opinion, that is the best combination, who could ask for more than that! I can totally relate to the baby jogger pace…that thing is hard! I know that you aren’t a big numbers person so I am surprised that you even track of your pace when running with the jogger. In our house, the jogger is the big equalizer…if Scott pushes the jogger I can keep up with him and sometimes even go faster than him up the hills!

    Elena weaned herself at 6.5 months since she was really crawling at that time. She just would not be still enough to breastfeed and I got so sick of fighting it I just threw in the towel. I do remember that I lost the rest of my weight then…it just melted away because I don’t think I was nearly as hungry.

  • Lindy Phippen Smith

    Hi Alicia,
    I just started following your blog. I recently found out I’m pregnant. Yahoo! I have been competing in Tri’s for the last three years and I like to think I’m in fairly good shape. When asking my doctor do’s and don’ts of excercising when pregnant they have told me not to get my heart rate over 140. Just wondering if this is what they told you as well. Or what you were able to do when you were pregnant?
    Thanks so much!

  • Regarding pace — I don’t watch my pace WHILE running but log it later from the Garmin. I rarely have a target pace for training runs, but sometimes push to see what I can do. I don’t let it concern me that my pace may be really impressive one day and really slow the next and continue all over the map.

  • music to my ears…not that i’ve ever been really competitive except with myself, but it kinda makes me feel validated (or something) that a much more serious athlete like you (and the other commenters) is also a little more laid back right now. i’m also super slow with the stroller!

  • Just like our bodies change over time, so do our priorities. They’re constantly getting fine tuned and adapeted to new situations. It doesn’t make one more important than another. You’re doing beautifully!

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