Forgive me if I’ve been a little absent from the blog-o-sphere lately. The title of this post may give a little indication as to why. For months I have been excited about training for my first Ironman and all of the extraordinary races that I had scheduled into my season. It was looking to be a great, competitive season too. And now, all of the races that I had signed up for and invested in are no longer plausible. I’ll be taking on a much different and much bigger challenge this year – one that involves bringing a new life into this world.
This was definitely the biggest surprise of my life and came at a time that was completely unexpected. Well, obviously my husband and I knew what we were doing, but with all of my intense training and “track record” I thought that Justin and I would have to attend to schedules and actually “plan” for pregnancy. Nope, apparently it was a little too easy for us. Justin has always been a really strong swimmer, but I didn’t realize that even his “swimmers” were really strong swimmers too. 😉
I’ve been through a tornado of emotions and they still haven’t settled. On the one hand I am very excited about this new journey my husband and I are about to embark on. On the other hand, it’s hard to temporarily shelve my triathlon goals and dreams. I know I am not giving up on my dreams forever, but the loss I feel for this year has been really hard on me. I was at the peak of my fitness, had new and upgraded equipment for training and racing, and had found a home on a great team with SOAS racing. I will now have to wait at least a year until I can start all over again and that sounds a little defeating.
One of my biggest fears—whether real or not—is that pregnancy will cause people to see me as weak, instead of the strong, fearless woman I am. I have built an identity around physical strength, a tough mind, and an adventurous heart, and with the news I immediately felt as though that would all be taken away from me. As though my identity as an athlete would cease to exist and I would now be a delicate pregnant woman without the grit I once had. With pregnancy comes a different type of strength, grit, respect, and admiration, and I am just now beginning to learn this. My first “pregnant” outdoor ride…
Is there ever a right time? I don’t know. Some would say they plan and follow schedules, hoping that on the right day during the right month it will happen. And for some it does. Others like me have this vision of it happening, just not right now. My heart was set on my racing schedule; becoming stronger, competing, doing the things I love to do most in this world. I definitely wasn’t prepared to take a sharp right turn and venture into the unknown.
But perhaps this is a different way for my body and mind to develop and grow before I am supposed to race at the Ironman level. I hear giving birth is pretty hard-core. If I can handle these next nine months, I can handle 140.6 miles of water, wheels, and pavement, right?
Am I going to stop training? No. This is me. This is who I am.
However, my training schedule has changed significantly. Who knew that something the size of a gumdrop growing inside of me could require so much of my strength and energy? My energy levels have been all over the place. I have good days and bad, typically very unpredictable, which makes scheduling workouts very difficult. I usually feel best in the morning and take advantage of that time by going for a run or getting work done around the house. That morning time is precious because as the day goes on, my energy levels plummet and I struggle to do much on my own. Thank goodness I haven’t had any morning sickness! Running has been a comfort to me through all of this and I still experience a great high and many smiles when I’m in my element. This was the day after I found out…
My hope is that pouring my thoughts out here will help people understand why I am currently feeling very up-and-down about this life-changing adventure. Am I a bad person for the lack of excitement? I don’t think so. People might think negatively of me, think I am selfish, or that I am not focusing on the positive, but I hope they will also understand that we all react differently to different events in our lives. Some are easier than others. Some we are more prepared for than others. This just happens to be one event that I was not ready or prepared for. But I’m getting there. I am still in the process of mourning the (temporary) loss of my athletic endeavors and goals, while embracing the challenge and blessing that lies ahead. Each day is a step closer to this new chapter I am writing for my life.
While I do not intend for this to turn into a pregnancy blog, I will be sharing a lot of my experiences as I continue to train while pregnant and change as an athlete through pregnancy. Obviously, this is who I am now. I’ve got quite the journey ahead of me and I really do appreciate all the support from family, friends, and fellow bloggers!