Tuesday, December 3, 2019

On Being an Athlete with a New Baby

We are 3 months in and I am FINALLY starting to get back into the swing of working out/finding motivation and routine. Along the way there have been starts and stops, questions of what I'm doing and why I'm doing it, and LOTS of flexibility on my part while I figure out when and for how long I can and should work out. I would still say I have no idea what I'm doing, but I've gotten great advice from friends, and have learned a few things along the way, so here is a short blurb about that.

My new normal :)
1) Recovery, it looks much different with a baby. The biggest impact having a baby has on my riding (other than needing a babysitter) is that my post ride recovery looks WAY different. After pretty much every ride, run or swim I come home to a baby who needs to eat, and my boobs need to be drained, so the first 30 minutes after I walk in the door is prioritized for that. This means I found myself many times in the last 3 months in a sweaty kit, on the couch stuck for 5-15 minutes or more, unable to fix a recovery shake or snack, sometimes even without a water bottle. When you walk in the door and your voice/presence reminds the baby that 'Hey, I'm hungry!' and she starts screaming there isn't much you can do besides pull your sportsbra up and feed that baby! BUT a few times I have walked in the house right after Brendan started feeding the baby previously pumped breastmilk and those were the best because I could grab a snack and water, and then sit with them and pump. I think if/as the training ramps up this is more ideal because taking care of my body is still important. Bonus is that this way the baby isn't getting a sweaty boob or salty milk.

Mountain biking is still the best!
2) Every workout takes twice as long as before because I have to drain the boobs before and then again after if I want to be out for more than an hour. This means budgeting time, planning when I wake up if I need to be back by a certain time etc is all a little more difficult. It's been SO worth it though to sacrifice a little sleep to also get a 3 hour ride on a few occasions. We bedshare, which means I can just slip the baby a boob in the early morning and she generally will just take a meal before I sneak out the door. I have also pumped my boobs empty pre-workout as well, if she is sleeping soundly and I don't want to wake her.

3) The lungs were the thing that held me back the most in the beginning. I totally thought my legs would be weak, and the  extra weight would be what bothered me the most, but it was the burning in my lungs!

4) My motivation and drive are so so different and it took me a long time to accept that this is ok. There are days when I just want to lay in bed looking at her face and the bike ride just doesn't happen. I'm at peace now with the idea of missing workouts and not nailing the perfect training plan, it's ok to be loose and kinda free about the whole thing. As I ride more and more the motivation is returning though, so I guess just forcing myself to do core three times a week and to get out on the bike/for a run is the key to reigniting the motivation, it builds on itself.

5) NOTHING is as great as riding a gnarly trail on your mountain bike after 6 months of very limited riding. It's like I'm seeing in color again :)

First bike commute down! 
6) I'm so super grateful for all the years of ultra endurance racing and training. I think hard things are less scary when you are used to doing them, and kitting up to commute to work at 5:30am today was one of those 'hard things' that didn't seem so daunting. Thank you to all the ultra races I did in the past, for making everything else seem so do-able!

So yeah, I'm not an expert and there is a lot I need to learn still, but things are coming around. I'm enjoying every step of the process, and spending time with my baby is still #1 priority, so no crazy long hard riding yet, but it's nice to be back on the bike and having an identity outside of human cafeteria :)

Hit me up with tips and tricks for being a new mom and athlete if you have any!!

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