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The Ironman Baby

Posted Mar 09 2013 12:02am

I've decided that for me, training for an Ironman is probably a lot like being pregnant.

Hint: I didn't love being pregnant.


For example, the first trimester is miserable. There's a lot of painful change going on.

The comparisons to race training are numerous.

For example, no matter how hard you work or how lousy you feel, sometimes it feels like there's not much to show for it.

Wahoo! Bridgette is a whopping .55cm long.
It's hard to get up and get out the door. Everything hurts, breathing is hard, muscles ache, and while I'd take ALL of that over non-stop nausea & constant headaches, I've experienced a myriad of similar-ish growing pains.

Minus the daily vomit.

Just like the-first-tri pregnant-style, I've had to determine what and when to eat to fuel myself properly without feeling sick or gaining too much weight.

I've spent a lot of effort attempting to figure out what my body has been doing, how it has been doing it, and what it can handle -- adjusting as necessary.

Not only that, but my first trimester-of-training was filled to heaping with my own personal inconsistencies which has nothing to do with anything but me.

Next comes the second trimester, or "golden period." I'd say I'm there right now.

- 23 weeks of work -Celebrating with Mr. Lincoln in D.C.
Heart rate is more constant. I feel good. Way more energy in general. The day to day is still filled with unexpected pains, and the daily grind is still hard, but I can push myself pretty hard and know the outcome will be worth the work. Overall I'm less tired, more able.

I'm definitely stronger.

In pregnancy, there are additional perks to the second trimester.

Like the most exciting moment ever, hearing your baby's heartbeat for the first time. Then there's the fun of finding out the baby's sex. Or the time you get to see (not just feel) your little one's arms and legs wriggling about, even though s/he's still inside of you.

Bridgette, repeatedly poking herself in the eye.
Those little flashes into the future are enough to remind you that you're looking forward to a baby, even if pregnancy itself sucks.

In my training, I'd say my interim / monthly races are like hearing the baby's heartbeat. Not only have I enjoyed them, not only are they rewarding, but they remind me that training daily is creating something that will eventually, in one way or another, be delivered.

And there are other bonuses: meeting new friends, increased self-confidence, the desire to organize other parts of my life (shh), and generally being in a better mood. It's like nesting, but different.

The second trimester also brings on the need for new gear (maternity clothes and a gajillion baby supplies).

I've recently reached the point where tri gear is necessary. It doesn't matter how much I'm trying to avoid it, the time has come to invest in what I need to run, bike, and swim.

My "gear" learning curve feels steep, but it has to happen. And it has to happen now.

I have to learn to clip in and ride with bike cleats no matter how much it scares me.

Looking forward, I can only guess that the third trimester, a few months before the race, will be unpleasant.

One full month, to the day, before Bridgette was born.Which means, yep, you guessed it.
I got a lot bigger.
Third trimester is a funny thing.

It's exciting, but it's really, really hard.

If you ask them, most women will say they are "uncomfortable." That's code for, "I'm way tougher than you."

In baby vs. race comparisons, 3rd-tri means the goal will be near, but the load will be heavy.

My body will hurt. I'll likely lose sleep.

And just like an infant in utero, you can't really set your burden to the side or give it away, even for a day. Not if you want to finish.

It will be painful and tiring and will surely stretch me until I feel like I might split.

There will be worries and anxieties. I'm guessing the pre-birth-day nerves will be high for this first-time IronMom. (They do race epidurals, right?)

One thing is for sure.

If I finish the Ironman, the result will be a medal, not a baby. Which means when it's all over, I can put it in a box and forget about it.

Wow. Wait a minute.

I don't have to feed it for 18 years?

This may be easier than I think...
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