I’m writing to you from the cold confines of my basement. Actually from my comfy chair which was cleverly planted in my basement earlier this year and that’s a good thing. Because the basement is the only room in the house that my overheated pregnant body finds comfortable right now.
It’s hot. I think we’ve covered that but just in case I haven’t made my point, I’ll say it again. IT IS HOT. I like the heat. I do well in the heat. Small people dissipate heat well so I choose my race courses hot, ugly and hilly. But this year, I have learned a valuable lesson in heat management. Pregnancy puts an off switch on any heat management you may have once had. It’s like being swaddled in a wool blanket. No glass of water is cold enough, no breeze is refreshing enough and I’m convinced only place my sweat glands are working right now is in between my very pregnant ass cheeks.
Other than suffocating in my own body heat this past weekend, I also did some race spectating. I know, just when you think it can’t get any better I spectated yet ANOTHER race. I’m becoming that spectator – defiant to the volunteers (I’ll walk past that cone, don’t tell me to stand behind that cone sister because I’m pregnant and I’ve been spectating races now for OVER A YEAR and I will damn well cross that cone if I want to) and likely to jump in to become pseudo volunteer when the volunteer on duty is failing at their post (ie., politely asking athletes to mount in the street is not the same as shouting at them MOUNT AFTER THE LINE and then calling the guy who mounted about 50 feet early a cheater).
I really need to get back to racing.
Chris and I got up in the morning to drive to the race. He’s been having some trouble sleeping before races (read: he does not sleep before races) and this race – even though in his own bed - he did not sleep again. He’s tried everything from Bendaryl to Tylenol PM to shots of Bourbon. Any suggestions out there on how to sleep before a race? Right as I finally fell asleep he woke me up which woke the baby up and then the baby got hiccups and then….
I just has a flash forward of the next 18 years of my life. I will be woken up by men – young and old. I will never sleep again!
This was yet another race that involved something called “remote parking” which is really just code for things you can do to make the spectators really angry. I know it’s inconvenient for us to park close to the race site but we spectators are not a fit crowd. Have you seen us? We are the pregnant, the wheeling around double strollers full of small children, the older parents who don’t quite get which order the swim-bike-run is in. Go easy on us. At least give us some closer parking. And quit making us ride school busses!
I cannot be the only one who has very traumatic memories of riding the school bus.
By the time the race started I had visited the porta potty about a dozen times and let me just say there is a big difference between going in there as a racer versus as a spectator. You go in as a racer and think to yourself – ah, that is the smell of pre-race anxiety. You go in there as a spectator and you are like – what the hell did these people eat last night? I for one would like to vote for a spectator only porta potty.
With priority seating for pregnant women!
Spectating is a lot of waiting and watching and waiting and watching. Also a lot of math. All these different waves and the race had a sprint and Olympic distance going on at the same time. It was exhausting! But also entertaining. I would describe all of the entertaining things I saw while watching transition and bike out but the bottom line is that those people, as long as their transitions were, no matter how many rode into the fence trying to put their shoes on with feet on top of pedals….those people were racing and I was not. They win today and I envied them in all of their forget to buckle their helmet glory.
I walked out to the run course and watched everyone run. Sigh. I’d really like to run right now. I’ve even had to stop walking at a moderate pace because the pain in my lower legs when I do anything faster than leisurely shuffle is becoming unbearable. I watched so many of the runners out there with headphones on and it frustrated me. Sure, it’s cheating but it’s also cheating yourself. Is there anything better than hearing the huffing and puffing of your hard work than when you’re out there on the run? The sound of your feet pushing off strong. The voice in your head that says this hurts while another voice overrides it by saying shut up and run harder. Are we scared of that or are we so used to being distracted that we don’t know how to be alone with the voices in our head any more.
While watching everyone out there racing, I started thinking about next year. With racing season in full swing, I’ve had ideas stewing in my head, little notes I keep making about races, goals, etc. It’s been a long time since I’ve set a goal and achieved it. I realize that in the next few months my main goal will be just adapting to life with a baby but there can be other things too. There should be. You can’t give yourself entirely away to another person. That’s not healthy.
One of the hardest things about mixing an athlete with pregnancy is that you just do a bunch of fitness stuff with no goal. I ride my bike. I swim. I do the elliptical. I keep doing it but….it doesn’t get me any faster. Know what I mean? Usually you put the time and work in and you get faster or fitter or stronger. I’m getting none of that. I just keep getting bigger! Of course I do it because I enjoy it which at this point is the only explanation for how I can be out there pedaling so slow on a bike that looks so ridiculous. If I didn’t love it, that bike would be in the garage and my ass would be permanently planted in the comfy chair.
That is also not healthy.
I was at masters the other day and working hard to hold a pace that was my old rest interval PLUS 10 seconds (yikes!) and all signs pointed to oh my god will I ever EVER feel good or fast again. Will I ever swim my old times. Will I ever get back into my old lane. And I’ll be honest – I got so damn fired up with the idea of working hard to get there that I just wanted to get a head start right now. Of course my body would not cooperate even if I tried but you get the point. If someone doesn’t let me out of the cage soon my stomach is going to blow open and this kid will explode out and I will not be held responsible for where he lands! I will not! I just want to focus and work hard again – I need that outlet. I have my work, I will have my child but I need my outlet. Without it I find myself racing through the grocery store (my record is TEN MINUTES, one week’s worth of groceries) or spectating at races calling those who improperly mounted a cheater.
I’d apologize but…rules are rules.
I was talking to another athlete today and she said that her pregnancy happened at the right time. She was so burned out that it allowed her enough time to step back and regroup herself. She came back and had the next best two seasons of her life. I got what she was saying. When something is taken away from you, if it was something you once enjoyed, you find your fire for it again. If you don’t, it didn’t mean that much to you. If you do, you find yourself envisioning when you can finally return to it again.
Will I be good at it again? If so, how long will it take me? It doesn’t matter. All I want to do is try. Tick tock tick tock tick tock. There’s 4 more weeks to go, another 2 if this kid is really tenacious and who knows how long after that. But I just can’t wait to work hard again towards a goal. Even if the goal is just running my 3 mile neighborhood loop without walking. I’m going to give myself a gold star the day I achieve that. And then set the next goal. And before you know it, I’ll be one my way to whatever I set out to achieve.