In case you were wondering, doing 50 fly at 39 weeks pregnant does not induce labor.
Neither does bouncing on a therapy ball (but it does induce the urge to poop), eating spicy food (I think it makes my stomach hurt but I can’t even locate my stomach anymore), walking (and walking and walking and walking). All I’ve got to report is this suspicion that the baby will come when he is ready to come – with googly eyes, salsa on his breath and a tendency to walk in circles.
As you can see, I am still pregnant. Increasingly pregnant. Here I am, entering my 40th week of pregnancy. Every day I wake up, I look bigger. I AM BIGGER! 37 pounds bigger than where I started. Do you know how much that scares me! Chris tells me it’s mostly water weight (LIES!) but somehow I have a feeling I will not magically drop and piss out 37 pounds when I deliver this baby.
I’m at that point where every time I show up somewhere late, I have voicemails and inquiries from people wondering if I’m in labor. I take too long to answer an email and get an “I thought you were off having your baby.” Or, how about when I didn’t show up at the quarry to swim last Monday, the coach was convinced I was delivering. One thing is certain – if and when I do head to the hospital for labor, anyone within 300 miles will know because they will hear me shouting……FINALLY!
I feel like I’ve been waiting forever. I think to myself about a possible extra 2 weeks beyond the due date and the idea of “42 weeks” hits me hard. Think about that. That’s 10½ months pregnant. Almost an entire year. GASP! I can’t even remember myself unpregnant. Was I ever not pregnant? Could I ever see my feet? Was there a time when I didn’t walk bow-legged? Heck, was there a time I actually walked and didn’t waddle? That version of myself is so far from where I am now that I wonder if it will become just a memory, like my glory days of when I was young, fit, slim before I fell into the parent trap of becoming old, tired, crabby, slow, lamenting about how I never have time, how life has changed. Bitter and envious of anyone who doesn’t have a child.
But I know better. Actually, I’ve forced myself to know better. There’s a lot of bullshit you can read and hear out there about life as a parent. Especially life as a parent who would also like to be an athlete. I’ll admit – at times I wonder if it will be possible. Where will I find the time to train for anything other than a 5K, I think to myself. That is, if my pelvis will ever get back in line and permit me to run again!
Rather than listen to scare tactics, horror stories or worry about what might never be again, I sat down a few weeks ago and went straight to the source. I believe that if you want to learn how to balance your life with parenting, a career and training, you go to someone who does it – and does it well.
Enter Jenny Garrison.
I met at her house a few weeks ago because I wanted to learn more about how to be a mom, a triathlete, and a coach. Jenny is a consistently successful athlete, an excellent coach and a mother to two children under age 5. She’s been to Kona, she’s been a two-time national champion, she’s competed as a professional. She’s fast and fiery. She doesn’t have a nanny, she doesn’t train 30 hours a week, heck she barely leaves her house! But she makes it happen – her training, her goals, because she wants to.
I remember about 3 weeks after she gave birth to her second child, she showed up at the start line of a local 5K. I won the 5K. She finished 1-minute behind me. ONE MINUTE, 3 weeks after birth! About 12 weeks later, she won a local triathlon. She followed that up with many more wins. When I think ahead to where I can be in a few weeks, months, or next year – I don’t think in terms of I’ll never have time, I’ll never be fast again, it will take me 9 months to lose this weight. I don’t think or worry about any of that. I just think about Jenny.
She inspires me. As do the other moms out there who have done the same – Alicia, Angela, Michelle…who am I forgetting? Look to any of the women who show up to the awards ceremony with a child in tow and you don’t need to look any further. These women have defied the odds of what everyone assumes will be – you’ll slow down, you’ll never have time, you’ll never get back to where you were. They got faster because they made the time. And because they wanted it. I cannot imagine how you can spend up to 42 weeks waiting without getting fired up and focused about whatever you want to achieve athletically.
When I asked Jenny about returning to “training” after birth, above all she said to listen to your body (and of course your doctor). Everyone is different. There is no timeline. She stopped running at 32 weeks. Ten days after birth, she returned to running. At first, her run was down the block and back. Her uterus did not fall out. A few weeks later, her run was up to 10 miles. She did some races. She said that you’ll feel slow, slow, slow and then BAM one day you feel like your old self again. Everyone’s body is different – especially if you have a cesarean delivery – but it goes to show that it is possible to bounce back quickly. You hear a lot about people who came back too quickly, got injured, etc but what you don’t hear enough about are people who recovered quickly and got back to doing things.
These are the women I want to listen to.
So, it is possible to get back into it. But you’ve got to want it and balance it. She stressed the importance of following a schedule. Putting the baby on a schedule, putting your support system on a schedule. Scheduling in the time to get after what you want. In talking with her it became clear that she is not only highly driven but highly organized. A quick trip to her basement revealed a workout room right next to a play room. She rarely rides outside yet her bike splits are phenomenal. She doesn’t have time to drive places to run, but the treadmill seems to do her run splits just fine. She can train while watching her kids play. Or trains when they nap. Swimming means early morning trips to the pool. She proves over and over again that you can pursue your dreams – in whatever way is possible – and achieve them if you are willing to be organized and maximize your time management.
I have no idea what birth or beyond has in store for me. I’ve heard everything from 10 minutes of pushing (my cousin!) to pushing for 36 hours (my mom!). And the only common denominator is that all of these women were pregnant. It doesn’t matter if they were fit, unfit, gained 17 pounds or 40 pounds, there are no guarantees with birth experience. Being fit doesn’t mean it will go faster just like gaining a lot of weight doesn’t mean you’ll have a big baby. There are no certainties in pregnancy or even post-partum, which is perhaps the most frustrating thing. You just want to know when it will all be over. I’m ready to move on to that next stage of life. There’s not much else I can do in this one – know what I mean?
Week 40. TEN MONTHS! Ten months is a long time. Last week when I was particularly irritable, Chris told me to rest on the couch because it was time to taper. Ever tapered for an Ironman? I believe it takes 9 months to train properly for an Ironman, so the timeline is roughly the same. Remember tapering for Ironman? Remember feeling like you were ready to stand on the start line about 2 weeks out from the race? Imagine that plus another 4 to 6 weeks. Late pregnancy is like a never-ending taper. Of course I feel fat and sassy which often means you are going to have a good race. If that’s the case, I’m going to set an amazing PR out there on birth day.
As for other PRs, I know they will be out there in the future. Which isn’t too far away. I don’t have any race plans this fall except to do a Turkey Trot. Back in 1998, it was my first 5K. It was the race that got me into racing. I want to return to it, come full circle to start a new racing journey. All I have to do is beat my time from that first race: 21:38.
Considering it currently takes me that long to walk a mile and I haven’t run in over 14 weeks, I have my work cut out for me.
Tomorrow I have my last doctor’s appointment. I suppose I will have to make another appointment if the baby doesn’t come by July 28th. I guess this is what happens when two endurance athletes reproduce. We create a kid with freakish endurance for life in utero. When he does decide to come out, I’ve been told the time to beat in delivery is my fastest Ironman time. In that case, I have 10 hours and 32 minutes to get this kid out.
I will win, kid. I WILL WIN.