As I sit here, I’ve officially been back to work for almost four weeks after a fourteen week maternity leave. Our fourth trimester went by incredibly fast and its hard to believe its almost the end of 2016. Pretty much everything in the last year has been an adjustment — being pregnant, giving birth, staying home with Ivy and now returning to work. I thrive on routine and consistency, the last twelve months have been anything but. Every day has become a learning experience and here’s what (I think) I’ve learned so far:
- Plan, plan, plan (but be prepared to make changes) — Doing anything with Ivy takes planning (and tons of stuff). Its been really helpful to have my mom staying with us for the month of December but even with her help sometimes its tough to get stuff done. Ryan and I are both training, working and trying to be good parents and there’s not always time for everything. Despite our best laid plans, something often has to give, and in most cases its training. Even with our newly chaotic lives we’ve got big plans for 2017 and are hoping to get some serious racing done: January 2 -9, 2017 – USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships (Hartford, CT) (Ryan racing)
February 26, 2017 – Hyannis 10K (Hyannis, MA) (Kelly & Ryan racing)
March 18/19, 2017 – New England Masters SCY Championships (Boston, MA) (Kelly & Ryan racing)
March 25, 2017 – Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon (Wilmington, NC) (Kelly & Ryan racing)
April 1, 2017 – Greater Hartford 1/4 Marathon (West Hartford, CT) (Race Director)
April 20, 2017 – Enchanted Forest Ultra (Stratford, CT) (Kelly racing)
June 3, 2017 – Rev 3 Quassy (Middlebury, CT) (Coaching / Ryan racing)
June 17, 2017 –Patriot Half (Freetown, MA) (Kelly racing)
July 23, 2017 – Ironman Lake Placid (North Elba, NY) (Ryan racing)
September 17, 2017 – Atlantic City 70.3 (Atlantic City, NJ) (Kelly racing)
September 30, 2017 – Hogsback Half Marathon (Colebrook, CT) (Race Director)
November 4, 2017 – Ironman Florida (PCB, Florida) (Kelly racing)
- Training is mentally tough. Not only is it hard to find the time to train, its also hard to be accepting of what my body is able to do. At the moment I’m doing about 8 hours of training per week and completing 80% ish of my scheduled workouts. Not horrible but not great. While I have no issue actually doing the work, its hard for me mentally to accept where I am. Post-pregnancy I got a new Garmin 920 and, while the watch is fantastic, it has the annoying habit of letting me know when I hit new “personal bests.” My problem is that when the watch congratulations me on a new “fastest mile” its a 10:XX not the 6:XX I could run once upon a time. While I know that I was pregnant, had a baby and am working back to being in good shape, its difficult to accept my current status with grace.
- The weight will eventually come off. Not only is it tough to accept where I am fitness wise, its also tough to accept the shape and size of my body. The pregnancy related weight is coming off, but its coming off at a glacial pace. Over the past two months I’ve lost about 8 lbs (and still have about 40 lbs to go to get to my “racing a 140.6 weight”). I feel better that the weight will eventually come off, I’m just hoping my body cooperates in such a way that I close to racing weight by Ironman Florida next November. The biggest struggle for me weight wise is eating. When I get super frustrated with myself I go into “there’s no need to eat mode” (as I tell Ryan “fat otters don’t need food”). I keep trying to remind my self that starving is counter productive and, if nothing else, Ivy needs me to eat so that she can keep breast feeding.
- Ivy is both a crutch and a motivator. Since Ivy was born she’s been a huge motivator. I want her to see me succeed at my goals so she knows that she can succeed at hers. While this motivates me to go run in 15 degree weather and to jump into the pool despite an acute lack of sleep, Ivy also serves as a crutch to pushing myself. This Saturday (Christmas Day) both Ryan and I are signed up to run a 5K. I know I’m slow and I know I’m going to be light years away from my 5K PR. In fact I’m downright scared of what an actual 5K time is for me right now. Because of this I keep debating whether I should run alone or if I should run with Ivy in her stroller. In my mind if I run with Ivy in the stroller I have an excuse for my slow times. I know I can’t use Ivy as a crutch forever but sometimes a little bit of a crutch helps to keep me going.
- The goal posts have shifted. In coming to terms with where I am right now, I’m learning that goal posts need to shift as well. While I would like nothing more than to run a PR at something (anything) in 2017, more likely than not, its not going to happen. That’s ok. I’m coming to accept that I’m in post-baby world and for now, everything is going to be a post baby PR. While I’d love to run a 22:XX for a 5K this weekend, I’m going to be happy with a sub 30. Baby steps (and those ultimate PRs will be out there waiting for me when I’m ready).
- There are accomplishments every day. While big goals may still be a little far away, there are small things to celebrate. Running 4, 5 and 6 miles for the first time post baby. Consistently getting my 100s under 1:30 and (my proudest accomplishment to date) getting my milk supply up so that I’m able to pump an extra bottle per day for Ivy. Not everything is going to be objectively awesome but there are lots of little things that are keeping me going.