Tri-Mum Insights Stef Hanson. Chief. September 29, 2017 Age Group Triathletes With the many, many … MANY professional triathletes either announcing their pregnancy this year and/or welcoming their little one into the world this year, we thought we’d turn the tables and instead of asking the pros for advice, we’d ask a few age group triathletes to give us some ‘Tri-Mum’ insights. Text by various | Images supplied Melanie Mitchell What’s your top tip for a new triathlon Mum? Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t do it! No pregnancy or motherhood experience is the same for two people. Some people might cope with sleep deprivation better than others (I didn’t!) Some babies are great sleepers and some aren’t (I had one of each). You have to roll with it. Don’t set any expectations of yourself for the first three months because you earned the status of mother of a newborn. As an athlete used to a structured training routine, it’s a different life to be on someone else’s routine; that of a tiny newborn who hydrates more than you can ever imagine! When you return to training you might, just might, feel mother’s guilt. This is an amazingly powerful emotion that will stay with you for life. I recall my very small children would hold on to my leg and HOWL like abandoned wolf cubs as soon as I walked towards the front door with my running shoes on. I would leave, feeling like the worst mother in the world. This feeling seeped into my run and it was crap. I would return only to find to them giggling and laughing with whoever I left them with. Don’t buy into mother’s guilt. Ok, you will, because you can’t help it, but acknowledge it, then move on. People talk of “pregnant or baby brain” – what’s one of the silliest things you remember doing? This is serious stuff. Serious emotions and hormones all over the place. I had post-natal depression; mild by many standards, but tough all the same. While this is not a laughing matter, I have to say looking back now and out the other side, those were crazy times. One mother activity that has been lovingly given the name by my children of #motherfail. Forgetting where things are, walking into a room and completely forgetting why you’re there, absent mindedness. We laugh, but it’s real! Honestly, I attribute this to the amazing amounts of minutiae a mother has in her brain at any moment. Forget Wikipedia, I am a walking encyclopedia of facts, to do lists, appointments, grocery lists, school camp schedules at any given time. I am still working on how to offload this with apps and technology. I’m getting there, and my advice is master a system now and have a partner who just might take responsibility for some of the load. What’s one thing you learnt about yourself during your pregnancy or once you became a Mum? I learned to be fierce, and I realised how powerful a mother/child bond really is. I learned after giving birth, that physical discomfort in sport is child’s play! I learned how strong I really was as I navigated post-natal depression without immediate support from a partner. I learned who I was and what was important in life. I learned to not listen to the ‘noise’. I learned what it was to be a life example to these little people who would always be my world. When I returned to triathlons, I brought with me a determination that had not been there before. I became a more competitive person and a much more focused athlete. That surprised me. Michele Landry What’s your top tip for a new triathlon Mum? Make sure you have your gear packed and ready to go. With a newborn, it takes forever to just get out the door for a workout. When you do have the opportunity to workout, it’s limited, so make it count! If your gear is ready to go and your window opens – GO! Think of this as T1 or T2. Also, it’s likely you will not have perfect sleep or the optimal time to workout when you feel fresh— but just do it. I got on my trainer many nights at 8pm and that made all the difference getting back to racing halves and a marathon nine months after my daughter was born. All while still breast feeding. You can do it all! People talk of “pregnant or baby brain” – what’s one of the silliest things you remember doing? I wish I had a funny story to share. Instead it’s just A LOT of mommy brain moments! Mostly forgetting where I put anything or forgetting to bring certain things with me when I left the house. Nothing exciting! What’s one thing you learnt about yourself during your pregnancy or once you became a Mum? It’s not about me anymore It’s not about me anymore It’s not about me anymore Sophie Rouys What’s your top tip for a new triathlon Mum? Make sure you have a good support team to help you look after the baby when you’re training or when you need a break from being a mum. It can be grand parents, your friends or your significant other but you need to have several people you can rely on to help you through the hard time. Also (sorry that’s two tips) but don’t neglect the man in your life, make sure you spend some quality time with him alone (whether it’s doing outdoorsy stuff together, eating out …) as grown ups. People talk of “pregnant or baby brain” – what’s one of the silliest things you remember doing? Wow, I can’t really remember any massive forgetfulness but I clearly remember killing my freezer when I was eight or nine months pregnant! It needed defrosting and I couldn’t wait for the ice to melt so I attacked it with a massive kitchen knife (as you do) and punctured the gas cylinder. I felt really stupid and this cost me a new fridge. What’s one thing you learnt about yourself during your pregnancy or once you became a Mum? After becoming a mum I realised I didn’t actually like kids (no, joking). I wouldn’t say it’s so much about myself but I certainly learnt a new skill – “going with the flow” when you’ve got a little one. You can’t just dictate a timetable or even activities (as a tiny baby my daughter hated the forest and didn’t like water, which made us total opposites and actually really shocked me) anymore, they sort of make the rules and you have to adapt to them as much as they adapt to you. Caroline Bruce What’s your top tip for a new triathlon Mum? Remember to eat and drink, (especially if you are breast feeding) – make sure you have food and a drink before sit down to feed. Be kind to yourself, take the time to let your body to heal, rest and recover… Some people compare pregnancy and child birth to an iron-distance – although I am not sure which one is harder … and I have two babies and completed one iron-distance. People talk of “pregnant or baby brain” – what’s one of the silliest things you remember doing? I didn’t really have any crazy baby brain moments, but I do have a “morning sickness” story. I was driving home from work along the freeway (100km p/hr) passing a truck in the fast lane and then that horrible feeling came over me “I AM GOING TO BE SICK … NOW! With nothing else I could possibly do, grabbed my poor lunch bag and threw up my lunch back into the bag! Thank goodness for that lunch bag. What’s one thing you learnt about yourself during your pregnancy or once you became a Mum? When I got pregnant the first time, I had already signed up for my first half marathon. No way I was going to waste that entry fee so I kept up my training. It was so hard at the start, with fatigue and morning sickness, but mostly my training consisted of walking – lots of walking! At five months pregnant, I ran/jogged my first half marathon 2:20:58. In my second pregnancy, I trained all the way through, doing the odd gym class, weight training and spin (right up until 35 weeks). My advice, keep doing what your doing, you will have to change things up like pace and intensity, keep it fun! Happy Healthy Mum is definitely going to benefit baby! Take things slow, listen to your body, be kind to yourself, let your body heal, and most of all have fun, enjoy your new little bundle! Stacey Revie What’s your top tip for a new triathlon Mum? Be kind to yourself and listen to your body. How, when and where you train may need to be more flexible than before. People talk of “pregnant or baby brain” – what’s one of the silliest things you remember doing? It’s everyone’s worst nightmare. I forgot my littlest one was asleep and left the house without her. I was only 20 metres away when I realised and sprinted home to find her still asleep. She was fine, but I was traumatised. What’s one thing you learnt about yourself during your pregnancy or once you became a Mum? I think the biggest thing I took away from becoming a mum is that I can overcome pretty much any challenge that pops up. Handy for doing triathlon! Melissa Christensen What’s your top tip for a new triathlon Mum? My top tip is to keep on top of your own sleep. Rest when the baby is sleeping. Housework can wait and is something that can be delegated when a friend or family member asks how they can help. My mother in law cleaned my bathroom for me while I napped while my baby was napping and it was amazing. It’s ok to let the dishes pile up in the sink for a little while to take a moment of rest for yourself. People talk of “pregnant or baby brain” – what’s one of the silliest things you remember doing? I wish I had something really funny for this but I don’t. I just felt like I had a permanent fog and struggled to make decisions, especially when it came to selecting restaurants when dining out. What’s one thing you learnt about yourself during your pregnancy or once you became a Mum? The one thing I learned about myself as a new mom was how selfless it made me. My whole life revolved around a tiny newborn/infant/toddler/child. And it can be hard to give a child boundaries because you do put them first for such a long time. It was a little hard going from a corporate position to a stay at home mom and not losing an identity for myself. Thankfully I had running as one constant that was my “thing” as a single woman, wife, and then parent. I didn’t become a triathlete until my youngest was nine months old but I think triathletes can substitute “triathlon” for my “running.” I will eventually return to full time corporate world but until then I’m enjoying being a mom and just working part time for a friend in her triathlon store. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName Email Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.