Friday, August 22, 2014
Woah what a difference a year makes! Life has been a complete turn but it could not be any better. I have been happier than ever and that has been very clear in each of my races this year. After taking a year off for pregnancy and the birth of my daughter Isabella, I gained a lot of perspective about life and athletics. It made me realize that the way I was approaching my athletic career simply and honestly was too serious and not fun. I know that I need to be serious but I stressed out over things that really werent that important after all. I think I would not have realized a lot of these things if I had not have taken a substantial amount of time off.
My life does not revolve around training and racing anymore. Like most professional athlete parents will say, my daughter is more important to me than racewalking. Trust me, I love to train and race but sometimes those things have to suffer because Isabella requires a lot of my time and effort but I wouldnt have it any other way. One of the best things that has come out of having a baby for my athletics career is the fact that I dont have any time to think about my training after training is done for the day. I go, do my workout and focus on what im doing then but when I get home I am on full mommy mode. I definitely over thought everything that would happen in training on a daily basis before. I would over analyze it and it definitely affected my training and racing negatively. Like they say, too much of a good thing is never good.
- Wake up between 6 and 7am
- Start my workout sometime between 7 and 8am
-Go to the gym right afterwards to take advantage of my babysitter
- Come home and go outside and play at the beach
- Eat lunch
- Isabella takes a nap (I nap sometimes but mostly I get chores done while she sleeps)
- After she wakes up we either we go running and I push her in the stroller or if I dont have a second workout, we go to the park
- Eat dinner
- Play again, bath time and then bed time for her
I hope this gives some of you a better perspective on how elite athletes juggle motherhood and athletics. While it isnt easy, it just makes all the successes that much sweeter and the failures unimportant.
Keep on walking,
Sunday, October 13, 2013
I just finished my 6th week of training for the new season and I am finally settling into a good routine. The adjustment of figuring out how to fit everything in for training with Isabella has been challenging. Before I could just do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. A typical training day goes like this: im training much earlier than I used to so that Tim can watch the baby before he goes to work. I have to get up, feed her, go get my training in and come back right away. I stretch when I get home (if I get a chance) and then I have to feed her. I take a nap if/when she does. Play with her all day and then we go running and I push her in the Chariot jogging stroller. I come home, make dinner and after I am done I go to the gym to do weights. If I want to go to the gym during the day or go get some treatment (massage, etc) I get a babysitter. Everything revolves around the baby. Some days it can be a bit hectic but I feel so much more relaxed then ever before. Even though the daily schedule may be difficult some days, I am handling things extremely well. I guess its like "they" say, you really change and step up to the plate after you have a baby. I feel like I have gained new perspective and I have high expectations for myself without the pressure, if that makes sense?! I feel like I am much tougher as a person and as an athlete and I look forward to see how this transpires into my racing.
Training has been a good steady progression. I have now worked my way up to 128km's which is the highest mileage I have done since July 2012. I continue to feel better and more like my old self every day. I have now started to do zone #2 workouts once a week. First week was 2 x 4km/1km fartlek and second week was 2 x 5km/1km fartlek. I am thrilled with how both workouts went and how easy and relaxed they felt. I cant believe how strong I am already without pushing the training at all. My heart rate continues to be 10 beats lower than any other year while walking the same pace as before. I dont feel as though I will need to get faster for my zone #1's so it will be nice if my heart rate will get lower and lower for the same pace. I have started to work with a strength coach and I feel like it is really helping already. I cant wait to see how it benefits my training and racing this year.
The race I did a month ago in Encinitas went very well, especially considering how hilly the course was. I had no race plan going into it, I just wanted to see how I felt as I went. First km was flat and I did 4:37, next km was a mix of flat and uphill and walked 4:42, next km was a nightmare hill and I powered up it as well I could and hit that km in 4:57. You could tell how bad the hill was as I went down the 4th km in 4:19. The last km was nice and flat and I finished it off in 4:31 to bring me to 23:08 for my final 5km time. This was a 34 second improvement from a month earlier on a much easier course. I am happy with the improvement but of course felt like I didnt have another gear since I hadnt walked anything faster than 5:30/km pace in training.
My race plan for 2014 is very tentative right now. I am planning on walking at Millrose Games again to try and reclaim my title and record. Its a good way to start my comeback to racing with a fun and no pressure race. I would then like to walk 10km's in Huntington Beach early March to get a feel for where I am at and then soon after I would love to do my first 20km race in Lugano, Switzerland on March 16th if all goes well and to plan. I hope to have my big peak for the season in early May at the IAAF World Racewalk Cup in Taicang, China. After that I would like to try and race a few 5km and 10km races to try and lower my personal best times as much as possible. Plans of course could change as the season progresses but I cant wait to jump back into racing and challenge myself as much as possible. I know that big times are in me, its time to get them out!
Thanks for the continued support. Here's to my best season even!
Keep on walking,
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Isabella has really been thriving since birth. She is now almost 3 times her birth weight which is really great! She simply wasnt growing very well in my belly so it was a good decision for my doctor to induce me and for her to come early. She still isnt sleeping through the night which is to be expected and even though she is up anywhere from 1-4 times a night, I have adjusted well to the sleep deprivation :)
I recovered very well after giving birth to Isabella and I decided that since I had her so early in the year that I would take my time after the birth and not rush back into any sort of exercise. I didnt do anything for a month after she was born except for leisure walks around my neighborhood. After a month I started by hiking and running to get my body moving again. After a few weeks of doing that, I slowly started to introduce racewalking. I started with 2 days a week of racewalking and running, hiking or off the other days and then slowly introduced more every week. Now I am up to racewalking everyday but before that I had been always taking a day off every week. My biggest week has been 96km's (last week) so far but mostly I have been doing 70-80 something km's per week. Now that September has hit, I will start training full time again but I wanted to have no stress through the summer and just enjoy friends and family while still adjusting to life with Isabella.
It has now been over a year since I raced at the Olympics and I feel so blessed to have had a good break from racing and serious training so that I could reflect on my career so far. I have really been able to realize things that I may not have realized when I was in the thick of training and racing. I cant wait to see how this upcoming season turns out after I make some adjustments from what I think I did wrong or not as well in the past.
I am already almost back to walking the same pace for my easy days as I was walking in the lead up to the Olympics. One of my goals was to try and lower my heart rate for my easy zone #1 workouts. So far I have been able to lower it 5-10 beats and I am thrilled. One of the biggest things I want to get back to this year is simply focusing on myself. It sounds easy but last year I got very distracted in the hype of the Olympics and I forgot about just trying to take care of myself. I feel so relieved already with the realizations I have come to. I feel a bit weight lifted from me and I know that I am going to be much stronger because my mind is clear. I used to over think my training, racing and competitors too much in the past and im hoping that I can stay in the same mindset that I am in now for the rest of the season.
Ill keep you posted on how this race goes. Please tag along for my comeback. I am so excited to show what I really am capable of so here we go!
Keep on walking,
Monday, March 25, 2013
SEVEN weeks to go, thats it! My due date is quickly approaching and I am feeling just like I did in the lead up to the Olympics. This whole situation is extremely surreal. We are going to have a real baby in our arms in just over a month. It really is true that there is no way to prepare for what is about to happen. You can buy everything you need but I still cannot imagine how life is going to be once she is here other than being GREAT!
I am also excited by the fact that I am still able to racewalk at this point. I am shocked really! I keep thinking "I dont know how much longer ill be able to do this" but at the same time, it feels great and I dont feel limited at all. The only thing that limits me racewalking is.....my bladder! Yes, we all know that pregnant women have to pee a lot and unfortunately you dont get a break from that while training. I am slowly getting slower but I am walking just over 6 minutes per km which is faster than I thought I would be going at this point. The most im racewalking these days is 12km's which I feel is plenty enough.
I have always been fascinated with the ElliptiGO. I have been using the elliptical machine at the gym for a few years now but I wanted try to ElliptiGO so that I wouldnt have to be stuck inside while cross training. I have had the opportunity to borrow a "bike" from ElliptiGO (whose headquarters are in San Diego) for the month. This thing is AWESOME! I was shocked at the muscles I had to engage in while riding it. It is for sure a much better workout than using just the elliptical machine. I was shocked that before I even hit 1km into my ride that my quads were burning. As a racewalker we dont use our quads much so I know that the more I ride the ElliptiGO that it will really help with my weaker muscles. Its been a lot of fun to use and I feel like its been just as good of a workout as running or racewalking. Its been especially good to use while pregnant so that I dont have to do as much pounding but still get a great workout. I highly recommend you check it out! Check out their website here.
Practically everyone I talk to mentions to me how small I am for being so far along in my pregnancy. My "small" belly has definitely had me worried at times. My last doctors appointment was at 31 weeks they measured me and I only measured at being 26 weeks pregnant. Because of the measurement they decided to do an ultrasound to measure the baby and make sure she is growing on schedule. She measured at 30 weeks which is a tiny bit smaller but nothing to be concerned about. Since I am tall, she must just have a lot more room to spread out in there. I am thankful to be reassured that everything is alright. I think that the reason why I am able to racewalk so easily at this point is because my belly is much smaller than most. Even though I would like to look more pregnant, I wont complain that I am not huge :)
We are getting closer to having our condo ready to add another resident and we cannot wait for her to get here!
Keep on walking,
Monday, February 25, 2013
Now that I am over 6 months pregnant, my baby bump is finally starting to show and im not just looking like I am pudgy around my waist. Since you are slowly gaining weight every month or week, I really wanted to at least LOOK pregnant. Before I was pregnant, I didnt think I would care about the weight gain but being an athlete, it is very difficult gaining so much weight since usually I am trying to control it. I do, however, put the weight gain into perspective and know that it is necessary for the baby to grow.
This weekend will be my last flight before the baby is born and we are headed to Albuquerque, NM for the USATF Indoor Championships. Now that everyone is starting to race again, I wish I could be out there too but im trying to save all that fire I have to race so that I can make a strong comeback next year. Even though I miss the heavy training and racing, I am trying to enjoy the time off that I have because I know that I will have to work very hard over the next 3 years to get back on the Olympic team in 2016. I am feeling very optimistic that I will be able to come back fairly quickly after giving birth and I can't wait!
Keep on walking,
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Shortly after Tim and I got married on October 31st, 2009, we had decided that we would wait until the 2012 Olympics to try and have kids. At the time, it felt like it was a long way away but once 2012 hit I started to realize that time was coming very quickly. Specifically once we got over to Europe before the Olympics began, we were staying with our good friends Sabine and Bastian and Germany and the topic of kids came up a lot and I was getting very scared about it because I knew that within a few weeks we had planned to start trying. I was very hesitant and feeling like I was not ready for this big life change. I am 26 years old and Tim is 40 which is why we wanted to have kids asap after the Olympics. I decided to just not think about it and just let things happen the way they were supposed to.
After the Olympics, Tim and I headed to Croatia for a week long vacation and it was so nice to not have to worry about training or any other care in the world and just have a good time. Once we got home, I had decided that I wanted to keep training for another month or so and try to do one last race in Europe at the end of September because I knew how good of shape I was in and I didnt want to waste it. Then a few weeks in, I started thinking "what if I got pregnant before the race and I had already booked the ticket, etc". Then pretty soon as these thoughts started to come into my mind, I started feeling kind of strange. I was getting cramps during training on a daily basis, was feeling more tired than usual and my heart rate wasnt going down in training. I thought that something must be off but I took a pregnancy test and even though they say it can detect a positive pregnancy at least a week before your expected period, my test came back negative. I could have sworn I was pregnant, I just felt it! So I kept trying to train like usual but still wasnt feeling great. After a few days of missing my period just over a week later, I decided to take another test. My sister said that I should do it first thing in the morning for the best result so at 4am I woke up having to go to the bathroom and I decided to take the test then. Tim had woken up and was wondering why I was in the bathroom so long and I just told him it was nothing. The test came back POSITIVE this time. OMG, I knew it! Obviously I could not sleep the rest of the night. I decided to not tell Tim so that at least one of us would get a good sleep. I told him as soon as he woke up that morning and he was so excited!
I immediately decided to take a bit of time off training since I hadnt taken my yearly break yet. After taking only a week off, I decided to start doing some training since at this point I knew that my 2013 season was not going to happen and I might as well just do some light training every day just to stay active. The first few months during the first trimester were pretty tough. I felt pretty exhausted every afternoon and soooo hungry ALL the time! I havent experience fatigue and hunger to this extreme even in my biggest mileage weeks of training. Thankfully once the second trimester hit in mid November I started getting back into my regular eating habits and I had tons of energy again. I have been lucky to have no morning sickness at all but I did have a bout of really bad back pain where I couldnt stand or walk without Tim helping me. It was extremely painful but only lasted about a week. Otherwise I really have nothing to complain about so far in my pregnancy, I have been very lucky!
I am now in my 22nd week and am shocked to still be able to do every normal physical activity that I usually have done but just with no intensity and at a reduced amount of mileage. I thought for sure that I wouldnt be able to racewalk at this point but I have surprised myself and am doing very well. Im just trying to enjoy training to stay fit for the birth and to make it easier to make a comback after the birth. At the most, im doing 100km's per week with all of the activity im doing with racewalking, running, hiking and elliptical. Ive been feeling great!
Last week we had our major ultrasound for all of the measurements and to be able to find out the gender of the baby. Tim and I were always planning on finding out the gender and in the weeks leading up to the appointment, I was always saying that it was a girl. Well, I was right, we are having a baby girl and we are so excited! The baby is exactly where she should be with her development. All of her limbs and organs are there and look great.
She was face down so it didnt make for the best picture but she looks great all the same! Here is a recent picture of me, starting to look pregnant finally!
Our due date is May 15th and if you do the math, we got pregnant in Croatia, just a week after I raced at the Olympics! We couldnt have planned it any better! I am so thrilled with the timing as it puts no rush on me getting back to training too quickly and I can just focus on my recovery after the birth and on our little girl. As long as I am back into full training by September I will be happy. In the meantime, I look forward to enjoying my last 4 months pregnant before our lives change forever.
Keep on walking,
Monday, November 19, 2012
At the end of my time in Canada I was able to hold a free clinic in Peterborough, my hometown, to give back to everyone who supported me and was interested in learning how to racewalk. I had a great turn out considering the on and off rain all morning. It was great to see people improve their technique over the course of the clinic and I hope they continue to racewalk.
Now since I have been back home in San Diego, I have started back training slowly and just trying to get back to enjoying to train and racewalk again. It still has been a struggle to get over my Olympic performance. I am learning to "forgive" myself for what happened. I saw a quote one day that really hit home with me and helped me realize how to move on from the Olympics. It was:
"Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future." - Lewis B. Smedes
This quote has helped me a lot and now I am able to not think about my race at the Olympics as often and to move forward with the exciting long career I have ahead of me.
Now we only have a few other racewalkers here to train with. I have Miranda Melville (2nd place at USA Olympic Trials) and Tim has Andreas Gustafsson (3:50 50km racewalker from Sweden). The group has definitely gotten smaller but its been fun to be with such a committed group.
Tim and I will be heading to Las Vegas, NV in 2 weeks to do the Rock N' Roll half marathon there for fun and training. We have had the opportunity to do this race two times before and its so much fun to walk on the streets along the Vegas strip. I would highly recommend this race to anyone and everyone!
Tim and I now have 3.5 weeks until we start our Christmas trip where we will be in Long Island, NY, Tim's hometown, for 5 days, my hometown of Peterborough, Canada for a week and then a week in Pharr, Texas again for our annual Junior racewalk camp where we have almost 40 kids coming from around the country. Lots of exciting events coming up!
Keep on walking,