Happy 2011! Funny how time flies! A year ago I was periodically overwhelmed with how I would possibly be able to get back in any kind of shape to race the second half of the 2010 season with a newborn and a 2 year old! And wow, time has flown! I got in myself into pretty good shape but unfortunately I was not able to trade in much of my fitness for any results at my last two races, Xterra US Nationals due to the flu, and Xterra Worlds due to two flats on the bike. But as I look back, I’m still most proud of the fitness I did gain back in those 5 months.
I worked pretty hard from week three postpartum and I didn’t take much of an off-season. I wanted to keep building towards 2011 as I had plenthy of motivation left in my tank from a short season. November and December were pretty unstructured but I kept up active and had fun. I have been back on a regular program with Coach Cal since Christmas and feeling fitter than ever for this time of year. I think I’m hitting the 6-8 month postpartum peak now (yes there is some research for this) but hopefully I can keep it rolling.
A year ago I also didn’t even know if I would continue competing at the professional level with two kids. Would I have the motivation? Would I be too tired and overwhelmed looking after two? How would we arrange childcare to be able to travel and race?
And here I am now signed up for another season on the LUNA Pro team and looking forward to racing as much or more than ever. Perhaps part of the reason is I know my seasons left at this level are numbered and I want to get the most out of it. And while good race results are always the goal, what I mean by getting the most out it is also enjoying the process to actively work on improving on a daily basis in training as well.
While I certainly don’t have any more hours to train in a week than before I’m motivated by the challenge of improving with the time I have. For example, a change I’ve made this year is to jump in the pool with the Calgary Patriots swim club once a week. The kids kick my butt as I struggle to keep up for a 90 minute workout. While swimming is my weakest event, I feel fortunate that I’ve always enjoyed it, so finally making a little more effort to improve it will be a fun process - most of the time. But to improve means being open to physical challenges and pushing your comfort zone. For example, learning to up my stroke rate in the pool is very challenging and takes more mental focus. I shared a quote with some athletes recently that I think sums it up well,
“Being a professional (athlete) is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them” (Jules Erving)
Most mornings I wake up sore somewhere, whether its from training or carrying kids around and creak out of bed. I start to wonder whether I’m getting too old for this, maybe I should retire, and focus on a “real” job. But then I remember that I love what I’m doing and so have no reason to stop just yet. I’m also inspired by the Clara Hughes and the Shonny Vanlandinghams (my teammate) out there who only seem to get stronger as they charge towards and through the age of forty! So I will also keep going as long as I’m having fun the majority of the time! And I will keep going as long as I can continue to spend the quality time I love with my kids and husband, cook good meals once in awhile, and keep the dust down in the house!