pregnancy

four month bump date

I cannot believe I am 17 weeks today (~4 months), on St Patrick’s Day!  This feels like the right time to do a little update on how my body (and mind) are doing with all of the changes.

16 weeks pregnant in Florida

 

Overall, I’m feeling great. The first trimester was tough, but manageable. I was mostly just really tired all-the-time. I did have some low grade nausea, the all day kind, that was annoying. But I’m over the hump and well into my second trimester! I even got to spend some sunshiny days in Florida last week, a welcome break from the brutal winter we’ve had in Mass.

Here is how things are going …

With my EMOTIONS…

Well, let’s just say I’m a little more irritable these days. I’m usually super positive, but pregnancy has definitely been tugging with my emotions.  I get sad for no reason,  I cry at the littlest thing (say watching This is Us), I get (even more) angry with traffic.. oops.  I’m also not a patient person to begin with, so let’s just say my patience with everything and anything is at an all-time low. People are right when they say pregnancy emotions are crazy, because they are! On the positive side, I do have a little of that “glow” feeling and there are days where I just feel so happy.  I’m finding that exercising always puts me in a better mood.

With my BODY…

Where do I begin with this one… I have started to notice bigger changes recently. For the first trimester, I just felt yucky, but I still looked like my pre-pregnancy self. Now that the baby is getting bigger, so are parts of my body. I noticed it in my boobs first – didn’t think it would be so soon (kind of fun since I’ve always been on the smaller side). The only thing about that is, that it’s inconvenient for running – ouch.  Hello new sports bras. My pants don’t fit like they used to and I’m in that awkward stage where I just feel gross. I’m using a rubber band to keep my jeans together without having to get maternity jeans just yet.  However, everything article of clothing I put on makes me feel puffy.  I am starting to get a mini bump, which makes me think there is actually a bambino in there. I ‘m looking forward to getting go the phase where I actually look pregnant and not like I had a giant burrito for lunch. I also can’t wait to start feeling the little kicks! It’s been hard to see my fit stomach disappear before my eyes, but I keep telling myself: “this is only temporary.”

 

With my APPETITE…

I am not having that many cravings at this time. I would say my favorite things at the moment consists of ANYTHING cheesy (actual cheese, cheeze its, pirates booty) you name it, if it has cheese, I want it.  I also love things that are sour, like sour gummy worms. I am hating things I used to eat a lot of like rotisserie chicken (yuck), sweet potatoes, some veggies.  For the most part I am eating just as I did before I got pregnant,  with the exception of some food aversions.  I’m eating when I’m hungry and I’m being sure to refuel properly after workouts.

 

With my TRAINING…

Things are just different. I’m still training 1-2 hours a day swimming, biking and running. At this point in the pregnancy, I have a lot of energy and I feel like I did before I was pregnant, with the exception of slower paces.  My swim times have dropped, but I am loving the feel of the water. Something about swimming when pregnant feels SO good. I’m trying not to focus on the times and just enjoy the water.  I would  say biking has been the most difficult. I am not hitting my watts , it’s just impossible, so I’m trying not to get caught up in numbers. I’d be lying if I said it’s not difficult to see my fitness going away. I am still doing intervals (within reason) and I’m not being a slave to my heart rate. Running by far feels the best of the three sports.  Around week 14, I started to get some pelvic area pain/pulling, so with the help of my PT, I purchased an SI belt that goes around my pelvic bone area and sits nice and snug. With all of the hormones, there are shifts in the pelvic area and smaller muscles take over, causing things to strain. Ever since I started to wear the belt, I’ve been feeling great! I am doing both short and long runs and will continue to run for as long as my body allows.

with my MIND…

Thinking ahead and getting excited! Soon I will be feeling kicks and flutters. We also find out the gender later this month. Initially I wasn’t sure on the whole “finding out” thing, but now I want to know and Brian does too. I hear you should do as much as possible in the second trimester while you still have the energy. This goes for baby registries, maternity clothes shopping etc. It feels like my dues date is so far away and I have all this time, but I sort of don’t:)

 

life, pregnancy

a new journey: announcing baby k

I’ve been keeping sort of a big secret for several weeks now…

I will be doing a different kind of “training” this year.

We’re having a baby!

Oh.My.God this is really happening!

The truth is, I had actually signed up for Ironman Lake Placid, but kept it on the DL. I bought the race insurance, hoping I wouldn’t have to race it because I’d be pregnant. I’d be lying if there wasn’t a bit of me that hoped I could still race.  Maybe I would get pregnant right after the Ironman? I thought. But then again, there is never going to be the “perfect time” to have a baby. I could continue to race for another year or two, try to get to Kona again, put the baby plans on hold… but then what? Someone once said to me, “You will not look back thinking, I wish I had raced more before baby.” Instead, you will probably think “I wish I’d started sooner.” The thing is, racing will always be there, but I can’t always have a baby. Plus, we had no idea how long it could take, because you never know until you start to try. Lucky for us, the trying part did not take very long.

To our surprise, by the third month of “trying” we got pregnant.  I consider us to be very lucky that it took such a short amount of time, since apparently there is so much that goes into actually getting pregnant. Geesh!  My entire adult life I had been trying to avoid getting pregnant and actually getting pregnant seemed so… complicated.  I was worried that my level of intense exercise would impact my fertility, but my OB reassured me that this should not play a role. However, I was training less than peak Ironman training and was in “off season” training when we got pregnant. I’m 33 years old and I’m sure age was also on my side too.

On a quiet weeknight in December, just a few days before Christmas, our lives forever changed us as a couple –  I took a test and it was positive! Since that day, I have been thinking about how I am growing a tiny human inside of me.  A teeny tiny human, who is now the size of a peach apparently.

When we found out,  I was 4 weeks and 3 days along. This was EARLY.  Brian and I didn’t want to get too excited about the pregnancy because it was so early and I know many women who had  miscarried before 12 weeks (end of first trimester).  So we kept it a secret, between just the two of us, for another 8 weeks.  Keeping such a big secret was hard! On the other hand, it was kind of fun to have this be “our little secret”for a little while. As of today, I am 15 weeks along and we have shared the news with all of our friends and family.  Thank you to those of you who have shown the love on Instagram and Facebook!

While I’m so very exited, there is also a lot of fear. By reading this,  it might seem like I’m not being super positive about being pregnant, but I’m just being honest. Everyone has different concerns when they are pregnant, and these are mine at the moment.

So here we go. 

Continue Reading

life

2016 in review

14556554_10103279753210149_3301888534461833734_o

Hello 🙂

A lot has happened over the exciting year that was 2016.  I thought I would share a recap of my year (in mostly photos).

*****************************************************************************************************************************************

In 2016…

I tried new things.

learned how to snowboard – talk about humbling.

12548920_10102781949772229_8351994558119644185_n

Got SCUBA certified – very cool experience and so happy I did it.

14046118_10103187208605279_223522613269660271_n

14570793_10103279757910729_7202424121226631082_o

Swam, biked and ran A LOT – All while training for my fourth Ironman

13177931_10102959103389959_8030924473844785153_n

Trained with my favorite training partners all over Arizona, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts

12419148_10102912731364869_2696307250644267776_o

Got faster and stronger – setting BIG PR’s and getting on that podium!

13443127_10103039590558029_6457931008255643531_o

Travelled to a whole lot of places (for training, racing and pleasure)

Florida for a few training weekends (March)

DCIM103GOPROGOPR3857.

Raleigh, North Carolina (June)

13327573_10103008643246689_3190774252486570298_n

Sonoma, California (July)

tree

Vermont

13015561_10102927819438249_2361960602224744510_n

New Hampshire

13710419_10103099375373779_5285748991486460593_o-1

Speaking of travel… Brian and I traveled to Australia in September and had the trip of a lifetime

14525025_10103279737741149_7845312883950322729_o 14265029_10103226561546669_1641820294395109787_n 14238093_10103220866100389_3038731761889416245_n

Raced a lot – with lots of heart and courage 

3 Half Ironmans (70.3 Raleigh, Patriot Half Iron, IM 70.3 Worlds Australia)

14570618_10103273999151329_5284462194195109138_o

28_m-100721985-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1293_041227-1444014

1 Ironman – Vineman

fav 2

B2VT Ride – 2nd place Queen of the Mountain!

13417042_10103024172590759_66691658141699888_o

And finally… the best moments of the year…

Got Engaged! – While at training camp in Tucson, Arizona

12977239_10102918091952209_2686902067044037806_o

Got Married to the love of my life – October 15.  Alton Bay, New Hampshire

qj1a3657winwin-153winwin-216

 

I have a feeling 2017 is going to be amazing. 

45a15acc1d0ba841a877dd053d52bcc1

 

 

race reports

never settle: IM Vineman Race Report

Sharing thoughts of my heart and courage at IM Vineman. That 140.6 race I completed on July 30, 2016, my “A” race of this year.

Here’s how it all went down.

IMG_3035

Ever feel like you want something so badly that you can almost taste it? I believed I could do well at IM Vineman and have a PR and get  on the podium. I had never been in better condition to do this distance, mentally and physically. SO prepared.

Cue Race morning.

DCIM106GOPROGOPR7053.

.

It was chilly, foggy morning in Guerneville. At the race start, temps were reading in the high 50’s. We were staying a 10 minute walk from the swim start at Johnson’s Beach and it made logistics so much easier. It’s a point to point race and we did not have to worry about driving and getting to the start like so many people did. sweet! I highly recommend staying near Guerneville if you do this race, parking is kind of a nightmare on race morning.

THE SWIM

The 2.4 mile swim was in the Russian River, which was beautiful.  The backdrop on race morning was something I will will not soon forget… the redwood trees lining the river.. breathtaking.

DCIM106GOPROGOPR7061.

There aren’t many IM races where you can watch the swim from a bridge.

The amateur race start was at 6:45 AM, a rolling start.  let me just say, I am a HUGE fan of the Ironman rolling start (thank you Ironman!). I started with the wave that was 1:00-1:10 estimated swim finish, which was perfect.  It was the first time I’ve done an Ironman swim that was not chaotic.  It was what seemed like a ‘casual” entry, with me and thousands of my friends. I was not scared at all, no punches, no kicks, just SUPER calm. It was an out an back and also very shallow and some spots, where I had to adjust my stroke not to scrape the rocks at the  bottoms. This was by far the most calm IM swim I’ve ever had. The algae was a little gross.. chunks of it floating in the water, but I had to just get over it. At times, a lot of people were actually walking, I just kept swimming, despite how awkwardly shallow it was. I did a steady effort and felt comfortable and within my limits the entire time. When I got out of the water, I looked at my watch and was like holy s*it, 1:03!! I planned to do a 1:06, so I was so pumped! A 3:00 minute IM Swim PR!

134_m-100729793-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1380_021642-2698602

Being an AWA racer definitely has it’s perks. My bike bag was set up right after the pros, and it was easy to find exiting the water. I grabbed it quickly and ran into the changing tent.  I still  need to get faster at T2, ugh! I just find it’s hard to get my stuff together after swimming… one day!

I ran out of the changing tent, grabbed my bike in the 1st row (sweet!).  The bike mount was at the bottom of the hill, some people were walking their bikes , I chose to ride up the hill, making sure I was in a low gear for that ! It was there when I saw Brian cheering for me.

THE BIKE

As I started the bike ride, my first thought was “it’s COLD!” The air was still in the low 60’s and it felt really cold. I opted not to wear my arm warmers for aero reasons, but as a result I was very chilly for the first hour or so. The sun was not out in the beginning and there were some hills, going down them was freezing! After a mile or so, I noticed my power meter wasn’t working. I thought it might have something to do with the area (bad service, in the woods) but no…. the battery was dead. *note to self* check power meter battery before racing an ironman.. lo and behold. they don’t last forever. Mine decided that July 30th, the day of my biggest race of the year, it was going to die on me.

I had a choice, I could  get pissed off about the power meter not working, I could freak out and get all worried, or I could accept it and move on. I chose the later. This is where mental toughness and race experience comes into play. I knew what level I was supposed to be working at, I knew the watts, my legs knew what these watts felt like, so I went by feel and perceived rate of exertion.  I was supposed to ride at 70-75% effort, and I tried my best to accomplish that. I also looked at heart rate and made sure it was staying steady and not spiking on the hills.  I made sure not to go out too hard in that first loop, I was ok with a few girls passing me, knowing that I might have a chance on the run.  Brian had told me I was 6th after the swim, and this gave me the confidence in knowing if I had a strong bike, I could run some of the girls down in the Marathon later…

129_m-100729793-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1380_010878-2698597

The bike ride was GORGEOUS.  Albeit, I couldn’t enjoy most of it since I had to stay tucked in aero- turtle turtle turtle:) The Vineman bike is very undulating, lots of rollers and some sharp turns. It’s not like other races I’ve had where there’s long screaming downhills (think IMMT).  It was challenging, but fair.  There was one significant climb at mile 45 and again at mile 95 ish, Chalk Hill (the one hill of the course everyone talks about. Well it couldn’t even compare to what I’ve been training on in VT and NH, it was really no problem at all. Plus I LOVE climbing. I rode through hundreds of vineyards and enjoyed the sights on the climbs. People were out cheering in some of the sections, which was so fun! For most of the bike ride, I was riding alone, it was quite empty out there. I think with the rolling swim start, it really spreads people out – not complaining!  There were a few mishaps on the bike besides the power meter malfunction: I dropped my chain once and I took a wrong turn late in the race. I had my head down and missed a turn off – oops! I also hit something with my rear wheel at mile 107, later to find out that it was a nail in my tire. It decided to hang on until after the race (are you kidding me?!) and I didn’t get a flat during the ride. I heard a noise had had no idea what it was… thought I might have a flat but it never happened… until later.. Wow was I lucky.

Bike time: 5:39 (goal was to break 5:35, so it was a bit of a let down, but I’ll take it give I did not have a power meter to work with)

IMG_3283 185_m-100729793-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1380_081517-2698653

After the bike, I moved quickly to T2. I was almost the only female in the changing tent (a good sign?) and the volunteers were incredible.  I swear I had four women helping me all at once, it was awesome.

THE RUN

By the time the Marathon started it was hot and the sun was out.  I had no idea what to expect on the run course, since I had not driven it (like I did the bike course).  It was unexpectedly hilly and three loops. I loved the three loop course because you could really figure out where your competition was.  Run a steady marathon was the name of the game. Ironman races are won in the last 10 miles, this is where you are either hurting or thriving.  I have been in the hurt before during those last 10-13 miles, when I’ve gone out way too fast in the beginning. I did not want to make this mistake again and I would not do anything but “run easy” during those first 10 miles. I followed my heart rate, focused on drinking what I could pouring water all over my head and back.  
137_m-100729793-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1380_023024-2698605

I had worn the Coeur Zele top for the bike and also wore it on the run., wow what a game changer!! It was a hot day and I felt cool, amazing! The fabric makes you stay extra cool on the run when you pour cold water on yourself, like magic.

“Steady Eddy” was the name of the game.  I felt super smooth the entire run and some fellow racers even commented on how good I looked “you’re making this look easy” this one guy said.  Brian was back at the “hot corner” tracking me and the leaders of my AG. By lap 1 he told me I was in 4-5th place, by lap 2 I knew I was in 5th place, by the start of lap 3 I was 4th place.. and gaining on the 3rd place girl. I kept calm and focused step by step on what I was doing. I started to think I would be “ok” with 4th or 5th place, but who was I kidding, I really wanted top 3. During the third lap I was getting tired, but still was able to crank up the pace a bit, telling myself, I have waited all year for this day, I have worked too hard for this, I have busted my ass for this race, it’s supposed to hurt, it’s supposed to really hurt, everyone is hurting.. I have trained on hills just like this… I knew I was about to make something happen, it was just a matter of “when.” Mile 22 was the final turn around, I had 4.2 to go and I could tell the 3rd place girl was slowing down when saw her before I turned and I was gaining.  I continued up and down the hills I wasn’t seeing her anywhere. There was one really big hill at the last mile of every loop, wow that burned! After the hill it was a nice downhill towards the high school, where the finish line was.  I ran through “hot corner” and people were cheering loudly.  I knew I was in 4th place and I had begun to accept it… sort of..

168_m-100729793-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1380_061225-2698636 158_m-100729793-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1380_057908-2698626 fav 3

After I rounded the corner into the finish area, I could see a pink tri kit, the one of the girl I knew was in 3rd place. I figured I could catch her, I knew I could.  I sprinted my ass off to catch her.. I caught her.. and I kept on going…  running as fast as I could, I ran my heart out… I passed her and she wasn’t hanging on… down the finish chute I went, so proud!

153_m-100729793-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1380_048572-2698621

me and bk

 

Final Results:

10:34:09

3rd Place Age Group: 30-34

4thh Place Amateur Female

8th Place Overall Female (including pros)

18 minute IM PR for me!

podium

At the awards ceremony the next day, I could have gotten the first roll down to Kona (#1 took her slot and #2 was already going).  I decided to pass it up (so hard!) since we had plans to go to Australia for 70.3 Worlds.  I will get back to Kona one day, I just know it!

me and b

 

**A VERY Special thank you to Coeur Sports andE3 Triathlon Coaching for all that you did to get me to this podium at Vineman! **

life

on being mindful.

This post might come across as rambling thoughts… but I hope it helps you.

12711277_10102815591054829_983553257137748984_o

If I could think of one potential drawback to being a long distance triathlete it would be, that I spend a lot of time in my own head. A lot of time.

Hours upon hours alone, with just me and my thoughts.  This can be both a blessing and a curse.  On the positive side, it allows me to work on mental toughness. On the negative side, if you are a worrier and have anxious tendencies like myself, it can be detrimental.

One thing you might know about me is I have a problem with worrying. I worry about the past, the present, the future – all the time. I worry about what’s next. I worry about what happened years ago. I make up stories in my head. I will spend my time in the pool swimming laps, going through negative spirals in my head, for example. I recognize this isn’t healthy nor is it fun, and I am committed to working on it. All this worrying and anxiety leads me into a tailspin and to be honest, it’s f*cking exhausting.

I realized I wasn’t being present. For example, in daily life it was all about “what’s next.” After work I have to do x, y, z and this and that.. and then it’s bed time aaaand then repeat the next day… and the next day… All of this worrying is not healthy and a lot of it as to do with not being able to “let it go” when it comes to a lot of things in my life. It was to the point where I got used to this way of living…. until I couldn’t take it anymore. Something had to be done.

So, why is it so freaking hard to just be PRESENT? To just let things go……….. to just breathe….

While I don’t have answer for you, as to why it’s so difficult to “live in the moment” … so cliche right? (I feel like so many people say this phrase but aren’t actually living it). I do know what has worked for me thus far, and it has made a difference in this little head of mine:

Mindful Meditation. 

I have committed to daily meditation and this has been a GAME CHANGER.

12696897_10102815922166279_448092061864143428_o

At first I thought mediation was something only yogis did.  I thought it was kind of weird? I thought I didn’t have time for it, I was too busy.  Being an athlete, I have always been determined at everything I do.  I am in peak physical shape and proud of it. However, my mental health was starting to crumble and it wasn’t just affecting me, it was affecting those around me. I decided that in order to be happier, I had to work on my mental health too. I am now just as determined to work on my mental health as I am my physical health.

The thing with meditation is, you have to practice it, DAILY for it to actually work.  It’s can’t be a half ass thing that you do every once in a while. You have to work at it, you have to commit. The more you meditate, the better you get. It’s that simple. Or is it? Not so fast.

I meditate for 10 minutes a day. 

Funny how 10 minutes a day of meditation can seem like a lot of time. I used to think “I don’t have time for this” but it’s 10 minutes. That’s it.  If I can run for an hour AND swim after work, I can meditate for 10 minutes a day. What meditation teaches you is, to not shut out the thoughts in your head, but to let them come in, and then just go back to the breath. Anxiety is an emotion, it’s part of life, and shutting it out creates even more resistance. I am working on just letting my thoughts come in, and then letting them go……

What has helped me the most with my meditation practice is the headspace app.  It has been life changing. For anyone that is looking to get into meditation, I highly recommend it. It walks you through guided meditation and I have found it to be extremely helpful and the driving force in my mediation journey.

6-16-2016 10-53-47 AM

Here’s a good example of how it’s helped with my racing:

At the Raleigh 70.3 a few weeks ago, my anxiety was at an all time low. Before the race start, I sat on a rock by myself, and just breathed. For the first time in a long time, I was not wheezing and having trouble with my asthma during a race… could it be? All of this time thinking it was my “asthma” that was the root of the problem, could it just be that I was really anxious? I think it’s a good possibility. I practically didn’t need my inhaler when i finished. Are you kidding me? This was awesome.

Recently, I have noticed a big shift.

all of a sudden the things that  used to bother me, bother me less

I process things differently in my mind

I have learned to just breathe.

The hardest part is “letting go” of certain stuff, but I am working on it. that’s all I can ask of myself. 

I used to care about what other people thought about me and place tons of value on it.

I used to care so much about what people thought about my decisions in life, especially those who are close to me, to the point where I wasn’t making decisions I should have been making.

I used to need reassurance for EVERYTHING.

I used to be anxious. all. the time. I’m getting better.

And I’ll leave you with this…


quote