Tri the Parks – Richard B. Russell Sprint

My original plan was to drive up the night before and spend the night but I realized it wasn’t actually that far away and then I spent my afternoon driving my husband back and forth because he locked his keys in the car and then forgot the spare set again. I decided just to pack everything and stage it so I could leave early in the morning. 

The drive was uneventful except that I hit a rabbit that doubled back across the road and I hit the line of cars of everyone else trying to get into the park at the same time. I love the Tri the Parks series but it’s also mildly annoying to me that the parks charge for the event and then also everyone going to it too. Plus there’s no way for anyone who has a park pass to skip the line.  

I finally got in and then made the wrong choice at a fork in the road and had to turn back around to get to the transition area. I built in extra time but the waiting at the park entrance plus the wrong turn ate up a lot of it. I parked and then grabbed my bike and everything and wheeled it down to check in. 

They had assigned bike racks which was a relief because I was really kicking myself for being so late because I wanted a good rack spot. It doesn’t take me long to set up my transition area so I had time to go back to my car and get my Zoggs goggles for the swim. The water temperature was 79 degrees and the air was 64 so not only not wetsuit legal but it also felt like a warm bath. 

The tri was a sprint and Olympic combo. The Olympic folks did two laps of the swim, a longer bike route, and two laps of the run. I was careful to seed myself towards the middle back because I hate the washing machine but I still got stuck between two women I couldn’t get through. I tried going around and got stuck on another woman and couldn’t get around plus it looked like she was swimming into my direction and pushing my out of the line I wanted so I paused let her get a couple strokes ahead and then cut back inside. I expected my swim route to look like a mushroom instead of a triangle but good ol’ Garmin made it look like I’d swum in many small circles. It doesn’t do well with swims so it’s always an adventure to see what it comes up with. It’s not sport-specific and can pretty much only do running (or skiing) but it works fine so I’m not buying a new one. 

I walked up to transition to get my heart rate back down and then got my bike ready to go. Immediately out of transition was a hill and I lost my only water bottle less than half a mile into the course when I went over the speed bump at the park entrance. I was so mad. I was thirsty and hungry and now my only nutrition was gone. Plus, it was my SOAS team bottle and I’d lost the other one on the Eagleman course. 

The bike route was not too bad. It was very hilly and the road was a little rough. I had to slow to a near standstill to make the two turns on the course. My only gripe was that the dismount and mount were at the bottom of the hill so riding back into transition I had to ride my brakes in order to dismount at the line. 

I thought I had sunglasses in my car but didn’t so I just ran with my visor and no glasses. The first part of the run course was uphill and on a trail and the second bit was parallel to the golf course. They had aid stations every mile so no complaints there. They also had BodyArmour as a drink sponsor and that drink is delicious and tasted great. I haven’t drunk it since I stopped breastfeeding but it’s super delicious. I finished in just under 2 hours which I was good with. 

One thing I really like about a sprint and Olympic combo is that there’s lots of people to cheer and watch the Oly folks and then as an Oly folk I can tell myself that the people passing me are the sprint people. I’ve been on both sides now and I like both sides actually. 

It looked like I only had three women in my age group so I figured I got third unless someone registered late, but when I checked the overall results the other two women in my age group took first and second overall so I got bumped up to first in my group. Not as cool as winning out of a big group but I can’t control who shows up. I took my medal, which is maybe one of the coolest I’ve ever gotten-it’s made from a recycled bike chain and has a bottle opener on it. 

I’ve got two more races this summer in the Tri the Parks series. The last time I tried to race a bunch in the series I got pregnant and then freaked out about being on the bike in the second trimester. 

Eagleman – Bike, Run

One of the first things I did when I found out I was going to be in Maryland for work was start planning all the triathlons I was going to do while I was there, culminating with Ironman 70.3 Eagleman. I decided to make a weekend out of it with the family, despite burning out my husband on race-cations previously with RunDisney (as it turns out, having your partner wake up at 0330 the entirety of your trip and then wanting to go to bed at 8 pm doesn’t make for a fun time for the other person). To try to make it fun for him, and Screaming Rabbit, I booked us all a room at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay, mainly because it was the hotel recommended by the race site.

At the last minute, one of our dogs wasn’t feeling well after being stung by a hornet in the face so we decided to bring the two dogs along and just board our cat solo. Fortunately, Hyatt is very pet-friendly and the pet fee was actually cheaper than boarding (by a lot, actually). I was pretty nervous about how all of us would do with sleeping in the same room but actually, it wasn’t a problem. We moved the loveseat in the room to put Screaming Rabbit’s Pack-n-Play behind it so she couldn’t see us and protected her from any extra ambient light that might disturb her. She napped well and slept great. The hotel was awesome. In addition to a very affordable pet fee, they had a dog bed and dog treats in the room, which my dogs really appreciated. Plus, they offered a shuttle to and from the race start and opened their market early so we could get coffee and something to eat before taking the shuttle to the race.

I remembered how crowded the expo was at Augusta, and figured Screaming Rabbit might nap in the car so right after lunch on Friday we took off so we could get there as soon as the expo opened. We were so focused we forgot to eat any lunch ourselves, so we stopped at Maryland’s most surprisingly-crowded Chick-fil-A and scarfed down a Spicy Deluxe sandwich which Screaming Rabbit ate the fries. One sated, she settled down and did take a nap for the final hour of the drive. Not exactly the best nap duration, but she was in a pretty good mood. To save space we brought our Thule hiking pack instead of a stroller so ManSheep wore her and walked the dogs around while I checked in and bought a few things from the merchandise tent. Since the water temperature was a whopping 77.8 degrees, I didn’t bring my wetsuit with me. I swam Augusta without a wetsuit so I wasn’t worried and actually, the hair-matting I had from St. Mary’s kind of made me hesitant to wear it any time soon without needing it. They had an optional bike drop-off on Friday which I chose because I didn’t want to deal with crowds on Saturday. I wish I had taken a picture of it all alone on the rack because I thought it looked pretty, but I left my phone in the car.

Saturday we walked around downtown Cambridge, hoping Screaming Rabbit would take a morning nap (no) and had an early lunch at RaR. I’m not a fan of IPAs and so we had the only thing that wasn’t an IPA or Pale Ale on the menu, plus some very, very salty breadsticks and crab dip and beer cheese. I was pretty tired at that point and Screaming Rabbit was showing no signs of stopping so we went back to the room and she and I took a long nap.

I put all my race things together and set my alarm for 4 the next morning. I took the dogs out and then came back, braided my hair so it wouldn’t tangle and checked my bag one last time.

I always feel like an unperacker/minimalist next to everyone with big transition bags. What do they keep in there? I was carrying my full-size bike pump because I always forget to inflate my tires and carrying it makes me remember, but that was the only thing unusual. Everything else I had fit into the small dry bag they gave us at check-in, which was great also because the forecast called for rain.

I set up my area with plenty of time to spare so I wandered down to look at the water. To my dismay (and others’ happiness), the water temperature was under the wetsuit legal limit. The water looked a little choppy, but fine. I’d done a warm up swim the previous afternoon while ManSheep tried to keep Screaming Rabbit from eating sand, and the water was fine without a wetsuit. I waited around the swim start until a race official announced that due to a small craft advisory the swim was canceled and they would be doing a time-trial bike start by bib number beginning at 7:45. Whoop.

I wandered around for a bit, texted ManSheep about the swim cancellation, and debated buying a donut because I was hungry. They set the pros off on the bike with 45 second intervals in between, then the paracompetitors, then all of us by bib number. If you think 2,800 cyclists all starting together sounds crowded, it was. There was no way to avoid drafting on the course. The only time I was 6 bike lengths behind the bike in front of me was if the bike was six bike lengths ahead. I saw a few slips and falls and heard later there was at least one accident.

The course was definitely windy and the forecasted rain, which I’d been cautioned to not count on, also showed up. My visor fogged so much that I kept having to wipe the inside with a finger and debated just tossing or trying to put in my bib pocket. I lost my aero bottle and then one of my beloved Team SOAS bottles when I didn’t quite get it reseated in the bottle cage. I actually thought about going back for it. Despite all the traffic, I made really good time on the first half – almost 20 miles per hour which is awesome when you consider that at Augusta my average pace was a measly 15 miles per hour. Oof.

Then I turned the second half of the course and realized that what I’d considered wind before was like a slight breeze compared to what I now had to contend with. My pace slowed way, way down (though also I was getting a little tired at this point, and hungry and I kept thinking about what I’d eat after the race – chocolate croissants, a big turkey sandwich, anything and that’s when I took a Gatorade from an aid station and basically downed it before the trash point because I was so hungry). My average pace for the bike course still averaged out at about 17 miles per hour and I am SUPER proud of that! I felt like I had a good bike and was a little bummed to see it end, especially when I remembered I still had to run a half marathon.

I was momentarily distracted by seeing ManSheep and Screaming Rabbit at transition before heading out on the run. It was a good boost.

The run was still soggy and still windy and I was rewarded for all the long runs I’ve skipped in the training plan because my pace was s l o w .

I tried to keep myself to a 9:1 run walk interval and that worked for a long time until I convinced myself I felt pretty good and to see how far I could run until the wheels fell off and that I could negative split the second half.

Answer: No, kids who shortchange their training plans pay with interest on race day.

My second half was notably slower than the first half and my right knee felt so stiff. It actually hurt to walk and felt like the Tin Man when I ran. Still, the miles were ticking down and the volunteers out there were great. Plus, I saw several SOAS teammates out on the course and one at an aid station and we pep-talked each other. The last mile was just straight-on wind and man, that was rough. I admit I walked a bit. It was beautiful but so, so windy. I did manage to push out whatever I had left at the finish line and passed both guys in front of me who had slowed to open their arms overhead in the champion pose.

I gladly collected my finisher lunch box. I opted for vegetarian which was maybe not the best choice. It was a tortilla wrapped around some carrots and maybe a sauce? The chocolate chip cookie was the stuff of dreams though. Unfortunately, I got up and was suddenly unable to bend my right knee at all. My original plan was to ride my bike back to the hotel but this was definitely not going to happen now. I texted ManSheep and he drove to pick me up. I gimped around the hotel the rest of the evening and tried to google my symptoms (fortunately, not a torn meniscus like Google said, or probably an IT band syndrome, but probably a sudden irritation to said IT band).

I took a few days off following the race to rehab my knee and also refocus my efforts. I was really pleased with how I did at Eagleman and I think I will be able to beat my time at Augusta from last year. I’ve still got some baby/desk job weight hanging on that I need to cut and I think that will also help with increasing the output I can do.

Still, not too bad of an ending to my time here in Maryland.

Saint Mary’s Triathlon Festival

Once I realized that the Saint Mary’s Triathlon Festival was two hours away, I knew it was going to be a solo trip. The folks at Saint Mary’s College very generously offered up their dorm rooms to athletes at the incredible price of $25/night and all you had to do was bring something to sleep in/on and shower toiletries. I took my sleeping bag and pillow and my shower tote and shoes that I usually have in my gym bag and headed down on Saturday afternoon.

I checked into the dorm around 3 and then the packet pick up didn’t officially open until 5 so I spent some time walking around the campus and looking at the course maps. I would’ve left later but I like to eat dinner early and knew I’d want to go to sleep early, too. One thing I didn’t research, and I usually do a TON of research is things in the area. Saint Marys City is a historic city but it is also in the middle of nowhere. So when I was looking for a place to eat dinner, there wasn’t anything “downtown” because there wasn’t an actual town. I ended up driving to a Korean/Japanese place about 15 minutes away and then stopped at a grocery store on the way back to get something for breakfast the next morning. Unfortunately, I had to make a middle of the night run to a gas station because I woke up and needed tampons.

I didn’t sleep great. It was warm and I was hot and the dorms were noisy and I left my ear plugs at home when I know better. I got up around 6, ate my breakfast and got dressed and went down to the start. I’d chosen to park my car and bike by the transition area and it was a five minute walk from the dorm. I got there and realized my car keys were still on the desk in the dorm so I had to walk back and get the keys and then back to my car. Transition closed at 7:45 and it was a little before 7:30 by the time I was finished setting up my space. The water temperature was 70 degrees so I wiggled into my wetsuit and headed down to the swim.

They warned us that there were sharp oyster shells in the beach area and as I warmed up and came in I felt them as I stood up. I noted that the flags in the water marked where the mats were that covered the shells so I’d make sure to swim all the way up to them.

I was in the third wave. They did the Olympic and Sprint on the same day, they just started the Oly first. They had to shorten the swim to two laps of the Sprint course, which I wasn’t thrilled about but was fine.

I’m not a great open water swimmer. I’m not a fast swimmer to begin with and my sighting is all over the place. I don’t use my GPS watch often but I really like to for swimming so I can see how well (badly) I did.

I chose to leave a pair of cheap flip flops by the swim exit so I could run more easily on the pavement and I think it helped. I was careful to swim all the way back to the flags but when I stood up I found that the mats had shifted and I sliced my foot open on a shell. I felt the pain but not fully until after the race when I changed into flip flops and I thought it was just a bad blister in a strange spot – nope, turned out I’d cut my foot pretty much first thing.

The bike was two loops and there was a killer headwind along the longest side. It was mostly flat, except for one nice descent after the headwind stretch. The second lap I was more prepared for the headwind and tried to stay in aero as much as I could. I felt really good on the bike and did a good job of drinking the Tailwind in my bottles. I’ve seen some nicer/more convenient bottle options that I might look into that aren’t so awkward as reaching behind me to grab a bottle.

The run was an out and back with a two loop circuit at the end. A nice person had a sprinkler out there for us to run through and it was so appreciated. It was a hot day by then, the forecast said 80 degrees but by the time I finished it was 87. The mile out and mile back in were unshaded and I really had to force myself to keep plodding along. It’s so ridiculous that when it’s hot I want to walk in the sun instead of keeping going and finishing sooner. I tried to run the entire course, but I settled for walking through the aid stations because I wanted to make sure I got enough water to drink.

My TriDot prediction was 2:52 (lol, I am not that fast TriDot, what are you thinking?) and my actual time was 3:18. My previous Oly time was 3:25, though I was also pregnant and tired all the time. My swim time was slower than expected, my bike pace was slower than what TriDot thought I could do but was the fastest I’ve ever done in a race (17 mph) and my run beat my TriDot prediction, so it was really kind of all over the place.

I placed third in my division and might have qualified for the Age Group National Championships this August. Mostly I’m really pleased with how positive I stayed the whole race. I had a couple of struggles in the run because it’s slower paced and I have less to focus on but I really think I have made a lot of progress with my mental game in saying encouraging things to myself.

I have one last triathlon up here in Maryland before I go back home to Georgia and I have zero goals for it other than to enjoy it and hopefully finish! My next big focus will be the Ironman Augusta 70.3 this fall, plus a sprinkling of other things thrown in for fun. Sa

Rev3 Westfields Sprint Triathlon

I did a Rev3 race back in 2017 in Williamsburg (which is now sadly Ironman Virginia 70.3) and was so impressed by what an awesome event they put on. It was well-organized, the swag was great, and the course was well thought out, manned, and it was an overall five star experience. I knew I wanted to do another Rev3 race again so I was glad to see I could do the Westfields Sprint as my first race of the season.

I drove down Saturday for packet pickup at the Rec Center the triathlon would be at and got to see the early stages of set up. I was surprised at my low bib number, and checked it where my bike and transition area would be before we headed out to a local park (and got stuck in horrendous DMV traffic on the way home)

I knew I wanted to leave by 5 am so I could get to the transition area with enough time to pick up my chip and set up and not feel rushed. I did such a good job of prepping the night before that I was out the door by 4:30. I tried to stop off for a coffee but everything was closed so I gave it up after the first failure.

The swim was short, 250 yards, and a zig zag across an indoor pool. I’ve never done an indoor swim before and didn’t mind it. It was an individual start so it took a while and they had us grouped into our estimated time, but the groups were under 1:30, 2:00, and 3:00. I was after the 2:00 sign because the last time trial I did a month ago had me at 2:14. Still, it was a big range and so there were a lot of people in there. Most people seemed to seed themselves accurately but there were a few bunch ups I could see and a couple who had gone out too fast and were now sucking.

I felt good on the swim, definitely went out a little too fast, and didn’t keep track of where I was so I didn’t kick soon enough.

The bike course was two laps. Normally I don’t like laps, but on a bike it’s not so bad to me. The course was pretty flat and with enough turns to keep it interesting. Another woman and I kept leap-frogging each other. She had a pretty black Quintanaroo with pink accents that I told her I really liked and she told me she liked my pink pedals. It’s the little things.

The weather was a little chilly and overcast and at one point I felt some raindrops. Some had chosen to wear a jacket and I was torn between thinking of how smart they were and also thinking how that would likely make me overheat.

I didn’t drink at all on the bike course despite having bottles in the rear cage. I think I just haven’t gotten comfortable reaching back there and also don’t like feeling like it’s a slow down. I’ll have to work on that or worst case is I use my profile design bottle instead because I can stay in aero while drinking-I just don’t like how the liquid sloshes out from movement.

The run was unexpectedly nice. I thought it was on the road because I saw runners but it was actually a Y-shaped course that was 85% on a paved path behind the Rec Center and shaded with beautiful trees and a creek running alongside it. It was mostly flat with a couple small inclines and one small part along the road. I really enjoyed it because you saw people ahead of you and behind you and made it easy for spectators and aid stations plus, it was such a pretty run through all the trees.

I’ve really been neglecting running so I was happy that I felt strong the whole way. And I was very happy with my time. I knocked four seconds off my /100yd swim time, my bike time was 2 mph faster than any I’ve done, and I had a solid run. I finished 6/10 in my division so squarely in the middle of the pack.

Funnily enough, the low numbered bibs tend to go to pros or semi-pros. Because my bike and kit and even helmet matched so well, several people thought I was either a pro or semi pro. I was really tickled by that, because I am definitely a middle-packer but I did look the part and felt it. Also a testament to how great the SOAS kits are this year.

My next triathlon is an Olympic next month in Maryland and should be a lot of fun. I likely won’t be trained enough to do as well as I could, so it and the Cambridge 70.3 are both C races for me. Cambridge is supposed to be hot and windy so should be a good sufferfest to prep for Augusta later this year.

Ask me in a year…

I was reading old blog entries and ran across this one, written a year ago (plus a day, but who cares). It’s funny because earlier today I was walking out of Target with Mini and a woman was packing her things into her car. She had a little baby and s/he was screaming his/her head off in the car seat and the woman was scrambling to get it all in quickly. I couldn’t help but remember my own kid’s terrible, awful screams that sounded like a wounded rabbit. When did those stop? It happened so gradually that I didn’t even notice until it was gone. Same thing for her not terrible, adorable little sneezes? One day they were suddenly gone. 

I say at least once a day now how much fun she is, because she is SO much fun! She’s curious and playful and so funny and loves to put on a show to get me to laugh at her. Last year I was deep in it, I was exhausted, hormonal, and while rationally I knew at some point it would get better it was the first time in recent memory when I didn’t know when that possibly might be. I wondered if I might have PPD as I mourned my previous life and  freedom (pretty sure I just had baby blues looking back). 

I still can’t put my finger on when things got better. There wasn’t a definitive moment. It just sneaked up on me and all of a sudden I didn’t miss pre-baby life so much. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on all the fun things in life because I’d discovered how incredibly fun it is to relive things through the eyes of a child and enjoying seeing her explore and her personality develop.

Adorable things she does:

-Pats the guitar in its stand and then sits back, sways back and forth and claps her hands.

-Squeals at the cat

-Waves at dogs (not people, HA!)

-Stands by the window and taps on the glass when the dogs are outside

-Shakes her head no when you ask her a question, any question

 

 

 

Would I do it again?

For her, absolutely. 

One Month In

The first month of 2019 is over and I’ve moved to a new state, started a new job, and started a new training plan. I signed up for the Preseason Project with TriDot since it was free. I like training plans a lot but I’ve had trouble when my schedule didn’t support the workouts and also had trouble figuring out how to schedule races and how to switch from distances.

TriDot had me punch in my recent assessments and then allowed me to set up my race schedule, within reason since it wouldn’t let me pick either of the 70.3’s as my “A” race since my volume is too low to be realistic, but I could pick a couple of sprints or half marathons as an “A” race and settle everything else after that. Right now I have my first race of the season as my “A” race, and the 70.3’s as C races. That might not sound very exciting since people tend to focus only on the A race and maybe smaller sub-goals under that, but I really appreciate how it keeps me realistic with my goal-setting.

I also like that I can move my workouts around for my schedule. I’m fortunate that my current work schedule leaves time for swimming and the pool here is open on the weekends. I do have a crunch to get it in before work during the week, but I like that I can move at least one of my swim workouts to the weekend when I can give it more time.

I also started back up with Zwift, but that’s another write up for another time. The only thing I’ve really been struggling with lately is running. It’s cold and dark outside (and icy, ugh) and I just hate it lately.  I got some new workout clothes (because I also don’t have cold weather running clothes anymore) and that’s helped a bit but man, I’m having such a hard time holding myself to my running workouts, especially if they’re long.

So for February,  my goal is to get in all of my run workouts. Ideally as written, but I will settle for just running when prescribed.

A goal: Get all run workouts in as written

B goal: Go running when supposed to (modified workouts)

C goal: Run for the prescribed time (workout be damned)

Another plus side is I’m close enough to work that I can run/bike when the weather warms up a bit and my kiddo is fully weaned. I’m not interested in trying to figure out a commute also involving a breast pump and pumped milk right now but once I’m not pumping anymore it should be much easier to accomplish something like that.

What’s New for 2018

WELL!

I am

  • a member of Team SOAS for 2019! I know I mentioned that last entry but still.
  • moving to Maryland! Temporarily anyway for work, but I’m fortunate that my family living is flexible enough that I can bring them with me.
  • registered for Eagleman 70.3. I was so deep in the hurt locker at Augusta 70.3 that I wasn’t sure I’d attempt another one but at the same time, I want to take it back and improve. Triathlon does weird things to your decision-making processes.
  • getting promoted! Eventually, anyway, but the point is I made the list for the next rank.
  • also registered for Augusta 70.3 again! I ended up having a good race last fall and am pretty sure I will only do better this year. I’m still so proud of myself for completing that distance especially with being a new parent.

2019 is off to a great start in my book. I’m really looking forward to seeing where the rest of the year takes me.

Team SOAS!

About a month ago I received an email that my application to be a brand ambassador for SOAS Racing had been selected. SOAS has been my favorite brand of workout gear since I first ordered some tights back when I was deployed to Afghanistan and throughout pregnancy I was able to wear their shorts and tank tops when I couldn’t wear much of anything else. So yeah, I’m really pumped that they chose me to be a brand ambassador because I seriously love their stuff. Their shorts are comfortable and their tri shorts don’t ride up. Plus, their fabric has UV protection built in, as evidenced by my killer sunburn from Ironman 70.3 Augusta.

This year they are also allowing their brand ambassadors to choose between two colorways for their kits. I am having a hard time choosing, so much so that I made a poll on Instagram to try to outsource the choice. I love the green and turquoise but my bike is pink and I have so many bright kits already, but then again, I love bright colors.

I’ve begun planning out my season for next year already. I have a loose map right now with an early summer 70.3 and possibly Augusta again. I’d like to, but I have a lot of changes probably coming my way so I’m trying not to plan too far out for next year until I have a better idea of things. In any case, I am so excited to join Team SOAS!

Pumping in Triathlon- Breastfeeding and Racing Endurance Sports

I wanted to write this specifically because when I was trying to find information about breastfeeding and pumping and endurance sports, I only found an E.T.-handful of articles (two, if that was too obscure). Screaming Rabbit is seven months old and has two meals of solids a day but is still nursing otherwise.

Upfront disclaimer, I had a lot of help. My husband is more of a gym rat so we can trade off pretty easily, and our gym has childcare hours. She also goes to daycare and since I work shifts, I can usually get a workout in during the week either before or after I drop her off or pick her up. Still, it’s not perfectly easy. I try to pump every 3-4 hours during the day and if she gets hungry while I’m working out and I miss a feeding, I have to pump. If I’m taking her to childcare I try to either time it for right after she eats or to “top her off” before I go, which also means I am dressed and packed for the gym before she nurses.

The Training

I did two sprints, a swim, and an oly this summer. With each of those, I pumped on the way there and on the way home. I kept a lunchbox in the car with ice packs in it to keep the milk cold and used Medela wipes to clean my parts, or I’d bring a second set of parts.

The Plan

From my training, I knew I was going to be really slow at the 70.3 distance and that I’d need to pump at least once during the race. My goal was to pump as close to the start time as I could, pump again in T2, and then as soon after the race as I could. I bought a second pump from eBay to stash in my car and had the other one in transition and a manual pump with my morning clothes bag. The pump in transition I had set up with everything connected so all I had to do was put on my pumping bra and hit the on button on the pump. I had an insulated lunchbox in the tent with multiple ice packs to keep the milk cold as well and prevent it from spoiling.

I also asked Ironman about a place to pump and they actually set up a tent just for me to use to pump in private. I thought that was so huge of them. He said they get requests infrequently but it’s not unheard of. He also offered to let me pick where to put it (within reason, of course) and it ended up next to the volunteers applying sunscreen right by the run start.

How It Went Down

Race day I screwed up two things: I forgot the second set of pump parts and also didn’t put the manual pump in a big enough ziplock bag to keep it clean. The first meant that I had to use the transition pump and parts before the race start which meant that the T2 pump session was contaminated and had to be dumped. The second meant that when I got my morning clothes bag, I had sand in the manual pump, so it was dirty as well and needed to by dumped.

BUT, I still took home two bags of pumped milk for my kiddo kept cool with ice packs in an insulated lunchbox. I also was able to complete the event without breast pain and keep my supply up. I am really proud of myself for not only finishing my longest distance event ever, but also for doing it seven months postpartum and feeding my daughter.

Just Keep Swimming

I credit a lot of my swimming confidence not to being a good swimmer, because I’m nothing special and I know my technique is pretty terrible, but to just starting early and being comfortable in the water. When I was a kid we’d visit my grandparents and go swimming in the lake and my grandma would have me swim to her but she’d keep stepping back and forcing me to paddle further and further. I also took swimming lessons for a few years and that helped me at least learn to freestyle and rotary breathe though again, nothing to write home about. But swimming lessons with my mother is one of my favorite memories and one I wanted to share with my own daughter.

Last year while looking for a pool to swim at I found Dolphin Academy, a swim school that offers year-round instruction for all levels and ages starting from six months. Today was LO’s very first class and I was so excited that I made enough excitement for both of us.

It was a pretty simple class and the first half is singing and playing games with the babies and all about getting them comfortable in the water. The second half is free play where you can work on things or play with toys in the pool. They had floating mats for tummy time or to crawl or sit on, noodle boats to float on, and many other things to play with. We did some more “swimming” on our front and then a little on the back. She didn’t like having the water in her ears, but she did great and by the end of the 30-minute class was splashing the water with her hands and laughing.

One of my absolute favorite things about being a parent is seeing her discover things and experience things and it was so sweet to watch her try to take it all in. She was so interested in the other babies and parents and loved the songs and swimming games. I can’t wait for our class next week and someday I hope she is able to look back and remember us going to her swim lessons together.