Postpartum Triathlete: Getting Your Run Back

This is the 3rd article in a series I am writing for triathletes who have been out of the sport for whatever reason and working toward coming back.

Postpartum Triathlete: Getting Your Run Back

In case you missed the 2 previous, here they are…

Whether you were out by choice or forced out due to injury, surgery, etc, any time away makes coming back a challenge. I wanted to share what helped me in case you are struggling and looking for a way to get back into running.

Out of the 3 disciplines of triathlon, for me the run was the hardest to get back in to, but the easiest to get back to where I was before I stopped running.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, about 2 months in, I made the choice to stop running. I had a “high risk” pregnancy and decided it wasn’t worth the risk. A week before I found out, however, I had run a marathon, so I was still in great running shape when I stopped.

I didn’t run for the remainder of my pregnancy (6 months), the 6 weeks following the birth of my baby, and then another 4 weeks after that. During the 4 weeks after I was cleared to begin exercising again,

I rode the bike and did the elliptical and stepmill every single day at the gym. So although I wasn’t building up my “running” muscles, I was definitely building up my cardio and fitness levels before I started actually running. This helped me a LOT once I started back up!

The first thing I did was during my walks with my mom, Coura, and the dogs, I would run ahead with the dogs a few minutes and then run back to my mom and the baby.

The first couple times I did this I totaled about 5 minutes of running, the next week I did 10, and the following I did 15.

In those few weeks I also started focusing more on my nutrition and started overall feeling better due to being able to exercise, so I started losing some of my unwanted baby weight as well. Running also became easier as the pounds started coming off.

At the end of the 4th week I decided to sign up for a 5K. I personally do better with my workouts when they are “training” runs and not just running for “exercise”. I also like having a place to start so I can see improvements. I had no expectations and I knew whatever my time, it would be a post-partum PR (personal record).

I had a blast at the 5k. It was about 5 minutes slower than what I was doing before I got pregnant, which is about 1:20 per mile slower, and my effort was much much higher than my time showed! My heart rate felt almost maxed and my body was tired. But my heart and soul were happy and I had a starting point for getting back into running shape.

Over the next 4 weeks I started running 2x a week. One was “longer” (typically 3-4 miles) and one was a few minutes here and there either during a walk w the fam or on the treadmill a few minutes before or after I taught class at the gym.

After that 4 weeks, I did another 5K and took a minute off my time. At this point I had also lost most of my baby weight and Coura had just turned 6 months old which meant I could run with her in the stroller. It was coming into winter so I only ran with her a couple times, but it gave me hope and excitement for the upcoming spring/summer!

At this time, I decided to do a monthly 10K time trial on the treadmill to chart my improvement as well.

My first one was about 10 minutes slower than my usual 10K, but again a post-partum PR. My monthly 10K TT was my “long” run and I continued with one other run each week of about 1-3 miles. I was still doing stepmill weekly and biking at the gym 5 times a week. This improved my overall cardio and fitness level.

At the end of 6 months was my big test, I signed up for a half marathon to start running longer because my “A” race for the year was the St George 70.3 which was 3 ½ months later. Since my longest run had been 6.2 miles, the 13.1 was a challenge but I just took it easy with a goal of just running the whole thing. And guess what? Yep! A post-partum PR!!!

I kept up with my monthly 10K, my other shorter run, threw in a couple 5Ks, and weekly stepmill and biking at the gym. I did another half marathon 3 months later and took off almost 15 minutes!!!

The hardest part about getting back into running was getting started. For me it helped giving myself time on other “easier” cardio equipment to get some fitness back and shed a few pounds before I started running again.

It also helped me to have a monthly goal like my time trial and a few races set up to “test” my fitness and running.

And lastly, it really did help when I lost my baby weight and got back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. Running, in my experience, is much harder when I have more weight on my body. Running never came naturally to me so every advantage helps!

I am now officially one year out from the birth of Coura (her birthday was yesterday) and I would say I am only a few months away from being back to my pre-pregnancy race times. If it takes longer for you, don’t get discouraged, just make everything about your best NOW, not your best then! All my new distances are post-partum PRs and I’m learning to navigate my training/racing with a baby which is always an adventure in itself.

Have fun with it, be kind to your amazing body, and love yourself NO MATTER WHAT!!!

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Peace of Mind: The Greatest Gift of All

Peace of Mind - The Greatest Gift of AllWhen I got pregnant, I suddenly went from the most optimistic, positive person on the planet to a total doomsday prepper when it came to my baby. Instantly everything weird or different or unusual happening in my body was something horrible.

And it only got worse after Coura was born. If she was crying, something was wrong, if she was quiet, something was wrong. I had crazy dreams about dropping her, or leaving her somewhere, or forgetting to feed her. So in the real world, knowing that she was safe and taken care of no matter what, was extremely valuable.

I want to say right off the bat, that if I read this blog post a year ago, I would have been super judgemental toward the person who wrote it. I’ve been hesitant to share anything about this because of that, but I decided to be brave and write it anyway! Here is why…

  • To help others and give them hope if they are in a similar situation
  • To show my gratitude and appreciation
  • To bring awareness to all the options we have available as parents and future parents

When I found out I was pregnant a year ago, I had just come out a 21-year marriage where I left my ex-husband. I had spent the previous six months shacking up with friends and family, training and racing, and doing some soul-searching to figure out what was next for me. What I didn’t focus on was making money. I made enough to get by, but I didn’t have anything saved, especially for what was coming next in my life, a baby.

I wasn’t freaked out about having a baby when I found out I was pregnant, but I was a little concerned with the financial aspect. I knew if I had a completely simple, easy, normal birth, I could come up with the money to pay for it. But with all the testing, extra doctor visits, and potential issues that go along with having a “geriatric pregnancy” (yes, that is what it was called since I was 45 years old), I wasn’t sure how much more that would all cost.

I had never needed any financial assistance, so I didn’t know how it would all work or if I would even qualify, but a couple people suggested that I look into Medicaid. I did some research, filled out all the paperwork, and was accepted.

What a godsend this program was for me. It gave me so much peace of mind when it came to prenatal care, labor and delivery, and postnatal care for me and my baby. I didn’t have to decide which appointments were most important and which I could skip. I didn’t have to decide which tests I could afford and which I couldn’t. And I didn’t have to ask when given the options during my delivery how much things cost such as an epidural, the Bili light, and the supplies I use during my five-day stay in the hospital.

I also didn’t have to worry about finding the cheapest pediatrician or deciding which appointments where most importance when Coura was born. Because she was not gaining weight for the first two weeks after her birth, we had to go to her pediatrician every two days until she did. I’m so grateful I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to pay for all this help. Plus, being a stressed-out mom to be, or a worried mother, doesn’t help a struggling baby at all.

At first, I was super embarrassed being on Medicaid. Whenever I was asked who my insurance was, I hated hearing the word come out of my mouth. I thought for sure people would judge me or think I was irresponsible or that I wasn’t fit to be a mother.

But now I am just grateful.

Grateful I got the best care for me and my baby. Grateful I didn’t have the added stress to pass onto Coura before and after she was born. Grateful I can focus on spending time with her and taking care of her needs now instead of working over-time to pay off thousands of dollars in medical bills. I am just grateful.

This has also taught me not to judge others so quickly! Like I said earlier, I would have totally judged me before this! I thought people who needed financial assistance were lazy or irresponsible, or worse! I never considered they may just be going through a life change or transition or a tragedy or whatever!!

Most of us just need a little temporary help to get back on track when we’ve been side-swiped! Luckily mine was a little bundle of blessing and even luckilier (did I make up that word?) that there is a program out there to support me in supporting her!

Thank you Medicaid! I don’t know what I have done without you!

And thank you peeps for loving me unconditionally!

Stay hopeful!

See you soon!

Welcome Coura McCay Sutphin to this MIRACULOUS World!

Welcome Coura McCay Sutphin to this MIRACULOUS World!I may have gone a little crazy on social media the past 2 weeks on posting pics of my new baby girl, but I am not apologizing. I do the same thing every time I have been proud of an accomplishment, enthusiastic about a new adventure, or pretty much anything I am excited about in my life, which is usually a lot.

BUT…just in case you aren’t on Facebook or Intagram…here is the scoop…

A couple hours after I posted my weekly “Happy Bump Day” preggo photos for #36weeks, I went to the hospital to check on a “dribble” which ended up being my water breaking.

About 38 hours later, I popped out an amazingly perfect baby girl. In fact, she didn’t even have to visit the NICU! Most “preemies” do, but she is an over achiever and passed most of her initial tests with flying colors!

Check out Coura’s birth story! – Our Birth Plan: Have a F-ing Baby!

She did have to sleep under the bili light for 2 days, but that’s common in all babies, not just preemies.
Coura McCay Sutphin was born at 7:28 am on June 15, 2018. She was 18.5 inches long and weighed 5 pounds 13 ounces. She is a Gemini and a 5 in Numerology.

I know ALL moms think their baby is beautiful and perfect and such, so I’ll spare you the doting, but the second she came out of my body and lay straight over my heart, I knew how much I would adore her for the rest of my life.

As most of you know, Coura was not planned, and in fact was a bit of a miracle. But from the moment I found out I was pregnant, I was looking forward to the day I got to meet her. I look forward to seeing her experience life and explore this world with and without me. I am excited to see how she responds and reacts to every part of her life, and I can’t wait to see how we both grow and benefit from knowing each other.

Coura is short for Courage. Courage is one of the main themes in my life. I am not always brave, but I always strive to be. It’s not easy taking action when I have no idea the outcome, but if I’m not brave enough to try, I will never create my ideal life.

One of my favorite quotes is: “More often than not, being brave means doing it scared.” -Michael Hyatt
I am scared all the time, but I remind myself that courage gives me hope and hope is the only emotion stronger than fear. So I stay hopeful and courageous. And now I have this precious piece of me to remind me that courage trumps fear every damn day for the rest of my life!


Check out our journey…

Thanks for sharing this amazing experience with me!

See you soon!

My Next Big Adventure!

My Next Big AdventureI tend to set big goals and work towards accomplishing giant feats. And since I have gotten in the habit of announcing all my goals and dreams and plans to the world, when I get done with one thing, people always ask me what’s next!

I usually have a plan and a plan after that plan! But last year after my 2 year goal of qualifying for and racing the ironman world championships in Kona, Hawaii, I didn’t have a plan.

I had no idea what was next for me. Throughout 2017, my year of transition and change, when people would ask where I was going to live or what I was going to do for money and other “easy” questions, I didn’t have an answer. Instead I would say time and time again, “I’m open to what is next for me.”

And I was.

I didn’t make many plans or set many goals throughout the year. I took one day at a time, one moment at a time, and learned to live in the moment and be grateful for where I was right then and there.

It felt uncomfortable at first, but over time, I truly began to be open to what was next for me. I took advantage of every opportunity that was presented to me, even if I had no idea where it would go or what it would do for my future.

And by the end of the year, when people would ask me what was next, I could say with 100 percent certainty that I was open to whatever was next for me. I would take on whatever was presented to me, and make the very best of it, knowing that that was where I was supposed to be in my life.

So although I was very VERY surprised, I was not scared, when I found out six weeks ago that I was going to have a baby.

I stated over and over again that I was open to what was next for me in my life, and this is what the universe gave to me.

As a 45-year-old, who was not trying to get pregnant, who had been on birth control the majority of my adult life, and rarely had a period to begin with, the chances of me getting pregnant were less than one percent. So I know this baby really really REALLY wanted me to be her mother.

So that’s it! That’s my new adventure for 2018. I feel excited for this new chapter of my life, and I know without a doubt this is where I am supposed to be right now and this is what I am meant to be doing.

P. S. It’s a girl!

Come along for the ride…

And stay connected…

See you SOON!