Thank you to Nicole DeBoom for including me as one of her Belly Tales on the Skirt Sports blog.
An excerpt from the post:
Listen to Your Body – Sari Anderson’s Belly Tale
November 3, 2011
I need to start by saying this – Sari Anderson is a stud. She is a two-time national mountain bike champion, the 2006 Adventure Race World Champion, a badass trail runner, ski mountaineer and an Xterra Winter World Champ. Somewhere along the way, she also managed to pop out two kiddos! And then to top it off, she got right back on the trails and after being selected as one of Outside Magazine’s “Fittest Real Athletes,” she was invited at the last minute to join the reigning XPD Adventure Racing World Championship team in Tasmania for this year’s event. Yes, she just left a few days ago.
So in other words, Sari Anderson is hard-core. Having kids has not slowed her down one bit. While I cannot claim to have maintained Sari’s level of workouts during my pregnancy, my favorite take-away from her story is her insistence that no matter what level of athlete you are, you need to listen to your body.
I thought about this concept for a while. Listen to your body. This is something I have told countless athletes who I’ve prepped for various events over the years. I have come to lean on this phrase because as an athlete, I understand what it means. It should be simple, right? Don’t get injured – Listen to your body. Don’t get dehydrated – Listen to your body. Don’t bonk – Listen to your body.
What I failed to remember is that the first time you ever try something new, you have no idea what you are listening for! So while I agree…Read more of the story.
Xterra athlete and mom Danelle Kabush has started a great website and blog for athlete moms. Danelle has great insight into training, working, racing and balancing it all with a family.
Below is a little interview I did with her:
Danelle Kabush (2nd from right) and myself (far right) 3rd and 5th at the Xterra Richmond in 2009
One of my goals in writing this blog is to share some inspiration from other active moms. This is my first interview with Sari Anderson. Sari and I met while racing Xterra. Now a mom of two, 4 year old Juniper and 1 year old Axel, Sari hasn’t slowed down much and has inspired me to keep making training and racing goals. You can learn more about Sari and follow her adventures on her blog. Sari lives with her husband Ian and two children in Colorado and is currently preparing for the Leadville 100 mountain bike race!
Here is what she had to share….
1. Can you tell me a little about your athletic/competitive background before becoming a mom?
Before becoming a mother, I raced as an adventure racer with Team Nike winning a world championship title as well as many other elite events. I also raced mountain bikes as a pro as well as ran trail races and kayaked. There was no training schedule or coaches or structure. I worked full time as a business manager for a plumbing contractor so I trained in the evening and pretty much all weekend.
2. What motivates you to keep setting athletic and/or competitive goals since becoming a mother? Is it different than pre-kids?
Since becoming a mother I have become more motivated and goal oriented as far as my athletic career goes. Before kids, I could race and train when I wanted to. I could travel for long periods of time with only a lot of work to come back to. With kids, I now have to choose my races based on our family schedule and what makes the most sense for my career. This means less worldwide travel and shorter races that the family can usually attend. However, the big difference is that if I am going to take the time away from my family and my work in order to train and compete, then I had better make it worthwhile. I’m usually there to win or prove something to myself. There is no longer racing just to race.
3. How do you balance training and/or racing with your family?
From the first week we arrived home from the hospital with our first child, my husband Ian and I figured out balance and ‘the handoff’. This means that on the weekends we usually either split days or the weekend in order for both of us to get good training sessions in as well as quality time with the kids. Now with two kids and still working part-time, I often train early in the morning while everyone else is asleep. The remainder of my training is done with the kids in the Chariot while running, cycling and skiing. Training with the kids is one of my favorite things as the kids love to be outside and it makes me much stronger. I also added a coach after having our second child in order to maximize my training time giving me quality over quantity. Despite getting in only about 10 hours per week of training, which is significantly less than my competitors, I feel that I am much stronger now than before having children. Without the amazing support of my husband, I would have a difficult time fitting it all in.
4. Did you train during pregnancy? What was your approach?
Although I ‘trained’ throughout both pregnancies, it was solely for my mental stability and to keep some endurance. I know myself well enough to know that I never could race while pregnant. I am not capable of holding myself back. I had a wonderful doctor that understood what my fitness level was coming into the pregnancies and gave me cart blanche to do what I felt comfortable with. My big guideline was to make sure I could talk somewhat comfortably while exercising. Everyone’s heart rate is different so I never wore a heart rate monitor. Some days I could run sub-8 minute miles for 8 miles while pushing the first kid and the next I may only be able to run a 10 minute mile alone. Although it was hard at times, I listened to my body and only did what felt good and comfortable which allowed me to run and cycle until the day I had both kids.
5. Any advice you would give to other moms trying to stay active (or even competitive) while balancing kids?
My advice to moms trying to stay active and/or competitive is to do what you can and not to worry if you miss a training session. A few missed sessions are not going to make or break your overall fitness and readiness for a competition. Also, learning to get out with the kids is so great for everyone involved. You are teaching your kids that exercise and well-being are important as well as giving them a chance to relax and recuperate. When arriving home from a training session with the kids, mom and kids are rejuvenated and everyone feels better ready to face the rest of the day.
After a rough spring of lots of rain, snow and cold and finally some summer weather, I am finally becoming friends with the rain. After a fun run with the kids yesterday in the rain, I set out for my long ride today. I had to skip the mountain bike due to the rain yesterday, so I jumped on my road bike with hopes of a six hour ride.
With a hug and a kiss from Juniper, I jumped on my bike raring to go in the sun. With one interval down and 40 minutes of climbing under my belt, the rain started. Just like yesterday, it didn’t start drizzling, it started pouring. Four minutes into my first descent I was drenched through ducking my head as the cold drops pelted my face. Before heading out for my ride, I had watched the Tour de France as the teams raced through rain for five plus hours. I reminded myself of this as I contemplated continuing my descent straight to the house with just an hour and a half in the saddle.
As I sucked up another climb, I realized I was freezing in July but having fun. I ran into some friends at the top of the climb and as I listened to a few of the guys state they were headed home, I became even more motivated to make it at least four hours. I reminded myself that my races aren’t canceled due to weather so the longer I managed to ride in this weather, the better off I would be.
After three hours of rain, the clouds started to recede and I finished up a great ride with water still pouring out of my shoes. When the rain had started, I never thought I’d last for a five and a half hour ride, but I arrived home knowing a had put in a good effort. Let’s just hope I can motivate myself the same way in the next few races.
I love the days that start early with one or both of the kids up before 630am, crying through breakfast, having a fit about getting dressed and then heading out for a run. And yes, I’m serious – I do love these days as they are spent with my kids and I love having that opportunity.
We had a little more than an hour left of our run this morning when the rain started. Axel was already asleep in the Chariot with Juniper playing next to him. I slowed down for a couple seconds to cover them up as I was determined to get my full hour and a half training run in (plus both kids needed down time after the fussy morning). As we ran back towards town, a large four door F250 slowed down next to us which could be scary in some places but not Carbondale. A young, cute mom stuck her head out the window to make sure we were okay or if we needed a ride home. As I gave her the thumbs up and thanked her for thinking of me, Juniper looked up at me and said ‘A little rain won’t stop us, right Mom? We’re tough.’ Thus, more motivation to keep going.
And keep going we did. I ran for another nine miles, me soaking wet but the kids dry and very happy in their Chariot. As the rain let up and Axel woke up, I opened the rain cover in order to listen to the kids giggle over every puddle we ran through. I had been getting funny looks running in the rain with the kids but felt much better when I ran into professional steeplechaser, Carrie Vickers, that had been doing the same thing. Gossiping and laughing, we ran along with all three kids for awhile enjoying knowing we weren’t alone in our quest to be athletes and mothers.
None of us melted in the rain, I had a great 12+ mile training run, the kids had some rest and we all were happy and ready to have some fun playing together. And although nothing ever goes quite as smoothly as planned, I’m not being sarcastic when I say I love these days.
View of Mt. Sopris from my run up Marion Gulch this morning
One thing I like less than sick kids is making decisions regarding the sick child. After racing in the Crested Butte 40 miler last weekend and having some mechanical issues, Ian decided he would much rather split the Firecracker 50 with me than race the entire thing. I was reluctant at first, wanting him to experience the entire race but after awhile he finally convinced me to join him. I gave in to the peer pressure as I really feel bad saying no, but I was nervous about the kid handoff. How was I going to get ready and warmup with both kids let alone jump onto the race course when Ian finished his lap? Despite the worries, I got kind of excited to race as it has been a month since I raced my mountain bike.
Oh well…family comes first. And this time that family is not Ian but Axel. The little guy has had a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for three days and the decision had to be made for the kids and I to stay home. It was a tough decision that we hemmed and hawed over ultimately realizing that if either of us had a fever like that then there is no way we would want to go to a race all day with no sleep. Back to the original plan of Ian racing the entire 50 except that the kids and I will be missing out on cheering him on.
Oh well, there’s always next year. And hopefully Ax-man will be feeling great.
View of Mt. Sporis from the Crown yesterday