On July 19, 2012, The Wall Street Journal posted an article called “Don’t Hate Her For Being Fit“. The only reason I found this article was because one of my friends posted it on his Facebook page and it showed up in my News Feed (typical). It sparked my interest, I had a few moments, so I clicked and started reading. Before you knew it, I was full of tears. No, I am not pregnant and overly emotional. I found this article to be a huge sense of relief which lead to tears. Finally, someone understood my side of the story.
Training for Ironman Canada has not come easily, as if life with a newborn is not hard enough. A lot of times I feel like I am cheating on my husband with my bike, the swimming pool or the running trails because I spend so much time training. But, I love it. If I had my way in life, I would spend more time training. I would train all the time. My heart is in love with competition and the sense of accomplishment. I crave it. I am a competitive woman by nature. I was born this way.
The hard part about being competitive is that without competition, I feel lost. Part of me wonders what I would have been like without the training and only raising a baby. I sometimes think that I would pull my hair out. On the other side of the story, I realize that others may not have the same competative drive. I believe I have encountered those folks over the last 11 months who have openly shared their opinion of my Ironman training while raising a newborn. Here are a few examples of what they had to share:
“You are crazy!”
“You are selfish!”
“You are the only mom that I know who has ever done this!”
“You are not doing what is best for your daughter!”
“You are probably not present for your daughter because you have so much going on!”
Of course all of these statements have made me think twice about training for Ironman. Am I really present for my daughter? Yes, I like to think so! These comments have also inspired me to train hard and prove that I can be a mother and Ironman. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out, these types of statements are fairly common.
To some, a fit mom’s regimen may seem self-indulgent. These women, though, see their workouts as a guilt-free stress release. They don’t feel badly about taking time to work out because they are setting a healthy example for their children. “It’s this thing that she does for herself but that makes her better for everybody else,” Athleta’s Ms. Roering says.
I believe that everyone has the right to their own opinion. At times when I spend 8 hours straight training, I do think I am a little crazy. To me, the bottom line is that a healthy, happy wife equates to a healthy, happy family. From the constant smile on my little girls face, I think as a family we are doing a really good job!
It takes a village to train for Ironman with a newborn. Luckily I have had the privelage to quit my corporate job and be a stay at home mom while training. As most of us moms know, sometimes the plans that you intend for the day don’t always go as planned as your little one has a meltdown or their nap lasts too long. In 11 months time I think I have written hundreds of IOUs, flaked on numerous occasions, melted down a handful of times and called my coach ready to toss in the towel. Thankfully the village that I have created around me that supports me through every stroke, pedal and step keeps me moving closer and closer to the finish line.
I am popping some champagne in celebration of all of those moms out there who choose to make exercise, health and fitness a huge part of their life. It is important not just for you, but also for the health of your family.
Take good care and be well mamas!