After training for what seemed to be FOREVER….I finally completed my first half marathon!!! I am very proud of myself and thankful for all of the support that I received from my friends and family, especially my husband, ODC! It was an amazing experience, I reached my goal of actually running the entire 13.1 miles (something I learned is not required, who knew?). I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon with Team in Training. I raised over $3,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
I returned to the gym when G4 was three weeks old. ODC had no problem with me leaving her with him, as long as I left some expressed milk. I would nurse her before I left the house and then check in with him while I sat in the sauna to see if I needed to make a mad dash back home. You see, expressed milk, in my book, was for “emergencies” only. You know, for if I broke my leg in a step class, fell off a treadmill, broke my arm, hit my head on the bench press machine AND was unconscious! We live 15 minutes from the gym, in my “AP, exclusive breastfeeding world”, I only wanted the baby to have a bottle in the aforementioned “emergency” scenario. I was such a control freak that I would check the freezer and count my bags of milk to see if he had to feed her while I was gone. More often than not, I would release a huge sigh of relief because he didn’t, but on the rare occasions that he did….honestly, I would be a bit upset. I had to realize that I couldn’t have everything my way. I was leaving her with him and I could just work out at home if it was going to bother me that much. (Oh yeah, I did that at 2 weeks post-partum and after having the other girls join me for my Jillian workouts, I decided to get over my control issues, pump the milk, and pack my gym bag.)
As the weeks passed, G4 could go longer between feedings and I could hit the gym without frantically stepping on the medal to make it home before she needed to be fed. Fast forward to this month and she is now 10 months and still pretty much exclusively breastfed. As I started to prepare for the trip to Orlando, it was a given that she would be traveling with me. ODC would drive down with the other girls and he would have her while I ran. The logistics of the TNT runs and meetings never fit my schedule, so aside from e-mails, I had not met any of the team members. When I received my hotel and flight confirmation I thought “maybe I need to let someone know that I am bringing my baby” but because I didn’t see any information about a roommate assignment, I decided to just let it (and her) ride.
I arrived at the airport with G4 in the Maya Wrap while ODC took our luggage in the car with him. I noticed a few women with TNT shirts and I introduced myself. Everyone was warm and friendly, but I’m pretty sure it was unusual to see someone with traveling with a baby, alone, headed to an endurance event. It was a super quick flight to Orlando and using the “one-two punch”, my little nursling slept most of the flight.
When we arrived in Orlando, our event coordinator pulled out the hotel information and ugh!!!…I had a roommate. We headed to our hotel and grabbed some lunch and I kept looking at my watch and looking at my phone, I was ready for my family to get there. My social circles mirror my life. These women were past the baby days, or didn’t have children at all. Don’t get me wrong, they were nice enough, but I was pretty sure that I was not the typical TNT member, but hey, that’s why I’m Outta Da Box!
ODC and the girls arrived earlier than I had expected, and I couldn’t have been happier! We hooked up with ODC’s cousin, grabbled a bite to eat, and enjoyed some quality family time. I opted out of staying at my prestigious Disney Resort Hotel and instead stayed off property with my
loud lovely crew.
Saturday would present a new set of challenges for the breastfeeding dyad. I had a TNT strategy meeting followed my an inspirational dinner. ODC and the girls enjoyed some serious pool time and G4 was sleeping when the strategy meeting started. I knew I would leave her with him for the dinner (which, by the way was family friendly, but since my family wasn’t attending, I decided I would leave her with them) and since it was a low-key meeting in the lobby and she was sleeping, I kept her with me so that I could minimize our separation, you know, like a good “crunchy” mommy does. I filled her tank, and after the meeting was over, I dropped her off with ODC and enjoyed a great dinner with an inspirational presentation from a leukemia survivor.
This is where things get a bit tricky and I had to get creative. The shuttle was leaving the hotel for the race at 3:00 am. My TNT group was meeting at 2:45 am. I was going to really be pushing the limits because the race did not start until 5:45 am and it was going to take me at least 2 hours or more to finish. It was likely that it would be 6+ hours before I would see the baby. By this time, I realized that I had been blessed with a super cool roommate, but I still didn’t feel the need to ask “permission” for my baby to stay with me in our shared room. ODC and I had a game plan. I would stay in the host hotel with G4 and he would take the other girls with him. They would come get her at 2:30 am, and we would meet up after I finished the race. A banana and water would be the back-up plan for the baby. (*full disclosure* the older girls wanted to swim at my hotel until midnight, G3 wasn’t having it, she was exhausted, and since ODC was coming to get G4 in the middle of the night, I told him to just let her stay with me too. They both slept pretty quietly, so I did say to my roommate, that I hoped they didn’t disturb her, she said they were fine)
I had considered bringing a pump, but I didn’t. I had to chuckle when my roommate told me that she and some of the other team members were talking and they thought since I homeschooled, I probably didn’t pump, lol! (I had to tweet and ask the difference between a judgement and stereotype). I really wasn’t going to go through the hassle of bringing a pump, finding the time to pump, and getting a refrigerator for 1 feeding for a 10 month old.
ODC arrived as planned and I whisked my sleepy babies off to their Daddy. By the time I was reunited with my family, my feet were hurting and I was strapped down by my Enell Sports Bra, not the most convenient, nursing friendly contraption. I looked at G4’s dress and she had some type of food smeared on it. The banana was my stand-in. She was happily playing with a water bottle and I wasn’t the least bit offended.
The traffic leaving the park, after the race, was horrendous. I took that opportunity to nurse the baby while ODC crept through the parking lot, by this time it was after 10 am, 8 hours after our 2am nursing session. All was well, our plan worked. ODC was going to head back to GA with the big girls after getting some lunch, so I left the baby with them so that I could shower and have a minute of down-time before my support team
abandoned left me.
The TNT victory celebration was my last “official” event. This was another “family friendly” event, so although my team members didn’t have children with them, there were plenty of children at this beach party, complete with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy! The sun was beaming and the temperature was toasty, G4 managed to sleep through lunch, so my meal was eaten without doing a juggling act of keeping her from taking stuff off the table, while trying to keep the fork from missing my mouth.
I declined an invitation to dinner with my team because I was very tired and I wanted to take advantage of any sleeping that the baby would let me get. She must have known how tired her mommy was, because we napped together for almost 3 amazing hours! Snug in the Maya Wrap, I took her with me to find some food and she drifted off to sleep again! I returned to the hotel, tucked her into the bed and chatted with my roommate about the Oscars, and then I fell asleep too.
My roommate, other teammates, and passengers on the plane kept commenting on how “good” the baby was. “She’s so easy”, “She never cries”, “She’s so happy” were statements (I think they were supposed to be compliments, but if she cried, does that make her “bad”? -another post) that I heard all weekend. Without standing on my proverbial soap box, I tried to drop a few Attachment Parenting principles to explain that because we have developed a solid sense of security, I can anticipate her needs and respond promptly. (The magic of the booby doesn’t hurt either).
By the time I run my next event, G4 will be eating solids, and this will no longer be an issue. It is very likely that I will still be nursing, but I will have other options. I hope that nursing mothers will empower themselves to reach their fitness goals without compromising their nursing relationships. It can be done with a little planning, flexibility, and a good support team. Now that I am an “athlete” the world of endurance sports better get ready for a mommy that crosses the finish line and can be found barefoot, sipping on a sports drink, while unfastening her sports bra for one of her biggest cheerleaders!
Are you an endurance athlete AND a nursing mom? Or maybe you are just trying to return to, or start, a fitness program while still nursing. If so, let’s talk! I would also love to hear how experienced mommas handle training, events, and how you make it happen for you and your baby!