Jenny Smith is a pro cyclist for
Stanís No Tubes womenís elite team. She has spent the past 13 years racing
cross country, Xterra triathlon and endurance mountain bike events. She and
husband Brian are expecting their first child in May of 2013. They fully expect
it to be the ride of their lives as they have a child and learn to adapt to
living, working and racing with a newbie. Tune in to Jennyís monthly column Training Wheels for their experiences
and tips, insights and stories from other elite athletes with children.
currently in my 25th week of pregnancy. Once through the hideous experience of
morning sickness during the first trimester it has been pretty smooth going. It
is my personal goal to exercise each day of my pregnancy and thatís as far as
Iím taking any Ďtrainingí. I think it is healthy to have this break in
structured training. My body must be excited about the less-intense,
alcohol-ibuprofen-sports-food-free, lower-than-normal-caffeine living.
said. Exercise feels great and makes me a happier person. Plus I both want to
be in good shape for the duration of my pregnancy and for my return to goal-orientated
athletics after the birth of our baby.
very happy to be pregnant during the winter with the variety of activities
available. Classic skiing is perhaps the best pregnant activity: being high
resistance, low impact, symmetrical and lower intensity.
most challenging aspect has been mentally letting go and mellowing into my
pregnancy. I have been really working on taking the path of least resistance
and holding at bay the many fears I have about taking this leap of faith!
have been seeking out information from friends with children as to what to
expect, how to exercise and how they manage to integrate their work, athletic
goals and workouts with their children and lives.
athlete interview this month is with Park Cityís Emma Garrard. Emma is a
pro/elite Xterra triathlete, Nordic skier and mountain biker. Emma was Ĺ way
through her pregnancy when I found out about mine. Emma and Ian were surprised
by their news and I strongly admire their positive adaptation to their new
lives. They had their son Torin on the 23rd of Dec.
Jenny: What were the
most challenging things for you while you were pregnant?
Emma: First off I feel lucky to
have what was considered a 'low risk' pregnancy and that getting pregnant
and staying pregnant was not an issue.
feel bad complaining about things like expenses when I know there are people
out there who would pay anything to have a child. But that being said I
think one of the frustrating things was dealing and trying to understand health
insurance and billing. It really made me realize how little health insurance
companies care about health care and keeping people alive and healthy and how
much they care about making billions in profit.
glad I had someone to share my frustrations with and also share the bills. It
certainly gave me a lot of respect for single moms. If you are a single mom and
just out of the bracket for Medicare it must be so hard. There's also an
assumption that every woman is super excited to be pregnant and not a ton of
counseling out there for newly pregnant women if that isn't the case, or so I
As a competitive endurance athlete, you have to take time off from 'work'
before the baby is born as well as after. If being an athlete is a source of
income and you only get paid with prize money and bonuses it's money you're not
getting paid when you have a lot of expenses.
What did you enjoy about it and feel that you have gained from your
Emma: I did enjoy being pregnant, it was
certainly something different and in a way it was nice to not compete for a
season but still be able to get out and be active.
enjoyed the anticipation, learning about it all and of course the end result.
I'm pretty amazed by the support I got from family, friends and even people I
didn't know that well.
What was surprisingly a non-issue?
Emma: I think people's attitude toward
pregnant women working out. I really had no one who was telling me I shouldn't
be doing something while I was pregnant and it seemed like everyone had stories
of some pregnant woman doing something crazy or going into labor on a mountain
bike ride or something. But I also live in Park City where fitness-wise people
are above the national average I'd say. I was also lucky to not have a lot of
the side effects of pregnancy before and after baby but I feel being active
throughout the pregnancy, not gaining too much weight and having a natural
birth helped with that.
Was there a resource that you found really helpful?
Emma: Talking to other mother athletes and
just having them as role models was huge. Reading a book, Exercising Through Your Pregnancy by James F. Clapp was helpful as the author had done a ton of
research. Talking to doctors, both OB-GYN and Sports Medicine doctors was
using Google search and reading other Mom blogs. Otherwise there's not a
ton of information out there on how much athletically pregnant women can
Was there any certain period or time of dramatic change during the pregnancy?
Emma: It was mostly pretty gradual. I
made it a goal to stay competitive through the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships. I was around 9 weeks
then. It was really challenging and stressful but I'm glad I had something to
focus that stage of my pregnancy. I
would not have done anything that I felt would put my baby at risk. Getting
past that was a big relief and I almost continued to compete but ended up
getting sick so I threw the towel in as I knew I wasn't going to be competitive
anymore and now had a new focus.
What was your most significant mental challenge?
Emma: Initially it was hard to come to
terms with the additional responsibility and how I'd have time to look after a
baby and how our lives would never be the same again. However itís hopefully
for the better! It's a little bit of an identity crisis as a 'pro athlete' to
go through the changes your body goes through and not be competitive anymore.
That's why I think it's important to still get out and do things.
As a new mother what are your challenges?
Emma: So far I feel really lucky to have a
lot of help from family. I think the biggest challenge right now is all the
extra planning I'm going to have to do to train, compete and work this year.
Traveling with a baby and bike on a budget, where to stay, who's going
to watch the baby when I pre-ride and when I race. Dealing with
the fact it may not be financially viable anymore. But I figure the worst case
scenario is doing fewer races and if I have no one to look after Torin then I
can just throw on the Baby Bjorn and go for a hike or get the Chariot out and
take him with me.
What are you enjoying the most?
Emma: Just spending time with the Torin
and seeing him grow. It was hard for me to appreciate newborns until I had my
own. It's nice to feel important! I also have a new appreciation for training
(although I haven't really started training yet) but working out with less
weight and building up to race fitness again.
What experiences would you share for new mothers or any comments/ advice?
Emma: If there's even a slightest thought
in your mind of getting pregnant talk to your insurance companies and get on a
plan that covers maternity. Be as active as you can throughout your pregnancy
(as long as you are not on bed rest) but also make sure you are getting enough
sleep and fuel. And, I know everyone says this but all people are different so
use your own judgment.
Are there activities that you like? Things that you are choosing to
do not do over others?
Emma: The baby is the #1 priority right
now but I am really enjoying running at the moment because it seems like a long
time ago when my running didn't feel like a struggle.
Do you have a goal you'd like to share with readers for the year?
Emma: I'm excited to reap the benefits of
post baby strength and I can't wait to 'mom' people! That being said it doesn't
come easy and without hard work.