The Three-Trimester Triathlete: To Race or Not to Race, There Really is No Question Jodi Bellefeuille January 29, 2014 1750 But I still had to learn the hard way! When my husband, Scott and I decided to try for baby number two, I had only two wishes. First, I hoped not to get pregnant until after the local HITS half iron distance triathlon. And second, I hoped not to get as sick as I was during my first pregnancy. I must have wronged the pregnancy “powers-that-be” at some point in my life, because I found myself both pregnant and sick on the day of the race. In mid December, I had a couple clues that I might be pregnant so I thought taking a pregnancy test wouldn’t be such a bad idea. I rushed off to Publix, bought a test and ran to the bathroom. I threw the peed-upon stick in my purse and walked out to do my grocery shopping. Somewhere between the pears and carrot sticks I looked into my purse and saw the positive test result staring back at me. I then proceeded to walk aimlessly around the produce section smiling at every piece of fruit as if it was the most glorious thing I’d ever seen. I did this for approximately 30 minutes until I snapped out of it and just left due to being in complete and utter shock. After all, how can one decide between the spinach and arugula medley and the spring mix when you’ve just learned your life has forever changed in the most amazing way? Nine weeks into my pregnancy When I got home, I checked the calendar to see what week of the pregnancy I’d be in for the HITS triathlon. I had organized a relay team (called the Tri MILFs, of course) and I was responsible for the run portion. Upon telling my team the news, one of my clever relay partners wanted to change our team name to “Tri MILFs, Scott did.” Although I found that hysterical, we all know it’s a family friendly show. Anyway, as luck would have it the race fell right in the middle of my sixth week. I knew that was when the hormones took over my body in my last pregnancy and all hell broke loose. Of course I confided in my triathlon coach, because after all, she should be the second person inline to know after my husband. (Sorry, Mom!) She said all the right things. She was over-the-top excited, but talked with me about heart rate safety, and helped me put racing and life into perspective. She gave me the proverbial pat on the back and told me to complete the race if it felt right and make the decision to DNF if it didn’t. Because I still felt good and because I had organized the team, I decided I’d go forward with the race. As race day approached, I felt the hormones taking over more and more each day. I tried to deny and ignore them, but by race weekend I could barley drive to get my race packet. Yet, in the back of my mind, I still thought there was a chance I could beat those hormones with sheer willpower. Ha! My teammates crushed their legs of the race. While our biker was on course, I sat in the shade slowly eating anything I could stomach and just praying I would feel better when I started running. The run began around 10:30 a.m. on a very hot day in Naples. Typically it would have been the ideal race conditions for me. At mile one I thought, “well that wasn’t too bad.” Mile two, “eleven more of these might be a little tough.” By mile three I was contemplating how I am going to get back to the start, and as I approach the water station at mile four I know that was as far as I was going. I started walking, something I have never done on a race pitch. As I walked back, I continued to cheer for everyone running past me and tried to focus on their accomplishments. One guy gave me a high-five and said, “Way to go! First overall female!” I responded laughing, “Nope, pregnant relay runner, throwing in the towel. But close!” As I continued walking back, I came across one of my Endurance Sisterhood Sisters on the course giving her husband some race support. The Endurance Sisterhood is an all women’s multidisciplinary endurance sports outreach organization. We’re basically a support group for women who love to sweat. It is the most amazing group of triathlon-doing, marathon running ladies who will listen to your griping and pat you on the back when you need it, but will also deliver a swift kick in the backside when you need that too. As I passed I told her I was not continuing and I wished her husband good luck. She sent her husband on his way and started walking with me. She even offered me a ride back to the start. When I got back to the startline, I was met by more members of the Endurance Sisterhood all offering some form of comfort and support. They told me I’d made the right decision. That they could relate to how I felt. That I was strong for trying. The comforting words went on and on and were even followed up by emails, text and Facebook post for the next couple of days. The feeling of love, support, and understanding was beyond measurable and unbelievably comforting. The decision to stop racing was a difficult one. After all, I had organized the team and my teammates did their part and did it very well. Under non-pregnant conditions I was trained and prepared for the distance. But I really did feel awful, and I had to consider the health and well being of myself and another life. Whenever I thought about those two things, the decision just made sense. When you chose to create a life, you relinquish at least some power and control to it. Life is no longer about you. Instead, it’s about what you need to do or not do to help this life grow. There will be more races, but I only get this one chance to create this particular life.