Well to my sponsors I have already let you know personally. But for everyone else that follows my updates and progress along I have a little something different in the pipeline for 2017.
I am pregnant.
Shocked? So were we!
So the whole story for those who are interested. On returning back from Rio, Edmonton and Cozumel races I had a couple of other races lined up to push out the season a bit but also during this time I was advised to wait at least 8 weeks post being exposed to the Zika virus (Rio, Florida and Cozumel). Being an elite athlete my body usually shuts down during the competitive season while I am away as output exceeds what I can keep up with going in. But by focussing on getting some extra calories in while back at home and of course in a much more relaxed environment and things finally started working again. 3 weeks later, I had just started back training with the goal to go for a medal in the Commonwealth Games and then retire from triathlon. A little someone else had other ideas.
Earlier in my career I would have told you I was retiring post Rio. This came around and I sat on the fence for some time and the hardest part on whether to continue or not was because I did so much rehab (and pain) in 2015 (and early 2016) to get myself back into shape for Rio and to race well there I felt I was motivated to continue for another year and a half so I could finish on a high at Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April 2018 as opposed to the low I finished on in Cozumel being involved in a crash. This was my thinking...
During this time, we were told (by numerous people) it would probably take a couple of years to conceive, and often elite athletes can have trouble to do so. We thought perfect timing, start trying now and about post Commonwealth Games things might just happen. This however was not the case! I felt the difference in my body immediately and knew something was up but was certain it couldn't be that. I did a couple of tests and only got faint lines, can't be so then. I continued to try get back into it and then after only one more week was like "seriously, I am doing another test", and what do you know. I did 2 more (just to be sure?!) then decided I better confirm it with bloods. Sure enough. I WAS PREGNANT. With something this precious I immediately slowed down to help my chances of it hanging around. I was told 1 in 4 miscarry in the first 12 weeks which to me was rather high stats and I didn't want to blame myself if it happened because I was training too much or fell off my bike or something silly like that. So I slowed up, initially twice a day easy then lost motivation so now am just jogging for an hour a day and then as my "second session" include some walking and I made sure I had a "no training" Christmas this year.
I really enjoyed that time I got to spend with my family and friends. It's a time of year I am usually doing longer slower hours and don't get a lot of time to hang out, go for walks/adventures or get to the beach and just relax. So I made the most of all these things and absolutely loved my time. In 13 years I haven't had a Christmas like it and you realise sometimes just what you are missing out on. I know when you are training you think you are missing out on things your friends and family are doing all the time but when you can actually do these things it really hits home even more.
Admittedly I was never a "life timer" as they say with triathlon. I enjoyed triathlon, especially those first few years around great people and learning so much. It had its hard times yes, it had its frustrations, it had its politics like any sport, and I only had a couple of weeks holiday a year and no real "weekends", but I did enjoy my job, I really enjoyed the endless summers and all the people I met with it.
A lot of people tell me I should be doing 70.3/half IM distance or Ironman distance racing because of my strength on the bike and yes, I agree well over the half distance anyway - I would probably be pretty good at it but it's not in the plan. I have dedicated the last 13 years training for triathlon and the past 11 years competing internationally as a "professional" and it's time for something a little different, some time for my family and friends again.
As some of you may also know, I have been racing with two heart conditions RVOT and LBBB which have only got worse during my career, I have had two ablations and a heap of tests but the conditions weren't able to be fixed so considering all I think so far, I have done pretty well and am satisfied with what I have achieved.
Right now, I want to be a mother, I have wanted that since I was married back in 2009, but it never fitted with my career, I didn't want to be the mother that was never there for their child or couldn't give it full attention because I was shattered from training. So this is it for now. Motherhood here we come. I won't say I will never race again, let's just see how that goes but for now, this is as good as it gets.
Coaching will be the next step for me while I am pregnant and beyond. I have been coaching a select few athletes locally but always kept it to just a small group of people. I found that enough work and sometimes a little too much to keep on top of but really put in my left over energy from training into their programmes and I am always excited to see them race and how they go. It's certainly interesting to be on the other side as well and just how happy I feel when they go well or hit times they wanted to or make new PBs. It's so worth it and an area I will now be able to expand.
I will continue to keep you all updated on this new adventure, I may just reach that start line myself again one day - who knows! I plan to share my experiences in coaching and transitioning from an Olympian to a mum through social media as I develop my website and coaching business.
Fun times ahead and new challenges for sure!
Thanks again for all your support over years. As always greatly appreciated.