Motherhood and Multisport
DanelleKabush, professional Xterra triathlete, continues to reach new performance levels after the birth of her two children. Tara Norton, professional Ironman triathlete, swam, biked and ran throughout most of her pregnancy, sometimes logging up to 20 hours per week. Allison Chisholm ran and biked throughout most of her pregnancy, and raced a sprint distance triathlon within a month of giving birth. Belinda Bain first started training for triathlons after becoming a mom as a way to provide her with some much-needed me-time.
Although such activities and accomplishments may not be considered the norm (or necessarily recommended) for the average pregnant woman or new mother, it represents a growing number of female athletes who continue training during their pregnancy and make a strong postpartum comeback. This is a stark difference from 10 to 15 years ago, when it was felt that exercise might cause infertility and other issues. When Lucy Smith, professional triathlete, duathlete and distance runner, first became pregnant in 1999, she was in a league of her own. “I had little expectations of how I would balance raising a family and racing,” she says. “All the female athletes I admired and emulated had stopped competing upon getting pregnant.” Two children and countless number of international wins later, it is fair to say that Smith has since become a role model herself.
Still, just because there may be a growing number of athletes that are combining training and racing with raising a family does not mean that this is the right path for everyone. Kathy Tremblay, for example, chose the timing of her pregnancy to coincide with her retirement as a professional triathlete after the 2012 Olympics.