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I have always been one of those very well planned, organised and structured individuals, especially when it came to training. I was constantly running the extra 100m around the block to get the exact distance, hated missing a session and if I did I would be on the phone asking my coach if I could make it up. For me, since my early 20’s life has been very much the regimented routine of train, eat, work (or study), train, sleep and repeat, for most people involved in this all-consuming sport that is what most days look like. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the lifestyle, I have travelled to many corners of the globe training and racing, have met lifelong friends along the way and of course I met my husband through this sport. We have had four wonderful and exciting years of doing exactly that regimented routine, when others were out to the late hours of the morning, we were getting up at 4am to ride together in the blistering QLD heat, for us it was our passion and we were head over heels.
In 2015, the routine took a little of a different path and in July 2015 we welcome into our lives Cooper James Quinn, by far my most rewarding and beautiful accomplishment. I spent 9 months prior to his arrival being a little naive about how parenthood would change things. I had it all planned, who would do what on which days, I would do wind trainers whilst he slept, I’d run with him in the pram and it would be just like before, only with a little one. For those of you reading this whom have had children, you would be laughing at this stage :)
I quickly realised the body takes a little bit of a battering with childbirth and carrying a baby for 9 months, things don’t just return to “pre baby” state overnight. I also learned that the first 6 weeks of having a baby is something nobody could warn me about, it was hard, very hard and despite very good intentions exercise and training took a back seat. I was mentally and physically exhausted, I kept reading about all these amazing women who managed to do it all (Nicola Sprig and Gina Crawford to name a couple). I felt very lonely and I realised how much triathlon didn’t just provide me with a physical outlet but it was also my social scene, it was where I spent time with my closest friends and felt like I belonged with a group of people who all shared the same goals and ambitions-to be the best athlete they can be.
However, the months rolled on, and as everyone promised things did get easier. I began to sleep a little more, train a little more and most importantly began to watch my amazing boy grow up before us, changing every single day and making us smile, laugh and sometimes cry. I have been very fortunate enough to have had some wonderful support behind me and despite having no family in Queensland, I have never seemed short of a helping hand. In October 2015, I alongside my Mum set off to the World Duathlon Championships in Adelaide. I had no expectations, but I was determined to prove to myself that I could finish. Representing your country in the green and gold is an amazing experience, and it is always shared with amazing people. The feeling I had that day crossing the finish line and seeing Cooper was one I will never forget, racing wasn’t about being the best anymore or gaining a podium, it was about being the best I could be and making Cooper and my family proud.
So now, 6 months on our routine is all a little different. Some days run smoothly and both my husband and I get training in, dogs walked, dinners done, house cleaned and kept our little monkey happy all day. Some days, well they are very differentJ I do ride on the wind trainer with toys strapped to me, getting so out of breath as I am singing or making funny faces to keep Cooper entertained, I somehow manage to swim with the help of the wonderful staff at crèche and running, well we fit that in when we can :)
I am slowly getting my fitness back and I am so very excited for the year ahead, not only to see what I am capable of and to get back into something that has been such an enormous part of my life but to now share it with my beautiful family. I now realise that there is so much more to life than the train, eat, work, train, eat sleep repeat regime and I am looking forward to the challenge of trying to combine my old love with my new love. Happy training and racing, be safe, keep smiling and love what you do :)