29 May

(Guest author: Ali G., PhD candidate in Public Health from UNC-CH, friend of Anna and Tim, wife of Matt, mom of Neko and Humphrey and one on the way, world traveler, friend to over 500 people on Facebook and Scrabble expert)

I just got up from a nap and polished off a large bowl of ice cream with chocolate sauce, which probably mirrors the Saturday afternoon activities of my friend, Tim Schwantes (give or take a five hour training workout that one of us has surely engaged in at some point today). You see, Tim and I are both prepping for a big upcoming event in our lives, an event which has altered our physical and emotional state over the past nine months and one which gets just a little closer with each passing day.

As you well know (oh, avid blog reader), Tim’s altered state can be attributed to his quest to complete an Ironman. My altered state can be attributed to pregnancy. Our due dates coincide, which means there are just four weeks left to prepare for our respective d-days. It may surprise you that the blogosphere has not yet wrapped its head around the obvious similarities between these two events, so we thought we would dedicate today’s post to describing the overlap between training for an Ironman and being pregnant/preparing for birth.

You know you are pregnant (or training for an Ironman) when:

1)      You have trouble sleeping.  The number of pillows on your bed grows exponentially with each passing week as you try to reconnect with your dear friend, sleep. I am currently using five (two at the head, one behind the back, one to buffer the belly and one for good measure) and haven’t seen my husband on the other side of the bed for months.

2)      You are always tired. Now the fatigue could be due to #1, but in general, your body is just plain tired. Tim is tired because he is running his body into the ground. I am tired because I am now carrying a little person who weighs approximately 6 lbs and he is running me into the ground.

3)      You can never feel too hydrated (and you ALWAYS feel the need to have a bathroom nearby). Your lips always feel a little chapped and your throat a little parched (warning: it has been said that both sensations may be amplified on d-day). Close friends are well aware of my intimate acquaintance with my Nalgene water bottle and this constant need for water has only increased with pregnancy. That, coupled with a little person resting directly atop my bladder means that it is best that the toilet and I remain in close company at all times. One advantage that I have over Tim is probably in public establishments – I have yet to have anyone refuse me the use their bathroom. I’m not sure if Tim has the same ability to make his needs so outwardly obvious.

4)      You are off-balance (or even more off-balance than usual). Even if you started off as a coordinated human being, your changing body and increasing fatigue might make you a little wobbly. Those of you who know Tim know that he has always been a little off-balance (case in point: he fell twice while running in some crazy long endurance run last fall, at the very beginning of the race, while Anna just gracefully waltzed on by). As for me, my center of gravity has totally changed. I now trip while walking upstairs and spill food on my belly when eating; both of these things occur on a regular basis.

5)      You are almost always starving. Seriously. You will be hungrier than ever before and it can be dangerous to you and those around you if you go too long without feeding the beast. That said, I still don’t think I could eat two Carriburritos in one sitting, which I have heard is not a problem for Tim.

6)      You realize that you are going through noticeable weight changes from even a few weeks ago. This is true for both of us, though admittedly we are going in the opposite direction. I imagine that the amount I have gained is greater than the amount Tim has lost. I wonder if the amount I will lose after giving birth will be similar to the amount he gains after he swears off exercise and for the rest of his days?

7)      You are finding it to be more and more of a chore to shave your legs. For me, it is getting harder and harder to shave my legs because of the whole balance thing and the ever-increasing belly. While Tim used to love the feeling of a good shave, he is just too tired these days to do the job right.

8)      Your partner is tired of catering to your every need. Matt and Anna are both saints. Granted, they both have a vested interest in seeing us succeed, but I don’t think they realized at the beginning of this path just how little fun their partner could be. Our ‘fun-factor’ continues to plummet as d-day approaches and I won’t even begin to talk about how these upcoming events has affected our sex lives.

9)      Your dogs look fondly back on the days when you used to have time for them. Since my dogs Neko and Humphrey do not speak English, it is difficult to explain to them why both the quality and the quantity of our walks together have gone downhill. Nor do they understand why I plead with them NOT to poop during our walks but rather request that they save that duty for their walks with Matt (picking up dog poop is difficult just like shaving). Quincey feels abandoned by both Humphrey and Tim, and frankly, she is still trying to determine which feels worse.

10)   When d-day comes, your goal is to make it as quick and painless as possible without the use of performance enhancing drugs. Literature suggests that a woman’s first labor can range (on average) between 12-18 hours. I am not sure what the average Ironman time is, but I did read that most Ironman competitions cut-off their athletes at the 17 hour mark. Without knowing Tim’s race day goal, it is possible that we will finish our respective events with similar times. I think I’d be pretty happy if I am close to Tim’s time, since I have friends whose labor has lasted days. Of course, our paths on d-day itself will differ vastly. First, I have substantially less control over when my actual d-day will occur than Tim. Second, I will not be barred from completing my event if I haven’t crossed the proverbial line at 17 hours…even if I am ready to stop. And finally, while we both may end our respective events numb from the waist down, my numbness may be attributed to the use of an epidural, which is not regularly offered at any of the Ironman refueling stations.


Neither of these events are for the faint of heart (there is a reason women used to go into ‘twilight’ sleep during the labor process, even if they weren’t allowed a ‘twilight’ pregnancy). Both pregnancy/birth and the ironman take months of preparation, some willpower and a small dose of crazy. And since there is no backing out now, we look forward to seeing you on the other side. At that point, you may buy each of us a margarita.


One Response to “D-Day”

  1. Brian Sharp June 10, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    I wish there was a way to have three Rio margaritas available to Tim immediately following the race. Then document with video what transpires in the moments following the consumption of said margaritas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: