The 21st of December marks the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year. This year it marks the half way point of my pregnancy too.

We woke up in Gunnison, CO today to bright blue skies and a -17 degree morning.  A  very good reason to have a cup of tea and write a long overdue update.
My 2012 racing season ended back in August. On some high definite high notes.

leadville finish line
My A race for the year was the Leadville 100 held on August 10th. In so many ways things went perfectly for me heading into this event. I built on a season long preparation and my fitness really came around at the right time. My bike was perfect, between the collaborative efforts of Dan Crean and NO tubes team manager Shannon Gibson. I can honestly say my bike was 100% dialed in for race day. I was fresh, rested and prepared.

I most definitely worked into the race and certainly finished the strongest to date. This was a huge breakthrough for me it was my fourth attempt at the 100 mile distance and really the first one I finished well all the way to the finish line. That was a reason to celebrate.

powerline

At 85 miles on Powerline. Kenny Wehn image.

with Cindy

shannon cindy finish

Thanks for all the race support Ladies!

Its easy to be neurotic at the start of an important race, tighten your helmet too tight and spend the next  8 hours trying to loosen it on the fly!

I did leave the event a little disappointed too though. I felt I didn’t have the additional 5% on race day that I knew I’d trained for and I wondered why I hadn’t bought it all out. In hindsight it’s fine. It’ll have me back for more!

I recovered quickly actually ( not always the best sign of a true peak performance) so I added a trip to Snowbasin, Utah for the Mt Ogden 100k. Snowbasin is one of my most favorite place’s to race. I’ve competed there numerous times at Xterra nationals and it was such a treat to race all over the area there on my bike.

snowbasin

Photo courtesy of MT Ogden 100k.

Physically I had the form ( would have like to had a week earlier at Leadville) . Mentally I felt boosted from Leadville after 100 miles a 100 km seemed easy. It was an excellent race with Utah based rider Erica Dong. I fought for the win taking it by less than a minute.

snowbasinpodium

Thanks to the organizers for an equal prize purse.

I returned to Utah two weeks later for the park city point to point.   We woke to thunder, lightening and pouring rain. A most unusual weather display for Utah. After an hour delay the organizers went ahead with the event.

In my opinion the Park city point to point is a race for your bucket list. It is stupidly hard and incredibly fun with a course boasting over 90% singletrack and a moose.

I had a great day, leading comfortably for the majority of the race. Soon after 70 miles I rode off course down a ski access road instead of across it. I was riding at the time in a group of three. While our mistake was an easy one, and one made my many other riders too. I was furious about going the wrong way, blaming myself and angry about the error. It was a 7-10 minutes error and more importantly I expended energy I shouldn’t have frantically climbing back up the ski hill to the course. That effort was paid for. It took a good hour or so recover and have ability to get back into the race fully. I finished the race in 3rd.

park city cotton sox photography

PCP2P photo courtesy of Cotton Sox photography.

I’d like to give a huge thanks to teammate Sarah Kaufman for the support during these events. Sarah was sidelined due to Mono yet she came to both races to feed and support me.  It was so fun to hang out with her and our teammate’s Kathy and Chris Sherwin. Friendship is a large part of my racing!

The park city point to point was my final mountain bike race for the 2012 season. I had taken a job coaching the cycling team at Western State Colorado University.  The collegiate mountain bike race schedule  had seven events happening on the weekends during September and October.

Brian and I had decided to see if we would get pregnant after Leadville 2012. The collegiate coaching fit so well with this decision. It gave me a focus away from racing during the first couple of months of seeing what happened.

The WSCU college team had a great season.  Our team finished 3rd at nationals. This was a fantastic result for the 9 riders we took to national champs. They had finished 3rd in our Rocky mountain region a few weeks earlier and at nationals they where both 3rd overall and 1st in the Rocky mountain region. I was proud of them. It was their work and their success and I felt very rewarded by being a part of that.  Bring on 2013 and the growth of our WSCU mountain sports program.
A race weekend during the season ended with one of our students vomiting 9 times during a 7 hour drive home from Fort Collins, CO. One of the students commented ‘ I hope we don’t get sick, I have a projects due this week’ . I responded ‘ lets not go there.. me too’. Turns out we all 14 other people in the van got violently ill also. I had traveled to LasVegas for inter bike prior to succumbing and spending the next 48 hours vomiting in my hotel room.  Violently ill in Vegas is a misery I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Returning from Interbike our team hosted the following collegiate event at Crested Butte. Our team was decimated by the illness as it had throughout the week spread to many significant others and friends. The cross country team had only two students racing!

One by one they all got better. Except me. I felt like death warmed alive. I could barely walk myself up the hill to to the mountain bike start line. Plus my boobs hurt. After barely getting a bowl of soup down for lunch on the Sunday ( 6 days after the bug) I stopped by Wally world and picked up a pregnancy test. It was a very definitive positive.

It has now been 20 weeks and I am very much adjusting.
The decision to try to get pregnant was perhaps the most traumatic part of the process. We had given it much thought ( on my part probably too much). I had almost decided to try to get pregnant 2 years ago but I chickened out. I don’t regret that at all. Timing is everything. I believe.

So to be pregnant at first just felt like such a relief.  The prospect that had been a barrier for me wasn’t anymore. That felt very freeing.
I was really nauseous and ill during the first 13 weeks. Throughout that time I told myself it was a blessing as it took away any option to forget I was pregnant and  push any boundaries of trying to maintain fitness. I was just grateful to move and feel okay.
Then at 13 weeks on the money the nausea disappeared and my appetite and energy returned.
This past seven weeks have been pretty easy. I have been feeling really good, with good energy, the ability to exersize and that all makes me really happy. My body has changed rapidly during the second trimester. I am getting used to it now. Rationally I am okay with the changes. Emotionally at first I hard a harder time.

Now that I am feeling and looking pregnant it is getting easier. I have cleaned out my closet, putting away clothes that no longer fit and sorting in clothes that do ( Brian’s, gifts, hand me downs from previously pregnant friends, cycling samples in larger sizes – thank you!)

It is fun to take compliments from people. It seems everyone I know tells me I look good. My good friend told me at the gym today. Your skin looks amazing, you have no wrinkles! She isn’t the kind of person who comments on others, so it really made me smile. I am pregnant. It is going well! and I’m halfway through. This is cool!

I am super thankful to our No tubes elite women’s team  for the continued support as I become an athlete mother.

jenny-smith-smal

Please do connect with me as I’d love to share and write about experiences during this time of change.

In the meantime happy and healthy holidays to you all.

Jenny Smith.