1. The anticipation before your first one is huge and it’s a life-changing event.
(I’ve heard people get blasé about further occurrences, but even
2. It’s expensive.
You end up buying a whole load of kit you never knew existed… and even though you read a thousand reviews you still end up replacing some if the things that you bought when you started out.
3. You need a new car to fit all the kit in… But it’s not top of the range as you’ve no money left.
For eight years I was the proud and happy owner of a Fiat500. I could fit my road bike in it, as long as I removed at least one wheel and folded the seats. Likewise, I could fit a car seat and a running buggy in it as long as I removed a wheel and folded a seat. It wasn’t practical, but I loved it… however, the time came to trade it in and I’m now the owner of a ‘mum bus’ (a Citroen Berlingo). I try to keep it clean, but there are always bits of snacks lurking in the back. The good news is that it fits two adults, one child in a car seat, two bikes, a bike trailer and a running buggy – WIN!
4. You buy new clothes.
When you think about it, a babygro and a trisuit are pretty similar… but one is a lot cheaper than the other. When you have a child, you have to buy
5. You start to focus on nutrition.
You focus on what you are eating and drinking more than other people. If you choose to breastfeed, you probably avoid alcohol most of the time… triathletes also tend to avoid alcohol. Also, triathletes tend to plan their meals very carefully and as a mother, I try to create meals that everyone in the family will like, which sometimes feels impossible. There are also endless debates about what to drink – which electrolyte drink or breastmilk vs formula?
6. You get up at crazy hours.
As a triathlete, you choose to get up before dawn to take part in training or events. As a mother you often get up before sunrise, but it’s not of your own volition!
7. You covet other people’s wheels.
There’s always someone with a bike that’s better than yours… and there’s always someone with a better pram than you. I didn’t spend a fortune on a buggy for M, I chose a practical running buggy that I love… but I still feel a pang of jealousy when I see someone with a Thule Glide.
8. There’s no time to feel relief that you’ve finished one phase as you quickly transition to the next one.
Each phase requires different skills and strengths. Swim
9. You make a new group of friends.
You may join a tri club (or a mother and baby group) and voilà, you have a new group of friends with similar interests. For some
10. Your ‘downstairs’ may never be the same again.
Anyone who has ‘squeezed out a bowling ball’ is bound to have some anatomical changes, which may be permanent. Likewise, most cyclists will suffer from saddle sores at some point, whether they are a novice or an experienced rider. Eddy Merckx was unable to ride the 1976 Tour de France and Sean Kelly withdrew from the 1987 Vuelta while wearing the red jersey. Emma Pooley has shared tips about how to avoid saddle sores.
11. You may pee when exercising.
I have to say that I’m incredibly grateful that I didn’t have any pelvic floor damage after having M, so this isn’t a problem for me, but over 7 million women in the UK suffer from urinary incontinence. In comparison, triathletes just like to save time and many long-distance triathletes pee during the bike leg (and also during the swim).
12. It’s all about endurance.
Triathlons and parenthood both require great stamina and the mental power to endure.
13. You say ‘one and done’ but look back fondly on the process and start thinking about another one.
I know so many people who have decided to do an iron distance triathlon as a bucket list event. They say ‘never again’… but several months later, they miss the early mornings, exhausting training and routine, so they sign up for another one. Likewise, many parents seem to forget all of the dirty nappies and missed hours of sleep and decided to add to their family. (Just in case anyone is wondering, no, this isn’t some strange sneaky way to announce that I’m pregnant!)