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The first-time mom and pro triathlete is excited to get back to racing at this month’s PHLY Cup at the TriRock Philadelphia Triathlon.
First-time mom and pro triathlete Rebeccah Wassner is learning to balance motherhood and training, and is excited to compete again. In January, Wassner gave birth to a baby girl, Amy Frances. The Olympic-distance non-drafting specialist has enjoyed her time away from the sport but can’t wait to get back out there with renewed determination. As she embarks on this new triathlete-mom chapter in her life, Wassner shares how her pregnancy impacted her training, the process of getting back out there again and some advice for triathlete moms-to-be.
Triathlete.com: How long did you continue to train after finding out about the pregnancy?
Wassner: I continued running 20 weeks into my pregnancy and I swam 37 weeks into it. With swimming, everybody told me that it’s really great for pregnant women, but I just felt terrible in the water. I kept swimming anyway and forced myself to go to the pool, but I never got that great feeling like everyone said. Also I had to go up a couple bathing suit sizes and I didn’t feel like trying on another bathing suit. The most important thing, though, is to be comfortable and have a healthy baby.
Triathlete.com: Did you try other workouts besides swimming, biking and running during your pregnancy?
Wassner: I continued to do a modified training schedule after I found out I was pregnant. My doctor, Jennifer Ashton, is also a triathlete. She was really helpful coming up with a training program for me and helped me feel good about the amount of training I was going to do to keep me fit. I also started taking Bar Method classes. I wanted to do something that would still use my muscles, but not something that would get my heart rate up too much in the first 16 weeks because that’s when most of the baby’s brain development happens.
Triathlete.com: Was it hard not to train or compete for nine months?
Wassner: I watched a lot of races last year because of my sister, Laurel. It was hard at first but I would try to make the most of being out there and really learn from the girls competing. I got to the point where I was like, “Wow, I was able to do that?!” You take a step back and realize how amazing these women are.
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Triathlete.com: How soon did you get back to training after giving birth?
Wassner: I had a C-section, so I had to wait 12 weeks before I could start running again. When I first started to run everything felt awkward, so I had to get things firing. I go to a physical therapy place in New York City called Fusion, and the owner, Carolyn [Mazur], came up with a program for me. I go twice a week and she targets specific muscles for biking and running. She works you really hard. I can really push myself without taxing any joints or muscles on the machines. So I’ve been doing that for six weeks, and it’s pretty remarkable to see when I first started compared to when I went in just last week and I was setting records on the machines.
Triathlete.com: Have you participated in any races since your pregnancy?
Wassner: I’ve done a couple local races recently, the Prospect Park Mother’s Day Duathlon, a 10-mile bike and 2-mile run in Brooklyn, and a 2.5K open water swim in the Hudson last weekend called the Two Bridges swim. I’m doing a 5K next weekend. It’s fun to be out there again, and having something on the horizon is helping me to keep going.
Triathlete.com: What advice do you have for other triathlete moms?
Wassner: Just do what your body wants to do and don’t compare yourself to what other people have done. You hear about some people who get really fast times a week after having their baby, but everybody goes through a different process. Just do what you know how to do and you’ll be fine. Take your time and let your body heal. It’s a pretty major event to go through—and I’m not talking about just having the baby, but the whole nine months before. Also, invest in a good indoor bike trainer and a good baby seat that you can set up right within arm’s reach. I put Amy next to the trainer, and that way I can reach over and tend to her without getting off the bike.
Triathlete.com: When is your next competitive race?
Wassner: I signed up for TriRock Philly [June 23]. It’s one of my favorites, and I know the course so it’s a good one to start off with. With how supportive my family and my sponsors have been, I can’t wait to get back out there.
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