Meet Cait Foisy who lives in beautiful Collingwood, Ontario, Canada. Cait and I met awhile back while mountain biking in Canmore. She and her husband, Alex have recently become the proud parents of six month old, Olivier. We can quickly forget the joys and tribulations of getting active again in the first year after a new child comes again, but you can feel the enthusiasm Cait has for continuing to stay active as a runner. She has so much in fact that herself and Alex and another couple started a blog as a resource for families who want to continue to stay active with children in the mix (link below).
Cait, Alex and Oliver at a recent Halloween 5km race
1. What was life like for you athletically or otherwise, prior to having your son and how has it evolved since? Growing up I was athletic but never one of the ‘top’ athletes. You could probably classify me as an ‘age-grouper’ (usually placing top 3 in my age group but not normally top 3 overall, unless it was a really great day). I did my undergrad at Queen’s University where I decided to take my love of running to the next level. Long story short I learned at Queen’s what it really meant to be a serious runner, and over 4 years I significantly improved my performance. I also took a one-year post-grad diploma where I competed in xc-running again. After university I continued to run for fun (yes, such a thing exists) training for everything from a 5k to a marathon. I have competed in triathlon for a while (up until recently where my current job isn’t conducive to training in the summer), mountain biking, trail and road running… basically I love everything outdoors!
Flash forward to present day. My son Olivier is 6 months (already?!) old and I have made the lofty goal to do a marathon this Spring (Ottawa) with the end goal of qualifying for Boston. I have found there wasn’t a lot of resources or ‘how-to’ be active with your whole family, how to manage who trains with baby if you both want to run, etc, so another couple and my husband and I founded a website: www.myactiveparents.com that addresses these issues.On the blog I talk about everything from how I started racing too soon post baby (oops! sorry pelvic floor muscles!), to doing a hiking trip with my girlfriends and 3-month old baby, to my training plans for Ottawa.
2. What motivated (or continues to inspires you) to get training and racing again?
I think my motivation is two-fold. First and selfishly, running is my time to think, de-stress, and be ‘me’. Sometimes I run with baby, sometimes alone. I am a better, happier person after I run. Secondly, I want my family to be active and the best way to do this is by leading by positive example.
I have always been competitive so for me it was only natural to want to race again. I am really excited to see how my results will compare. I used to compare my results ‘pre’ and ‘post’ marriage (new last name, new clean slate, new PBs!), and now have divided my results into ‘pre’ and ‘post’ baby. I am interested to see if having kids makes me faster (there has been much discussion and speculation about this for professional athletes)
3. Did you “train” during your pregnancy? How has your training/racing evolved/changed since becoming a mother?
I am not sure if I would say I ‘trained’ but I was definitely ‘active’. I was fortunate enough to keep ‘running’ until 33 weeks. My activities looked completely different though. I didn’t do any interval training. My normal run speed slowed down to my long slow distance speed. I hiked a LOT. I was pregnant through the winter so I did a lot of spin classes (thank you YMCA!). I went on a trip to Nepal and did an epic hike to Annapurna Base Camp (I joke that our son should have a better VO2 max than Lance Armstrong after that trip). I used to HATE walking but I got into walking during the pregnancy. David Suzuki had a nature challenge in the Spring last year where you had to get outside for 30 min 30 days in a row. This was a great way for me to take breaks at lunch, go for walks and break up my day.
Cait before power walking a half marathon while pregnant
Since the birth of my son I was eager to get back into running. I took it slow. I consulted with a pelvic floor physiotherapist (which I now recommend to all my friends) and talked to other moms about what they did. I did a lot of run/walks and am now into continuous runs. I have done spin class again, a few road rides (before the snow came), hiking and some walks. I have tried to fit in yoga (mom and baby yoga), weights (when I remember) and have done a lot of postnatal fitness classes at the YMCA.
A 5km run at 6-weeks post-baby
4. What are your current training/racing ambitions for 2015?
-Snowflake Series (a fun, no-frills winter running series in Orillia, ON).
-Surf City Half Marathon Feb 1 in California (hellooooooo sunshine!)
-Ottawa Marathon in May 2015
-5 peaks trail running series
I would love to do a triathlon but with going back to work in the Spring I am not sure if that is realistic. It likely will not happen…
5. How do you balance family/work demands and interests etc with your athletic goals?
This is a tough one! Communication. My husband is very supportive and understanding but I need to tell him in advance what the week’s plans look like so we can plan accordingly. My son is still not sleeping through the night so I am not willing to get up early to get a run in before my husband leaves for work. This means being very effective with my time during the day, and planning workouts/chores etc. I find I usually make a list for the next day with 5-10 things on it. I am lucky if I accomplish 3 of those things! A great tip from my friend Chantal Warriner (who is an amazing ultra runner and mom) is to do a ‘kid swap’ where you watch your friends kids for an hour so they can get in their exercise/ sleep/chores and then you switch. Moms are great, aren’t we?
7. Any tips or advice you would have for other moms with goals of getting back in shape and/or competing again after having children?
The biggest piece of advice I have is to be flexible. Before baby, getting a good night sleep was a given before a race. Now I am lucky if I get sleep on any given day. If you are tired or your body needs a break- listen to it! Take it slow. You don’t need to get into racing right away- you just had a baby for goodness sake! If you are worried about the weight not coming off, be patient. If you can breastfeed that definitely helps. If you are breastfeeding- get a supportive bra! Find a gym that has childcare. I am a member at the Y and it is great to be able to get a quick workout in while someone watches my son. Invest in the right equipment. Try out run strollers, baby carriers, etc. I have the chariot which is perfect for me as I can run with it, bike, and I just got the ski attachment so I can substitute some runs for skis this winter. Find like-minded moms or athletic groups. It’s a lot harder to bail on a workout if someone is joining you. Be happy and have fun! Enjoy being active. Your kids will thank you for it (maybe not right away, but they will one day!)
Hiking in the Adirondaks with Olivier at 3 months old