Rockstar mom swims, bikes, runs, and pumps her way across Ironman finish line
You might remember Katrina Bolduc, the mom who wowed us all when she finished a triathalon last summer and breastfed her then seven-month-old son minutes after completing her race. This summer Bolduc decided to take on the challenge of a full Ironman, and she embraced the fact that she’s still breastfeeding by pumping during the race.
For those of us who only know Ironman from the movies, Ironman competitors do a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and then a full 26.2 mile marathon and call it fun. It’s the ultimate gym class on steroids.
Bolduc still breastfeeds 19-month-old Grayson. While she didn’t plan to feed him during the race, she knew that she’d need to pump her breasts if she wanted to be comfortable enough to focus on the events.
But Ironman rules state that competitors are forbidden from taking anything from spectators during the race so no one gets an unfair leg up — not even snacks or water. Bolduc wasn’t sure how she would get access to her manual pump when she needed it during the Santa Rosa race. Luckily the event staff she contacted were more than happy to support this breastfeeding athlete by getting her pump to her after the swim and bike parts of the race. “Not only did they help me find a solution, but they were supportive and even took responsibility for my pump and brought it from [transition 1 to transition 2] and made sure it was in my run gear bag for when I arrived,” she tells Yahoo. “Keep up the good fight mamas!!”
“That milk never made it to Grayson,” Bolduc tells Scary Mommy. “It was pumped and dumped since it sat all day in the heat.” Still, those short stops helped her not just to get through the Ironman, but to crush it.
“It was an incredible experience,” she says. “I was hoping to finish in under 15 hours which was my goal and I did!! You have 17 hours to complete the race with an IM official time. The pros finish in 9.5-10.5 hours. They are crazy fast! I did as well as I could have hoped for with a little one. It was a huge accomplishment just to get there.” The time she needed to pump was added to her overall finishing time and she still came in under goal, so can we just give her all of the medals now please? Or a crown?
August 1st marked the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week. Bolduc’s a great example not just to moms who want to work on their fitness, but also to moms who are looking for inspiration regarding how to balance their own wants and needs with the commitment to breastfeed.
She admits that training for an Ironman while breastfeeding and caring for a toddler wasn’t easy. “It was a challenge to get in my training,” she admits. “I did 90% of it at least in my living room. With the help of a treadmill and bike trainer she would get her miles in while playing with her son or when he was sleeping. When you have a goal that you really want to reach, getting time to yourself is clutch. “On my weekend training days my husband would watch Grayson which was nice so I could do outdoors for long rides, runs, and swims. I also utilized the kids club at the local gym which Grayson loved. He would go for an hour or so at a time while I would swim.”
When she’s not planning her races for next year or being a breastfeeding trailblazer, Bolduc runs her own doula business based in Atascadero, California. She encourages moms to do what works for them, during their pregnancies and beyond. “I tell my doula clients, ‘You so uterus’ and I mean that. Moms know exactly what is best for their families and themselves and we need to step up as a nation, as a community, and support them whatever their decisions are,” she says.
She hopes her story helps moms realize that you can be a fantastic parent while still chasing your own goals. “I want other moms to know that the sky is not the limit. We are capable of so much and we can still be amazing moms AND follow our dreams,” she explains. “I want moms to be empowered and to know that they have so much support despite looks, comments, and harsh things that may be said (I’ve had my fair share of that negativity). I want moms to be able to do what’s best for them and their families without feeling unnecessary pressure from people who are not living in their shoes.”