Breaking stereotypes and smashing goals
The life of an athlete in training is challenging, if nothing else. Rhinelander triathlon competitor, Jayme Wyss knows well what it takes to make it to the next level. She is, in fact training for the 2015 Triathlon World Championships taking place in Chicago next fall. Jayme is also seven months pregnant with her second child.
Active her whole life, and not one to back away from a challenge, Jayme played volleyball in high school, and tried out for her college team. But she didn’t make the cut. Asking herself, ‘now what do I do?’ lead her to the track team, as a walk on pole vaulter.
“I graduated college in 2010, and again thought, now what?” she recalled. “I am very competitive and needed something. My cousin did a triathlon and she wasn’t real athletic so I thought…I can swim, I can run… I can bike. I had a single speed bike so I did some biking, some running, and swimming was something I could always do, but not competitively.”
Wyss competed in her first triathlon in Wausau in 2010 and was hooked. With husband Andy watching, she won her first duathlon (running and biking) in 2012, ten weeks into her first pregnancy; ran her first half-marathon at thirteen weeks.
“Before we even got pregnant I was concerned about what I would be able to do. I still wanted to be competitive and see what I was capable of,” Wyss said. “I tried to find information on how to do it all, but advice for pregnant athletes then was hard to come by.”
“I had a really good doctor in Weston who kind of knew what I was doing; well, maybe not to the full extent, but he gave me guidelines to follow and everything went great,” according to Wyss. “But going through training when I was pregnant with Baya, I would get looks from people, and questions about my workouts. Society is horrible to pregnant women… and (the advice) is just not healthy for them to hear.”
Rather than being a negative, babies born to women who regularly work out tend to be leaner, and the moms do better through pregnancy, labor and delivery, too. Five days after her daughter’s birth, Wyss was out running again.
Wyss started writing a blog, TrimesterTraining, while pregnant with Baya, born in 2013, but didn’t publish her posts until after the baby was born. “I wrote about what it was like each trimester, training while pregnant, what life is like having her, how do I balance training and being a mom. It’s rewarding when I get random emails from women reading the blog and I can share what I have learned.”
These days she runs and swims at the YMCA of the Northwoods, and bikes in her garage while Baya naps. On weekends when Andy is home, Jayme takes her long runs or long bike rides.
Training straight through, without missing a beat has helped Wyss meet and exceed personal goals that may have been unattainable had she followed advice dished out even a few years ago.
A good example is Jayme’s first Half Iron, which consist of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56-mile bike race and a 13.1 mile run. “I thought a goal of finishing in five and a half hours would be good for my first one; five hours is attainable and SOME day I’m gonna break five hours,” she said, “The very first race I broke five hours, took 4th overall and won a prize purse. I thought, wow, I can do this. I can go fast!”
The addicting part, the fun part for Jayme is surpassing her goals. “When you’re a newbie the amount you can improve is tremendous. I was dropping times, I was doing way better than I ever thought I could and now this last season was more like, I know what I can do, and I know where I could be.” She didn’t meet all her goals last year, yet she can see so many areas and ways to improve, and different ways to challenge herself.
“I was three months pregnant at the USA Triathlon (USAT) national qualifying race in Milwaukee last fall and I had decided to race and just see what happened, knowing, of course, the baby comes first. In the end I came in 17th out of 240 women,” Wyss said, seemingly still taken aback by her success.” I had the fastest bike splits in my age group. I finally felt legit because I qualified for something. Now that I get to wear the Team USA gear… I really am legit.”
“It’s just nice to be able to compete at a different level. Green Bay I can win, Wausau I can win…but it’s a little bit different when you go to a big race, and it’s okay to get your butt kicked because these people are fast.”
Call her a new mom, a pregnant athlete, a team USA member. Anyway you look at her, Jayme Wyss is a fierce competitor who somehow seems to do it all; perhaps because she wants it all, and is not one to back away from a challenge.