Laura King podcast episode

Laura King: Navigating Pregnancy And Motherhood As An Athlete

About this episode:

In this week’s episode, Hillary Allen interviews athlete Laura King about how she kept her identity as an athlete during pregnancy and now in motherhood.

Episode Highlights:

  • How to balance pregnancy and motherhood with your athletic identity
  • Giving yourself permission to meet your own needs
  • Disproving myths around athletes and pregnancy

Guest Bio – Laura King:

Laura’s background in competitive swimming led to 12 years competing in triathlon, including the Ironman World Championships and earning a pro license. An invitation to USA Cycling’s Talent ID Camp and a simultaneous job offer for a major industry position presented a fork in the road, and her decision to take the industry position and pursue racing as a passion provided the right balance of career and sport. Her credibility as a competitor has served her well in a successful career of over a decade in the outdoor industry. A brief Xterra Triathlon stint revealed a love of the dirt, and a mountain biker/gravel racer was born. Though she still races in the pro/elite field, her heart is in getting more girls and women on bikes, the camaraderie, the satisfaction of a huge effort, and the corollary of travel and experiences. It’s also how she met her favorite wheel—her husband, professional cyclist Ted King co-founding Rooted Vermont!

Read More About Laura King:

Website Links:


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This Week’s Sponsor:

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Episode Transcription:

Please note that this is an automated transcription and may contain errors. Please refer to the episode audio for clarification.

Hillary Allen (00:00):

Hi everyone. And welcome to the train right podcast. Today’s guest. We have Laura King Laura’s background in competitive swimming led to 12 years competing in triathlon, including the Ironman world championships and earning a license and invitation to USA cycling’s talent ID camp, and a simultaneous job offer for a major industry position, presented a fork in the road and her decision to take the industry position and pursue racing as a passion provided the right balance of career in sport. Nonetheless, her credibility as a competitor has served Laura well in the, in a successful career of over a decade in sales and marketing in the outdoor industry, a brief Exterra triathlon stunt revealed a love of the dirt and a mountain biker slash gravel racer was born though. Laura still races in the pro and elite field. Her heart is in getting more girls and women on the bike, the comradery, the satisfaction of a huge effort and the corollary travel and experiences. It’s also how she met her favorite wheel. Her husband, professional cyclist, Ted King with home. She is currently spearheading rooted Vermont, a grapple bike race in Vermont.

Laura King (01:13):

Hi, Lori,

Hillary Allen (01:14):

And welcome to the train ride podcast. How are you doing today?

Laura King (01:17):

Hi Hillary. I’m great. Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Hillary Allen (01:20):

Yeah, like I was saying earlier, um, I mean, we’ve prerecorded this, but, uh, I’m lucky enough to be joined by you on your birthday. So happy birthday.

Laura King (01:29):

Thank you.

Hillary Allen (01:31):

Uh, I mean, when the podcast comes out, it won’t be your birthday, but still, this is pretty special that I get to steal some of your time today. So thanks. Absolutely. Yeah. Um, so I’m super excited to talk with you. Um, I have been following you for a while actually. Um, since I got into kind of gravel cycling, um, and, but then most recently, actually I had read some of your, your articles on, um, the athlete pro kit. It’s different. It doesn’t know it. You guys should check this out. It’s a really cool, um, space for athletes of all abilities to check out kind of like what the experts are doing and get advice on gear, nutrition, anything. Um, and you’ve had this really cool collection on your profile about like fit pregnancy and kind of like the ins and outs of what it’s like to be an endurance athlete and a new mom. And that’s what I wanted to devote this episode today to, um, kind of just talking about that, your experience, um, with pregnancy. I know there’s a lot of rumors around pregnancy and saying that, okay, like you have to enjoy things now because once the baby comes, you won’t be able to do and then like, you know, start a laundry list. So I was hoping maybe you would, you know, disprove that for our listeners, but

Laura King (02:50):

Yeah, I mean, I don’t know why it is that there is a lot of knee that can be a lot of negativity and almost fear-mongering I guess, when it comes to talking about having children. Um, what I didn’t realize was the fact that I was joining a club that I didn’t really know existed before, and I was all excited to be a new member. And then I felt like my initiation into the club was being told that I needed to say goodbye to sleep, to time alone, to the things I love doing. And that gave me a lot of anxiety. And of course this is a total generalization, every conversation wasn’t that way, but, um, but it’s easy to focus on, on the things that you’re fearful about. And so, yeah, I love talking about my experience mostly because I just want to shift the narrative. I want to kind of do my part too. I don’t know if there’s someone else out there like me, who, who wants to hear a positive experience and, um, I guess have their, some of their fears, maybe allayed. Um, I just wanna, you know, my experience has been so, so overwhelmingly positive, um, that I wish I could have kind of had a conversation with my future self in the beginning. Oh man.

Hillary Allen (04:13):

So maybe this is our, this is our chance.

Hillary Allen (04:18):

Um, I’m an endurance, uh, coach, like primarily runners and the kind of the, I mean, I know you primarily do cycling now, but you mean you were a runner, you did triathlons and, um, X Tara’s and, um, you, you actually were, I mean, I listened to a podcast you’re on before you were running during your pregnancy. Um, but in the, in the world of trail running, I feel like it’s shifting, um, now there’s been, um, you know, races that allow deferral of race entries. You know, if someone gets pregnant, they can still like go to the race, like the next year or like two years from, um, you know, from a certain date. Um, so certainly shifting, but I think there still is a lot of fear. Like, um, this is not like an appropriate comparison at all, but I’m still gonna say it. So, uh, when I was in graduate school, like there was this whole idea.

Hillary Allen (05:06):

It’s like, okay, well, you’re going to be working like, you know, from sunup to sundown, you’re not going to have any time for all of this stuff. And I mean, I definitely found TA found time to do it, but again, it was like kind of having, um, having those resources and people to talk to, and kind of like challenging that idea. Um, but you’re, you’re married to pro cyclist, Ted King. And when you guys were first trying, and when you got pregnant, were you, did that thought ever go through your head? Like, were you afraid of losing your identity as an athlete?

Laura King (05:37):

I would rate that as one of my number one concerns. Um, I was extremely fearful. I had to have a lot of conversations with Ted and talk through, what do you think life is going to look like? And, you know, here’s all my, here’s my laundry list of things that I’m afraid of. And I think one challenge is that Ted’s job is riding a bike. And while my job revolves around cycling and cycling has been a component of my work, it’s not what pays the bills for me. So in that way, I felt like, well, my time be as justified or be as much of a priority. So we taught, we had to talk through what that would look like. And thankfully he was incredibly supportive. Um, but I read, I wrote this down because there’s a book called exercising through your pregnancy, which was kind of like my Bible because it’s like one of the only really well-researched scientifically researched, um, books by a very credible physician.

Laura King (06:42):

Um, and one of the quotes, when I was reading, it said, this is an it’s, he’s talking about postpartum. And he says, this is an intense time for a woman first. She never thought she would feel this way about another human being. And she needs to adjust to that second. She’s recovering from birth. Third, everything is new. She wants to do the right thing. Everybody gives her different advice. She’s up half the night and the rest of life is a blur. If you ask her what she needs, she’ll tell you some personal time away from the baby and everyone else, which will allow her to relax and have time to think about things. This personal time is where exercise comes in. And it should be the focus of the exercise program for this time interval. He’s talking about the, you know, the very early postpartum weeks or months.

Laura King (07:24):

And he said, he said, the goals are clear frequent exercise sessions that provide space to personal time and relaxation, nothing more, nothing less. And I immediately ran downstairs and was like, Ted, I have to read this quote to you because it really summarized what I was feeling. And it was so nice to hear, um, it advocated by this physician who was saying, Hey, this it’s not just about, um, you know, it’s not just about the actual exercise or training. It’s also about what it does for you mentally and what it does during this time, when there is so much new and things can be really, you can, it can feel really unsettling and overwhelming. Um, and you know, exercise, especially in my life, it’s, it feels so many roles, but one of them being, um, just a lift to my mental state. And, um, so anyway, yeah, we had a lot, a lot of conversations. I was very afraid of, um, losing my identity and, um, and I’m happy to say that I don’t feel as though I lost it,

Hillary Allen (08:35):

But, well, that’s good. I mean, actually I love that quote. It’s awesome. I mean, cause like, I feel like what you said is like, I mean, especially in that quote too, it’s like, you’re gonna, you’re pulled in so many directions. I feel like there’s so many, you know, it’s like, just like you said, there’s so many different, um, experiences and opinions out there, you know, pre pregnancy or what you should be doing. I’m sure there’s, you know, a ton of that too. And like you saying that you’re not sure, like you didn’t feel like you, maybe your time was as justified as, as you know, maybe your husband, if that’s his profession to ride a bike, but still it’s, it’s valid and it’s like, it’s super important. I mean, I don’t know. Are you, are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Laura King (09:15):

Uh, I’m not sure.

Hillary Allen (09:18):

I guess let me ask the question this way. Are, do you recharge alone or like with people

Laura King (09:24):

I go back and forth on that one. I feel like almost somewhere in the middle. Um, I definitely have times where I do recharge on my own. I probably lean a little bit more towards introverted. Yeah.

Hillary Allen (09:37):

Yeah. And so, I mean, I’m, I definitely am and I mean, it’s like that, that, uh, yeah, like exercises and even more about like training at that point, it’s like just like getting away and still having kind of this, this time to myself to, um, to revamp. Um, and so, I mean, so I guess let’s start kind of during, um, during your pregnancy, like, I mean you had this book, so that’s a great resource, um, to kind of like, you know, see, and I mean, every single woman is different with their experience. Like my mother remained active throughout the pregnancy with me, however, my older sister, um, you know, it was her, her first child and she was on, you know, sh she was on bed rest at the end. Um, I was just like less activity. So I mean, every single woman is different, but can you kind of describe how you balanced your endurance training throughout your pregnancy?

Laura King (10:32):

Yeah. Um, you know, I think as an athlete, you’re used to being in control of your body and my mom would, as, as I’m going through pregnancy, I’d be talking to her on the phone and she would, and kind of going through, uh, I guess just tell, talking to her about what was maybe hard that day. And she would joke that she said, Laura, you’re used to making your body a slave. And this is the first time that you don’t have that control anymore. And I had to laugh because that sounded really, I don’t know, dramatic, but she knows me better than anyone else. And she was right. Um, you know, I was dealing with the loss of control and that’s a challenge. And so while I wouldn’t call, I wouldn’t call my exercise during pregnancy training. I didn’t have any sort of, I wasn’t following any sort of plan.

Laura King (11:28):

I was really going day by day, but, um, being able to continue my routine was just so therapeutic for a whole host of reasons. I mean, it was my social outlet. I love meeting up with friends to exercise. It was my endorphin fix. It was kind of my just constant when so many other things were changing and you know, it helped stave off nausea in the first trimester. I mean, I think fresh air can cure a lot. So for me, a lot of times it was just, um, getting out and getting that fresh air in whatever way I could. But yeah, there were countless ways that it was really my therapy. Um, I rode my bike around 4,600 miles during my pregnancy.

Speaker 3 (12:17):

Wow. And

Laura King (12:19):

I know that sounds like a lot. I had, I mean, I completed some endurance event or some of, uh, events that I would’ve considered a big endurance feat when I wasn’t pregnant that said I never went into pregnancy with those goals in mind. My, I definitely wasn’t setting out to be, um, a pregnant hero.

Speaker 3 (12:42):

It was literally

Laura King (12:43):

One day at a time and a little bit of curiosity of what I might be capable of and also mixed with a little bit of, um, I have a terrible case of FOMO. So my husband and I often, you know, we traveled to events together and we usually participate in those events together or we’re, um, we, we take part in, um, group rides or camps and, um, you know, it was really hard for me to feel like I was just going to have to sit those out. And I mean, again, it’s that community component I wanted to also be as my community and be with my friends. And so, um, so I approached those events and, and my writing carefully and, um, you know, it wasn’t advised my, my physician to ride a bike, but I think there’s a lot, I think the decision to whether what you do during pregnancy is a whole lot more nuanced and, um, you know, physicians kind of, they have to be conservative in the advice that they give.

Laura King (13:53):

And, you know, for me, it was like, I’m not going to go snowboarding while I’m pregnant because my level of skill is much lower. But for me, writing was something I feel like I had a very high level of skill in. I was very confident and I chose, you know, what, even what kind of bike you ride, um, can play a role into making it a safer experience or the terrain that you try, you decide to ride or the roads. So there are all these things that factor into whether an activity is really risky or not. So I, you know, I made the best decision thinking about all those factors, um, for me. And it just happens that like I ended up riding a lot more than I thought I would, but I also, um, I think if somebody were to look at my social media, they would, they would think that my pregnancy looked really and that I was just able to do exactly what I wanted to do.

Laura King (14:55):

Um, but on the flip side, like I ran up until 15 weeks and running was almost crippling to me and I wish I, you know, I really wanted to be able to continue to run throughout my whole pregnancy. Like many of the women that I watch on social media. And I thought maybe I could just, you know what, there’s a will, there’s a way I could just make myself do it. And unfortunately for me, my like pelvis was really unstable, um, due to the increased laxity from relaxing. And so I wasn’t able to do that. So I do want to say the big caveat of like, yeah, I was able to do some really big rides and things that I was like kind of surprised myself that were my body was capable of. And then on the other side, you know, there were things where I, I did have limitations.

Laura King (15:48):

So, um, a big part of it is for me was, um, just everyday kind of listening to my body. And I’d say one, one thing. Um, I know people are, they don’t, there’s a lot of conversation out there about, you know, how you shouldn’t go hard in pregnancy. And I, I had days where I was able to go hard and I didn’t have anything, my body didn’t, wasn’t telling me, giving me any signs that there was anything I should be concerned about and all along the way, um, my baby continued to look healthy and, um, everything pointed towards being fine. So, um, yeah, I guess that, that would be how I approached my, my exercise.

Hillary Allen (16:42):

Yeah. I guess, uh, no, that’s, I mean, I love that because it’s like, I feel like as athletes, maybe what your mom said was right. I mean, you know, you’re used to having your body as a slaver, like, you know, you kind of get into this weird rhythm when you’re an athlete, like training for a goal it’s like kind of, I mean, in a, in a weird way, it is, it’s like, so it’s like an opportunity to be like nicer to it and really like, listen to what it’s telling you. And I think that that’s, uh, actually a really good, um, opportunity to kind of, yeah. To listen to what your body’s telling you and being like, okay, like today I can go hard. Cause I’ve heard that rumor before too. It’s like, I know certain women, like their heart rates are elevated and it’s just like, you know, your body will tell you when it’s, when it’s enough or not. And so learning that skill of being able to, to know when it’s okay to push and, and, and not as I think a huge lesson, a valuable one that you can take through you even, you know, with you even to today. Um, but can I ask, what were the, what were the endurance events that you actually were able to compete in while pregnant?

Laura King (17:40):

Well, uh, when you maybe wouldn’t use the word compete, I would say, well, actually, yes, first by like I a week 11, I did one of my favorite races here in Vermont. Um, it’s called the Vermont Overland and it’s, I think 48 miles of really, uh, kind of, um, we call it class four roads. They’re like pretty chunky unmaintained, um, technical, it’s a mixture of smooth dirt roads with technical terrain. And it has like 5,000 feet of climbing. And I, I took all right, I start came to the start line with, I’m just gonna enjoy the ride today and see how it goes. I wasn’t really aiming to go race. I didn’t think that I was necessarily even capable of that. And that’s for that’s one example of a day that surprised me. I, I had a really great day and made the podium. I got third place. And, um, I mean, that just goes to show you your it’s, your body’s amazing. Um, there are so many adaptations that happen when pregnant that, um, make your body more efficient in how it provides oxygen to the baby. And, um, how it cool. Your efficiency in cooling yourself is increased. I mean, there’s just a lot of cool things that happened, but, um, yeah, Vermont Overland, and then I also participated in Steamboat gravel, which is a hundred, a hundred, and now I’m forgetting 120

Hillary Allen (19:19):


Laura King (19:21):

Which I rode with a good friend. It was her longest ride ever. Um, and I was out there that day to just enjoy the ride and have, you know, like we stopped at aid stations and I, what was actually really fun is getting to see a side of events that I didn’t always get to see, and that, you know, normally you’re just racing through an aid station. Um, I’m often focused on like my performance, but this was just focusing on enjoying the adventure and the community out there and, you know, other sides of the event that, that make it

Hillary Allen (20:03):

Just as fun. So, Oh, that’s awesome. Steamboat gravel is actually a race that I want to do. It looks incredible. It’s

Laura King (20:11):

Beautiful. Yeah, it’s really, it’s a good one.

Hillary Allen (20:14):

Oh man. And so, I mean, so going into kind of these, like you mentioned them a little bit, like a resource of like the book that you had, like exercising through your pregnancy, um, what were some other resources that you used or people? Um, because I feel like a community is really, really strong. I mean, um, I mean, I know you happen to have someone who is pregnant kind of at the same time as you, um, but that’s just cause, you know, I listened to some, but yeah, if you could kind of talk about that and w if you think that that’s important to kind of, you know, I mean, you had your mom too, but any other resources, people that you relied on,

Laura King (20:49):

Um, to definitely, yeah. Um, you know, Reese’s resources are so limited. I, um, I mean, uh, you mentioned the writing that I, that I have done and a big part of that was just because I was hungry for information and I felt like it was, I wish there was more out there. And so I thought, Hey, if anyone could benefit from hearing my experience, um, I’ll put it out there. Um, and speaking of someone else who put a lot of great information out there, um, Sonya Looney, who’s a professional mountain biker. Um, I knew of her, but we really connected when she messaged me on Instagram saying, Hey, you just announced your pregnancy. And I’m also pregnant. And we ended up just being, I think she gave birth a week after me. Um, so we were very close and it was, I mean, we really became friends through this process because I had someone who I felt like, Oh, she, we have a similar mindset where we’re trying to do the same things.

Laura King (21:55):

Um, or we love the same things. Um, and I would often message her and just say, Hey, you know, here’s the experience I’m having? Have you noticed this? Or, um, she would, she, sometimes she shared that sometimes because I’m on the East coast and she’s on the West coast. She would see my Strava for the day and see that I had already done a workout and she would be motivated like, okay, Laura did it now, I’m going to get out. And I would, it was the same for me seeing, seeing her. So we definitely were motivated, um, by each other. And, um, she, she did a lot of great research and, um, would share with me like books that she had read and things that she had learned from her medical professionals. So yes, that was really great. And then I think I kind of stocked a lot of athletes online for like professional athletes who had gone through the details of their experience. And I, because I just was, you know, like any information like reading about their, what they were able to do was, um, was helpful for me. And yes, everybody’s experience is so different, but I think there’s a lot of there’s sometimes can be fear around what your, you know, the exercise that you’re able to do, just because there’s so little research. And so, um, it was nice to see, okay, well, this person was able to do this. Maybe I can too.

Hillary Allen (23:30):

I love that. I mean, so the coach that I work with, like, I mean, he’s a, he’s a guy, but no, we talk openly about kind of, you know, all of these things. He actually primarily coaches like mostly women and, you know, one, you know, all of us are different ages, but, you know, we talk openly about kind of our experiences. I mean, whether it’s some who want to have a baby or have already had a baby, like what that’s like, like tracking your cycle and all like your hormone levels. And I think it’s just like, even though we’re all like end of ones, it’s really important to be able to talk with others about this and like, okay, like this wasn’t the exact same, but it was quite similar. Like I always, I’m such a scientist, so I love that kind of comparison data,

Laura King (24:17):

For sure. Yeah. No community. I mean, for me, it actually opened up a community on Instagram. Um, so Sonya wasn’t the only one I ended up having other, especially through my writing, other people reach out and yeah, there were so many, um, moms who are, who became moms around the same time as me. And we’ve kind of like continued our discussions, you know, around like what our baby’s doing is your, when did your, I just had a friend reached out, like, when did your baby start talking? When did she start rolling over? And just being able to share information with people who we feel are like-minded and, um, it’s been a neat, you know, social media is, and can be positive and negative, but that’s one huge positive that has come from it.

Hillary Allen (25:07):

Yeah. Oh, that’s, that’s great. And so, I mean, just like to, um, to plug that again, it’s, uh, the pro it’s um, uh, Laura has on her profile, like some really cool collections and all, a lot of her writing, if not all of it, you can correct me if I’m wrong is, um, is on there like fit pregnancy and motherhood. There’s a ton of good resources. Um, there, you’re correct. And so I guess this is circling back to this. I mean, if you were to talk to your old self or, um, if you kind of had one piece of advice, um, the piece of advice that you wish you had during pregnancy, um, that you could pass on, um, what would that be?

Laura King (25:51):

I had a F well, I have a friend who’s currently 40 weeks pregnant. And a couple of weeks ago she reached out to me. She sent me a message and she said, Hey, I’m going to read it too. Actually, it said, I’ve had so many people tell me you shouldn’t do that. Or that’s unsafe. And I’ve had major guilt about being on the bike. So I haven’t, I just want to say thank you for being a positive light when it comes to doing what is best for you and your family. My mental health has suffered so much from feeling isolated because of COVID and pregnancy riding is a source of joy and helps me be mentally saying this morning, I woke up and I decided that I know my own limits and I’m tired of others putting them on me. So keep sharing your journey.

Laura King (26:28):

You never know who you may be encouraging along the way. And I, yeah, I just, I was like, that was really nice that she thought to write that. And she, I mean that, I think that’s the, I would give is to trust your gut, that, you know, your own limits and that no one else really, no one cares about the wellbeing of your child more than the mother. Um, and that’s kind of, I mean, I tried, I had to, I had to remind myself of that. And I also had those days where I would second guess my decisions as well, because of a comment that someone would make. And, um, yeah, I just, at the end of the day, you know, what’s best for you and your family. Oh man.

Hillary Allen (27:17):

Well, that’s, that’s, I think one of the huge positives of social media is then, you know, putting out your, your writing your experiences, it’s just kind of like the, just these stories, like the individuals that you can inspire or encourage, even though, you know, specifically right now, I mean, um, you were pregnant, um, at least towards the end is during, during COVID. Um, and yeah, that can be so isolating. And so, I mean, I feel like social media can be isolating, but there’s certain positives that can come from it. And that, yeah, that is certainly one like a virtual community. Um,

Laura King (27:55):

But that, yeah, we need that more than ever right now, because I mean, pregnancy apart without COVID, I think can be isolating. Um, you know, because especially as an athlete, because there may be things that you aren’t able to do that you were able to do before and that you might have to take a break from. And so wherever you can find that community right now, or especially during this time is so helpful.

Hillary Allen (28:22):

Yeah. And so a little bit of a, of a shift. So, um, you’ve since had your daughter, um, Hazel, correct? Correct. Yeah. Um, and so, I mean, I know postpartum can be quite scary too, right? Cause that’s like huge, a huge change. Like now you actually have a small human being to take care of and raise and worry about. Um, but, and then it’s just adds a whole nother layer of, you know, um, beautiful chaos, I think, to life. Um, but what was your return to sport like postpartum?

Laura King (29:02):

Uh, well, the first couple of weeks are, as everyone tells you, they are a little bit of a blur. Um, that said I w I, I, I came around pretty quickly and, um, I know that I had no expectations of, of what, um, recovery would be like, but for me, I actually was able to get back on the bike or, uh, six days postpartum, which that’s amazing. I know that sounds kind of crazy, but I, and I know it’s sort of, uh, I mean, I was just recently having a conversation with the doctor who delivered me and she was like, I never actually, because of COVID I never got to have a postpartum visit. And she was like, yep. The female parts, uh, they heal, they’re really amazing. And they heal really quickly and

Hillary Allen (29:58):

That’s, you know,

Laura King (30:01):

They don’t, that isn’t, that, that isn’t the situation for everyone. And I could, if I ever went through, um, having a baby again, I could be in a completely different situation. So I know that I was, um, I was lucky with that. Um, so I, yes, I was able to get on the bike pretty quickly, but on the flip side, it’s also been a lesson in patience and that my running has still been very slow to come around. So, like I mentioned, the hormone relaxing is in your system, as soon as you get pregnant and also remains there through breastfeeding. And although, and so this is what, you know, helps your pelvis to expand so that the baby can come out and, and it makes your joints and ligaments pretty loose, but it also can prevent your pelvis from being the stable part of your body, the part of your body.

Laura King (30:59):

That’s so integral to stabilizing everything. It can prevent it from actually like doing its job. So for me, it’s been a little bit, um, maybe exacerbated, um, some people experience more laxity than they should. And so, so yeah, I haven’t been able to run as much as I would like still, um, and I’m nine months postpartum. So I was, you know, I’m just grateful for the ability to get a sweat on and still, um, be a part of my community and to set some great future goals and, you know, goals, even in the beginning, um, postpartum period that just helped me to feel like myself and, um, feel like my body to have hope that, you know, things were going to feel normal again. Um, I did challenge some limitations kind of in my own way. I found ways to, um, pump on bike rides. Like I really wanted to breastfeed if I was able to. And, but I also, at the same time, didn’t want that to keep me from taking on new goals for myself. And so in some ways that kind of describes my whole mentality postpartum. I thought there has to be a way there can be kind of a harmonious spot in the balance of meeting both my child’s needs and my needs. Yeah,

Hillary Allen (32:31):

Yeah. Again, I mean, I keep referencing this, but there’s so many good things on, on the writing that you had a, um, like, you know, kind of like your big, like how you, um, you talk about this, like how you pumped before, or, you know, it was quite overwhelming to have to think about that you literally need to feed your baby every three to four hours, you know? And, um, so it’s like balancing that with also, you know, doing what you need to do and to feel like, you know, most like yourself. Um, and I think this is like, this is a perfect segue into, so, I mean, we talked about this at the beginning. Um, how you, you felt like you didn’t lose yourself, but you, you know, in fact added to your family and, um, you know, how, but how do you, how do you manage being a new mom and being an athlete now?

Laura King (33:20):

Um, first and foremost, I have a wonderful partner and I recognize that, um, that, that makes a lot of things easier and I feel lucky to have that. Um, and he also really supports my needs and my endeavors and dreams. Um, but I would say like a lot of it comes down to what you prioritize. I really prioritize my window of exercise as much as I do my other priorities, whether it’s with my family or my work. Um, and sometimes you have to get creative with it, like my husband and I sometimes when we’re driving somewhere, um, I’ll get on the bike and ride to the destination he’ll drive and he’ll bring his bike and then he drives home. And I think that’s also a nice way to, I mean, I have a friend who was talking to me about, um, mom guilt and mom guilt.

Laura King (34:23):

Isn’t something that I’ve really struggled with because I really feel, I see such a dramatic difference and I know I’m the best version of the mom. I can be. Um, when I set aside this time for myself, but you know, a lot of people do struggle with this. And so one way that she’s combated it is she rides on weekends. She rides to the destination of like her whole family going to hike together. And that way she’s feels like she’s not taking away from the time that she would be with her kids. She’s going, she’s on her way to go meet them, to, you know, do something fun with them. So, um, yeah, being creative, um, and a lot of kind of scheduling in advance sometimes it’s, uh, the beginning of the week, my husband and I talk about what our goals are and how we’re going to trade off.

Laura King (35:16):

And, um, it’s pretty complicated right now with COVID trying to work and have, you know, there, there’s not a lot of help available. Um, so just, I mean, yeah, scheduling, scheduling when we’re, when our windows are going best work. And sometimes it’s like, you know, Ted getting a long ride on a certain day and me, me riding shorter that day, so he can do that. Um, so a lot of just tag team and, um, I’ve never been more efficient than I am now. I think you have to really make the most of the window that you have. So, um, I do like to like have a coffee stop or have destination, but it’s often like, I’m really not wasting much time when I’m out because sometimes, you know, I have a babysitter sometimes I know that Ted’s waiting for me to, uh, get home and so we can trade off

Hillary Allen (36:17):

The ultimate, like, yeah, it’s like a team. I mean, I think it’s all about, you know, like the community. I see some of, um, yeah, I see some of my friends who have kids and it’s like a well-oiled machine. It’s like the handoffs it’s like, it reminds me, this is again a bad analogy, but like an aid station of just like, you know, Kayla, get in, get out, let’s go, let’s do this. And that’s exactly what it is. And you know, Ted’s Ted

Laura King (36:40):

Some of the same comments he’s received some of the same comments prior to having Hazel similar to me where it’s, you know, the same kind of things about like, well, you won’t ever ride as much as you did before. And, um, it’s been kind of a, a team goal together for us to say, no, that’s not necessarily how it has to be. And so, I mean, he just got back from Arkansas where he did a thousand mile bike packing race, and that’s three times as far as he’s ever written before. And, you know, I, a part of me feels like I celebrate that as like a accomplishment on my end too, because, um, we prioritized our time and our energy and our life to make his goals, you know, important and to make it happen. And yes, he does. That’s a portion of what he does for his job. But, um, I, I don’t think if you had a nine to five at an office, I think we would do the same thing. I think, um, we know kind of how, what makes each other tick, and this is the key, these are the types of things that, you know, we’re passionate about. So we want to make them be a part of our life.

Hillary Allen (38:00):

Yeah. And I think it’s like, it goes to this whole idea. It’s like someone was talking to me, my good friend, Mario freely, he’s a running coach out of the Bay area. Of course, you know him, but, uh, he was seeing how, um, like priority versus sacrifice. It’s like, everyone says, it’s like, sacrifice can be such a dirty word. It’s like, Oh man, you sacrifice this. It’s like, you know, it implies some sort of like giving up or some sort of, you know, you know, acceptance of defeat. But I think like instead of you reframe it as a priority, so if you prioritize something, then it’s, it, it becomes not a sacrifice. Like you’re not sacrificing anything because you’re just prioritizing it. You’re putting it to kind of, to the front of, of your attention and like, you know, you’re, you’re wanting to get it done.

Laura King (38:52):

I love that. A lot of it is. Yeah. It’s how you kind of frame it mentally. It doesn’t have to be, it doesn’t have to be a sacrifice.

Hillary Allen (39:00):

Yeah. And so has this, um, are you inspired to kind of, like we talked about this briefly, just in some of the emails we exchanged with these, like I forgot how you said it. It’s like a big hair

Laura King (39:17):


Hillary Allen (39:21):

Kind of like that, then, you know, you’re super inspired to kind of go get after it, you know, since you’re so efficient. Yeah.

Laura King (39:27):

Well, I have to credit. Um, I live in Vermont and we moved here a couple of years ago and I feel like we have just a very unique and wonderful, especially, uh, women’s community here that are just, not just cyclists, but just like bad-ass outdoor crushers. And a lot of them are moms as well. And someone, one of them messaged a group of us saying, Hey, we all need to come up with a Beehag, which is big, hairy, audacious goal, um, which I love the, the acronym for, but we just got excited talking about supporting each other in setting one of these goals. And we haven’t yet announced to each other what they are. We’ve talked. We were on a ride recently where we kind of talked about some ideas. Um, Hm. I have an idea and I really it’s. So for me, such a big, hairy, audacious goal, and I’m actually scared to say it, but, um, because I’m not really sure I can do it, but, um, Ted, he, he kind of set a bike packing route in Vermont.

Laura King (40:39):

It runs from the Northern border of Vermont to the Southern border. It’s he called it Vermont XL and it’s I think 310 miles. Um, and he said an F Katie while doing it. And it includes all kinds of terrain, some, some fast packed dirt and some really slow, chunky dirt. It took him around 21 hours. So it would take me a whole lot longer than that, but I am intrigued and it’s in our backyard. And if, um, I think especially, it kind of depends on what happens in this COVID age, if we can return to events or not. But that is one thing that is, um, currently intriguing me.

Hillary Allen (41:26):

I love it. I mean, this just kind of goes to show it’s just like, no matter what, um, to always keep dreaming and always have these goals, cause they, they’re kind of what propel you forward and, you know, create the best version of yourself at least I fully thank you. Um, and so kind of, just to my final question to you, um, kind of as best advice thing, again, like, you know, your wise yourself more towards kind of just our broader audiences, like what, what is your best advice for an active woman? Who’s looking to expand her family and, you know, face these fears of, you know, what everyone’s has about like losing herself for having to give up certain things.

Laura King (42:07):

I would say kind of what I mentioned earlier, but I, I do think there is a harmonious spot in the balance of being able to meet your child’s needs and your own. And I don’t think that there should be, um, there shouldn’t be guilt in, in the ladder. There shouldn’t be guilt in, in having a priority of also meeting your own needs and just trusting that you will be a more engaged and energetic person if you don’t lose yourself in the process. So I think, um, giving yourself that permission and, and advocating for space for yourself for that, um, is, is really important.

Hillary Allen (42:54):

Yeah. Well that’s really well foot. Um, well I just wanted to thank you again, Laura, for being on, um, such a pleasure to talk to you and again, happy birthday. Thanks for sharing your special day with us. Thank you so much. Um,

Laura King (43:12):

Just brought me a cocktail and so celebrating.

Hillary Allen (43:17):

Yeah, that’s perfect. Cheers to you. Thank you so much.

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