Seven months after giving birth to her first child, daughter Caroline, long-time Rudy Project triathlete Sarah Haskins kicked off her return to racing in resounding fashion, capturing victories on back-to-back weekends at the first two races of her 2014 schedule. The titles at the Clermont ITU Sprint Triathlon Pan American Cup (March 1st) and the PATCO Sprint Triathlon Pan American Championship (March 8th) set the stage for a powerful season ahead for Haskins, proving that motherhood and sport–even the demanding multi-sport discipline of triathlon–are indeed complementary pursuits.
33-year-old Haskins has no doubt that motherhood provides additional motivation for her championship performances. “I love being a Mom and the joy of parenting!” she exclaimed. “My daughter definitely helps give me motivation to train harder and make the most of my workouts. Supporting my family financially and wanting to be the best role model I can for her helps me to get through those tough training sessions.”
Even before experiencing childbirth for the first time, Haskins was confident in her choice to continue her athletic career post-baby. “Ever since I became pregnant, I knew that I wanted to return back to the racing scene,” said Haskins. “With help from my husband, I knew that it would be achievable to be a mom first and then continue my passion for racing. I have learned along the way how to best fit in training and being a mother. It wasn’t easy those first few months, but still something I was always hungry to get back into.”
With extensive experience as a children’s swim coach and health education teacher, Sarah has an innate passion for sharing her knowledge with up and coming youngsters in the sport. It’s no surprise then that Haskins has naturally adapted to her new role as a simultaneous mother and athlete. Along with a podium-topping list of other female pros that have positively merged parenting with their professions–including Olympic Gold Medalist Nicola Spirig, six-time Ironman World Champion Natascha Badmann, Ironman Champions Jessica Jacobs, Liz Lyles and Julia Gajer, short course standout Rebeccah Wassner and Abu Dhabi International Triathlon Champion Nikki Butterfield (who won that title following the birth of her first child, then ultimately retired from racing following the arrival of her second), to name a few–Haskins serves as a role model and inspiration for women everywhere who are seeking to pursue their own competitive dreams in conjunction with raising children.
“If you’re a new mother looking to get back into racing, take the first three months very easy with training,” said Haskins. “During this time, you and your baby are learning a routine. Start back slowly and if you feel any twinges, back off. It takes months for the body to balance out hormonally, and sometimes the relaxin hormone in your body can make ligaments and other structures sore. Many gyms have child watch centers which offer a great opportunity to get in a workout. I also try to schedule my workouts during naptime and in between nursing, so I know my baby won’t get hungry while I am out training.”
In addition to parenthood, Haskins’ long list of achievements include a gold medal at the Pan American Games (2011), three overall victories at the Race To The Toyota Cup Series Championship (2012, 2011 and 2009), a silver medal at the ITU World Championships (2008) and a spot on the 2008 Beijing Olympic Team, where she finished 11th. She has enjoyed a long-term relationship with Rudy Project, utilizing the technologically advanced helmets and eyewear since she started the sport in 2003 and officially coming on board in 2007 with a contract extending into the foreseeable future. “Rudy Project has been such an amazingly supportive company, even when I wasn’t racing during my year off last year,” Haskins said.
Haskins is next poised to toe the line at the South Beach Triathlon on April 6th and St. Anthony’s Triathlon on April 27th. Her key 2014 events include the Lifetime Fitness Series and the Toyota Triple Crown Series. She’ll also compete in the Hy-Vee Triathlon 5150 US Championship and try her hand at the IRONMAN® 70.3® distance, racing the brutally challenging IRONMAN® 70.3® St. George slated for May 3rd.