Train for birth the way you would for an Ironman: Podcast Episode #134
January 7, 2022

Train for birth the way you would for an Ironman: Podcast Episode #134

Dave Howlett, founder of Real Human Being, talks to us about how elite athletes prepare mentally and physically and so should parents before birth.  You can listen to this complete podcast episode on iTunes, SoundCloud, or wherever you find your podcasts.

Welcome.  You’re listening to Ask the Doulas, a podcast where we talk to experts from all over the country about topics related to pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and early parenting.  Let’s chat!

Kristin:  This is Kristin, co-host of Ask the Doulas, and I’m joined today by Dave Howlett.  Welcome, Dave!

Dave:  Hey, Kristin.  How are you?

Kristin:  Great!  So you and I first connected on the networking platform called Lunch Club, and I was really fascinated by your journey as an athlete, especially your training for the Ironman run, bike, and swim events, since you’re the most elite of athletes.  So I’m really curious and would love to have that comparison, you know, between prepping for labor and birth and also how you train both mentally and physically for your races.

Dave:  Yeah, no, I’m happy to help you out.  By the way, if you hear a meow in the background, it’s our cat, Molly.  She’s probably more of an athlete than I am, but she’ll chip at various times.  First, I love the concept of labels.  You know, what’s the old phrase, you’re either pregnant or you’re not pregnant.  There’s no halfway pregnant, right?  And I think that actually doesn’t apply to athletics.  I was a clarinet playing geek in school, and I was probably one of the least athletic people you know.  I taught scuba diving, which is cool but doesn’t take a lot of hardcore athleticism endurance.  You mostly got to be flopping around the water and breathing really slow.  Kind of like, you know, just a mellow person.  But my athleticism actually came when I met my wife.  We got engaged, and I said, what do you want to do for fun?  And she said, oh, I’ve always wanted to run a marathon.  And I thought, oh, crap.  So, yeah.  In 25 years, we’ve done 10 marathons, and together, we’ve trained for 18 Ironman competitions.

Kristin:  That is amazing.

Dave:  Yeah.  But it was fun meeting you on Lunch Club because I think there’s – the more I talked and thought about your comparison, I think it’s actually very, very good that you and I are chatting and all your listeners are hearing because I’m not pregnant.  I don’t think I’ll ever be pregnant.  I don’t think I can physically get pregnant.  But there is a really good analogy between “training to have a baby” and “training to complete a marathon.”  Or an Ironman.

Kristin:  Yeah.  And even thinking from what I know about friends who’ve competed in Ironman, you’re in training for essentially 12 months for this race; is that correct?

Dave:  Yeah, that’s it.  I mean, my wife and I, we’re kind of strange, weird people, but yeah, we use that as part of our life balance.  And usually we’ll train for an Ironman every year or every second year.  But per your point, I imagine it’s very much like pregnancy, which is you have an end date.  You’ve got a race day, right?  And just like a pregnancy, sometimes your race day gets pushed back  During the pandemic, for example, in the last year and a half, most races around the world have been delayed or canceled.  We’ve had to readjust our schedule, and I’m sure that’s – if I had a baby impending and I hired someone like you, everybody would say to me, what day are you due?  What day are you due?  What’s your due date?  But that’s sometimes flexible, too, right?

Kristin:  Oh, exactly.  I mean, it’s a guess due date is what I say.  It’s a range.  I mean, I’ve had clients go five weeks early and at 42 weeks.  So unless a client is planning a scheduled surgical birth or scheduled induction, even then, you can still go into labor before.  But having that end date in mind, you know, that range, is very helpful in preparation and women – I mean, you’re training for 12 months and women are carrying a baby 9-10 months, and so there’s all of that, thinking about nutrition and rest and a lot of things that high-level athletes are focusing on, as well as visualization, which is big with many athletes that I know.  Many marathon runners, for example, use visualization in advance of a race, and then we use that in childbirth.  So I love thinking about all of the different comparisons that athletes have to birthing persons.

Dave:  Yeah, like I said – maybe we could start a really interesting movement.  We could call it Ironbaby, right?  Hey, have yourself an Ironbaby.  I have to tell you something funny for you and all your listeners.  The first Ironman I ever did was in Lake Placid in New York, and my wife didn’t do the first one with me because the underachiever wife of mine, she had a full time job.  She was studying for her executive MBA, and she figured putting an Ironman on top of that training would be just too much at the same time.  So the first one I did, I did on my own.  I trained for a year, and I was also coaching marathon students at the same time.  I coached marathon clinics for about 8 or 9 years.  So we get down to Lake Placid, and I imagine it’s kind of like going to a hospital and getting ready to give birth.  You naturally as a human being want to compare yourself a little bit to other people, right?  So you’re looking at other people and comparing, you know, am I as good as, am I better.  So, you know, I thought I was pretty good.  I trained for an Ironman, and then all my marathon students are like, you’re a god, Dave.  You’re a god.  And if your listeners don’t know what an Ironman is, you swim 2.5 miles and then you bike 112 miles, and then at the end of the day, you run a marathon, 26.2 miles.  So it’s a long day.  So three days before the event, we’re walking down the street at Lake Placid, and athletes are coming from all over the United States, many from international to compete.  There’s about 2000 athletes.  And I see this tall couple walking in front of me with this little child.  This little kid’s about three years old; mom, dad.  You can tell they’re fit from behind.  You know, you ever see somebody from behind, you know.  They’re in athletic gear, and they’re just walking.  Good-looking tall couple.  I can’t see them from the front, but Dad, Mom, and the little kid.  And it’s nice to see a family.  All of a sudden they turn sideways.  I have never seen a more fit pregnant woman in my life.  She had the perfectly flat stomach with what looked like a medicine ball crazy-glued on her flat stomach.  I’m like, wow.  I’ve never seen this before, and I said to my wife, that obstetrician is going to need a catcher’s mitt because when that woman gives birth, that kid will come flying out the delivery room.

Kristin:  And that is something about athletes I’ve noticed.  I’ve worked with a lot of gymnasts and runners, and it’s hard for them to loosen up.  Their body is so physically tight, and labor is all about opening up and being loose and limber, and their pelvic floor, everything is so fit and tight that there can be some challenges there.

Dave:  Yeah, no, absolutely.  But here’s the good news, and it’s really cool talking to you because a lot of people say, well, I can never be an athlete, or I can never run a marathon.  And I always say, look.  If you can get up out of your chair and walk over and touch that wall and come back and sit down in the chair, then you can run a marathon.  Not today.  Not tomorrow.  But baby steps.  Inch by inch.  A year from now, I could have you complete a marathon.  You wouldn’t win it, but you’d do it with small steps every day.  And the human body was actually evolved to run.  That’s why we don’t have a lot of fur, so we can sweat a lot, and we’re upright.  So even the most out of shape person in the world has evolved to run.  And one of my brothers is an emergency room doctor, and when his wife is giving birth, he just said to her – he said, look, babe.  The human body, the female body, was evolved to give birth.

Kristin:  Exactly.

Dave:  So he said, you know, we all want to have safe, comfortable births, but he said, you know, I’ve had women give birth in the back of cabs.  One woman in a boat.  So don’t get overwrought about how something is going to go wrong.  As human beings, we have evolved that women can give birth in a whole bunch of different circumstances.  And you want to be as safe and as responsible as you can, but don’t get too worried, because he said, you know, the human body is a pretty incredible thing.

Kristin:  Exactly.  Yeah.  And then our clients who are physically active before pregnancy, during pregnancy, tend to have the stamina and do better for some of those lengthy labors.  Like, if they have some warm-up labor for a couple of days and they need that stamina when they are ready to deliver their baby, the fit and athletic clients and the clients who really prioritize rest and nourishment do end up have a better go of things than those who are not physically fit and who haven’t rested during pregnancy and haven’t made sure to nourish themselves.  Especially hydration.  I mean, as athletes, you’re all about continuously hydrating.

Dave:  Yeah.  And, you know, I’ve got about 12 points.  You and I could probably talk for five and a half hours about the similarities between being an athlete and giving birth, but I just wanted to raise a few really good points, and interrupt me any time as I yak.  When my wife and I train for an Ironman, the first and the most important thing, obviously, is the goal.  And there are two major types of goals, which is, one, I just want to finish this mile, and two, I want a certain time.  And I always tell people, the first time you do a marathon, we say, the first one’s a PB.  In other words, the first marathon is a personal best.  So it doesn’t matter how slow you go.  The real issue is, you come across the finishing line with a smile.  And I suspect the same in pregnancy.  As much as everybody wants to have a perfect pregnancy, the most important thing is that you have a healthy baby.  And to that end, you’ve got to be a little flexible.  Things may not turn out the way you want in terms of where and how it happens, but at the end of the day – unlike a marathon, where sometimes I have to counsel people because of a whole bunch of different things – they may not choose to do the marathon that day.  Usually the baby’s coming, whether you want it or not.  But expectations are a really important thing when you’re training for a race, and when I coach marathon clinics, I used to tell people, in order, in priority, you got to have three expectations.  Number one, don’t get injured.  Number two, finish the race.  And number three, have a best time.  Okay?  And those are really important because the first one, don’t get injured – you know, even you, if you think about it, you’re kind of like a pregnancy coach, right?  Is that how you would describe your profession?

Kristin:  Yes.  I am.

Dave:  Yeah.  So my wife and I use coaches.  We’ve used a lot of training coaches to help us not only plan our training but also for stretching, for strengthening drills, for nutrition.  And I think for a lot of people, having a pregnancy coach is a good thing.  It’s somebody who can give you feedback, tell you here’s a little plan.  This is what you should do.  Like, didn’t you tell me that sometimes, unfortunately, people use pregnancy as an excuse to just eat as much as they want because – what’s that old phrase, I’m eating for two now?

Kristin:  Exactly, or just to – you know, if you have a craving for fast food, it’s like using pregnancy as an excuse for wanting Taco Bell every day or whatever it might be.  When we tell our clients to focus on eating whole, nutritious food and thinking about baby, and obviously, if you’re craving something, it can be for a reason, and of course, we’re not nutritionists or dieticians, but we try to get them to focus on healthy, nourishing food that will give them energy rather than fast food every day.

Dave:  Yeah, and that’s, again, a great analogy to athleticism because I will tell you, one of the biggest issues my students had when I taught marathon clinics was they would overestimate how many calories they were burning when they were running.  So they go out and run for 8 or 10 miles as part of the clinic, and then they come back and eat, you know, a bagel with a half an inch of cream cheese in it and a coffee with sugar in it.  And when I first started teaching marathon clinics, some of my students were like, I never seem to be getting any faster, and I say, well, maybe you need to diarize your food intake.  There are a lot of really good apps out there now to help you figure out how many calories you’re burning and how much you’re eating.  And I will tell you personally, and this is something for all your listeners – you know, I wouldn’t use pregnancy as a reason to lose weight, but I also wouldn’t use pregnancy as a reason to pack on the Taco Bell or McDonald’s or fast food because food is just gas for your body.  It’s nutrition.  So it’s not about eating for two.  It’s eating well for two.

Kristin:  Exactly.

Dave:  Right?  And I will tell you, from a personal point of view, I’d done eight marathons and three Ironman, and I was still carrying extra weight, and it wasn’t until I actually downloaded an app and started diarizing my food intake.  I realized how much I’d been falling prey to fast food marketing messages, and I was eating way too much calories and way too much of the wrong food and processed food for my goals.  And what’s that whole thing, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, right?  And I suspect when you find out you’re pregnant and you go in to see your doctor and they do a check-up – that’s why they take your blood pressure.  That’s why they look at your pulse.  That’s why they examine your blood level.  They’re trying to do some markers to figure out where you are.

Kristin:  Right.  Manage weight gain.  You know, you’re getting weighed every appointment, and things like that.

Dave:  Yeah.  Yeah.  But your point was an excellent one, which is, you know, the whole idea of laboring, giving birth to a child, is kind of like a race.  And if you’ve prepared properly, you know, both from a physical and nutritional point of view, race day is going to go a lot better.

Kristin:  For sure.  And staying hydrated and – you know, I tell my clients, before they go into the hospital if they’re birthing there, to make sure that they eat something with some protein, give them some energy.  Something light.  You know, nothing spicy.  And then thinking about having that energy boost – I’ve had clients who are athletes who would have those go sticks that you use and just have – you know, because then when you’re in the hospital, you’re basically liquid only, so you can have things like juice and broth and, you know, fruit pops and things like that, but for the most part, unless the hospital has a different policy, you’re not able to have snacks or a big meal or anything.  So it’s like, what will keep you going?  Honey sticks or different things to sustain energy, or electrolyte drinks.

Dave:  Yeah.  I mean, the other thing that – I don’t know if you were going to bring up, but it’s really important as an athlete – you need the support of your friends and family.  Even for sports that are considered solitary, like maybe a marathon, one of the most charming things I’ve ever seen is when a woman has almost finished her marathon and there’s her husband and her kids standing at the side of the road holding up signs, going, you can do it, Mom.  We love you, Mom.  Go, Mom, go.  Right?

Kristin:  Yeah, that’s a huge motivator!

Dave:  It is!  Yeah, and I just think, you know what, my heart goes out to women who are pregnant and they don’t have the support of friends and family.  And I think it’s really important that it’s part of pregnancy, just like it is for an athlete, that you have a support system around you, whether it’s your family, whether it’s your friends, whether it’s someone like yourself.  But I think that psychologically as well as physically, it’s so important to have a community around you.  And I think that’s part of good support in any pregnancy is to have people love you and want to care for you.

Kristin:  Yeah, exactly.  And I am there – I don’t necessarily love the word cheerleader, but I am encouraging my client, and if they have a partner or family member with them, I’m giving them some affirmations that you would use in a race.  Like, you are so strong.  You’re almost there.  You’ve got this.  You know, you are amazing.  Look at you.  And then we also use some of those markers for my clients who are seeking an unmedicated birth of, like, get through each contraction.  I used to run shorter races, but looking at, well, I’m going to make it up to that tree before I decide that I’m ready to stop, and pushing yourself a little bit more each time.  So when I had my two kids, I had unmedicated births.  My mantra was, I can do anything for 15 minutes.  And I would reassess after I got through a couple more contractions or surges.  And then just keeping going, use some positive affirmations and not focusing on, oh, this labor could be 12 hours, or my race might – you know, I can’t run for 10 more miles.

Dave:  Yeah, that’s an excellent analogy there.  I mean, my wife and I actually used the same mantra, which is, I can do anything for ten minutes.  Sometimes when we do our workouts on the bikes or runs where we’re doing sprints and they’re very taxing or arduous, doing speed work on a track, you’re on a bike – we always repeat to ourselves, I can do anything for ten minutes.  Because even on race day, our friends sometimes say to us, so how long do you think it will take you to finish an Ironman?  And I say, oh, probably 13 to 15 hours.  And they’re like, how do you mentally prepare yourself?  It’s like labor.

Kristin:  It’s a good question!

Dave:  And I said, well, you don’t think of it that way.  You think of it just, okay, I can do anything for – I’m going to run to that telephone pole over there, or I’m going to bike for another five kilometers and see how I feel, or I’m going to swim to this part, to the next buoy.  And I said just psychologically, when you start at the starting line of an Ironman, your heart’s beating a mile a minute, and you’re like, oh, I don’t know.  It’s going to be 15 hours I’m going to be out here today this.  And you just stop that and say, you know what, I can do anything for 30 minutes.  I’m just going to think about the next 30 minutes.  So I imagine the visualization of pregnancy is the same way.

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Dave:  Let me share something with your listeners that had an impact on me and will likely for the rest of my life, and I think this really applies to giving birth.  My first Ironman, I wasn’t sleeping well for about two months before the race.  I was getting worried because it’s kind of like you’re training to climb Mt. Everest, and I imagine for a woman the first time – it’s different when you’ve had six kids, but the first race psychologically is always the hardest, and I bet you the first time you give birth – I don’t know, you can comment on this whether psychologically it’s a lot more stressful, right?  Because it’s the unknown.  So I went to my family doctor, and he was a pretty cool guy.  And he was doing a check-up.  It’s two months before my first Ironman.  And he said, how you doing?  And I said, I’m not sleeping well.  He goes, what’s going on?  I said, I wake up in the middle of the night and I have these dreams that I’m drowning in the lake or I fall of my bike.  And I was waiting for him to say something like, oh, just relax; it’s not going to happen.  And he said to me, okay, I have a suggestion for you.  It’s a visualization thing.  He said, so let me tell you how things are going to go on your race day.  I said all right – and this applies really well to giving birth.  He goes, you’re going to start a race at the beginning of the day with 2,000 other athletes, standing on the beach waiting for the gun to go off.  He said, your heart is going to be going a mile a minute, and you’re going to be really anxious.  And I’m like, you’re not helping me, man.  He goes, I want you to take a deep breath and just say to yourself, I’m so grateful.  I’m like, what?  He goes, take a deep breath and say, I’m so grateful.  I said, grateful for what?  He goes, say it to yourself.  I’m so grateful that I have the use of my arms and legs to do a race like this where a lot of people don’t.  I’m so grateful to have the support of my friends and family so I can do a race like this, because a lot of people don’t have that support.  I’m so grateful to live in a society where I can go out and I can train for fun, because many people live in countries where they just have to spend every day trying to stay alive or looking for food, and they don’t have the opportunity to do races like this.  And he said, when the gun goes off, I want you to try to replace your nervousness with gratitude.

Kristin:  It’s beautiful.

Dave:  It is, and it totally changed my mindset.  It’s not that I don’t compete in races and try to get a better time, but often, you know, it would be like when I’m at the hospital, and then in pregnancy, and the nurse comes by to give me some – do they still give ice chips, or is that an urban myth?

Kristin:  Yes, they sure do.

Dave:  So the nurse gives me some ice chips, and I would say, I really appreciate you doing this, and you’re such a wonderful nurse.  Thank you so much.  So that would be – it’s weird, but it actually changes your mindset from me, me, me, me, me to when you express gratitude to people around you, it takes that pressure off yourself and actually makes you feel better.  And so every race I do, when I go by a water stop, I always thank the volunteers.  I say hey, thank you so much for volunteering.  And they look surprised.  But I also express gratitude, and people are surprised and then they’re charmed, but I do it as much for myself as for them.

Kristin: I love it.  There are some great gems that you’ve shared.  So in labor, breathing is one of the most important things.  So how do you, dealing with the differences in running, biking, swimming, what is your practice with breath work?

Dave:  Good question.  You’re the pregnancy pro; I’m not.  But if I was to give a woman tips on breathing, I would say listen to your coach.  They’re the expert.  And so I’ve coached people how to breathe in running, and first and foremost, just breathe naturally.  But there is a lot of study done on the efficacy of breathing, and sometimes when you get really focused, you start taking short, quick breaths, and you don’t breathe properly.  So sometimes coaching is really important, and that’s why – because I’ve seen movies on pregnancy where they say, okay, you know, Lamaze breathing and all the other stuff.  But it’s really important that you listen to a professional who gives you guidelines on how to do it.  Because your breathing changes your blood chemistry.  And I will tell you, my wife, on her water bottles on her bike when she’s biking 112 miles, she’s got written on her water bottles, smooth and steady.  Smooth and steady.  So when she looks down when she’s in arrow position on her bike, she looks down and she sees, smooth and steady on one bottle, and the other bottle says, just smile.

Kristin:  Positive thinking.

Dave:  Yeah.  Confident thinking.  And if you talk to a lot of chiropractors, they talk about this flow that goes back and forth between your muscles and your brain, and sometimes by thinking positively, you can actually change the relaxation mode or the posture, so it actually works both ways.  So if you actually just physically try to smile, even though you don’t feel like smiling, sometimes it does change the way your brain thinks and it becomes happier.

Kristin:  Yeah, and with birth and breathing during labor, a lot of times we – you know, we don’t want our clients to hyperventilate is the biggest thing.  So you had talked about that fast pace breathing and really knowing to slow down, so for us it’s more of that yogic deep breathing.  I remind my clients to give their baby oxygen and focus on that as a way.  And then of course with COVID, at many points in labor until clients are tested, they’re wearing a mask.  So it’s that focus on slow, deep breathing and really noticing where they’re carrying tension.  And as athletes, you want to focus on making sure you’re not too tight.  Like, some people carry tension in their shoulders, and so I’m trying to get them to relax their shoulders or their forehead or their jaw is really clenched.  As you said, relaxing.  And yeah, I feel like people who are resisting labor and the sensations that they’re feeling, the pain intensifies, where if they’re relaxing into it and positive, as you’re saying, and focusing on their breath and some goals, then they are experiencing less of a sensation of discomfort.

Dave:  Absolutely.  In fact, if any of your listeners watched any of the Olympics this summer, people used to say to me, how come when I watch these runners in the Olympics and they’re standing there before their race, you see them just bend down and rub their legs, and their legs look all floppy, like the muscles look like they’re just all saggy?  And I go, that’s because they’re relaxed.

Kristin:  Exactly.  They’re not tensed.

Dave:  They’re not tensed.  Their muscles are really loose, and because if you actually understand how the muscle fibers work inside those muscles, they slide back and forth, so you don’t want any stickiness to them.  So when they actually start running really hard, those muscles tense up, but they can relax them a lot, too.  So your point is a great one, and I used to counsel a lot of my marathon runners, you know, I’m going to tell you to stretch.  Most people will not stretch properly or stretch as much as you should in between your practice runs.  So you should go get massage therapy.  I can’t say enough for the art of massage therapy.  I’m a guy, and I tell you, a lot of guys are socialized, at least in the west, not to have other people touch them.  But the art of the human touch is extremely important.  And I can tell you, I’ve been through so much massage in the last 25 years.  Even as a guy, anybody can touch me now.  Another guy can rub my butt and we can talk about football.  I don’t care anymore.  That’s one thing about real focused athletes is they understand the importance of massage, about being relaxed.  It’s not always about tight muscles.  Quite often, it’s about flexibility and relaxed muscles.  Let me add one more thing, because I think this is really important, and I’m not sure if you’re going to bring it up.  But I think checklists are really important in athleticism.  One thing you don’t want on race day is stress, and I don’t suspect you want the same thing when you’re about to go into labor.  So my wife and I are really big fans of checklists, which is, you know, what to bring to the hospital, what to do every time we’re packing to go to Europe to do a race, because the last thing you want to do is be on the way to the hospital, on the way on a flight going to Europe to do an Ironman, and you’re like, did I remember this?  Did I remember this?  Some people are natural checklist people, but other people aren’t.  So I would suggest for any of your listeners, if they’re listening to this, really believe in the power of checklists, because you literally go down your checklist and check things off, and it’s just one less thing to worry about.

Kristin:  I love that, yeah.  And like you said, everyone’s personality is maybe different, but it is very helpful to plan and prep of what to pack in the hospital bag, what people need to be called if you have other children or pets that need to be cared for, and just having everything set so you’re able to go at a moment’s notice.

Dave:  Exactly right.  And for anybody listening to this who maybe is a friend or a family of somebody who’s going to be pregnant, here’s a tip for you.  I used to tell people, when you finish your first marathon, or if you have a family member who just completed their very first marathon, do not say, what time did you do it in, because one day you’re going to meet somebody who’s climbed Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world.  They’ve trained for a year or two or ten to climb this mountain, and if you ever meet somebody who’s climbed Mt. Everest, you don’t say, what did you do it in.  You just say congratulations and how do you feel.  So when you meet somebody who’s completed their first marathon or their first Ironman, you don’t focus in on the time.  You just give them unconditional love and support and you ask how they’re doing.  And that’s what most people want.  And I suspect – correct me if I’m wrong, but when a woman gives birth for the first time, she just wants her friends around and not to discuss how long you were in labor and all the stuff that just happened.

Kristin:  And what kind of medication you had and did you achieve your goals, yeah.  I mean, birth is unpredictable, and so is an Ironman race or a marathon.  You could have an injury, and things can happen that are out of your control.  I love all of your tips.  Do you have any last-minute tips for our listeners as far as how you train mentally or physically?

Dave:  The last thing I just want to leave with people is, you know, as I said, I’ve got a couple of doctors in my family, and the old style of medicine was, I’m in charge.  You’re my patient.  Just listen to what I’m going to tell you to do because I’m the doctor and I’m the expert.  But now the new way of medicine is, the patient’s the quarterback of the team.  Everybody around the patient are their support system, and I think that’s the way it should be.  I think everybody – every woman who’s going to give birth should be literally in charge.  Now, it doesn’t mean she knows everything.  She may not know much about nutrition or about breathing properly or a whole bunch of other things.  So she needs the support of her coaches, her trainers, her teammates, and everything.  But at the end of the day, she’s in charge, and I think that’s really important, that the bond between a mother and her unborn child or soon-to-be born child is extremely important, and I have a lot of friends who work in hospitals, and they talk about how they’re there to support the mother and to give her guidance and advise and feedback, but they always keep in mind that this is her child and her baby.  And that’s a really good mindset to have as an athlete.  My destiny is in my hands.  I rely on a lot of people to do a marathon or an Ironman, but at the end of the day, it’s my race.  And I get the accolades when it goes well, and I accept the fact that sometimes things aren’t going to go well.  And the other thing is, I don’t look at it as one race.  I’ve had races where – I mean, two years ago, we went to Europe and the airline lost our bikes and all our equipment.  And we couldn’t do the race.  We showed up in Europe in Austria, and we had to stand there watching all the athletes go off, and then they never located our stuff until, like, four days after the race finished.  But what we realized was, we trained for a year.  We didn’t lose that training.  We still had that strength from all that training.  And so sometimes lousy things happen.  10% of life is what happens to you, and 90% is how you react to it.  And sometimes I think that applies to pregnancy, as well.  Heartbreak happens sometimes, and we have to be mindful that sometimes things don’t go as we planned, but it’s your resilience and your strength and the love and support of people around you that keep you going.

Kristin:  So true.  Now, I know we’re not here to discuss your professional background, but I do feel like it relates, since you are a motivator and keynote speaker and business leadership coach.  How can someone connect with you if they would like to reach out and have any questions for you and so on?

Dave:  Yeah.  My company is called Real Human Being.  I go around the world and talk to companies and communities about human behavior.  I’m known as the gear guy because I talk about three types of intentions: first gear, second gear, third gear.  So people who are interested in that can connect with me on my website.  Actually, my wife and I are moving to New York City in a few weeks, so we’ll be in the Big Apple.  And you’d love this; I’m actually going to start a social media brand called The Eh in the Apple.  Because Canadians say eh a lot, right?  I’m going to get a little apple design with a maple leaf stuck out the top, and I’m going to diarize my experiences in New York as a Canadian because I just love people.  I find people fascinating and curious, no matter what they look what, what religion they are, what nationality they are.  And I think at the end of the day, we all want to be amazing women or good guys, and that’s what I teach, is how to have self-awareness and how to be maybe just a little bit better than you.

Kristin:  Exactly.  I love it.  Well, thank you so much for your time today, Dave, and I’m sure we’ll connect again soon.

Dave:  It was a pleasure chatting with you, and I wish everybody a healthy and a safe birth.

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