Polly Albright had a wee bit of inspiration as she tackled the first two days of workouts at the North West Regional in Puyallup, Wash., this past weekend.
To the surprise of many, the athlete from CrossFit Fort Vancouver and her husband, David, are expecting their first child in October. “I’ll be five months pregnant on Tuesday [May 29],” she says, giddy, glowing and grinning from ear to ear.
Controversial? Perhaps. But as she trained over the past six weeks to prep for Regionals, she listened to her body – as well as the advice of other ladies from her box while training and tackling the hard-core workouts that challenged Pacific Northwest competitors this weekend.
Her trusted advisor include Jessica Core of CrossFit Fort Vancouver, who also CrossFitted wisely and intensely while she were pregnant.
From Team to Individual (Plus)
The original plan was for Albright to be a part of her boxes’ affiliate team. But when she found out she was pregnant, she switched to competing as an individual. “At the end of the Open, I started not feeling so well,” she says. “I kept training, but I was slower than normal because of the pregnancy.”
Part of that slowed performance stemmed from her inability to nosh on her favorite wake-up dose of protein. “I’d usually eat a bunch of eggs in the morning, but just I couldn’t,” she says. “We did our training in the morning and that affected my pace.”
Despite being forced to skip the most important meal of the day, Albright continued to train – but a lot of people told her to go easy on her workouts. “People are helping me carry bags out of the grocery store,” she says. “If they only knew what I was doing in the gym!”
But her fellow CrossFitters, including coach Adam Neiffer of Fort Vancouver, were supportive of her efforts and encouraged her to train wisely despite her naturally high drive.
Three weeks ago, she said, as the North West Regionals approached, her appetite returned and she stopped feeling so sick, and that helped her prep for her performance. She still found, however, that her pace had changed thanks to the growing kiddo inside – and it wasn’t an easy fact to accept, she says. “It’s not easy for me to go slower,” she laughs.
Her Regional Performance
At the North West Regionals, Albright put in an excellent performance, all things considered.
Though she typically scores a sub-3:00 “Diane,” she put up a score of 4:40 in Event 1, a minute and a half behind her typical pace. And during Event 2, she had to do her best to keep her body temperature cool, per advice from her docs, completing the row-pistol-clean combo in 17:10.
“That was a challenge with the 2,000 meter row,” she says. “I pushed methodically through the pistols, and got through 21 of the cleans, but I didn’t quite finish. I think people [who didn’t know I was pregnant] saw me as the pudgy one trying really hard.”
During Event 3’s 70-pound dumbbell snatch, her inability to throw more than one of the weights overhead with her right arm had nothing to do with her developing fetus.
“I didn’t practice the movement until yesterday,” she said on Sunday. “We don’t have the 70-pound dumbbells in the gym, so I wasn’t able to try out the workout. It was the longest 20 minutes ever!”
Because she didn’t make it out of the gate, Albright was disqualified from moving on to Event 4. But she finished 33rd overall.
October Due Date
Her husband, Air Force combat controller David Albright, is currently stationed in Afghanistan and expected to return in October, right before the baby is born. When she told him how she fared at Regionals, he told her, “Good. That means I don’t have to worry about you,” she reported, smiling.
The prospective parents don’t know the sex of their child yet. “We want it to be a surprise,” she says.
Though Albright won’t be among the competitors in this year’s Games, she’s already looking to 2013. “I’ll be back for the Games season next year,” she says. “I can’t wait!”