Former professional athlete and Mater Mothers’ Private Brisbane mum Kym Coogan has competed at an elite level of triathlon competition for more than 10 years but a baby bump in the road nearly derailed her goal of becoming world champion in 2018.
Kym was aiming high–her goals for 2018 were to win the Australian AND World Championship for 40-44 females for the Sprint triathlon (750 m swim, 20 km bike and 5 km run) and Olympic distance triathlon (1 500 m swim, 40 km bike and 10 km run).
What Kym did not count on, was finding out she was pregnant two weeks before the event–meaning she would be racing at 19 weeks pregnant with her and husband Peter’s first child in September 2018–the same time the World Championships were held on the Gold Coast.
On Thursday September 13 2018, Kym won the 40-44 Sprint World Championships in 01:06:12. Three days later she backed up for Standard (Olympic Distance) World Championship where she finished sixth in 2:13:52.
“I was relieved and proud of the result I achieved,” Kym said.
What Kym hadn’t considered in achieving a podium in the Olympic distance triathlon was the impact of racing at threshold level for over 65 minutes three days prior, stretching and straining ligaments in her pelvis region and the fatigue after Thursday’s race.
After the first race, Kym did not leave her apartment and had very limited walking and time on her feet prior to racing on Sunday.
“I guess it was my stubbornness of not giving up before I started that made me think I could still race and be competitive on Sunday,” Kym said.
“However it was clear from the first hundred metres of the Olympic distance swim that it was going to be a tough and mentally challenging couple of hours.
“I have raced many iron distance triathlons that finish with a marathon and I have never had to use a port-a-loo on course, yet here I was in a standard triathlon with a 40 minute 10km run and all I could focus on for the first 10 minutes was where could I stop for a pee with the least number of people seeing me,” Kym laughs.
Kym is grateful that she had a non-complicated pregnancy with no major side effects other than increased tiredness.
“I think some days of my pregnancy were more exhausting than an eight hour training day in preparation for iron-distance events” Kym said.
“There were some Saturdays after working full time all week where all I wanted to do was lie down and sleep a few times during the day.
“I was exhausted in a different way to being exhausted from triathlon training but physically, it was tougher to overcome,” she said.
Kym appreciates that it was her many years of healthy and active living that allowed her to be competitive at 19 weeks pregnant. Kym consulted with her obstetrician Dr Julie Buchanan prior to racing, to ensure she would not pose any threats to her baby.
Kym also knows the impact the two events had on her body and did not run or cycle again throughout her pregnancy.
“The pain I felt on the run on the Sunday was the worse I have physically felt in a race. I know I pushed limits that day and as soon as I crossed the finish line the focus became a healthy pregnancy and then to be the best mum I can be,” she said.
Kym and Peter welcomed baby Jack Noel Coogan on Friday 1 February 2019 via emergency caesarean weighing 3 494 grams. A caesarean delivery, let alone an emergency caesarean, was not quite what Kym and Peter had planned for.
“Ultimately we wanted a healthy baby delivered safely and that’s what Julie, Mater medical staff and we all achieved,” Kym said.
“Now that Jack’s part of our family we are over the moon,” she said.
With a world triathlete champion for a mum and super coach for a dad, we’re pretty sure little Jack will be running around in no time.