Pregnancy Rejuvenates Olympian Carrie Tollefson

After frustrating injuries, and her first drop from a race in 2009, Olympian Carrie Tollefson and her husband Charlie Peterson decided the "off year" was the right time for her body to take on a new challenge. They are expecting their first baby in early April [editor's note: daughter Ruby Anne Peterson was born Thursday, April 1], and Tollefson said of her pregnancy "My body has never felt better, my mind is rejuvenated, and we have the most wonderful thing happening to us."

Tollefson said in a recent interview her pace on the roads is slower, but her work on the underwater treadmill, the increased rest and land training that includes lifting two to three times per week, agility training and 3 to 6 mile "jogs" on a regular treadmill are keeping her pregnancy healthy, and building her fitness as she works toward her goal to make the 2012 Olympic team.

"I know this [baby] is going to change my life in a big way, but it doesn't change my passion for the sport. I have always been one who loves the challenge and think having this addition in my life will only make me focus and appreciate it more," she said. "I run probably four days a week in addition to my other workouts. I am very in tune with my heart rate and, most importantly, my body temperature. From everyone [medical and training experts] that I have talked with, and who has studied training during pregnancy, the most important thing is not to overheat."

The soon-to-be runner-mom already spends time with kids each summer. The Carrie Tollefson Training Camp is a running camp geared toward 7th to 12th grade students, held at St. Catherine University, in St. Paul, Minnesota, July 8 to 11.

Post-delivery, Tollefson, 33, says she will figure out the balance it takes to be a great parent and an athlete. "If that means running at 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., I will do it. I am so inspired by all of the runners that get it done while having kids...one can never give up and we have to 'get after it' both on the track and off. That is what I am going to do again now after the baby...enjoy every minute of becoming a mom and I have every intention of getting back on top of my game."

In 1999 at Villanova, Tollefson was named NCAA Indoor track athlete of the year and was the first person in NCAA history to win both the 3000 and 5000 meters in the same year. Now an Olympian and three-time national champion, she lives and trains in her home state of Minnesota, where she and husband Charlie look forward to raising their first baby.

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