Military mom pumps milk during 70.3-mile Ironman and smashes her personal record

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Military mom pumps milk during 70.3-mile Ironman and smashes her personal record

An active duty Air Force mom from Arizona didn't stop to pump breast milk during a triathlon once she saw she could beat her personal record.

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Tina Fey (mom to daughter Alice): “I think every working mom probably feels the same thing: You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, ‘This is impossible - oh, this is impossible.’ And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible.”

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Sonja Haller, USA TODAY Published 2:36 p.m. ET Nov. 12, 2018
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A mom always prepares for life's unplanned moments.

So when Air Force Staff Sgt. Jamie Sloan saw that her planned stop to pump breast milk during a 70.3-mile triathlon meant that she might lose her shot at a PR (personal record), she switched tactics.

"I knew that I would PR because I had a really amazing bike ride and a pretty decent swim,” she told People . "I had brought my hand pump and I just decided to go for it. I was making good time and I just didn’t want to stop and lose the time on my race."

The 34-year-old mother of two from Tucson, Arizona, gave birth to her second child in March. She participated in the Ironman 70.3 in Tempe, Arizona, in October. In this triathlon, athletes swim for 1.2 miles, bike for 56 miles and run the last 13.1 miles.

Two men rushed to her 'aid'

Sloan said it took a while for the milk to start flowing, but it finally did. She got "big smiles" from women and then two men ran up to her, worried that she was holding a bandage against herself.

Live a little greener. Show your kids how easy it is to care for the environment. Waste less, recycle, reuse, and conserve each day. Spend an afternoon picking up trash around the neighborhood.

"I think it was because I had a cloth over myself, and at first it might have looked like I was bleeding," she told Kennedy News & Media . "But once they looked down and saw my pump they were like, 'Oh, OK!' "

Rules of the race say the competitor can't hand off anything to a spectator, so Sloan had to finish the race with her milk.

A personal record, thanks to family cheer squad

Sloan found "creative" ways to train with two children under the age of 3.

She hurt her shoulder two weeks before the race and took a two-week break from swimming. But a cheering squad of family kept her going.

"I was even concerned that I wouldn’t even finish," she told People. "But I definitely owe it to my family, because I saw them about four times during the run and they just kept energizing me and encouraging me."

She finished with a personal record of six hours, 12 minutes and 44 seconds.

A way to cope with postpartum anxiety

Sloan said that training helped her cope with postpartum anxiety, and it was important that her daughter Henley, 2, see her complete the race.

Know the value of face-to-face communication. Very young children learn best through two-way communication. Engaging in back-and-forth "talk time" is critical for language development. Conversations can be face-to-face or, if necessary, by video chat with a traveling parent or far-away grandparent. Research has shown that it's that "back-and-forth conversation" that improves language skills—much more so than "passive" listening or one-way interaction with a screen.

She also wanted women everywhere to know that if they believe they can, they can find a way.

"I hope that it can encourage other women and mothers and really anyone who has a lot going on in their lives,” she told Kennedy News & Media. "There’s always a way that you can make it happen. You might have to get a little creative from time to time. No matter what, if someone believes they can do something, they can make it happen because it is possible."

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