October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, and a leading cause of death among women? Studies have suggested that breastfeeding reduces breast cancer risk. With that, we’ll leave you with the following inspiring story:
This mother really puts the “active” in “active duty.” And she has proven that she doesn’t let anything stop her from achieving the goals she sets.
Meet Air Force Staff Sgt. Jaime Sloan.
Sloan had planned on stopping between the 56-mile bicycle race and her run, in an Ironman 70.3 competition, so that she could sit and use a breast pump, to express milk for her infant son.
Sloan had given birth to her second child just seven months earlier. This marked her first Ironman 70.3 since delivering him.
But when you need to pump, you need to pump. There's no avoiding it, unless you want to be in some pretty extreme discomfort. And Sloan realized at some point during her race that she had a chance to set a new personal record.
So did she sit down and use the pump? Nah. Sloan pumped as she ran, because that's just how motivated she was.
"I knew that I would (hit a personal best) because I had a really amazing bike ride and a pretty decent swim," Sloan told People magazine. "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."
Sloan had with her a hand pump, a CamelBak and a washcloth. She figured out how to pump as discreetly as possible.
"At first, it was a struggle because I was trying to get the milk flowing," Sloan said. "It takes a little bit of work with the hand pump, and my legs were very tired. But once I got it going, I was able to run, even though I was going really slowly."
Sloan successfully pumped the milk, stashed the bottle away in her bag and finished the half marathon-distance run with all her items. She told People there's an Ironman rule that prohibits you from handing anything to a spectator, so she had to finish the run with the breast milk.
Her final time in the Arizona event was six hours, 12 minutes, 44 seconds.
In addition to her infant son, Sloan also had a toddler at the time. She had recently returned to work and had to act as a solo parent while her husband was traveling. Luckily, Sloan had worked pumping into her training schedule, FOX News reported.
She said that, prior to the race, she had been concerned about not finishing it due to a hectic training schedule and a nagging injury. Sloan credited her family members for their love and support.
She's also completed two 140.6-mile Ironman races in the past, according to published reports.
*This was originally published in 2018, but has been updated.