Biking with a Bump

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CyclingWhilePregnant

At my first midwife visit, I asked if it would be all right if I kept riding my bike while pregnant. My midwives said that as long as I felt good, didn’t push myself too hard, listened to my body, and felt safe, cycling was a great form of pregnancy exercise.

I’m currently in my 32nd week of pregnancy, and I’m still loving my bike. Here’s why:

Even though I’m in my third trimester and feeling tired, heavy and achy, cycling still feels good. It’s low-impact and (miraculously) makes my back feel better. It makes sense, when your back is being pulled forward all day by a heavy load, spending some time in an opposite posture (with a curved back) is a relief.

There is also something amazing about being able to zip around on a bike when I’ve become used to lumbering. I’m still able to move at a normal human speed on a bike, as opposed to when I’m waddling around on foot. Although I haven’t been swimming much, I imagine it’s the same sort of freeing feeling of being lighter and more agile. It feels wonderful.

Some drawbacks: I have to be much more careful about falls. This means that I find myself getting off my bike a lot more often, for safety’s sake. The people of Collingwood generally will not keep their dogs on leashes, and I have to be careful that no one darts in front of me while I’m riding. One woman actually told me, as I was slowly approaching her off-leash Weimaraner “Watch out, because she WILL run out in front of you.” So, maybe keep her on a leash whilst on this busy, multi-user trail?

Also, as the baby grows, we’re both running out of room and leaning forward is becoming difficult. I suspect that sometime soon the baby will just refuse to cooperate, and I’ll have to give it up. But until then, I’m going to enjoy this as much as I can.

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Back to Blogging…For Now

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I’ve taken a bit of a break from the blog lately.  I didn’t plan on it, but life got interesting.

We’re expecting Baby #2.  Little C is going to be Big Sister C.  And even though I didn’t think a pregnancy would get in the way of my blog-productivity, I spent weeks (and weeks and weeks) feeling so sick that typing on a keyboard would have sent me into a nausea tailspin.

Side note: I had zero morning sickness with C.  I thought I was super tough and designed for pregnancy.  Hubris.  It gets me every time.  Well, I got my comeuppance.  I spent my first trimester feeling like I was going to throw up from the moment I woke up every morning until the moment I went to bed.  I also had food aversions that left me living on crackers, toast, and Kraft Dinner for two months.  I may have developed scurvy.

So now I’m in the wonderful second trimester and back at it.  I’ve been cooking again (unthinkable two months ago) and even biking and running.  Well, “running” is a bit of a stretch.  I’ve been jogging very slowly.  I’ve been doing some extra work for the board of directors.  And I’m hoping to get back to blogging for a while.

I say “for a while” because I’m sure when this baby arrives I’ll be far too busy and exhausted to do anything other than try to keep everyone in this house alive and fed.  But for now, the blog is back.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

A Cabin in the Woods…With a Five-Month-Old…In February

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Last February, Pete convinced me to go on a cross-country ski excursion to a cabin in Quebec.  I say “convinced me” because I wasn’t ready, with a five-month-old, for a trip like that.  But looking back, I think it’s something I could do (with an older baby, of course) and I’m ready to share some of the lessons I learned on that adventure.

The cabin in Quebec’s Reserve faunique Papineau Labelle

Some backstory: Pete’s friends live in Ottawa, which is about a six-hour drive from us.  His friends, who had two little ones at the time, aged almost-four and eighteen months, had done this trip before and had made it an annual event.  Pete was really looking forward to seeing them and getting away for a long weekend.

Cross-country skiing across a lake in Quebec

The long drive to Ottawa was followed, a few days later, by another long drive to the park in Quebec, which was then followed by a long cross-country ski into the cabin.  It was only accessible by ski or snowmobile.  The park delivered some of our luggage by snowmobile (and a park warden stopped by once a day to check on us) but we towed some of our gear, and kids, by chariot.

The cabin was on a beautiful lake, and it was fairly remote.

C being towed behind Pete while cross-country skiing.

There was no hydro or running water.  We had water filters and propane for lights, so we weren’t roughing it too much.  There were wood stoves for heat.  And although I had to run out to the outhouse in the middle of the night (in February, in Quebec, brrr…) I will admit that I’ve never seen such beautiful stars as I did on those nights.

A beautiful February night

We stayed for two nights, and here are some of the lessons I learned:

1) Don’t push yourself.  This is a good, general parenting rule.  I’ve learned not to push myself too much.  Sometimes I try to do too much, and I always pay the price.  For new parents, it can be hard to accept your new limits, especially if you were very active or very social.  It can be hard to accept that you can’t travel as much or be as spontaneous as you once were.  But things change so quickly with little ones and soon you’ll be able to do more of those things again.

Snuggling in the cabin

2) Travel once your baby is eating solid food.  This is just a personal rule I’m going to follow myself, and it’s related to point number one.  I found it stressful to be the sole source of food for my baby on a trip like this.  I wasn’t ready for it.  I find, now that C eats snacks, that it is so easy to keep her happy and full in a pinch.

Pete filtering lake water while C sleeps in her baby carrier

3) Follow your own schedule.  As a new parent, I found routines comforting, and C depended on them.  Even at five months, our baby had a fairly regular routine.  By travelling with others, we really upset that routine and that meant that our baby (who was exclusively breastfed at the time) went too long without eating, and that stressed both me and her out.

All in all, I would say the trip was a success.  We all survived, Pete got to visit with some great friends, and we all learned to properly appreciate indoor plumbing.

Pete cooking our dinner over the campfire

Race Goals Redux

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I will be writing about the mountain adventure race shortly, but I have to order some ridiculous, embarrassing photos of myself before I can post anything.  And believe me, they are both ridiculous and embarrassing.  The folks at Met Con Blue haven’t uploaded all of their race photos yet, so I’ll have to wait a few days before I can post them.  If the photos I’ve seen so far are any indication, they will be worth the wait.

In the meantime, I thought I should revisit my race goals:

1)      Do not get poison ivy.  Success!  I have to admit that there were several times when I was so tired, muddy and miserable that I forgot to look out for that malevolent little plant, but I managed to evade it in the end.  Yay!

2)      Finish.  I managed this as well.

3)      Get a photo with the girls.  This is where things broke down.  I did get a photo with a few of them, but I missed a few key training buddies.  Oh well, I knew this one would be tricky.  Wrangling friends for a group photo is challenging at the best of times, let alone when everyone is muddy and miserable and trying to find the beer tent.

I’m pretty pleased with that outcome.  To quote Meat Loaf, “Two out of three ain’t bad.”

Met Con Blue – Mission Complete

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We did it!  We survived the mountain adventure race.  I’m sore, and my feet are still cold as I type this, but I finished the race and managed all but one of the obstacles.

I’ll write a longer post about the race later in the week, but for now I’m going to share some photos taken by my friend and our team’s cheerleader (she even made us a sign!) Laura Rice.

The aforementioned sign. That was pretty sweet of her to do.

My friend Sarah and her husband Dave racing to the finish line

The finish line! Finally. I thought I would never see you.

Tracy, Joe, me and Christa at the finish line! We lost Sarah and Dave for this photo.

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Race Goals

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Race day is coming up fast and I’m starting to feel…ready for it to be over.  I’ve been training fairly hard, for me, anyway.  I’ve been going to postnatal fitness classes, running several times a week, going to the odd yoga class and to some spinning at the Y.  I’ve run the course a few times with some of the other new moms who are doing the race.

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Here we are at the top of the hill!

I’ve had a good time and it’s been fun to see results, especially after having a baby.  But I’ve found myself running low on free time for other things.

I’m definitely not going to set any records, and I won’t be able to get myself over an 8 foot wall by myself.  Even the over-unders are going to be a challenge.

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Over-unders are a heck-of-a-thing.

And I’ve blocked out the fact that one of the obstacles involves *fire*.  I’m just in this race for the fun of it.

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Photographic evidence of the fun.

But I do have some goals:

1)      Do not get poison ivy.  This is most important.  Even more important than finishing.  I get poison ivy if it wafts on the breeze in my direction, so this could be difficult.  But I’m going to do everything in my power to stay in the middle of the trail and not be pushed off into the poison-ivy-laden forest.  Watch out for my elbows, racers.

2)      Finish.  I’m pretty sure I’ll finish, but there will be snow and fire and poison ivy and spectators with super soakers, so who knows.

3)      Get a photo with the girls.  This could be tricky, because we’ll all be finishing at different times, but it may happen.

Overall, I’m glad I signed up for this crazy race.  Let’s hope I still feel that way on Saturday at 9:00 am.

Banjo vs. Bagpipes

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This is going to be a quick post, because it’s the long weekend and our little family is going to attempt a hike when the baby wakes up in a few minutes.  Hiking with C is a challenge because she dislikes baby carriers, but we’re attempting to desensitize her to them by taking her on pleasant, short hikes once in a while.  This is (we hope) going to result in baby who will be happy to go on a 10 km hike in July when we take her camping in Algonquin Park.  I’m only half joking.

I’m writing this as a bit of an update to my last post about how to play a loud instrument with a baby around.  This past Friday, at a pre-party for the mountain race that I’m doing in less than two weeks (eeek!) I met a woman who plays the bagpipes.  She also has a baby boy who is a little older than C.  I asked her a million questions.  She told me the following:

1) She can’t play bagpipes in the house, even when her baby is awake and happy, because they’re too loud and they scare him.  A lot.

2) She practices with her pipes & drums group, but can’t practice anywhere else unless it’s with a little kazoo-type, bagpipe-practicing contraption that doesn’t make much noise.  I’ve heard of these.  They’re good for learning new songs and developing muscle memory.

3) She couldn’t play her bagpipes much at the end of her pregnancy because it’s so physically demanding that it would cause painful contractions.  Apparently she would still play with the pipes & drums but would have to sit out the odd song because of this.  She is tough stuff.

What I took away from this conversation is that I should make a better effort to keep up my practicing.  If this awesome bagpipes-playing woman can manage to keep up her practicing with a baby who is terrified of her instrument, I have no excuse.  Even though the banjo is loud, it is nowhere near bagpipes-level noisy.  So it’s decided.  There will be daytime hoedowns in this house.

Now I just have to deal with the fact that my tuner is broken.  Its demise involves peanut butter.  I’ll discuss this later.  In the meantime, I hope everyone is having a fantastic long weekend!  Happy Victoria Day!

Running Up That Hill

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I’m signed up for a “mountain adventure race” that is taking place in less than a month.  I put that in quotes because there is no mountain in my town.  There is an escarpment that we call a mountain.  I thought I should clear this up, lest anyone think that I’m training to run up a legitimate peak.

Keeping active is one of the things I’ve tried hard to do during C’s infancy so far.  It’s good for both of us.  I think it’s important to model a healthy lifestyle.  I want to be able to keep up with Pete once I actually get my own bike (one of Pete’s may have to move out to make room.)  And C really likes being around other babies at mom-and-baby fitness classes.  It’s a win-win-win.

I started going to postnatal fitness classes at the YMCA when C was seven weeks old.  At first, I took it easy and only went once a week.   I went for lots of walks with her in those first few months though, because the weather was absolutely glorious until mid-December.

In January I added a second postnatal class to our schedule, and this one was more of a boot camp.  C loves these classes, because she gets to hang out with other babies and watch moms jump around and do endless burpees and generally suffer a lot.  Babies like that sort of thing.

I became friends with some pretty active and athletic new moms who encouraged me to sign up for this race.  And I’ve had a lot of fun training with them.

Here is a photo of our group training to get ourselves over a 6’ wall (among other obstacles).  The YMCA staff have been great and have set up obstacles for us to train on.  They’re super fantastic.

All in all, I’ve had a great time training for this race.  The actual race may kill me, but the training has been fun.  But as I’ve gotten stronger I’ve started to wonder: how will I be able to keep fit once I start working again?

I said in my first post that I was hoping to get some tips from readers.  Right now, I’m able to exercise because I bring C with me to the gym during the day.  But once I go back to work, I won’t be able to do that.

Here’s what I want to know from parents who work.  How do you find time to exercise?