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36 weeks. Wow, when did that happen? I’m actually closer to 37 weeks now as I type this, meaning that there are only about 3 weeks left until we get to meet this little one. So exciting!
In terms of cycling and staying fit this past week, it’s been a good week of balance. I rode my bike on a number of occasions, mostly taking short (no more than 5 miles round trip) rides to nearby destinations. Today, however, I already rode just over 5 miles this morning and I’d like to take one more bike ride before this evening, which would put me at around a 10 mile total for the day. This would be by far the most bike-intensive day I’ve had this week.
(If you’re wondering how I know exactly how much I’m cycling, it’s because I’ve reattached my bike computer to my bike as I’ve been increasingly curious to see how much I’m riding these days).
But like I said, it’s been a week of balance more than of long rides. I attended my prenatal water aerobics class twice and I went to prenatal yoga once. I walked my dog a couple of times and I started – and this is big for me – doing some of my yoga stretches at home in the evening. All in all, a good mix of a variety of activities that have left me feeling surprisingly good and mobile.
I mentioned this before, but it bears being said again: One of the things that I’ve come to really appreciate from this pregnancy, and that I will take with me long after my body has (hopefully) resumed to its normal state, is the habit of mixing things up. Before being pregnant, I was a runner. And I ran a ton of miles and never felt like doing anything but running. Then I discovered cycling, but I did that mostly for transportation and running remained my main mode of exercise and meditation.
Running, as you can guess, was the first thing to go once I got pregnant. I managed to shuffle on until about mid second trimester and then I stopped. That feels like ages ago to me now. I would have gone crazy had that been the end of my exercise and fitness routine. Being forced to look for gentler and more pregnancy appropriate ways to stay healthy has turned out to be the best thing that’s happened to me during these past months (well, other than this baby, of course). I thought I was being healthy and fit by being such a dedicated runner, but I’ve felt so much better (physically and psychologically) since varying my routine and including activities that make me move (cycling, swimming) with others that make me focus on stretching, lenghtening my muscles, and turning inward (yoga).
The meditative aspect of yoga has also made me feel increasingly ready for the birth. And my midwife notes that the physical aspects of cycling, walking, and swimming will have me well prepared for laboring. My husband and I met with her on Tuesday this week and we specifically discussed that I’m still riding my bike, to which I got an unreserved ‘thumbs up’ to proceed.
According to my midwife, since I’ve been riding my bike on a regular basis all throughout my pregnancy, there is no reason to stop now. My body is used to this type of activity and it doesn’t come as a shock to the system. So if you’re pregnant, make sure to consult with your medical care provider to see what it appropriate for you to be doing. But ask about your options and look for community classes (prenatal yoga, prenatal anything…) and take full advantage of your options in staying healthy and fit during this time.
If you feel good and are not dealing with complications that cause you to be on bed rest or to take it easy physically, I highly recommend searching for your (prenatal) options in your community and maintaining a regular exercise routine that can help you transition through the months.
And besides helping me stay active, the prenatal community groups I’ve found have led me to meet a bunch of really wonderful soon-t0-be moms and some really great new friends. So what came of me being forced to abandon something I loved and having to find something other than running? A newfound appreciation of the many ways to engage my body and mind along with a new group of friends with similar interests and in a similar place in life. All in all, not a bad trade.
I have a standing weekly bike date with my friend H. to get together and write. This is a new tradition that we’ve implemented since H. has finished with her major chemo and radiation treatment and is once again back on her bike. We meet at a local coffee shop, pull out our laptops, and write our little hearts out. H. is a scientist and has articles she needs to publish while I’m toiling away on this one chapter of my dissertation that I want to complete before C. is born. Something about sitting with someone as productive and efficient as H. makes me really bring my A-game to the table and churn out far more work than I would at home.
I love starting those days with a bike ride into town, a visit to a local coffee shop, and a meeting with a good friend before diving into my writing. Then, after a few hours of sitting and working, nothing beats a bike ride home. I can clear my head and take a much deserved mental break as I pedal slowly back to my house. Until next week, H!
The beauty of working in academia is that you generally have a flexible schedule and can do a lot of your writing and research from any location you choose. This is especially true in the summer, when the academic year is on pause and less classes are taught, committees don’t meet, and everything tends to slow down a bit.
Maybe you’re not an academic but you work from home, have a flexible freelance career, or simply need to squeeze in some extra computer hours on the weekend. If this applies to you, consider these 5 simple steps to creating an outdoor office…
1. Grab your bike. Pack a pinic blanket, a pillow (particularly nice for balancing laptop on your lap), and some food. Oh yeah, and your work of course. Wouldn’t want to forget that.
2. Ride to a park, a college campus, or a lake. (Really, any scenic outdoor place will do). Set up shop*.
3. Let your mind take in the beautiful surroundings, the calm of summer, and the taste of seasonal fares. Work for 20 minutes, look up and people watch for ten. Repeat.
4. Napping is totally acceptable in your outdoor office. In fact, it might even be a requirement.
5. Pack up at the end of the day, congratulate yourself on work well done, and ride home. Aren’t you glad you put in a few good hours at the office today? Now you definitely deserve that night off.
*baby belly not required.
Julie is by far one of the cutest bike commuters out there. Her new hot pink tires on her white Linus have me all kinds of jealous but I don’t begrudge her her lovely bike because she’s such a sweet person that she truly deserves it. If you’re not already familiar with her photostream, where she records her bike adventures in NYC, or her blog, you might want to check those out this weekend. And if you’re new to cycling in everyday clothes, bookmark her page with savy tips on all the basics that make a bike commute simpler and more enjoyable.
Happy Weekend Reading!
It’s crazy to think that in two weeks I will be considered ‘full term’ and the baby could come any time. Although she may take another good five weeks before she joins us, we’re ready and excited and wouldn’t mind getting to meet her sooner rather than later.
In order to not go crazy these last weeks in anticipation, it’s been great to just keep doing what I would normally do and busying my days with regular activities. For me that means working on my dissertation, visiting with friends, practicing yoga, going to prenatal swim classes, and – of course – riding my bike.
Weeks 34 and 35 saw a good amount of bike riding still with the occasion of having friends visit us from out of town. I already wrote about how we outfitted everyone with bikes and lead them on an easy 3 mile round trip ride to lunch and home. The following day, only my friend A. remained and we had the day to ourselves while T. went back to work. A. is currently 27 weeks pregnant and so I wasn’t sure if she’d be up for much more riding, but I shouldn’t have been surprised to hear her suggest we take out the bikes once more to go explore the town.
I will write more about this next week, but in short: I gave A., who was visiting us here for the first time, a campus and downtown tour by bike and the two of us, both pregnant, covered nearly 10 miles on bikes that day. And because we took plenty of breaks in between riding, replenished with snacks and water, we felt great and enjoyed the time outdoors and on the bikes. So biking at 35 weeks, even with that huge belly you see, has still been possible and even enjoyable. It’s just a matter of taking it one day at a time and seeing how I feel on that given day and, as always, listening to my body.