Post-natal Blues

I had a pretty easy pregnancy, all things considered.  I managed to get out on the bike a couple of times during the first two trimesters, but being fairly risk averse at the best of times, I took it very steady. I even got a heart rate monitor to make sure that I didn’t go over the oft-cited 140 limit.  This gave me two options:

  1. Flat, easy routes such as Draycote Water and the Stratford Greenway
  2. Riding an e-bike

I generally stuck to 1, but I did get the opportunity to demo an e-bike at the Leisure Lakes Demo Day last year. It was glorious – it was the first time I’ve ever been able to ride up a hill with no knee pain whatsoever. It also created the (probably comical) sight of five month pregnant woman sailing past a load of other riders. I was doing 11mph. Uphill. To put this in context, my Garmin normally autopauses on the same hill because I’m going so slow…

But, just as summer was cranking up, so was my girth, lack of balance and pelvic girdle pain, and it was getting increasingly difficult to ride. One of the hardest things was the feeling of restriction and desperately missing the woods, especially whilst the weather was glorious.

Fortunately my relatively easy pregnancy was followed by a relatively easy birth – unlike his mother, my son was a speedy little fellow (less than four hours, I’ve had longer bike rides!).  Six weeks later I got the OK from the doctor, and went on a short ride down the greenway.  I managed just under ten miles of flat riding without too much grief, but was a bit tender afterwards.  Which isn’t hugely surprising, really.

Since then, I’ve been gradually increasing my riding. It’s been slow going, as I’ve been breastfeeding, so it’s been hard leaving the little fellow, but he takes a bottle well so I’ve been able to get out a bit.

Since he hit the six month mark, I’ve gotten a bit more adventurous and started ‘proper’ riding again. I was hoping to have an ebike when I got back riding, as it make it easier riding through winter, with dodgy knees and baby weight, but after a sensible look at our finances we decided against it. Maybe next year. 🙁

So, it was just me and Devastator. I was a bit worried – it’d be my first real test of fitness.  What if my legs crapped out on me?  What if I couldn’t cope cardio-wise?

I won’t lie, it was tough – I was only doing the blue route, but it was the hardest I’d found it in years.  I loved being out though, although it was cold, and miserable, and my knees hurt.  Happily though, my woes were more muscular than cardiovascular – I hadn’t lost too much fitness, but my joints were still knackered from longstanding injury, pregnancy (hello, relaxin!) and the excess weight I still need to shed.

I’ve been out a few more times over Sherbrook Valley, and once over Dalby blue.  Dalby blue is massively improved since the last time, with more single track added. Again, I struggled a bit – I found the initial climb very tough, and the final descent (hooray for flat bits!).

It’d be so easy to get demoralised, as I have been in the past, but I just loved being out, unperturbed by my shoddiness. Ultimately, I’m in a better place than I was when I first started biking, so I’m sure I can get back to where I was!