Saturday, June 6, 2015

Third Trimester

At 30 weeks, I am officially into the third trimester. 10 weeks to go!

I'm still riding to work (about 4.5 miles), but I think my days are numbered. DC summers are notoriously hot and humid, and I can't risk over heating. I've been very lucky the last few weeks, as the weather has been cool and dry. I'm still able to physically ride, but I'm not going to risk heat complications. My midwife was starting to give me the concerned clucking when she saw me in bike shorts at my last appointment. "Yes, we might have to stop riding's getting hot out there!".

My belly is now pretty obvious to everyone. I was riding to work the other day, and a man in a truck very cautiously pulled up beside me, his eyes as big as saucers when he saw the belly. "You feeling okay?". Haha, yeah, man. I'm feeling okay.  My midwife has warned me about changes in my center of gravity, but I honestly haven't noticed anything different. My balance is still the same, or at least I'm not noticing a difference since I ride nearly every day. I did notice a huge difference when I went swimming last week and got out of the pool. It felt like I weighed a million pounds! I still haven't had to adjust much of my riding. I'm still riding the Orange Velo Polyvalent with drop bars (aka Kermit). I still wear pretty much what I usually wear on a bike (bike shorts, jersey). My feet haven't suffered any swelling, so I still wear my usual bike shoes (Keen Commuters). My belly hasn't bothered me for my short commutes, so I haven't adjusted my saddle or handlebars. I try to avoid hills as much as possible, because I do notice some niggling pain in my belly (similar to RLP) sometimes when I'm riding up a long hill, and I don't want my heart rate/breathing rate to get too high. Luckily, my commute doesn't involve any strenuous hills.

Some big changes are coming up very soon (changes at work, buying a house and possibly moving), so I'm just trying to take things day by day and not let unnecessary worries bother me. This is one thing pregnancy is teaching me: I can't let things that are out of my control bother me. I just need to trust that everything will work itself out in the end.

My virtual ride for the Police Unity Tour went fairly well. I had to shorten it to one day (instead of 3) because I managed to catch a nasty Spring Cold, and couldn't breathe through my nose anymore; so I spent the rest of the week in bed. I was disappointed I wasn't able to ride the C&O canal towpath like I had planned, but I felt physically awful.  Still, that one day of riding was great. It was a perfect day outside, and even riding around in one big loop didn't get boring. It will be nice to ride with the group next year, though.

And since I've seen other folks do it:

Number of weeks pregnant: 30

Belly button status: Still an innie!

Worst symptom: I'm actually suffering from an annoying leg cramp right now. Ow. Oh, and the heartburn has begun too.

Exercise: Daily bike commute (4.5 miles), walks around the neighborhood, and the occasional squat set.

Weight Gain: I believe its been around 15lbs, the last time I checked.

Feet: I can still touch my toes and put my shoes on, but I can no longer see my feet if I look down. No swelling either, and I still wear the same size shoe.

Baby Movement: Kiddo has been kicking/punching up a storm lately. It's a little weird. Still haven't spotted any extremities poking against my belly, but that's mostly because I refuse to look...because CREEPY.

Reading: Wheels within Wheels: The Making of a Traveler (Dervla Murphy); Natural Hospital Birth (Cynthia Gabriel).

Craving: Ice cream. Smoothies. Milkshakes. Anything cold & creamy.

Awkward Moments: I haven't really experienced many, yet. Mostly it has to do with well-meaning folks and riding my bike.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Waving goodbye to the 2nd Trimester

I'm currently sailing through Week 26, and pretty soon will be starting the final trimester of this pregnancy.

Second tri is great! I feel so much better than I did in the first trimester. I have energy again, and I don't feel like emptying the contents of my stomach every 5 minutes.

So far I haven't had to make any adjustments to my bike or my biking style. I haven't found anything to be particularly more difficult than it was before. I currently commute on a bike with drop bars, and although I was worried about my belly getting too big and hitting my knees while riding, that has not been the case yet. But the Bump is definitely growing. I went out for a walk the other day, and I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a window....yikes! Of course I see myself in the mirror everyday, but I don't really see myself.  I guess I'll see how the growing belly will affect my riding in the last trimester. If I need to, I can switch over to a bicycle with straight bars instead of drop bars and adjust things for a more upright riding style.

I have adjusted my commute slightly. I no longer ride after dark if I can help it. Mostly this is because my route home takes me through a heavy bar/club area, and I simply don't trust drivers (and pedestrians) to not be drunk on the road. I distinctly recall one ride home through this area (before I was pregnant) and a young man driving some type of sporty car ahead of me decided he didn't want to sit in the heavy club traffic, so he gunned it and tried to pass the car ahead of him at about 80 miles an hour. The laws of physics kicked in (2 objects cannot occupy the same space) and he ended up ping-ponging off of about 3 cars and ended up on the sidewalk. That move takes a certain kind of judgment that only alcohol can provide. No one was hurt, but it was super scary. So glad I was BEHIND him, but it was so scary to watch it unfold. I don't mind risking it when it's just me, but I'm not going to put this kiddo at risk if I don't need to. Instead, the hubster picks me up after work and we stick Kermit (my commuting bike) on a bike rack. Handy.

Speaking of risks, I got a pretty severe lecture from a coworker (a subordinate, no less) who was downright angry that I was biking to work while pregnant. This coworker saw me pull into the parking lot on my bicycle and immediately laid into me, ranting that I had no right to put a child at risk and that she doesn't trust drivers in DC (despite being one herself), blah blah blah. She didn't even give me a chance to respond, and honestly I started getting so angry I just walked away from her mid-rant. I'm used to getting Looks, and the occasional off-hand "Question Comment" (i.e. you're still riding pregnant? Is your doctor okay with that?), but this was absolutely not okay. I've become acutely aware of how pregnancy turns a woman into public property. Whether its a coffee shop barista who "helpfully" gives you a decaf coffee despite you not ordering decaf or someone commenting "are you supposed to be eating that?" while you are trying to eat lunch; or complete strangers feeling absolutely entitled to touching you (I've discovered that if I rub their belly in return, they stop); some people seem to forget that you are a capable adult human being and not just a walking incubator. Anyway, after I had a chance to calm down (and rant on twitter for a bit), I pulled that coworker aside and explained that 1). It was really not okay to speak to me like that. 2)I am still a supervisor, so its REALLY not ok to speak to me like that. 3)If she was genuinely concerned about my chosen method of commuting, I have no problem having a CONVERSATION about it, outside of work, but that I will not be lectured. 4). That my commute on my bicycle is the best part of my day, that I look forward to it, that it is time that is completely for ME, and that it actually helps me to relax & lower my blood pressure (which I need), and she made it the exact opposite of that with her lecture. She did apologize. I know that these sorts of "issues" happen because the other person genuinely thinks they are being helpful, but still....I get really tired of the pearl-clutching "think of the children!" rhetoric when its really about controlling/judging someone else.

Did I rant a bit there? Sorry.

Anyway. The weather is changing and that means its time to adjust my bike bag contents. Instead of extra gloves, scarves & layers, I now bring sunscreen, wet wipes, a towel and rain gear. (This is in addition to my usual commute essentials: lunch/snacks, water, change of clothes). I'm not complaining. I'm SO over cold weather. Give me heat & humidity. Please. My current commute outfit is usually a running/yoga capri and a bike jersy or large t-shirt. It works so far. (Weird fact: I can still fit into my usual pants. I have bought a few pairs of maternity pants for work, but my regular pants still fit fine. Shirts are another matter.)

This weekend (starting Sunday) is the Police Unity Tour. Thank you all that donated! I met my fundraising goal, so now I just need to ride the 205 miles. Yikes. My plan is to head over to Hains Point in the morning, and generally follow the mileage/rest stop guidelines from the cue sheet from previous rides. The first day is about 85 miles, the second is 80 and the last is 45ish. Will I actually ride all those miles? I don't know, but I'm going to try. I plan to take it nice and easy though. If I start to feel to uncomfortable, I will stop and call it a day. I'm not trying to go into premature labor here. I plan on having the hubster stop by with refreshments throughout the day. This means I can ride Blue (my carbon fiber frame road bike) instead of Kermit since I won't need to carry snacks/lunch/hydration for the whole day on my bike. If any of you are in town and want to ride in circles, feel free to stop by! I'll be wearing my Police Unity Tour jersey.  I'll post more specifics here the night before (as well as on Facebook and Twitter). It's supposed to be HOT, but clear those days. We'll see.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Remembering Jim

Hi! Before I get to relating my usual cycling shenanigans, I just wanted to remind you that I'm still raising funds for the 2015 Police Unity Tour!

A little over 10 years ago, I was out of college and had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I had vague thoughts of working for some criminal policy think tank, but the string of temp jobs I was currently working had turned me off of office work. I wanted to be outside, I wanted to be around people, and I didn't like playing office politics. Staring at a computer screen for 8 hours a day was killing me with boredom.

Luckily I had a friend with a solution. His name was Jim. We weren't close friends, but we ran in the same social circles & and we were LiveJournal buddies (before there was Facebook and Twitter and Blogger, there was LiveJournal. I will posting a few excerpts from his posts; I do so without any permission, and I hope Jim's family won't mind. I didn't know who to ask). Jim had just joined the Metropolitan Police Department and was going through the academy. He loved it.

He wrote about his adventures, and I followed every word. He graduated and was assigned to the First District, and his stories changed from enduring the physical challenges of the police academy to life on the street. His stories were hilarious. He obviously loved his job. Did I mention he was attending law school too? That's insane. At that time, a rookie police officer could easily put in 12+ hour days working their shift plus court commitments. To attend law school classes on top of that is amazing, and showed the dedication that he had. It wasn't a surprise at all when he was made Rookie of the Year for the First District. Jim was proud of being a police officer, and it showed. Even on a "bad" day, he was still proud of what he was doing.

Jim knew I was suffering a slow death in my temp jobs, so one day he sent me an email: "Wanna join MPD?" I thought he was crazy. Me, a police officer? He told me that he thought this would be the perfect job for me, and that he would be a reference for me. I thought it over....and put my application in. In March of 2005, I was accepted into the Metropolitan Police Department Academy and began my career. I fully credit Jim with giving me the confidence and the nudge to apply.

While I was in the academy, Jim was still busy policing the busy streets of the First District. His patrol area included the National Law Enforcement Memorial, and I remember him writing about how seriously he took that duty:
I had one person ask, so let me extend this to everyone. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is on my beat (and I make sure its safe and skateboarder free) so if anyone wants a rubbing and can't make it down here let me know and I can get it for you

One thing Jim wanted very much was to become a bike patrol officer. He begged his Commander to allow him to attend a training class. The Police Mountain Bike training certification is a coveted and difficult certification. The physical skills required to obtain the certification are some of the most challenging on the department. There's often a waiting list to get into the class. Unsurprisingly, Jim managed to get into the class.

I remember him talking about how excited he was. It was August. It was very hot. I was still in the academy.
So today was my first of five days in mountain bike school.

It hurt.

It was hard.

It was full of rain, mud, scapes, crashes, bumps, brusies, sun burn, and pain.

And it was a damn lot of fun.

The first thing we did was the usual administrative nonsense (sign this, write that, read this, agree to A B and C etc.), then we learned how to work and do basic maintence on our Smith and Wesson bikes. Then we went riding. We tackled small hills (and at the begining, before I figured out how the gears work, I couldnt do even small hills), then long rides, then hills again. Hills suck, but the long rides were fun. I believe I drank over 7 liters of water all told... and I was still wanting for more towards the last half of the ride (Monica you thought the 3 liter camelback was to big!)

After my intial gear working issues I def kept pace with the group. They tell you when you start the class that its all mental... and it is. I refuse to fail, and so far I've been doing well. Will power and gel pads. I'm not sure when gel pads became the rage, but I found shorts with gel pads and gloves with gel pads, both of which def helped with my overall post-class comfort.

Tommorrow: Big hills.

It was a hot afternoon, and I was in the academy's gym when there was some sort of disturbance. I wasn't sure what was going on. I just saw our instructors huddled together, whispering something. They looked worried. I heard whispers of an officer getting sick? Hurt? Going to the hospital? I didn't know. I just knew I had to get through this defensive tactics class.

It wasn't for a few days before I realized what happened. That the "sick" officer was Jim. And that he died.

Jim died of hyponatremia. He became ill on the 2nd day of the class and began vomiting. The instructors assumed he was dehydrated and gave him water to drink. They didn't realize that was the problem. Jim had drank so much water to prepare for the class, he had diluted the sodium concentration in his blood. His body began to shut down. Paramedics were already on the scene treating an officer that had injured his knee when Jim started having convulsions. They rushed him to the hospital, but it was too late. He fell into a coma and never woke up.

Jim was my first Line of Duty death. The Washington Post story about his death is here. I still check Jim's livejournal from time to time. If anything, it reminds me of why I became a police officer on the days when I start questioning everything.  Jim's enthusiasm and dedication to his duties still shines on.

Jim is why I became a bike officer. I couldn't help but think of him while I went through the same class he did.

It breaks my heart every time I am at the Memorial to see his name there. This was his beat! He should be patrolling it, not carved on it. None of those names should be there. But there they are. They are a reminder of the price we all pay for peace and order.

Jim was very lucky. He died doing what he loved. Even after death, he continued to serve his community.

I wish I could say that Jim is the only friend/coworker of mine up on that Memorial, but that is not the case. The Law Enforcement Memorial is one of the few memorials that keeps growing every year.

This is why I ride. Every dollar that is raised by the Unity Tour goes to the upkeep and preservation of the Memorial. It goes to preserving their legacies, and supporting their families. Please consider donating today (please be sure to include my name, Kathleen Coffey, under the rider information).

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

It's a...

First off, let me assure you I do not participate in April Fool's Day foolishness. You can read this post in safety. I can't make that assurance for the rest of the internet, however. Browse at your own risk today.

The Husband and I found out the sex of our little alien. It's a.....

Honestly, I had no preference either way. I just want a healthy, happy child. Everything looked good at the anatomy scan, so that was reassuring. We haven't decided on a name yet, but we probably won't reveal it anyway until after the baby is born.

I am now 21 weeks along and halfway through! Time really is flying. I really need to buckle down and start making lists of things we'll need to do and buy. It's a bit overwhelming. I did find out something interesting: the hubster is very much AGAINST cycling with children in a city. I may have some serious research and convincing to do. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Speaking of bridges (see photo below), we made a trip to visit Bass Pro Shops for camping supplies last weekend. I am determined to do an overnight bike camping trip before the baby is here. The husband has never been camping before, so I'd like for him to come along as well. He seems intrigued by the idea, even though he'll probably drive to the campsite rather than bike. I think a simple overnight trip will be manageable for the both of us.

 See, isn't the outdoors FUN? If you're not falling off a bridge, there's a bear waiting to maul you! This was an actual display at Bass Pro Shops. Way to sell nature, guys. 

Happy Spring! The weather finally seems to be catching up, and I feel comfortable getting back into the groove of bike commuting again. To help keep me on track, I pledged to ride my bike every day for 30 days in the month of April (again). I've done this the last few years. It's a great way to kick off spring riding. Today's ride was glorious. Sunny, clear, and warm(ish).

April is also when I start going to into high gear for Police Unity Tour fundraising. You can check out entries from previous years about my experiences riding with the Police Unity Tour. It's amazing. I encourage you to check out these videos that were filmed during our ride last year to get an idea what it's all about.  This year I won't be physically riding WITH Chapter IV, but I am still a registered rider. I plan on putting the miles in. If the weather is decent, I'll be at Hains Point May 10th, 11th & 12th riding in circles.  You can join me! If the weather is crappy, I'll be on my trainer at home.

I have a fundraising goal of $1750 by the end of this month, and I could really use your help reaching it. For the next few weeks, I'm going to be talking about the National Law Enforcement Memorial (to which the funds raised go towards) and the importance of organizations like the Police Unity Tour.

Most importantly, I want to talk about the law enforcement officers that I personally worked with whose names are now up on the wall at the Memorial.

You can read more about the Memorial here.

The profession of policing has come under fire recently. Confidence in our law enforcement institutions is probably at the lowest its ever been. You might be asking yourself why you should support anything to do with policing. The answer to that is simple; it is more important than ever to support law enforcement officers. There are over 750,000 sworn law enforcement professionals in this country; 750,000 men and women that perform their job duties in a professional, ethical and compassionate manner every single day. As important as it is to identify and correct problem officers and policies in law enforcement, it is just as important to recognize that those problem officers are a very small minority. When we are doing our jobs well, no one notices. And that's how it should be--it means that things are GOOD.  No one calls 911 because they are having a good day. Generally, if the police are involved it means something went terribly wrong. Those 750,000 professionals that do their jobs well need to know that they are valued and that they are needed; they need to hear this from you.

Policing is often a thankless job. Police officers are called upon to do things that most citizens will never even consider. It's not just a cliche that while most folks run FROM danger, police officers run TOWARDS it; and they do it for you.

Do you know what happens after an officer handles a robbery call or an assault call or a child abuse call or any other of the myriad terrible, awful and sometimes traumatic calls that police officers handle?

They take the next call.

Think about it. Think about the most awful, horrible thing that's ever happened to you, or you've been witness to. Think about your reaction. Could you keep going on with your day? Could you handle another incident?

For those of you new to this blog, I am a patrol supervisor (I was a patrol officer for 9 years prior to being promoted). Tonight, three of my officers were assaulted and injured while handling an assignment. Minor injuries, but not insignificant. Do you know what they will be doing tomorrow?

Taking the next call and doing it again. And it's only the beginning of the week.

Being a police officer is not simply a job or a career. It is a Calling. It requires a certain strength of character. It requires a thick skin. It requires empathy, not sympathy. Strength, not brutality. Courage, not ego.

Most of all, it requires your support and your trust. Otherwise, our role is meaningless. Our job is nearly impossible if we do not have the support of the public behind us. Police Officers ARE citizens. We are YOU, and you are US. Those names on that wall? Those are YOUR brothers and sisters too.

I will continue to talk about this in the next few weeks. If you would like to make a donation to the Police Unity Tour, you can do so here. Hopefully I will have a direct link on the sidebar soon. Please be sure to include my name (Kathleen Coffey) as the rider you are supporting.

I'd like to leave you with some statistics that were just released by the FBI: (pardon the all-caps and robotic phrasing. This was a teletype message).






























Monday, March 16, 2015

19 weeks, and Errandonnee Roundup

Headed into week 19 and nothing new to report. We find out the sex in two days! That's about it, pregnancy-wise.

I was signed up for the Vasa Ride yesterday, but I slept in instead. I was super sick the day before (I caught a coworker's bug) and was feeling miserable. I knew I did the right thing when I woke up feeling like a million bucks. I like the Vasa Ride, but I've done it enough times that it actually tends to seem tedious, rather than an adventure. I liked looking at the pics and reading about other folks's experience with the ride.

I am sad to report that I did NOT finish the 2015 Errandonnee, and I am perfectly fine with that. My main objective in participating in this challenge was to get my butt back on the bike, and it certainly did that. Mission accomplished, and I'm happy with that. I will recap what I managed to do:

Errand #1: Seeing Kim Boekbinder perform
Category: Arts & Entertainment
Date: March 7th, 2015
Miles: 9.5
Bike: Kermit
Observations: I helped Kickstart her album The Sky is Calling, and this was her long-anticipated DC show for it. I highly recommend her music. The Impossible Girl and The Sky is Falling are some of my favorite albums. She was one-half of the music duo, Vermillion Lies. I was a little hesitant about riding to the venue (The Electric Maid) because it was in an area I'm not familiar with, on a Saturday night. It was perfectly fine though. I did regret not bringing my gloves for the ride home--it was cold!

268 Carroll St. NW: a small, intimate community arts space

Snow was still on the ground, but the roads were clear.

Errand 2: Getting some baby stuff done at a local coffee shop
Category: Personal Business
Date: March 9th, 2015
Miles: 3.3
Bike: Kermit
Observations: I bought "The Belly Book" on the recommendation of friends. It's similar to a baby-book, but for the pregnancy itself. I'm pretty terrible at keeping mementos of important occasions, and figured this would be a nice thing to have for later. It's easy, because it contains lots of prompts for writing things down. I've really gotten out of practice with writing by hand; my handwriting is awful. 

Errand 3: Blogging
Category: Personal Business
Date: March 11th 2015
Miles: 2.9
Bike: Kermit
Observations: I really like the 15th Street cycle track and I'm glad it is there. I remember the wailing performed by certain businesses that this cycle track was going to cost them customers because some parking spots had to be removed. Guess what? Cyclists are customers too! And I absolutely consider whether your business is on a bike friendly route as to whether I'll bother stopping by (also, safe & convenient bike parking). Peet's Coffee, the shop that I chose to stop in, is right on the cycle track, making it super convenient. While sitting at the window, I think I saw at least 50-75 cyclists using the cycle track--all potential customers. That was just in an hour.

the cycle track runs in front of the sidewalk.

Errand 4: Work Commute
Category: Work/Volunteering
Date: March 13th, 2015
Miles: 9.7
Bike: Kermit
Observations: The weather was finally nice enough that I felt comfortable riding to work. It was great, but I also forget that spring weather means Road Work begins again. There was a lot of it. It didn't affect me too much though. I was planning on having The Husband pick me and Kermit up from work (I'm still hesitant about riding late at night, especially Fri/Sat nights), but he wasn't able to--so I rode home. And it was perfectly fine. I can't wait to do this regularly again.

Kermit chilling in the locker room.

Errand 5: Lunch at Kangaroo Boxing Club
Category: Social Call
Date: March 15th, 2015
Miles: 1.4 
Bike: Kermit
Observations: I don't actually like duck as much as I think I do. I stopped here for lunch because I haven't been by in forever, and I wanted to see some familiar faces. Also, I was hungry. I was planning on getting the Constanza burger (so good!) but the pulled duck sandwich caught my eye, so I ordered that instead. It was good, but not as good as the burger would have been. Oh well. Still a good meal over all.

Pulled duck with blackberry caramelized onions, slaw & fries.

Errand 6: Getting stuff for the turtles at Petco
Category: Store
Date: March 15th, 2015
Miles: .5
Bike: Kermit
Observation: I really go there to play with the animals.

This is the husband's greatest nightmare. He is terrified of birds.

Errand 7: Coffee to go
Category: Personal Care
Date: March 15th, 2015
Miles: .4
Bike: Kermit
Observation: A place called Zombie Coffee & Donuts definitely caught my interest. I was feeling tired, so I figured I would get a latte for the ride home. To my dismay, this place isn't nearly as cool as I thought it would be. All of their coffee drinks are "made" by one of those automatic coffee dispensers. *womp womp*. I didn't try their donuts, so maybe they are better at that. I didn't have my coffee mug with me, so I just used their paper to-go cup. I managed to keep MOST of my drink in the cup by the time I got home.

bumpy ride.

And that's as far as I got. It's not that I ran out of time; I ran out of errands. I don't feel like spending time making up errands to do today, so I'm just gonna call it quits here. I've managed to get out on my bike the last week more than I would have otherwise, so I consider that a win.

P.S. Bike to Work Day registration is open! Sign up!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

18 weeks

18 weeks this week, and I'm feeling ok. I actually had to take a week off of work due to some blood pressure issues, but they seem to have resolved themselves.

The weather is finally cooperating, and I've gotten a few bike rides in. The 2015 Errandonnee Challenge is underway, so that has provided a great incentive to get out on my bike.  I'll do a full write-up of my errands once the challenge is concluded, but in the meantime I've ridden to see a Kim Boekbinder performance (entertainment), rode to a cafe to work on some baby stuff (personal business) and am currently sitting in a Peet's Coffee off of the 15th St. cycle track writing this blog post (personal business). So that's 3 out of 12 so far.  I plan to start commuting to work again this week, so two of those rides can count as well.

Getting some personal business done at Pleasant Pops

Blogging live, from Peet's. If you look closely, you can see the 15th St. cycle track in front. One of the reasons why I picked this place: bikes=business.

On Saturday night, I rode to The Electric Maid, which is a community arts space in the Takoma neighborhood. It was a 4.5 mile ride each way. I was worried about riding in the dark with the bar crowd on the roads, but it was fine. The route I took avoided main roadways. It was a little bit of a struggle in places because it's uphill, but I just took it slowly and shifted into my granny gear (which hasn't been used in years!). My bump is just beginning to take shape, and I did notice a little bit of contact with my knees, but its not a problem...yet. I will probably need to make some adjustments in a month or so.

A nice, intimate space. 268 Carroll St. NW

One of the opening bands (I think this was Martin Bisi).

Although the snow was gone from most of the roads, piles still remained on sidewalks.

A terrible picture of Kim Bookbinder, performing songs from her album, The Sky is Calling

This weekend is also the Vasa Ride! I really hope the weather cooperates. The weather forecast says clear and mid-50's, so I'll take it. I signed up for the 30 mile route, but I'm leaving myself the option to bail to the 16 mile route. It's been months since I've been cycling regularly, and this ride can be challenging at the best of times. I'll be wearing a heart-rate monitor to make sure my HR stays in a safe-zone. I'm also ok if I finish after the Blueberry Soup is gone. I've had it before. My goal will be to enjoy the ride. That's it.

As for pregnancy stuff: we find out if it's a girl or boy next week! Once we know the sex, we'll start working on names and a registry. I have NO clue as to what we'll need. I don't know even know if we'll still be living in the same place. We have a lot to figure out soon. In the meantime, I'm trying to work on taking better care of me. I have two goals to work on for now: get into a regular nighttime routine (I'm a terrible night owl), and get an activity of some sort in before going to work. Currently, I tend to stay up watching tv or puttering around on the internet until the wee hours of the morning and then wake up at the very last minute before having to go into work. I don't work until the afternoon, so I end up wasting an entire morning sleeping. I still need my beauty rest, but if I went to bed at a decent hour, I could still get it. Then I could do something fun in the mornings. It will also eliminate the "all I do is work" feeling I get. So those are my goals for now.

Anyone else excited for Spring?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Baby On Board

Let's get the big news out of the way first. I'm pregnant!  I'm currently 16 weeks and some change, just beginning the second trimester. I'm due in August. I know that one of my New Year's goals was to blog more often but I just wasn't ready to talk about this yet and I haven't had much else to talk about, including biking. I kept starting a blog post, and then....not finishing it. I'm going to try and change this now that I'm feeling better. My hope is to write at least one post a week.

I'm alien?

The first trimester was pretty brutal for me. I felt awful everyday, and it really limited my daily activities including bike commuting. Morning sickness is no joke. In the first few weeks of my pregnancy, I was able to continue biking as normal. However, when I hit about 8 weeks or so, the nausea and vomiting was just too much. I couldn't get more than 2 miles or so before nearly (or actually) throwing up. With the weather getting colder (and snowier), I gave up for awhile. It was too much.

Now that I'm in the second trimester, some sense of normalcy is starting to return. I still have bad days, but I'm also having good days as well. I'm hoping to return to bike commuting more regularly.

My midwife has cleared me for biking (as long as I wear a helmet. Ok lady. Fine.) and keep it slow and steady. I plan to keep it up as long as it is comfortable for me. So far, so good. I'm only starting to develop a bump, so I haven't had to make too many adjustments to the bike.

This winter, combined with morning sickness, means my bike miles have been pretty abysmal. I've only ridden to work ONCE since the new year. It's been difficult because I often get out of work around 10 or 11pm, and I'm not comfortable riding in the dark on streets that might have ice on them. Pregnancy has definitely made me much more cautious about potential falls. Riding TO work is usually fine, because that's in the middle of the afternoon. Riding after dark in the cold is just not appealing. I think I might have a solution though. I bought a bike rack for our car (why yes, we are now a household that owns a car. It's been 3 months and I still haven't driven it.) and my plan for the rest of winter is to ride IN to work as often as I can, and then have the Husband pick me and the bike up FROM work at night. I haven't had a chance to test it out yet.

I did take the opportunity to add some small items to my bike, Kermit. First, I added some Fiks Reflective strips and stickers to my bike since it was getting darker earlier. 

Please ignore the mess in the background, mom.

Then I added a Baby on Board sticker on the back. Why? I don't know, honestly. Maybe folks will take notice and be a bit more cautious and courteous. Or maybe I'm delusional.

This will definitely make all drivers more courteous.

I also set up Blue on a trainer in our apartment, and I've been riding that here and there. I'm usually good for about 25 minutes before nausea starts to take over. It's definitely not as fun and satisfying as riding outdoors, but its better than nothing.

This is my first pregnancy, so all of this is new to me. I've been looking around the web for good pregnancy and biking resources, and they are a bit scarce. There are a few good articles, but I haven't found anything particularly enlightening. I'm more interested in hearing/reading about personal experiences anyway. I've found a few blogs that mention pregnancy or  have a summary of biking while pregnant, but nothing with the nitty-gritty of daily life as a pregnant cyclist. I'd like to change that. We'll see how capable I am, though.

Some upcoming events that I'm looking forward to include:
  • The 2015 Erandonnee Challenge: Runs from March 5-16th. The specific details are at the link, but the idea is basically to complete 12 errands in 12 days on a bicycle for a total of 30 miles. Similar to the Coffeeneuring Challenge, but with less caffeine and more baguettes. It's a relatively "easy" challenge, and will help to motivate me to get moving again.

  • The Vasa Ride: WABA's "spring" ride (it's awfully cold for a spring ride). I opted for the 30 mile option this year, but I might bail to the 15 mile. Or maybe I'll feel spectacular and do the 60 (doubtful). This is a fun, yet deceptively challenging ride. Folks that manage to complete the ride are "rewarded" with Blueberry Soup at the House of Sweden. I've had the blueberry soup before. It's.....soupy. It's on Sunday, March 15th.

  • The 2015 Police Unity Tour: So this one is a little tricky. The dates (as always) are May 10th-12th. I'll be about 6  months pregnant by then. I'm definitely still "participating" (and I will be hitting you up for fundraising soon too. Get ready). As much as I would like to believe I could do the actual ride without issue....I can't. We ride in a peloton (as a coherent group), and a specific pace has to be maintained. This poses two problems for me: my heart rate can't get too high (and on the big hills, it will probably get too high if I keep up the same pace) and the risk of a fall is much higher (since we are riding close together, if one person goes down it usually take a bunch of people with them). If this ride was more like The Ride & Run to Remember, I would definitely attempt it. Since everyone rides at their OWN pace and everyone is pretty spread out, I can go as slow and steady as I would need to. That's just not possible on this ride. SO, I have two options available: I can still participate by volunteering as part of the Support team, or I can "ride" at home on my trainer. The Support role would be a LOT of work. I don't know if I've ever talked about the role the Support team plays in the Unity Tour, but its huge. They keep everything running smoothly and make sure the riders have absolutely everything they would need. As a rider, all I really need to worry about is pedaling my bike. My lodging, meals, repairs, maintenance, directions, etc are all taken care of. As a rider, my role is super easy. Get up, get on my bike, and go. That's it. The Support staff are amazing. They are often up earlier than us, and their days finish way after ours. It's a lot of work. The Husband was actually considering joining up as Support this year too. I'm a little hesitant to go this option because it IS a lot of work, and I'm not sure if I could keep up. I don't want to be a drag or slow everyone down. I'm considering it though. My other option is to "ride" at home. I still have my cue sheets from previous years with the mileage for each leg. I could just follow along at home each day, and then ride to the Memorial on the final day to meet up with the group. I think I could definitely do this. My midwife has cleared me either way, so I just need to make my mind up.

Anyway, that's all for now. If you have any links or suggestions for resources on biking and pregnancy, or want to share your own story, definitely let me know. I'm all ears.