Thursday, 14 March 2019

Iron Sally Coaching

Are you looking for help to achieve a personal cycling goal? Whether that's simply to get fitter, do the odd challenge/event or race regularly, then check out my new website and see how I can help you. Any questions then just get in touch. I offer a free, no obligation consultation to discuss what you're looking for and how I might be able to help you to achieve your goals. 

Monday, 24 September 2018

Iron Sally Coaching

Website and more information coming soon. If you're interested and would like to chat then get in touch. I'll be taking on riders of all abilities from October.....

Interview with Rachel Sokal

A short while ago I was chatting to Rachel Sokal about motherhood and cycling. Here's a link to her write up.... she's very recently joined motherhood too - wishing her all the very best with her little baby boy ðŸ‘ķA 

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Chatting to Maria David from Total Women's Cycling

Follow this link to hear about my experience of cycling during pregnancy and as a new mum.....:

Sally Bigham on Pregnancy and Life as a New Mum - Total Women's Cycling

Monday, 12 February 2018

Life as a pregnant athlete: the finish line and the best prize ever.

Just a really quick note to say that our beautiful baby boy was born on January 5th at 10.22am weighing 3.3kg. I continued cycling, swimming and walking right up until my waters broke. Keeping active made my whole pregnancy really enjoyable and has certainly helped me to get back on the bike afterwards. I thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant and now I'm looking forward to getting back into shape and returning to racing. Topeak Ergon Racing Team have changed to Canyon Topeak Factory Racing and I'm honoured to be given this opportunity to continue my cycling career (post baby) with them.

I'll write more soon about the birth and postnatal recovery. For now here are some photos and videos:

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Life as a pregnant athlete: third trimester

The changes in pregnancy have been so gradual that I haven't noticed many things. The comments of strangers, or people I've not seen for a while, take me by surprise. I find myself initially thinking "how do they know I'm pregnant!" and then I look down at my watermelon-sized bump and smile. I look at my reflection in shop windows with wonder - is that really me! Since we moved house 2 months ago we haven't had a full-length mirror so when I do catch a glimpse of myself it's quite amusing. I love my baby bump.

So, what's changed since my last blog and what hasn't?

Things that have changed:
  • All of my old clothes are packed away and I wear Dave's cycling clothes. It's neither cool nor a fashion statement but it works and gets me comfortably out on the bike. Squeezing into my old clothes became a wrestling match and started to restrict my breathing. 
  • I've started swimming in preparation of a time towards the end of pregnancy when I might no longer be able to cycle - and also in preparation of bad weather days when cycling might be too hazardous or simply too horrible. The first time back in the pool for years saw me floundering and almost being rescued by the lifeguard. Changes in buoyancy meant my entry into the water was a little less elegant than intended and a poor breathing technique had me clinging to the lane rope spluttering. With perseverance however I can now swim for 45minutes, which is enough for me - it's nowhere near as much fun as cycling. 
  • Slow has been redefined. Weighing 10kg more than pre-pregnancy means that my climbing prowess has been somewhat hampered. It's akin to riding with another bike strapped around my waist. Dave is most definitely faster and has started riding circles around me. How the tables have turned! 
  • I've become familiar with the term 'symphysis pubis dysfunction' which in simple terms means pelvic pain especially when turning and getting in and out of bed, as well as pain standing on one leg and walking. It soon became apparent that this was caused by long hikes and for a short time I thought I might have to stop the hikes completely. However a support belt  has allowed me to resume 3 hour hikes without crippling side-effects. This comes as a relief as I was starting to resemble a centenarian requiring help to prise myself off the sofa and hobble around. 
  • My bedtime routine now involves a complicated procedure involving a huge snake-like maternity pillow which I spend several minutes adjusting into the correct position. I then remain on my left-hand-side for the entire night. Attempting to get out of bed, rearrange the pillow and lie on my right-hand-side is fruitless because Little P doesn't tolerate it for more than a few minutes before he starts inflicting side-swipes with his little, but no less powerful, feet. It seems he's happier when I'm lying on my left-hand side because he can stretch his feet out and practice his rib-tackle (catching his feet under my lower right rib). 

Things that have not changed:
  • I still love being pregnant. I feel great and have loads of energy. Perhaps this is because I've been fortunate enough to be able to continue exercising and eating healthily. Other than the pelvic pain, I have no unpleasant side-effects of pregnancy: no swelling (shoe size is unchanged and I can still wear my wedding ring), no heart burn or other complaints. 
  • Spending time cycling is brilliant. I feel really comfortable on the bike - more so than off it sometimes! I'm very slow and only ride for an average of 2 hours (occasionally a little less or more), nevertheless it's so nice to get outside and breathe in fresh air. It really is amazing therapy for body and mind. Most of the time I'm riding on quiet roads but occasionally on smooth fire roads or fields. No trails or technical stuff. It's all very sedate. I'm still riding according to feel and keeping my heart rate between 130-150bpm. 
  • Pre-natal yoga still feels good and I love to stretch and keep flexible. 
  • I'm not plagued by unusual food craving or aversions, though I still don't drink coffee. This is now more to do with avoiding caffeine rather than a revulsion. On the contrary, I love the smell and I look forward to a post-pregnancy flat white - though breastfeeding would certainly delay this.

I'm curious to see how things will change during the finals weeks of pregnancy but I hope to stay active throughout (and during labour, though I'll not be taking the indoor trainer to the hospital. Hahaha!). 

Stay active. Have fun.
Sal :)

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Second trimester: Adapting to an ever growing belly

It’s odd, on the one hand it seems like so much has changed since my last blog, but on the other it feels like little has. Starting with the things that have changed during the second trimester:

  • My diet is pretty much back to pre-pregnancy. I can think about, and even eat, green foods without turning green and I’ve not touched a cornflake for months! The only exception is that I’m still off coffee, but it’s definitely sounding, as well as smelling, more appetising so perhaps soon I’ll be ordering cappuccinos with my cake once again. Let’s hope so.
  • My bib-short straps will not reach up and over ‘Bump’ so I simply wear them around my waist. It works.
  • My belly engages in involuntary night-time ‘belly dancing’. Very odd but also quite amusing.
  • My growing belly means I am welcomed into almost any establishment (as a non-customer) and granted use of the public conveniences with a knowing, happy smile. This is actually pretty useful because I seem to be frequenting the bathroom more often than normal and especially when ‘Bump’ kicks me in the bladder!
  • I have one speed and that’s pretty slow. Sadly, I’ve had to concede that Dave is now faster than I am. Every day is different, some days I feel strong and other days I feel like a snail. I just listen to my body and adapt accordingly
  • My growing belly occasionally makes me ride like John Wayne walked, especially when ‘Bump’ wakes up and starts wriggling around. Raising the handlebars and flipping the stem from a negative to a positive rise has helped somewhat with this unusual looking gait.
  • I have gained about 7-8kg
  • Bumpy trails make me need to pee. I spend my time cycling on quiet roads or smooth trails, always on the MTB.

Things that have not changed:
  • I still love being pregnant.
  • I am cycling 3-4 times per week for between 2 to 3 hours and typically climbing 1000m each ride, though I have had to become content with anything over 700m per ride since moving back to the south coast of England. My rides are not what I’d call training as such, but more a means of getting outdoors and keeping some fitness. Although my pace is slower and power is massively reduced, I am riding between 130-150bpm. This is simply because it is what feels right rather than some stipulated guideline. Apparently, as pregnant women we have 50% more blood and consequently our hearts have to work harder to pump all of that extra blood around. So while I’m riding slower than pre-pregnancy, I am still working reasonably hard. Medical advice from various midwifes and doctors has been pretty consistent: continue doing what you did pre-pregnancy but avoid becoming exhausted and dehydrated.
  • On days I don’t cycle I like to hike for anywhere from 1 hour to 3-4 hours. Mountain hikes have now given way to the footpaths along the Jurassic Coast which involve less altitude gain but no less beauty.
  • I am enjoying pre-natal yoga. At the beginning of my pregnancy I started doing a 1hour pre-natal session guided by Tara Stiles (you can buy it online). Starting with this session from the beginning means I can be conscious of how my body is changing and adapt to each pose as the pregnancy progresses, this is especially important as the hormone relaxin starts to affect me. If I suddenly become super flexible then I know it’s probably time to ease out of a pose!
  • I am not eating for two; in fact, since I stopped structured interval training I am eating less. Apart from my growing belly I am still pretty lean. However, I must stress that I am not in the least bit concerned about weight gain and I am not making any effort whatsoever to lose weight.
  • Other than a growing belly that moves on its own volition, I have no other symptoms of pregnancy: no heart burn (except when I indulged in traditional seaside fish and chips), no sickness, no swelling etc etc. I do occasionally get some ligament discomfort as everything stretches but that’s about it.

Soon I’ll enter the third trimester. It’ll be interesting to see what changes are in store! I’ll keep you posted.

Spend a little time each day outdoors exercising - it’s medicine for body and mind 😃