Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas from the desert! We made lots of Christmas cookies and we will be making this for dinner and this (buche the Noel) again for desert!
December 11th, two days before the Spinney's 92 km, we went cycling on the Al Qudra Rd cycling path (images here) and were able to see the sun rise. I love watching the sun rise. It makes me feel grateful for the day and the new beginning. Everyday is a gift!
The weather is glorious in Dubai - sunny and dry and even chilly at times but we are getting into the Christmas spirit! Baking cookies for our son's Christmas cookie exchange tomorrow!
One of my favorite activities in Dubai is cycling. I have been cycling with Cycle Safe Dubai (CSD) since I moved here in November 2011 and cycled through Ramadan, Dubai summers and last year through my pregnancy up until I was 7 months pregnant*. With my first pregnancy, I also exercised through training for two triathlons and I ran and swam until the day of the birth. With this pregnancy, I felt bigger and I was more uncomfortable so swimming and biking felt so much better than running (due to weight distribution, I think). I am not recommending that pregnant women cycle because I believe (based on my own experience) that exercise during pregnancy depends on the 'baseline' (the level of fitness and activity pre-pregnancy) and whether or not the women have any complications or have risk pregnancy. but for me, cycling on a road bike felt comfortable because it put my protruding belly forward and down and removed the pressure from the tip of the spine, aka lower-back. (*I cycled with my physician's ok and support)
Post my all natural vaginal birth though, I could not even imagine cycling. Though I missed cycling, I could not even imagine sitting on a saddle, if you know what I mean. So, after the birth of our daughter the end of April, I took time to heal. After 8 weeks postpartum, I started swimming and by mid August, I was back on my bike again thanks to CSD. I started out with the 45 km group on Friday mornings and quickly regained strength to join the 65 km group. Stewart and Des from CSD always talk about muscle memory but I was honestly surprised at how fast I regained my strength and got back into shape.
My journey back into being back in cycling shape was not without its challenges, however. After I started cycling again, I started to experience knee, shoulder, back and lower back pains. Fearful of injury, I took my self to UpandRunning to see Dr. Gus (awesome guy, highly recommend him). He told me that the back pain was most likely from the delivery itself where the joints are still soft and loose and they still needed time to heal. He also told me that feeding the baby all hours of the day in weird positions (I have been lazy to use a feeding pillow) put a lot of strain on my shoulders and back. After some assessments (feeling my muscles and watching me exercise), he told me that my knee and lower back pain came from the weakened traverse adnominis (TVA - the muscle that you contract to hold the pee) which resulted from the pregnancy and delivery. So, he prescribed some physical therapy to isolate and retrain this particular muscle as well as my gluteal muscles.
To tell the truth, I never 'isolated' muscles and exercised them. Not that I did not believe in these types of exercises but I just never took time to do this when I preferred to be outside, cycling, swimming or running. But after seeing and feeling the result of strengthening my TVA and glutes in how strong I felt when cycling, I was forever changed. Not only did my knee pain go away but I felt much stronger cycling. I also asked my physical therapist to send me scientific articles about the relationship between TVA and lower back pain (me being a public health professional...) and I attached them below.