Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I'm a whinger, this little blister hurt like crazy.
This is what I get for losing paddling form.
Off we go.
Loving the harbour at 0730hrs.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A great weekend, but now I cant walk OUCH Part 2.

What a way to double up on my pain. Saturday I had completed a 17km bushwalk, Sunday a 4km Kayak in Sydney Harbour. This Kayaking day was in aid of raising money for children with disabilities. What a great day, and to tell you the truth I didn't really feel the pain in my legs whilst I was rowing. The only thing that was getting to me was the burn in my arms and a blister I was getting on my right thumb and a bruise on my left knee - thanks to hitting it constantly with my paddle.

Paddling through middle harbour gave me such a sense of freedom. My mind wandered back to the days when I was younger and wanted to be a marine biologist. I wondered what was swimming underneath me and how beautiful it would be to be in the water scuba diving amongst it all. This was quickly replaced with looking around at the enormous mansions which lined the coast and the huge yachts that we paddled around. I didn't feel envious of their life rather I felt rich in my own way. I was out and enjoying life, living it to the fullest. This was better than any treasure I could find. I truly have the best life.

As we came to the end of our leg and ran to the finish line we were greeted with cheers and a bag of goodies. I had spent the day with an awesome group of people and lapped up the best of Australia's weather. But it was now that the lactic acid in my legs began to set in from yesterdays hike. My calves and quads began to tighten up and feel like they were on fire. So I quickly took myself off to the shore line and soaked my legs in the cool ocean water. A temporary remedy but effective nonetheless.

The car ride home had me nodding off every couple of minutes, thank goodness I was not driving. I could not keep my eyes open, no matter how hard I tried. I knew that getting out of the car would be a test, and boy was I right. As I exited the car my legs stayed in the bent position. To try and straighten them was near impossible and this was only the beginning. Days 2 and 3 are generally the worst and I was not looking forward to it.

Now that I have arrived at Day 2 heading onto Day 3 I can safely say that my legs feel like cement. I even think I may have torn my calf muscles as I am in such intense pain. Looking back to the bushwalk and analysing things as I always do, I spent a great deal of walking up those stairs on my toes. The stairs were so shallow I could not get my feet fully on each step, so it was inevitable that a lot of the strain was placed on my calves. This will heal but it may take a while. I shall continue to stretch in the hopes of preventing further injury. I will also take the remainder of the week off from exercise, apart from swimming or going to the sauna. This should help heaps.

I know I am in pain right now, but gees I had the best weekend.

Some of the stairs OUCH
The scary sign.
Feeling the heat.
Just before the scary sign.
The great views.

A great weekend, but now I cant walk OUCH

I am no an avid bushwalker, heck up until starting these bushwalks with my bootcamp group, the closest I had come to bushwalking was going across the paddocks at home. I had a rough idea of what would lay ahead of me this weekend, what I had no idea of is how much mental toughness I would need to get me out of the most challenging landscape in the Australian wilderness. However in order to do this 6 Foot Track on the 1st May I needed to partake in this preparation walks to see if this is truly what I want to do and if I would have the ability to finish a 45km bushwalk in about 12 hours. Do I still want to do the 6 Foot Track? You bet ya. Can I do it? I think I can. Will it be more challenging than what I just did? I think so!!!!!

Anyway back to this weekends bushwalk. If I could find words to describe the walk it would go something like this - tough, difficult, demanding, excruciating, gratifying, satisfying and more. What started off as a relatively brisk paced hike turned quickly into "try to keep up with the person in front" slow jog in parts. It was sunny and extremely humid and whatever fluids went in quickly exited through every pore of your body. I was trying to pace my fluid intake with how much I thought I was expelling and I think I did ok. Sometimes I was sipping on water, and other times I was sipping on Gatorade to replace vital salts that I was sweating out. At our lunch stop I ate a Vegemite Sandwich and Vegemite on biscuits. I thought the saltiness may help me retain some fluids. During my lunch break it was time to change my socks which were saturated with sweat and find a relatively hidden place to do a pee. Getting my pants down and peeing was relatively easy, getting my pants back up was harder than I thought. They were so saturated with sweat that they got stuck about 10 times on the way to their original destination. And the more nervous I got about other bushwalkers coming across my naked behind, the harder it got to get them settled into place. Anyway for all that effort I think I may have only urinated about 20mls. I shouldn't have bothered.

The lunch break may have lasted no more than 20 minutes and it was off again. Time to get focused and pick up the pace as I think we were not quite matching the pace that Barry would have liked for us to complete it in the time he wanted. I think he needed to gauge how fast we would need to walk in order to do this 6 Foot Track. But it is very hard to keep a fast pace when there is such unstable footing at times. I was scared on numerous occasions that I would twist my left ankle like I have done on numerous occasions before, even though it was all strapped up nicely. However, I still feel like I had a tonne of energy and my legs weren't hurting at this point, the only things bothering me were the flies that seemed to love my aroma. I well and truly stunk, I couldn't even stand myself. That's probably why I was walking so fast-I was trying to get away from ME. I couldn't wait to have a nice shower - another great motivator to get my backside out of the wilderness. I am sure all my fellow companions were feeling the same way.

Up until about Kilometre 14 I was feeling pretty upbeat. That was until I saw a sign that said '2-3hr very steep ascent'. Somewhere in my head a red light went on with a warning siren that was so loud I could hardly hear myself think. I knew in my head there were some positive comments to get me geared up for the onslaught which lay ahead but at that stage they were just being hammered by the words 'very steep ascent'. C'mon how hard could it be? I am a woman - here me roar. I was going to nail this climb like I had every other thing I had set myself to do. This was not going to beat me. I will win.

One step in front of the other is all I kept telling myself, that is the way to get to the top. One continuous step in front of the other. I just didn't realise how many steps there were. Every corner I turned there was another flight of steps that had been etched into the cliff face. I was trying to stay positive not just for me but for my friends and I kept saying "not long now - we are nearly there" when at times I was wishing there was some sort of lift that would get us to the top all safely. Some were starting to feel the signs of dehydration - cramping, dizziness, headaches and I knew that if we stayed here for too much longer things could get worse. But luckily everyone soldiered on so bravely and we all made it to the top. I think the thing that helped was having short frequent breaks on our way to the top. This gave our legs a much needed reprieve to be able to focus on the next 30-40 steps.

Finally we made it to the top but not the end of our destination after a whopping 24, 499 steps calculated by my pedometer. We still had some 10km to walk back to the car, not gonna happen. That sought of distance after what we had just done was too much to ask, so I asked some English backpacker who had a car if he would be so kind as to give myself, Tracy and Barry a lift to our cars. He kindly agreed and I am sure it was because he saw the sheer look of desperation in our eyes. We paid him for petrol and he got us to our cars. I drove Sharon's car back and the only thing I kept thinking was "boy do I stink, and now her car stinks too".

Going home was like having won lottery. I felt tired but mostly I just wanted to have a shower. I was looking forward to having nice warm water and a bar of soap to wash away the Blue Mountains dirt from around my shins and ankles and under my finger nails. I wanted to smell like a lady, not some form of road kill. So when i got home that is what I did before I gave anyone a hug and a kiss. But this was not the end of my weekend, I still had another days worth of activity. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Re-routing my professional life

For the last 18 years I have defined myself as a nurse. I lived, ate and breathed nursing. If I wasn't working as a nurse I was studying to further extend myself in my professional career as a nurse. Of course during the times that my children where little and still quite dependant on me I put my nursing career on hold, but never scratched it from my mind. After all, in my eyes there is no better profession in this world to belong too. I love caring for people and sharing in there most challenging times and trying to minimise the impact that their illness played in their life. There is no greater priviledge than to be able to look after someone when they cannot do it themselves. I feel blessed to be able to hold their hands and sometimes just being there with them is all they need, even in silence. They know they are not alone.

During my years as a Registered Nurse there were times when the profession became all too consuming, physically and emotionally. To care for someone and their family placed a huge strain on me emotionally. I took my responsibility to care for them very seriously and would only ever do my job 100%. I couldn't bare the thought of not making my patients feel as though each and every single one of them were Number 1. Hard work to do that. One of me ,and sometimes 8 of them in any given shift. When shifts ran well, they were so rewarding, you could continue on with your shift for hours. But when things went bad, as they do, as hospitals aren't always a place where people get better and go home - they went really bad. I wore the emotional side of my job too heavily.

Physically, I started off well. However after I had my twins some 14 yrs ago my back became an issue. It never really left me from the moment it reared its ugly head, it came in waves. However the last flair up left me quite crippled and I left my job due to sickness, but with the hopes that I would return some day. And that is what I did about a year later in a more sedentary position. I thought having gotten fitter I would be able to return to work, but this was not to be. Being on my feet and driving to and from work for close to an hour each way made my back flair up again. So I resigned and pondered on what was to be of my life. What was I going to do? Who was I going to be if I could not be a nurse? This was all I knew and I wasn't good at anything else, or so I thought.

During my time of getting fit and healthy I had people constantly telling me how I had inspired them to do get out there and take the bull by the horns. Even though I was just trying to live my life to the best of my ability I had touched people in a way I never thought possible. Quite a humbling experience I must say. I had never thought of myself as inspiring. But if people were telling me this, I needed to listen and take action. I needed to realise that I could still care for people just in a different concept. Rather than care for people in an illness setting I could focus on people before they get ill and help them to reach for all that they can be. I want to help people reclaim what they think they have lost, THEIR LIFE. I want to be a PERSONAL TRAINER.

I have already started making the necessary calls to start my Certificate III and IV through TAFE, and should I be accepted I start in June. I am very excited about joining this group of people who take their health and the health of others seriously. I look forward to seeing my clients achieve beyond what they ever thought imaginable. I look forward to seeing them feel the way I do, UNBELIEVEABLE.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I can run.

I set a new PR for myself. Finally I feel all my hard work with regards to my running is finally paying off. I am so glad my best friend pushed me or I would have not achieved it on my own I don't think. I ran my 3km in 15min 6 secs and was astounded by my pace. I not once looked at my watch, I just wanted to see how it felt to run at a certain pace without feeling the pinch of the minutes ticking by.

Just prior to starting off my best friend Susan had said to me "when you start, set yourself a pace that you will be able to keep for the whole distance". Mmmmmm, must remember- when one feels rested try to not get too excited and take off at a Gazelle's pace. Susan was not going to let this pace slide into that of a sloth, she is very good at keeping pace - and that is what she did for the whole 3km. I am now glad she did - because it means I can do it. Something I thought I could never do - I now know I can.

I know this new found confidence in my running ability will push me to strive further and harder for a faster 2.5km in my next Triathlon. Rather than doing a 14.01min for it, I am hoping to do 12 mins if not a bit faster. We are now heading into our colder months so the Tri season is coming to an end, this means my next Tri will be in October. I have another 7 months of training to help get me ready. My next Triathlon should produce results that should make my eyes water. With tears of joy of course.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gabriella Cilmi - On A Mission

I love the lyrics. It is such a go get em song :)

Age is no barrier.

Yesterday I went bike riding with my mum who is 63 years old. Mum hasn't ridden a bike in around 40 years and to see her enjoying herself was absolutely priceless. I must admit, when mum told me she wanted to come riding with me I was a tad scared. I had visions of mum going into some crazy wobbles on the bike and landing face first in the lake, or worse still breaking an arm. That blue wrist strap you see in the photo is hiding mum's latest scar. About 3 months ago she fell over in the bathroom and broke her wrist. I didn't want that happening again. And it didn't.

My mum is one resilient and talented young lady. She got on that bike like she had never been off it. Obviously tackling some small hills were a bit of a challenge but she still did it. What a woman. The only thing I needed to help with was setting the bikes gears onto a setting that was manageable for mum. So off we set for one loop of the lakes which is a 5km distance.

I remember starting off back when I first got my bike and thought that 5km hurt bad, but not my mum, she smiled the whole way. Her laughs could be heard I am sure from the other side of the lake's system. She pedalled really easily and you could see her mind wonder back to the days when she was younger and would ride with her brother. Mum often recalls those memories with such affection but also with a yearning to get back what she once had. And why couldn't she. Every Tuesday is now our day where we go and have fun bike riding.

I look forward to watching mum enjoy herself every week. And set new challenges for herself on a weekly basis. I love her lots and love seeing her happy.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Beach bootcamp. Booya!!!!!

I had an absolute ball at boot camp today. There is nothing like getting flogged silly at the seaside. As you can tell by the photos the weather was overcast, this was definately in our favour. Had it of been sunny the sand would have been scorching hot and we would have been fried to a crisp. Being cloudy meant that the workout didn't feel too hard. As I started to feel too hot, I could actually cool down by running through the water.

We ran up and down sand dunes, commando crawled on the sand - without the use of our legs. Totally hard, but well worth the sores I got on my elbows. We also played frisbee and touch footy. All in all it was about 2 hours of good old fashioned hard work mixed with fun. Kelly, Barry and I finished off with having a swim in the cool ocean. I even body surfed - I haven't done that in years. I loved it.

My finishers certificate.

My first Tri race bib and memorabilia

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Happy Birthday to me.

Wow, I am 36 today. So far, doesn't feel much different to yesterday when I was 35. But boy does it feel vastly different to when I turned 35. Hugely different. On my 35th birthday I was 20 kg's heavier, hugely depressed, in chronic pain and was starting to think to myself, if this is what the remainder of my life was going to be like, I wasn't sure if I could stand it. Everything seemed so insurmountable, even getting out of bed. I couldn't even get myself going for my children and husband. What a shame it would have been if all my children knew was a sad and angry mother.

Fast forward 12 months and I am a shadow of my former self physically, but mentally I am a totally different person. Nothing seems to get me down now. Everyday is a blessing. I am thankful for everything even the tough things that are thrown my way. I can do anything I set my mind to all I have to do is believe.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I will never forget this day.

I DID IT. This has to be placed up there in atleast my Top 5 list of best things ever to happen to me. I knew deep down that I was going to accomplish this goal. I don't tend to back down from any challenge I set myself. What I didn't realise was how well I would go and how I would astound myself. I am so proud of me. Even when things got hard I dug deep and just kept going. And I do believe I did it all with a smile on my face even when my face was under the water. I just couldn't believe that I was doing it and that the day had finally arrived, and everything that I had trained for was finally coming into play.

The swim leg was great. The water was nice and cool but not too cold. I did the 250m in 3min 11secs and didn't feel that pace at all. I felt like I could have just kept going and going. I exited the water and was totally pumped, taking off my cap and goggles as I got to the transition for the bike leg. Once there I was glad I had set everything up in order, sunnies on first, then helmut, socks, runners and off with my bike. It went really smoothly I must admit.

The bike leg felt really good. I know I was pushing hard in the first 5K because my quads started to burn like they were on fire, but I maintained my cadence throughout the next 5K and then as I started to approach the transition for the run I dropped it down a gear and started spinning to loosen up my legs and get them ready for what lay ahead.

That jelly feeling in my legs was quite noticeable to me and my only hope was that it wasn't noticeable to everyone else. I felt like I had not much control over my lower half for atleast the first 250m of the run but after that I just got in a zone. Not a fast one, but one that I wanted to maintain and knew that I could sustain through the remainder of the run. God only knows my running is not great but I was happy. I was happy with my efforts. And why shouldn't I be.

I know there are many things to still work on. Like getting stronger in my run and bike leg, but these things come with time. But I am happy - actually ecstatic with coming 6th in my age group and 11th overall.

Sure I exited the water first and it would have been good to have maintained that the whole way but those other legs are a work in progress. I cannot scoff at coming 6th and I won't. I am SUPER DUPER PROUD OF ME.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The greatest day cont.

My setup.
My friends: L-R Me, Kelly, Tracy and my bestest buddy Susan,
Oh yeah, I'm pumped.
Off I go for the run.

The greatest day.

Transition to run leg.
Entering transition for the run.
Starting bike leg.
Gosh I loved the swim.

This is it.

Alarm went off at 0430hrs. Normally I would proscrastinate about having to get up at such an ungodly hour. It's still dark and there is not a sound anywhere to be heard apart from me typing. Normally I can hear the steady hum in the background of traffic travelling up on the main road and the all too familiar metallic ding of a motorcycle as he races up our road on his way too work. But not this morning, the world is asleep and I am awake getting ready for my first Triathlon.

I slept well last night thank goodness. The usual scenario for me is to go bed around the time my children do and drift off to sleep quite quickly. Only to find myself waking up atleast 6 times a night. Why I here you ask? There are a couple of reasons. 1) it's been that way since I had the kids 14 years ago and 2) my back has always woken me through the night. At the moment my back is good but I think it has now become habit. Last night though I feel asleep really easily and only woke up once and that was at 0315hrs. I love waking up and realising you still have an hour before the alarm goes off. So I rolled over and fell asleep again and woke up to that horrible RING RING RING.

So here I find myself in front of the computer and typing my last words before the race eating 2 WeetBix with hot water as I hate milk, a large glass of water and god forbid a nice cup of coffee. I know it's a dehydrator but I need to wake up. I am nervous but not as nervous as yesterday which is a relief. Yesterday I felt like vomiting but this morning all I have are feelings of anticipation of the weather. It is still dark and I don't know if it's cloudy and cold or clear and warm. I will find out soon enough.

I still have things to do, like pack the lunch bags for the kids and get my drink bottle out of the fridge - I am saying that last bit outloud so I don't forget it. Hang on. There, it's out of the fridge and in the bottle cage on the bike. I still have to put my hair in a pony tail - not too high so my helmut won't sit on properly and not too low so I can't get it through the opening of the cap for my run. And last of all, take my vitamins, and I have 35 minutes to do it in before I have to go. So I shall sign off now and go wrestle my first Triathlon to the ground.


Friday, March 5, 2010

The swim god's have spoken.

Breaking news - the swim leg is ON. Oh yeah. After scrolling through the email ever so slowly and reading every word to make sure I understood it correctly, the email read "the lakes have been cleared and the swim leg is going ahead".

I am yet to stop doing a highland jig. Can it be that up above heard my prayers and my pleas? Of course it can. I AM DOING MY SWIM. Now the nerves have stepped it up a notch and not only am I super dooper excited but I am also nauseous. But it is nauseousness caused by happy nerves. I will be fine, this always happens. All will be good. I GET TO SWIM.

Training 24/7 The Life of a Triathlete

I love this video. I have watched it over and over.

Veg day

What to do, what to do, what to do!!! These two days before the race are my rest days and I am feeling very fidgety and its not even 0800hrs. I am used to having some activity planned for the day, whether that be swimming, cycling, running or walking. And now there is nothing, nada, zippo. I used to enjoy doing nothing and sitting down watching a good movie. But so far since starting this posting I think I have gotten up atleast three times out of my chair - it is now 0845hrs. It's amazing how things change and how good it feels to actually do some physical activity. But rest is as important as exercise. It is giving my muscles the chance to repair and heal. It is giving my mind a chance to be able to visualise the race and run through what I shall do on the day.

As I sit here writing this post I am also hoping that the swim leg will go ahead. We shall recieve confirmation of the race today and I hope it reads "Algae bloom has settled, swim leg shall forge ahead". The thought of running two legs is not my idea of fun no matter how small but I will give it a go if that is what is required. The bike leg will still stay as a 10km but the run may be divided into a 1.5km and 1km to accomodate for the loss of the swim. Not sure, will find out soon enough.

I know it doesn't sound like much but after all I was only competing in the Enticer which is a 250m swim, 10km cycle and 2.5km run. Should the swim be postponed then I will definately be looking for another Enticer before the season is up. I want so badly to do it all - every last leg. I will keep you updated as soon as I get the email from TriNSW. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Oh the nerves.

When I first signed up for this Triathlon it seemed like a distant dream. I thought I had ages to train for it and prepare myself mentally for the challenge of doing three disciplines consecutively. The truth is that I when I decided that this is what I wanted to do I knew I wouldn't have a lot of time to prepare but I do think I have used what time I had effectively.

But this still has not stopped me from getting exceptionally nervous everytime I think about it. It hits my stomach like a wave. I can feel my heart skip a beat and I then get this intense feeling of "Oh my lord, can I do this?". Then the side of my brain that rationalises kicks in and I realise I can do this . The only one holding me back is me and my thoughts.

What have I got to lose? Nothing. What have I got to gain? Everything. Am I proud of me and everything I have accomplished? Hell yeah. I am going to tackle this obstacle the way I have tackled all the other obstacles in this past year. With my head held high and a smile on my face, even when I felt like crying and running away. I am a strong human being both physically and now most of all mentally.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Your hard work will be rewarded.

"The path to a dream is paved with sacrifices and lined with determination. And though it has many stumbling blocks along the way, and may go in more than one direction, it is travelled by belief and courage and conquered with a willingness to face challenges and take chances" Barbara Cage