Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Yoga and me

Cant even begin to describe what an amazing experience I have had over the last 2 Monday's. It has come just at the right time - thanks Matt. You really have brought clarity to my life by introducing me to this wonderful art. It is something I have always thought about but never really engaged in. And I must admit - it seems I am a bit of a natural at this gentle yet challenging art.

I love how it makes my mind just be still and how I am forced to focus on my breathing and every part of my body. And as Eva talks I can literally connect with every word and get in touch with every cell within my body to help restore calm and tranquility. Quite a new experience for this flighty Piscean.
I never realised how flexible I still was. As a child I could pretty much contort into any shape I asked my body to get into but obviously age and life have their drawbacks, if you don't continue to stretch things get stiff. But it seems my upper body and lower back are still quite flexible.

This is now part of my weekly routine - one I will continue for forever and a day. I really think this was made for me. The one thing I have realised though is that I have absolutely no balance on one leg. Especially trying the eagle pose below.
It was like watching a tree being cut down by a lumberjack. Slowly but surely I would start leaning to one side and before I knew it I would topple over only to regain composure and try it again. I couldn't stop giggling.

At the end of every class we lay on our backs and relax for a few minutes and go through a series of meditation. Eva places this beautiful balm on our foreheads that smells like heaven. I feel at home. Can't wait till next Monday.
If you haven't tried Yoga. I suggest you do. You will never be the same again.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Express Glass Ocean Challenge

Yep, that's my back. That looks like a typical swimmers V back but I am sure it's more the camera angle. Either way, I love my shirt and I earnt every thread, fibre in that shirt today. Why? Well, I overcame so much today and in the end came out of it a much stronger person emotionally. I beat those head demons for sure.

As usual I woke up super early but I did have a great nights sleep which is extremely unusual for me - as most of my friends know and my poor husband. I don't know why I wasn't super freaked out the night before but something inside me just felt at peace. I just kept saying to myself - Tomorrow will be okay. Believe in yourself and all will be good.

So when I woke up this morning, even though I was slightly nervous it was very different to other race day's. I knew there was nothing I could do to change the day - it was what it was and that was all there was to it. Breakfast went down easy too - I wasn't gagging or heaving to swallow my brekkie.

Arriving at the Coogee, I did start to get nervous. Thought's of Yeppoon came flooding back. I really didn't want this to be a repeat event. But I thought the only way to find out was to just go for it. Lucky I had my beautiful family there and can you believe it - no photo with my hubby. I felt so bad. But he later told me he was just happy to be there watching me do something that I love - swimming.
I quickly registered and got my arm marked with my famous "211" race number and sat around waiting for it all to start. I ran across Spot Anderson, as always that dynamic smile and personality made me feel comfortable and he told me not to forget about warm up with them and then Joey and Kristy turned up. So happy I was to see their smiling faces. So happy I was to be sharing today with them.
Pretty soon it was time to go and warm up but not before Kristy and I got a photo with Bondi Fit and Spot Anderson. It felt really nice to be included in their club shot. And then it was time to warm up.

WHOA, talk about freezing water. I think the water was 18.9 degrees but boy did it feel sub zero. It took my breath away and made my head feel like I had brain freeze. All I could think of was those poor people in the Titanic and how cold they must have felt. Yeah I know - strange thought - but it did cross my mind. And then I kept saying - just stay focused. It will warm up and if it doesn't - swim faster.

And then it was time to line up - Kristy and I wandered over and we gave eachother a hug and wished eachother luck. So glad she was there.
And then, we were off. I took off relatively slowly I felt and heard Spot scream out - "GO PANTHERS". With that I dove in and started swimming. Wave after small wave I swam through trying to gauge which way the current was taking me. But I couldn't feel any current, all I could feel was chop. And then I started to be pulled to the left as did everyone else. There seemed to be this cross current that we were battling so all I could do was keeping swimming on an angle to the first can.

I seemed to be doing pretty well in my breathing and timing it and kept remembering Spot's words "If you want more oxygen - breathe more", so I breathed every second stroke and then swapped sides when I fatigued on that side. I could just see that I kept passing people all the time and for once I didn't feel scared. I kept looking at the ocean floor and seeing it change from beautifully clear rippled sand to rocks with weeds to then total darkness as I hit the back end. The swell got a bit more intense and waves got messy and choppy and I just tried my hardest to stay focused on counting down the cans and then looking up to see how many purple caps were in front of me.

On the way back in there was this lady in a wetsuit beside me with a blue cap and I kept focusing on her to make sure she didn't slip too far from my view. I deemed her my pacer. So thankyou blue capper - you kept me on track. As we got closer I saw 2 purple caps start to overtake me - one was male and the other a lady. We stayed pretty much on par until the very last minute where they both got a wave and I missed it. I kept swimming until I felt sand at my fingertips and then got up and started trying to run up the bank. Before I knew it I got smashed by a wave from behind and found myself spinning in a pretty circle and then trying to redeem composure for my run up the sand bank through the finishers chute.
It was great to see the kids smiling faces waiting for me and then seeing Stephen and Joey's face up top waving as I went through. Not far behind me was Kristy - she did amazing and came out smiling from the surf too. Well done Kristy. Such an accomplishment.
As we both walked back to the boys with the kids - what a sense of pride and accomplishment I felt. I had done it and conquered that which I thought I may never. I was on top of the world. It was great to feel hugs from Stephen.

It was then Joey's turn to do the 2.4km swim. He is so brave - far braver than I. And he did amazing. Well done Joey - you too accomplished an awesome goal today. I think we will all sleep soundly tonight.

As we were driving home I asked Taillah to have a look at Multisport Australia for my time. What a shock I got to find out I came 4th in my age group.
WooHoo. Just what I needed today. It was a real boost to my self esteem.

Now my next challenge is Bondi to Bronte 2.4km swim next Sunday. That one may require more self control the night before. But here's to me for trying.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Cycling Cerebellums

To the right of my page you will notice a pretty cool looking logo. I can hear all the cogs ticking over in your minds about what it stands for.

Let me explain.

Over a year ago in the lowlands of Richmond on a training ride, Elissa and I decided we would like to do a big ride for a cause. With all the different charity rides there are around we wanted one that had a personal connection to one of us. So it was decided that we would fundraise for the ward I used to work on.

The Commercial Travellers Ward
The Children's Hospital at Westmead.

The Commercial Travellers Ward is a Neuromedical/Neurosurgical Ward that deals with a group of pretty special children and their families. Within those walls alot of care and love is given but also alot of pain and heartache is felt too.

It's truly amazing how this ride and it's cause were embraced. It quickly went from 2 friends with a thought to a total of now 17 friends with a complete dream.

The Cycling Cerebellums aims to fundraise a minimum of $10,000 for the ward and hope to bring a little brightness to the lives of the children, families and staff. With the help of the community, friends and families we know this goal is achievable. All we ask is that you spread the news. And if you are able to - DONATE.

Below are all our pages for you to peruse through and like, follow, tweet about.

We would love nothing more than to have you following us. Go on, you know you want to check it out. We are nothing more than a click away.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Working my way back.

It's hard to know where to start. So much has transpired in the last 6 weeks that I kind of feel like it has all gone by in a blur. Probably good in a way - the mind has an innate way of shutting down to let you heal and look after yourself. It slows all processes down and gives you time to assess, prioritise, time to search and find yourself, time to feel and be again.

It is quite safe to say that even though during this time I was cared for immensely by family and friends for which I cannot even begin to find words that describe the magnitude of gratitude, I really felt quite alone. I wanted nothing more than to find me again and switch on the old me and get rid of that sadness and how low I was feeling but in the darkness I couldn't find the switch.

Eventually I felt hands grabbing hold of mine and leading me to that switch. And although the darkness was at first overpowering the light, the light has since started to shine again. Everyday that light gets stronger and stronger and everyday I am able to see a little more of me again.

There is still a lot to work on and I am ready to battle it out. I am clawing my way back - I deserve to smile again and with feeling. Not just a vacant smile but a smile that resonates from the bottom of my soul. A smile that truly displays and connects the mind, body and soul. I deserve to be me for me and my family.

And so it is here I find myself, back in my beloved Blog land. Looking after me and doing that which truly makes happy - writing, expressing, feeling, sharing. And I will get back to the sport I love - Triathlons, but in the meantime I have signed up for an 1km Ocean Swim this Sunday at Coogee.
So get ready to see me back. Hope you haven't missed me too much.

  • Beyond Blue - click HERE
  • Black Dog Institute - click HERE

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