Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fighting my way back.


Wow, cant get over how long it's been since I last put fingers to keyboard and entered a post. The last one was in June this year and boy, has alot transpired since then. It has been an absolute whirlwind of events which has left my head completely spinning and have had pretty much no time to think beyond what it is I have had to do for the exact day that I am living. Its hard to know that your days are blending into one, and as much as you try to separate  each day or each event so that you are living in the moment - you find at times that you are losing the battle. But on the flip side - whilst there have been many negative events which have made me question almost everything, there have also been many positives of which have made me proud and kept me going.

Firstly, my gorgeous twins have graduated from High School. Where has time gone? Seems like only yesterday I held them in my arms or walked them through the gates on their first day of school. And now they are stepping into life as adults and seeing all that which life has to offer.

Am I proud of them? Oh my goodness YES. I really couldn't be any prouder. As a Mum they have made me proud every step of the way. They have worked hard and never lost sight of what it was they wanted. That's not to say they haven't made me want to pull my hair out from the roots and run out screaming from time to time, but for every time that has happened they have made me proud tenfold. My wish for them is that they have a life of which they are proud. That they can one day look back and say "I lived my life taking full advantage of every opportunity that came my way". To my beautiful twins - Mum loves you and is confident that your life will be AMAZING, EXTRAORDINARY, and ABUNDANT in all things good.

Secondly, I have started my own company. Who would have thunk it???? Me, a business owner.....WOW. I have been at it since the 15th July and have loved every minute. What is my business about? Well initially it started out as just making a head warmer for myself because I was strapped for cash and couldn't spend alot of money. Then, after a few hilariously grossed out rudimentary attempts, I made one just how I wanted it thanks to the help from a very good friend.

The word just started to spread and then before I knew it I was in full swing and making head warmers left, right and centre. The thing I believe that makes me different is that I make it to measure your head. And you get to choose your colours as well. What could be better really. If you are interested in seeing what Barbs Bands are all about - click HERE. I'm sure you will like what you see. Barbs Bands website is currently under construction so will add the website details here when it is up and running. But my FB page will show you all that is current.

I have been lucky enough to break into the cycling, triathlon, running and Crossfit arenas. With 2 big bulk orders coming from Kangazilla and Witsup.com. I still have to pinch myself that this has happened because just over 3 months ago I couldn't sew to save myself. But somehow, I found it within myself and have found an absolute passion in making my Barbs Bands. Each are individually done by hand by me and I'm really proud of their quality. Where else can you say that you are wearing something that doesn't have that mass production feel about it.

I have since started making sweat bands for the warmer months. Many of my sweat bands are now in another country making there mark in the World Champs of Triathlon known as Ironman. Yep, my sweat bands are in Kailua Kona, HAWAII. I cannot believe it. This little girl may never make it as a competitor to Kailua Kona, but my bands will. And they will be on the heads of competitors and spectators alike. Can't wait to see footage and photos. I'm going to feel super proud. Actually I already do. I love Triathlons and the people involved within the sport. Not only have I been made to feel welcomed but also I have felt truly supported all the time. Thanks everyone so much.

The other amazing thing that has happened is that I was nominated for a "Soaring Solo" award from the Women With Altitude forum. So very exciting. This award is given to women who are running their business on their own with plans for future growth. That's me. I'm so excited. Can't believe I was nominated. So here's to soaring solo.

So whilst that's not all that is happening in my world that sure is the best of whats happening in my world. And I have started the slow and grinding road back to some normality. It hasn't been easy by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know that at some point in the future it will be everything I have dreamed of and more.


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Because we can.

Sometimes you just have to step outside yourself and the daily grind you find yourself in, and do things for others to realise what it is you really truly have in your hands. I find when I'm doing something for someone, I am at my most happiest. I feel I'm serving a purpose in my life that conjurs up feelings of self worth, gratitude, happiness and most of all kindness - something which I truly believe this world is really lacking in. It makes me look deep within myself and really analyse my life and not take what I have for granted nor get to bogged down with those things which I dont have. That's not to say I don't slip up and fall back into old ways but I feel that by doing a good deed, it makes me feel like a better person because I know I'm helping someone who is struggling.


So last weekend - myself and a few friends took part in the MS 24hr Megaswim. The feelings I got by accomplishing this goal were on par with what I had accomplished with the Cycling Cerebellums ride to Melbourne. I felt so proud and honoured to know that by doing what I was doing it was helping friends and others who are living with Multiple Sclerosis.

Did you know that "Diagnosis of MS is typically between 20 and 40 years of age, although onset of symptoms may be earlier. Three times more women are affected by MS than men and it is more common in cooler climates. 

In Australia, over 21,000 people currently have MS however this figure is increasing as diagnosis methods become more advanced. 

One in 20 Australians will be touched by MS through a family member, colleague or friend who is living with the disease". ~
http://www.megaswim.com/Default.aspx~

So it's with this in mind - knowing full well that I have close friends with this condition that I am spurred on to want to do whatever it is I can to help.

We called ourselves "Team Stay Afloat" - a quirky yet original name - which the team really loved. And we stood by that name for the whole 24hrs. When we first got there we were given a few sheets to check off. These had 100m increment boxes up to every kilometre that you had to check off. The first page went to 53km and when I saw this I remember giggling and thinking "yeah sure, 53km is alot". But then the second page went to 110km or so and I thought "who can get to 110km swimming". Obviously the organisers knew something I didn't, and that's why they are the organisers.
And with that - Clair saw us off into our 24hr Megaswim. I was terribly excited about what lay ahead and as we each took our turn in the water those tiny little 100m boxes got ticked off as did the 1km boxes, time and time and time again. It was then easy to see how that 53km goal box could be ticked off.
The motivation and camaraderie within our team was amazing. We would cheer eachother on through the laps and high five eachother on the cross over from one swimmer to the next and within each of us I think we had such a sense of pride with what we were achieving - not just in a swimming sense but also in a fundraising and compassionate sense. We knew that by every lap we were swimming we were putting another dollar into the fight against MS.
It's hard not to feel driven and compelled to get in that water even when it felt like it was 20 degrees celsius at 3:30 in the morning. Because Janet, Todd, Ante and everyone with MS were our driving force. This sign looked over us whilst we did what we did.
As the hours clicked down and the final minutes were being counted we turned out 30min swim slots turned into a 200m relay to wake us all up - and that it did perfectly. The team voted me in to swim us across the finish line and the magic 24hr mark - what an honour it was. I will post up a video shortly of it -so stay tuned to this space.
It was so much fun doing this and cant wait to do it all again. Team Stay Afloat swam a whopping 78.4km and raised and awesome $2862.70 for people with Multiple Sclerosis. We simply couldn't be prouder if we tried. And whats even better still is that we are going to be back next year with not only 1 Team Stay Afloat but 2 Team Stay Afloats. That means more laps and more fundraising to be had. Yeahhhhh baby.

Team Stay Afloat Rules

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The tide is turning

Sometimes it is so hard to see beyond the fog. Life can become so thick with activity and in my case - injuries - its been hard to see the end goal through the misty haze. You seem to get over one thing, and then you get hit with something else. Not sure why this happens, it's not like I've been asking for it, but somehow and with some gentle coaxing from friends I've come to realise that things are happening for a reason - and that reason is to get every reason out of the way so when I do get into the thick of training, there is nothing reason left to get in my way. 

I've been really focusing on keeping a healthy diet with a few relaxed eating days. And whilst there have been days where I've been missing training, I'm still getting out and doing what I can when I can. I'm still only at 2 x 25min walks but my cycling is definitely getting better. Still nowhere near where I was but I've started to notice that my legs are feeling stronger. I've noticed it more so in my windtrainer sets with Sparta. My cadence is getting better at staying up around 90 during race pace sets, and I've been feeling less fatigued when having to hold the hard slower cadence of 60. It's not to say it doesn't hurt, but it is definitely starting to feel slightly more manageable, much to my delight.

The one thing that my body has been struggling with alot is muscular tightness. Quite badly. I'm stretching and foam rolling but its not feeling any better. Maybe over time, the tightness will subside with regular stretching. I've especially noticed it in my back and had to go and pay yet another visit to my physio for them to work on it as the spasm was so bad I was in an awful lot of pain. So now the foam roller is my best friend with regular backward stretching on it to help alleviate the tightness. You should hear the cracking going on in there - its like listening to a bowl of Rice Bubbles.

But on the up side - my stupid little tough is behaving, and it only hurts when I knock it. I'm still regularly taking my Calcium and Vit D tablets so I'm hoping its all helping to heal it up, not that I'm expecting miracles. But, if there is any improvement, which there is - I'm happy. They still haven't found a reason for my Osteopenia but are in the process of trying to find an answer. And being the ever impatient me, I want the answers now so I know what I'm dealing with. But it doesn't seem I will get answers anytime soon, not going back to see the specialist now for another 5 weeks - ughhhhh. Just have to stay focused on doing my  exercises and time will go past quickly.

I have a fun activity which I am doing with 7 other friends in 10 days. We are doing a 24hr Megaswim in aid of people with Multiple Sclerosis. Can't wait actually - I've never swum in the wee small hours of the morning, and I haven't done it with a bunch of friends either. So to share this experience with them for such a great cause will be absolutely amazing indeed. We are almost at our goal of $1000 - and would love it if you could help our cause and team "Stay Afloat". If you would like to donate click HERE. Every dollar is helpful and I know you will be helping those with MS live an easier life. 

So that's it for this small blog post. Thanks for joining me on my journey to Ironman Port Macquarie 2014. It's going to be a crazy roller coaster of a ride.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Harden up princess.

Literally. Seems there has been a reason this whole time for my inability to get my legs and body in running mode. Ive never know anyone - well atleast since starting in this Triathlon world who has had as many tormenting down days as me. Seems I take a few promising forward steps and then my body for whatever reason chose to make me stop dead in my tracks more times than I would like to count.

So when I decided to stupidly fracture and dislocate my toe ten days after coming out of my boot I decided it was high time that things get checked out properly, once and for all. Cant tell you how sick and tired of having bone pain Ive been. Ive had more scans than I would like to count and if I could glow radioactively, I would. So when I finally insisted on having a Bone Density Scan I think the GP was slightly put out by a 39yr requesting a scan that is normally reserved for the older population.

Well, fast forward a few days and the results came in. "Significantly low Bone Mineral Density". So much so that my spine resembles that of a wee little old lady. Good thing though that my neck of the femur was preserved due to my running - well there's a positive. It seems that all of this is whats making everything go awry. I knew there had to be a reason for all of this garbage happening, couldnt just be bad luck. Ive listened to my trainer, done everything by the book and NOW here was the answer I'd been looking for. Whilst you never want something to be wrong with your body, it was good that I finally had an answer, and now I could move forward in getting things right again.

I'm not expecting that it's going to be an easy fix. From speaking to the Sports Doc, he did say that it could take a few years to right the wrong in my spine - and it may never be equivalent to my prospective age. But if I can atleast get it to a 10yr proximity versus a 20-30yr distance which is where I'm at now - Id be stoked. So here's to Calcium rich foods (non-dairy related) and my Calcium and Vitamin D supplements to get me back on track. Im going to conquer this, just another thing in the life of Barb. And with the help of another specialist to see if it's all hormonally related - I should be right as rain - or atleast on track to getting me to my big goal.

And so here it is.

May 4th next year Im coming back to do it. I have to get this off my back and I will. When I signed up I got that flutter in my belly again of excitement and trepidation. I don't want to sign up and not compete again. And whilst I love spectating and supporting, I want next year to be my year. I really think I deserve it. I'm going to give it my best crack and be super cautious in my training using everything I have available to be to get me there in one piece. Even if it means wrapping myself in bubble wrap.

Well enough of me. Yesterday a few friends of mine competed in The Northface 100 and 50. OMG, talk about hard. I don't even think the word hard comes even remotely close to what my inspirational friends accomplished yesterday. 
photo - Lyndon Marceau

For those of you who don't know about this race - check out the website here - The North Face 100. It is without a doubt one of the hardest UltraMarathon's ever. And I have friends who are brave and strong enough to do it. You all inspire me without a doubt and make me realise that anything is possible, you just have to want it bad enough. Your mental strength is something that I admire and strive to have. And if I can have an itsy bitsy little bit of what you all have - I'd be stoked. Congratulations on accomplishing the hardest race ever and now time to rest those legs. You have earnt every bit of pampering that is coming your way.

YOU GUYS ROCK.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Anyone got a roll?

Of bubble wrap that is. Seems I need it in surplus of late. I can't seem to keep from hurting myself and it's becoming a bit of a joke. Last Wednesday I decided to add insult to injury by fracturing and dislocating my left little toe at the vets. A stupid accident but nonetheless it has put me out for another few weeks of healing time. So those first few tentative walking steps I took a week or so ago have now come to a grinding holt - yet again. Oh well, there's nothing I can do about it, and as a close friend said to me "maybe it's life's way of making 100% sure that the leg that just came out of the boot gets a bit more rest time", thanks Mel. I think your right too.

So I'm not going to sit here and sulk - I think I have done enough of that. I'm going to just get on with it and work again on my strength - SWIMMING. If I thought I was getting stronger before - I now have renewed motivation to want to get even stronger. Maybe this is the universes way of telling me to keep my eye's on my goal "Aussi Masters Games in October". Maybe I got slightly sidetracked as soon as I was told I could walk and ride again and I needed a slight reminder of how important this was to me. So it's time to get cracking with 5 months to go.

I have a few goals I would like to meet at these games. One is to crack the sub 30 secs barrier for my 50m Freestyle. Secondly I want to hit sub 34 secs for my 50m Backstroke. I would also like to try and get a sub 1:10 for my 100m Freestyle and try for a 10:30-11 min for my 800m Freestyle. Not sure if achievable but I sure am going to give it my everything. Of that I can assure you.

Anyways, on the weekend was Ironman Australia at Port Macquarie. It was the one I was meant to be participating in before all went wrong. And whilst I was slightly hesitant to say the least about going (not sure how I feel about not being in that water for the start), I'm really quite glad I went. It just added fuel to the fire that was brewing. Second time lucky for next year. It was such a buzz watching all of my team mates compete. I not only swam with them, I rode with them and ran with them in spirit on Sunday. I yelled till I couldn't yell anymore and walked till my little toe couldn't walk anymore. But one things for sure - I didn't feel at all devastated, it was just what I needed. My club, Panthers Tri Club, has awesome competitors and fantastic family members supporting them. To those who completed yet another Ironman, completed their first or smashed it up and got PB's - you are all my INSPIRATION. I want to be like you all when I grow up. And I look forward to crossing that finish line and experiencing that HIGH next year with you all....

At the start line something completely amazing/magical happened. Out of 1602 competitors that took to the water there at Port Macquarie - I made eye contact with one sole competitor and smiled and wished her luck. I don't know why out of everyone there that I chose her to smile to but it just happened. She proceeded to stand up - lift her goggles off her eyes and say "Barbie? I've been reading your blog. Im going to do this for you today!". Needless to say I burst into tears, and my husband Stephen had tears in his eyes too. If I could have jumped into the water and given her a cuddle I would have but before I could show her just how much that meant to me - off went the siren and she was gone. All day I searched to see her face out on the course so not sure how she went but if you are reading this - please let me know how you went and know that you really did make my day. I hope you got that medal and are wearing it super proudly. You deserve it.

This weekend was also super special because IM day was also my husbands 50th. The night before we went out with a whole bunch of our close friends to celebrate and we had an AWESOME time. Thankyou to everyone for sharing in it - I know how much it meant to Stephen. And thankyou to everyone on Sunday who wished him Happy Birthday - he felt really special. I will never forget this weekend as long as I live.


I'll be back Port. Don't you forget my face.  Because when I reach that start line -
 I wont be stopping till I'm done.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I think

Yeah, I know, hard to believe - Barb thinks. But contrary to popular belief - Barb thinks alot. Mind is continually active in search of new things, new goals, new ideas, new dreams. But the one thing that has never required alot of thinking as it has just remained a part of who I am since falling upon this wonderful sport, is that I LOVE TRIATHLONS. Everything about it - literally makes me smile. And whilst it's not been the most injury free of sports I could have chosen, it is the sport which challenges me in every conceivable way.

I've never really thought about why it is I love it so much. But I'm sure if I had to write a list - it would be humongous. But the one thing that sticks out the most is the friendships I have made. Never have they failed to support and encourage me in my quest to want to do better. And for that I am truly thankful. So it's with that in mind, over the last few weeks I have started to mingle with the idea again of trying to reach the goal i had set last year.

Port Macquarie IM.

Yeah, I know I know. I know I said I wouldn't try again to reach it as I am sick of trying to get this running thing happening. But much like an ember which has stayed alight after the blaze of a bush fire has settled, so too has my dream of becoming an Ironman. I can't let it go. It has literally been burning a whole in my psyche since being told I couldn't participate in it this year. And so in true Barbara fashion - I shall go back and conquer my dream. 

Only this time, the difference is that my running will take the major focus. Not that it hasn't before - but it is going to be slow and completely focused on keeping my lower limbs happy. Even if that means the majority of my training is walking, then so be it. I'm going to make this happen if it's the last thing I do. I'm not one to give up on my dreams and this has been one of mine since I did my first 70.3 in 2011. So I will get there - just watch me.

So yesterday I did my first ride on the road. Now don't get all excited - leave that to me :) It was only 24km but it was the best 24km of my life. Check out the ridiculous grin.
I'm surprised I dont have any bugs in my teeth from grinning. I just couldn't stop. I felt so free on that bike. Mind you my undercarriage was saying something completely different. But the good thing was that my foot has pulled up fine. Just tight this morning but that is nothing new, just have to keep stretching and seeing my physio. Can't wait to see what my next 12 months have in store for me. The possibilities are endless. But for now, Im just excited as hell to be able to do fun things and to write again on my blog.

Monday, April 22, 2013

To dream

Do you ever dream?

Not the kind of dream where you close your eyes and drift off into the land of nod and allow your uncontrolled brain to run wild. But the kind of dream where you are wide awake and you forcefully imagine every last minute detail of what that encounter will be like? Where if given the chance to make it come to life just as you had imagined you would jump at the chance in a heartbeat?

For the last however many weeks since my injury I have been dreaming. Dreaming with EYES WIDE OPEN for that moment where I would be able to walk those first cautiously tentative steps towards my dream again. I have yearned to be a part of a community again which has given me so much. 

So when Steve my physio said that I could do a walk, let me tell you - I think I gave him the biggest cuddle ever. It really was like all my Christmas' had come at once. Ive been waiting for those words for ages. And it almost felt as though those words would never come. But here they are!!!! I am able to walk.

So yesterday - I took the opportunity whilst the sun was shining to go for my walk. The sun shone about as brightly as my smile. And if I had of been on my own during this walk I still think I would have smiled as brightly albeit it would have looked slightly weird. But instead - I went on my first glorious walk with my beautiful daughter. It couldn't have been any better if I tried. We had the best time, a great mother/daughter bonding session. And there was a little competitiveness that came out in us both with some unsuspecting male walkers. It was so funny - our goal was to stay ahead of them for the entire walk - however, right at the very end they took a short cut and beat us to the finish line. Somehow I think they may have known we were trying to beat them or MAYBE they were trying to beat us. Either way, a little healthy competition never hurt anyone :) I might just clarify here though that it wasn't a fast walk either. And this morning I feel great.

The only feelings I have this morning reminding me that I walked yesterday are tight back muscles and a blister on the back of my right foot. And you know what? Im happy that I have that tiny blister. It means that I have done something that required a little effort :) and whilst it was the best walk ever, I was slightly out of my comfort zone and I didn't realise how unfit I had become. Seems like only yesterday I was able to run a full 21km and still do a full days worth of other stuff around it all. 

That day will come again. I know it.

Till then I will embrace this journey with both hands and look forward to my next walk.



Monday, April 1, 2013

One way, or another.

Ever since hearing this song on the radio by One Direction - thanks to my daughter, these words have stuck in my mind. And one way or another I have had to learn that I can still do and train for my dream - it was just going to have to be ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.

When I heard the news that I wasn't able to compete in IMOZ, I was completely devastated. I got so down in the dumps and wondered why me, again, this sucks, I give up, Im over it. Just felt like another low blow. When I finally got over myself - I realised that there were still so many opportunities that I had in front of me. And it was unfair to me to allow them to float on by without grabbing them and using them to my advantage. After all - how many people out there who are in far worse conditions than mine make the most of their situation and succeed regardless of their physical limitations. I was acting like an absolute spoilt twit. One way or another they used their limitations to enhance the things they were able to do - and I had to take a leaf out of their book.

One way or another - is now my motto. I have shown myself that I dont need my feet to help me swim - I can swim without them AND Im getting stronger. I have also shown myself that whilst I can't ride and run - I can continue with my strength and conditioning classes and smash out quality sessions. But most of all - I have proven to myself mentally - that there is no barrier I cannot overcome only that which is self imposed. One way or another - everything is attainable - you just have to change your mindset.

I proved this to myself in the water the other day and did my first 800m TT with a pullbouy and band and was quite happy - ACTUALLY ECSTATIC that I did it in about 12mins. Give or take a few seconds as I timed myself off of the wall clock. One way or another I am making my swim dream happen. And once this romper stomper boot comes off - I know I will do it in under 12mins. I can feel it in my bones - and no it's not my arthritis talking. :)

I just had the best feeling in the water. The one where you just feel like you can keep swimming because all of a sudden you have found that groove. The one where all of a sudden you can feel the water caressing every inch of your body and your using it to your advantage. Im excited because whilst Im holding a comfortable 1:30/100m with my feet all tied up, the thought of being able to hold sub 1:30's comfortably once my feet are in the mix is really really exciting. 

I cant wait. Lets see what the following week will hold in the pool.

ONE WAY OR ANOTHER - I'M GONNA GET THERE.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Swimming my heart out


I read those words above and something deep within becomes ignited. When I was younger, whilst I was (most mornings) coaxed into the water by my Mum because I was a whinger, once there I felt such a sense of freedom. I looked forward to getting in the lane with my brothers and trying to keep up. I loved the fact that I was given the opportunity to try and prove what I was capable of everytime I got in the water for a race. And whilst the hours and kilometres of training were sometimes (most times) more than I wanted as a kid, now as an adult I am loving it and look forward to getting down to the pool and proving to myself yet again - that I have what it takes.

Now when I say "have what it takes"....... it's not to try and win BUT it is to try and tell myself that no matter how I go or what the outcome ..... I gave it my all and I worked my toosh off for the best possible outcome for me. This is for me and no-one else. For every goal that I conquer regardless of it's size, I have gone one step forward to feeling proud of the person I am. 

Now when I get in the water I feel such a sense of freedom. It really does feel so beautiful for me to just go up and down a lane at the pool. Whether it be a nice easy recovery swim or some flat out hard sessions - I find something about each and everyone of those sessions to be thankful for. Whether it be the fact that my stroke count is improving, times are getting faster, stroke is getting longer and more effective or just that for that very moment I got to do something that I love - for me - swimming at this point has become my life (aside from family and friends of course).

Every week I have been challenged since getting the boot from physio. Which has meant that all of my swim sets have been with pullbouy and band. And whilst it's been tough to say the least I have been really excited at finishing each of my sets. I have perfected the art of doing fly, backstroke and breatsroke completely leg free and I can feel my arms getting heaps stronger. Now when I do a stroke I can feel it has intention. Love it. Last week I even clocked up 16kms worth of swimming. Havent done anything like that - SINCE FOREVER. And I feel really proud of myself.

Ive even signed up for the Aussi Masters in Geelong in October. Ive signed up for 6 races - 50 & 100 Frs, 50 & 100 & 200 Bks and the 800m Frs. How exciting. It's going to feel like the good old days when I was doing Metrops, State and Nationals. So it's time to get my training face on and go conquer my goal. Time to work hard in the water and smash my strength and conditioning sets. Time to get focused and have tunnel vision. I want to try and hit a sub 30 secs for my 50 Frs and try to beat my time of 34 secs for my 50 Back. Here's to giving it a good hard crack. Yeeha.

Im going to swim for me, for the little swimmer inside of me. For the girl who gave up on herself many years ago. Im going to make me proud.



Sunday, March 17, 2013

A bit of this, and a bit of that.

My lack of posting has not been because I haven't had anything to do - if anything I think I have been inundated with a multitude of things to keep my mind off carrying my boot around. Yep, Im in a big, black, heavy contraption aimed at keeping my foot completely immobile so it can heal. Whilst it's quite possibly the most annoying and hottest thing I have had to lug around - for the last 4 days I have had no pain whatsoever (well maybe a little) and by a little I mean a REAL little - almost not worth mentioning. The swelling is next to none existent by the end of the day which is awesome. So whilst Im not keen on my boot - its helping and for that I am thankful. Tomorrow is Day 10 and I see physio so fingers crossed he is happy, because I am.

During this time I have also had my 39th birthday. I think I had the longest birthday ever recorded. It spanned over the greater part of a week. I had a wonderful dinner with my family, followed by a great dinner with friends, followed yet again by an awesome lunch with friends again. Could it have gotten any better???? Not sure that can be topped. I was spoilt rotten with gifts, phone calls, text and FB messages. I really felt extremely special. Nice to know people are thinking of you. 

During my down time, my love for cooking has taken on a whole new passion. I have experimented and found new flavours and concepts and started my own page on FB called Foodie Friends. We are a great network of avid food lovers just trying to make good meals for our families and friends and share our recipes so that we can inspire and be inspired. Come join us. We would love to have you along.
Ive also found a new passion - local markets. Oh the treasures you find in these places. Not just great food and produce at a really good price, but arty crafty stuff. These women and men spend hours perfecting their art. They are so talented. I really dont have a crafty bone in my body and  really take my hat off to those who have this gift in their hands.I came across 3 wonderful stalls in general of which I purchased or placed an order in. The first was Bella Boheme. My eyes got drawn to this amazing stall - so bright and cheery with the most gorgeous of things in there. I loved it. This beautiful basket caught my eye and I just had to have it. So now when I go market shopping I will go in style. Thankyou Emma. Check out her website.
Then I was alerted to another stall by a friend of mine. Kirrily from Needle vs Thread has the most gorgeous bags, wallets, purses, clutches. Made from scratch. The detail is amazing. I have placed an order and look forward to seeing my little purse. It was really nice meeting you Kirrily. Then I got these cute little spoons which have been flattened out and then embossed with names of herbs on them from Eccentric Style. Just love them.
Amazing how much beauty and creativity is around. Im surrounded by artistic people. My friend Danielle gave me this beautiful gift for my birthday which she made. I just love it. Look at the detail. Thankyou Danielle, this was a beautiful surprise.
And then there is my talented daughter. I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of her and her artistic abilities. She is completely self taught and is a down right genius when it comes to artwork. And I can tell you she didnt get it from me. I would love for my readers here on this blog to join my daughter on her FB page - Taillah Hughes Artworks as she shows her talents to the world. Follow her journey as she lives her passion, her dream. I would really appreciate it.
Stay tuned for lots more stuff happenng in Barbie's world. It's never boring - of that I can assure you. There's a few little things in the pipeline for me too :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Variability

Life in the Hughes household over the last month and a bit has been somewhat BUSY to say the least. It's been a rollercoaster of emotions and trips to the physio just trying to get me recovered from my annoying stress injuries. Feels like I have been doing a constant CHA CHA - one minute ok and the next not so good, with the light at the end of the tunnel appearing and disappearing continuously. Am I getting frustrated? YEP. Frankly getting quite sick and tired of it - but I keep trying to stay positive and happy, looking for things to do to keep me focused on staying healthy. 

Physio has been trying really hard to keep me out of a boot, and through no fault of theirs or my own, my feet just are not co-operating. Having to walk, stand, drive and use them for just about every damn thing you do every day will just about to that. They ache and swell at the end of the day and then first thing of a morning as I take my first few steps - the pain is at times unbearable. My shin - which was my initial complaint is healing well, in fact it doesn't hurt at all, however because the bones in my feet are so inflammed, it has now become the focus. But on the bright side - I can swim. 

Swimming has been my sanity. It is my saving grace really, and without it in my life I really have no idea what I would do. I have signed up for a few exciting adventures - The Dee Why 1.5km Surf Swim which I am really excited about as I had to cancel my Cole Classic this year and the most exciting one of all - The 24hr MegaSwim as a fundraiser event for people living with MS. Why did I choose this event? Firstly it seemed really intriguing, as I was looking for a good challenge. The words 24hrs and swim really appealed to my inner amphibian. But then it took on a deeper meaning - one which meant alot more to me. And that was the ability to help others who were struggling. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has touched a few friends of mine and a very close family friend a many years ago. I've seen how it can affect their lives and those of their family and if I can help just a little then that is what I shall do.

I have been very fortunate to have great friends jump onboard with the MegaSwim and TEAM AFLOAT and I am really looking forward to sharing this special time with them. There is something really special about joining forces with a common goal of doing good - completely disregarding your own agenda for a while and just focusing on the greater good. We will do great - I just know it. GO TEAM AFLOAT. And should you wish to donate? Please do so on our page - TEAM AFLOAT. Every cent will help - believe me.

My other long term goals in the swimming arena are really quite exciting. Some I know I can achieve without a shadow of a doubt, and the other is a mere glimmer - but a work in progress. I am going to sign up for the Aussi Masters in Geelong 2013, and compete in a few events. My 50m Fr/s and Bk/s are a definite with other events in the pipeline Im sure. But I'm looking forward to trying to hit a sub 30 sec for my 50m Fr/s since becoming an adult. Should be exciting. Then there is my goal of competing in the World Masters in Montreal next year for the Open Water 3km. Not only do I get to go to another beautiful country but I get to try a new event - long distance swimming. Which will hopefully lead onto my my new goal - one I don't know if I can do - Rottnest Challenge. Scary but something to think about. You never know if you don't try. Heck in 2010 I never thought I would do a Triathlon let alone a 70.3 and then 18mths later I did it. Why should this be any different right?

So life continues and I have had the pleasure of doing alot of fun things. Particpating in the Husky Long Course Triathlon in and awesome team event with Kimberlee and Brent, as well as some open water swims in the Nepean River care of Jen and her kayak. Then yesterday I worked with TriShave again at the Kurnell Sprint Series Triathlon - and what a great way to finish off the series for the season. 

Upon arrival I was told that I would be shaving Gus Worland's legs for his Triathlon debut. As he had his back turned and I completely suck at remembering names, I was like "Gus Who" - sorry Gus. But as soon as he turned I was like "Oh I know him". I didn't know he was part of Triple M "sorry once again". I remembered his face more from his series "An Aussie goes Barmy".

Gus is a really lovely guy. He seemed so relaxed for it being his first Triathlon and it made me feel relaxed as I really didnt want to cut him. He showed genuine interest in me and asked if I did Triathlons, which I thought was super sweet. And  hope my shaving prowess helped him cut through the water like a Barracuda.



Even if it didn't help - atleast he DID love the feel of his clean shaven legs. Watching him rub his lower legs together gave me the giggles. He is a very funny man. Check out this little video - courtesy of TriNSW. That's me in the opening scene. Click HERE. For more photos of me and Gus - click here and here.
Looking forward to watching you complete many more Gus.

So here's to may more adventures for Barb. Focusing more on swimming and making this girl swim like no other. Whats on your agenda?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

You can't just stay down.

Over every mountain there is a path
Although it may not be seen from the valley
~ Theodore Roethke ~

Reality. Had I have read this last week when I got the news, I would have told Theodore where he could have put his quote. And it was some place that would have made it quite uncomfortable to walk for the poor chap.

WHY?

Because something that I wanted to do really badly was taken away from me. Not because those who decided the fate were doing it to be horrible humans, they were doing it because that was their job. To look after their patients. But I didn't see it that way. My Ironman dream was gone. Just like that. All I heard was "Barb, your out of cycling for 5 weeks and then you need to rehab and strengthen muscles". I said "so that means I cant do Ironman" and she said "unfortunately no". From that point on I don't think I heard much more. I know in my head it is just a race, but really every race I have done has been used to take me a step away from the person that I was back in 2008/2009 when I started this whole journey.

I was angry. Angry that yet again I had to stop. Angry that my body was choosing to stop. Didn't it get that everything I was doing - the early mornings, the weightloss, the conditioning, good food, hours of training and trying for the last 4yrs was all for it. And once again it was like it wanted to set me another challenge - another wall to have to climb over. I was so FREAKIN' over having to start all over again. I wanted to just wake up and go out if I wanted to to and take my bike for a spin with my friends or go for a run (even if slow). I just wanted to BE for ONCE.


FAST FORWARD A FEW DAYS.

Sob story over. And I now whole heartedly agree with Theodore. He is quite a smart individual. All I needed to do was step back and look at what was right in front of me the whole time. Swimming has been what I have enjoyed my whole life. Swimming is what gives me comfort. Swimming is where I get the greatest peace of mind. So whilst I let the bones in my legs and feet heal, I shall swim. Well, I shall swim in about 2 weeks - self imposed complete and utter leg rest. And then - when that is done - I am going to swim until I grow myself a set of gills. 

I have a goal. And for me it's big. I needed something to replace my BIG goal of Ironman. Im not ever excluding Ironman - but if I am completely honest with myself - shin splints x 3, stress injuries to my feet x 2 and twisted ankles x 3 (since 2009) is a pretty big red light warning of my body telling me it really struggles with running. Atleast thats how I see it. So my future I believe will be in team events for Triathlons where I can swim and ride or just do solo swims. This still puts a smile on my face. I still get to do things with my friends. So I am happy. A wise friend once told me "There is always something out there to challenge us, and the stuff that happens to change your plans is just that. A guidance, not an ending". Thanks Lance.



Im looking forward to my next challenge.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bridge to Bridge 5km OWS

" There are no negatives in life, only challenges to overcome that will make you stronger." 




Often the most unprepared activities are the ones that turn out to be the most fun. There is not that huge build  up of anticipation and fear - but rather and unknowing ease or beginners naivety. Whatever the case, when the idea was brought up to me during a massage with Kristen I got terribly excited about doing something I had not even dreamed of. I was already planning on doing the 3km but the concept of swimming 5km straight, thrilled me and scared me all at the one time. Swimming that distance in a squad set is very different to swimming it continuously without the aid of a wall to tumble turn off. But I was up for the challenge.


The Bridge to Bridge 3km is the competitive component of the day - you can then choose to do the swim through to the 5km mark. When I arrived at the Regatta Centre and saw how far up the markers were I must admit to feeling slightly anxious. It was so far away but the great thing is that the water is never choppier than the wind that is occurring on the day. So luckily it was nice and calm with a shower happening. It was great to catch up with a few friends on the day too who were participating and supporting - Clair, Louise & Andrew, Andrea & Rodney, Marc, Alan & Karen, Jen, Kimberlee & Brent, Kate & Paul. Plus my family as always was there to support me. Their un-waivering faith in me is something I can never live without.



Before too long it was time to get in the water and find myself a spot where I knew I would feel comfortable. I sat myself to the far right of the first turn can and just tried to get as much clear water between me and the mass of arms and legs. As I turned that first can I kept looking up regularly until I started to notice a bit of a break that I could squeeze into. When I finally got in, I honed in the underwater rope that held up the row of small bouys. That way the only time I needed to sight was actually just to see how far the next turn can was away.

My goal for the first 3km's was to kick a nice good pace. Consistent rhythm, nice long and powerful strokes without overdoing it too much as A) I havent swum 3km in one hit and B) I still had the 5km to make. The first 3km's actually went by quite quickly. I spent the time singing, trying to spot fish and spotted the occasional floating yellow cap. I also spent the time imagining what it was going to be like swimming the 3.8km at Ironman and I tried to stay focused on keeping my breathing under control so then I could know what it would feel like.

I also tried to set small goals along the way like - trying to catch the person infront of me without using up too much energy. It was quite exciting to get a little competitive in the water and feel that I could make some headway. When I set my sights on a person in front of me, it was really cool to start spotting those little bubbles in the water which indicated that I was finally catching up to them. And then when I passed them, then I tried to get catch up with someone else.

As I reached the end of the 3km mark, a tiny little voice inside my head said "you can stop now, you dont have to do the whole lot". "Pfftttt, as if" said the other little voice, and with that I swam under the finish sign and made my way around again for the last 2kms.

The next 2kms were a bit more challenging in that the first turn can up the top end just never seemed to arrive and my that stage I started to get a bit of a hand cramp in both hands. I could only imagine that they resembled a birds claw after it had dropped off it's perch and taken it's finally flight to bird heaven. I tried to open my fingers and give them a bit of a stretch as I was swimming and before too long they settled down thankfully, but not before my feet started to do the same. I was also starting to get a bit thirsty. So to take my mind off of it I started to try to gain ground on the 3 people who were just ahead.
Little by little I inched my way closer until I finally overtook them too and then it was onto the home stretch. As I reached the pontoon just in front of the grandstand I noticed 2 very familiar faces screaming my name - Stephen and Clair. Clair had finished her cycling class at the gym not long before and came to give me support. Seeing those faces made me give it one last crack and I swam straight for that finish line. As I tapped the sign I had just realised what I had accomplished. Even though my arms were dead, I couldn't stop smiling. That was until it all hit me - system overload and it all started to switch off 3, 2, 1. Thanks Stephen for the sequential shots.



Could I have been happier - at that point I thought not. It wasn't until they started to call the age champions that I was called out as the first placegetter for the 35-39yr old women in both the 3km and 5km. I was so stoked. I had no clue. Kurt my son had kept that little secret from me as he had seen my name on the board about 30mins before.

3km - 47:14
5km - 1:22:27

I really enjoyed the 5km swim - I had alot of time to think and to just be. I realised how much I love being in the water - how at home I feel. No pressures, no stresses. Just being me. It made me have really good insight into myself and what I enjoy most- and it was good as the next few days were going to test me.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Onwards and upwards.

Real success is not about never having a bad day. What is important is how fast you
can turn that bad day around, how quickly you can form a strategy to overcome 
any obstacles that may appear on your path and how fast you can recover 
from a disappointment or blow to your confidence.


A couple of posts ago I had disclosed that my shins had been giving me grief. Well pretty soon I was told to rest by my trainer and physio till I got some scans done to diagnose exactly what was going wrong in there. My physio, whom I have aptly named now as "Stef the tenderiser" was quite concerned with the amount of pain I was in everytime she went anywhere near my bone. After a few sessions the pain which I only felt in my shins (which was quite localised) had dropped to below my ankle. I had also told her that my first few steps of a morning are painful and now kicking when I swim was starting to hurt in my ankle too. Hence the reason for a bone scan.

Jen (SpartaPT) my coach rearranged my training program to exclude running and crosstrainer and to include water running till diagnosis and future plans for rehab were discussed with my physio. Going for my bone scan was a bit - ALOT - nerve wracking. Not only was I kept waiting for forever, but I could hear my name being whispered as well as terms like "ankles, scan higher, her shins" only then to have the Doctor come and speak to me about where my pain was and he then stated "I can definitely see shin splints but want to investigate a bit further". I started crapping myself right then and there. In my head I had already been diagnosed with something horrendous. Panic stations were on high alert and I was sent off to wait for Part B of the scan.

With Part B done and what felt like a lifetime of waiting, my results came through. Shin splints. But not just in my right shin, although that was the worst - it was in both. But my right showed definite stress changes especially where most of my pain had been. With there also being uptake of the radionuclide in my feet. And whilst the news was upsetting, in a way - I was glad to hear that I wasn't imagining my pain. 
Thank goodness for my family and friends with their supportive words. Cause if I had to just sit and wallow in my own misery it could have been tragic. 

And whilst the road to IM will be more challenging to say the least - I can now go on focused with the things I need to do to make sure I will make it across that line. And that is lots and lots of swimming, cycling and water running. When it comes to water running - I think I have found my new love. There is something about it that I absolutely find extremely relaxing. And maybe it's just because I am in the water, but doing something that hurts so much in an environment that feels so nurturing really makes me want to go do it everyday. And that is not something that I can say so freely when it comes to running on land.

Check out that beautiful form. Not something I can boast about when running on land, but in the water, surprisingly I look graceful and feel just as graceful. And as I am running and doing my efforts I imagine that this is what it must feel like for my friends who are seasoned Triathletes or long distance runners. For once in the water I can pretend I am fast even though I am moving at a pace that closely resembles that of a sloth. And I know I am getting a good workout because I finish with heavy legs and arms thanks to the waters resistance. Bring on more water running I say. I really do enjoy it. And because I know I am going to be in there for the long haul, I purchased an Speedo underwater MP3 player so I have some tunes to sing to during my workouts.

So even though my direction has been re-routed, Im still getting there, just via a different path. And it's a journey I am enjoying.

So tomorrow, I do my first Open Water 5km - Bridge 2 Bridge swim. Looking forward to it with slight trepidation. Not quite sure how to pace myself for that sort of distance. Nevermind, I will just keep swimming. 


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Nowra Olympic Triathlon.

Don't wait for extraordinary
opportunities.
Seize common occasions and
make them great.
~ Orison Swett Marden ~


Having been thrown a curve ball on my journey to Ironman Port Macquarie, 2013 - I decided that rather than let it get the better of me and just lay down and tap out, I was going to still take the opportunities that I had planned and run with it. Well not literally but figuratively.

Let me explain.

On my last post I do believe I said I was going to get the verdict on my sore shin. Well, a bone scan has been booked for this coming Friday to exclude the possibility of a stress fracture of my anterior tibia or Periostitis traction (ie shin splints). Both of which I do not want, but both could explain as to why it hurts to run or jump on that leg. So, whilst I wait for the scan and the results, I have not been running but I have continued to swim and cycle. And now I can add water running to the mix for which I am ever so thankful for. Sounds like it is going to be fun and I am literally in the water 5 days (between swimming and water running). I think I am going to grow a set of gills shortly. Not that Im complaining. I love the water.

Anyway, back to the reason for this post - Nowra Olympic Triathlon. I had signed up for this Triathlon I think at the end of last year with the intention to try and squeeze in as many Olympics as I could before doing Ironman. But with the possible diagnosis of a stress fracture and being told not to run I was thinking that maybe I should just pull out from it. But the more I thought about it, the more I began to realise that I could still do part of it, so long as I felt comfortable with the idea that there was going to be a DNF at the end of my name. Of that I didn't care. So off I headed down south with my hubby to stay with some very dear friends Paul, Jennie and their gorgeous girls at Jennies parents home away from home. Paul was racing too.


The morning of the race we woke up to rain. I dont mind racing when it's wet, it cools me down. I ate my usual pre-race brekkie - toast with honey and a good cup of black coffee. And before we knew it, it was time to head to the race. Paul and I set up our stuff in transition and caught up with some friends Erin, Nicole and Clare. It was great having Stephen, Jennie and the girls there for support. Also saw Ben (Erin's hubby) there too. I love hearing my name be yelled when Im racing. The usual pre-race jitters (upset tummy) got the better of me which meant I missed the pre-race briefing so as I headed down to race start I had to ask someone as to how many laps the swim course was. Turns out it was one - thankfully. I'll tell you why shortly.

I made my way into the water and was quite surprised as to how warm it was. I did a quick out and back warm up and then found Paul before he headed off for his swim as his wave set off before mine. And then it was my turn. As usual my heart started to beat loudly in my ears and I just wanted to get started. I positioned myself up the front but to the side - turned out it was the perfect spot for me. As the siren sounded, I took off and took the lead with 2 other ladies. For once I played my swim strategically and positioned myself behind the second lady. It was a fantastic spot. Now I know why people do it - I hung for dear life to her that was until we started to reach the green turn around bouy. Then something happened. She disappeared.

I started to feel that I was working harder and harder and the turn bouy was difficult to get to. I made it - JUST and then I found that instead of going directly straight to the next bouy I was swimming uphill diagonally to it. The current had picked up - BIG TIME. I worked my toosh off to get to it and then as I finally turned the current literally dragged me back to swim start. Somewhere between the start and the 1200m I also noticed that we were sharing the river with jellyfish. And not little ones either. They were big, fat, gnarly ones. In my head I kept telling myself "you have swum with jellyfish before at Yeppoon" & "big fat jellyfish don't sting" - WRONG. As I turned the last bouy to come into shore I copped it fair and square from my left shoulder down to my elbow. A searing burning pain and the first thing that came to mind was "hurry up - swim faster". I didn't want to get stung anymore - it hurt alot. 

Coming out of the water I started to do a little bit of a jog to T1 - the pain in my lower shin reminded me that I shouldn't be doing that. So I did this funny little jig that could have quite easily been put in the skit "Ministry of funny walks". I heard Stephen call my name but couldn't see him and then as I approached Jenny she asked how the swim was. I think I said it was good. Certainly for once I actually felt alright exiting the water even though there were a few challenges.

SWIM : 27:33

As I came out of T1 I was really looking forward to getting on my bike. With my strength training and WT sets from SpartaPt I have started to feel strong on my bike again. I do believe the only time my speedo went below 32km p/hr was when I was turning a corner. Other than that I tried really hard to keep my cadence high and the speed up there. Twice I saw Paul and tried to get his attention out on the bike course - but he looked so focused. Finally on the way out on the second lap I yelled out to him and he gave me a really big grin. Then on the way back 2 really fast girls passed me and I thought to myself "you don't have to run, so what the hell are you holding back for. Gooooooooo". So I cranked it up a couple of gears and tried to hang on (within legal distance) to those 2 fast girls. Thanks girls for making me go faster. So with this little pick me up I ended my bike leg on a fantastically fast note for me.

BIKE : 1:15:18

As I ran out of T2 - I crossed the line and then went straight to first aid to get some ice for my leg and then caught up with Stephen, Jennie and her gorgeous girls and Ben and his little cherubs. With my job done it was time to cheer on the rest of PTC. I later found out that Clare wasn't able to finish due to her bad Jellyfish sting. Her arm had massive raised red welts on it. Paul scored himself a first place in the Clydesdale division - his medal is AWESOME. So proud of you Paul. Erin looked superb out there, always smiling and did a great race as did Nicole. I wasn't able to catch up with Susanna - Jen from Sparta's new client but I heard she did great too.

After all was said and done - it was so nice to hear Paul say he was really proud of me. A) I look up to Paul as a great swimmer. He is like a great white shark in the ocean. Strong and powerful. B) Paul is like my brother. So to have my surrogate brother tell me he is proud of me makes me feel very special indeed. Thanks Paul.

It was finally time to go back to Paul and Jennies home to rest, relax and enjoy the remainder of the weekend till we headed home the following day. I had such a wonderful time and it was great to get away with hubby. Thankyou Jennie, Paul and girls for your wonderful hospitality and for sharing your little slice of heaven with us.

Oh and before I forget - I scored myself a pair of Hokas. OMG - they are awesome. Talk about feeling like you are walking on clouds/marshmallows/foam.I look forward to wearing them whilst running, but in the meantime I shall reap in the benefits of less impact whilst I am walking.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hurdle Number 1.


Amazing how quickly the body can decide when it's not liking something even though you have been doing it for a while. Amazing how with all the best intentions and laid out plans when your body says ENOUGH, it really means it. Amazing how even though running is not my preferred leg in the sport of Triathlon, it is the one I want to do most now to get to my goal of IM. And whilst a part of my brain wants to feel frustrated and sorry for itself, the other side is refusing to allow it.

For the past couple of run's my right lower shin had really been starting to plague me. And after Thursday's run I really struggled to touch the bone without grimacing in pain. It's the one that always bothers me when I start running again, but it is the one that had me stop running at the beginning of my journey to Port 70.3 in 2011. Now with not an awful lot of training time left to get to Port IM (5th May, 2013) I cannot afford any down time with my running whatsoever. So it's off to the physio today I go.

Am I scared with what he is going to say? You bet!!!!! But am I optimistic with all the choices that will be laid out in front of me to help overcome it? Damn straight I am. Since it started being a pain (literally), I have been icing, stretching, NSAID's and praying. But it needs more now, more care then ever before. 

I'm sure I sent a mental memo out to all necessary body parts at the beginning of this journey for them all to comply with the rules. Somehow, my shins decided to ignore it. Well, it's now time to up the anti, and get them behaving. This is just a mere hurdle. And what do you do when you face a hurdle? Well it's obvious isn't it? Jump over the bloody thing!!!! I am known for not letting things get the better of me. Even if something beats me at first, I am the one that eventually comes through the other end a better and stronger person. And this is no different. It's just a hurdle.

What hurdles have you had to overcome?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The tides have turned.

I have my MOJO back. Finally, at last it has arrived and I don't feel it subsiding any time soon. Oh how I have missed thee. It's been a long time in the coming, and whilst there were snippets of it here and there I was beginning to have grave doubts as to whether it was going to stick around at all. But something happened and I am not quite sure what - but I felt an instant feeling of well being - an urge to get out again and to keep conquering. So instead of fighting it, I just went with it for once and here I am - STOKED TO BE BACK. 

My training is going really well. I am feeling heaps stronger, but the main place I am noticing it is in my core and my hamstrings. Those puppies have had far too much time off and since starting on my program with Jen from SpartaPt I have really noticed a huge difference. I can now do hamstring curls on a swiss ball which I have never been able to do and I am now able to do a plank on the swiss ball whilst alternating leg raises. This is a HUGE improvement and an awesome step in the right direction. Am I happy? You bet ya.

Two days ago I had another awesome breakthrough. I started the day at Kurnell with the TriNSW Sprint Triathlon down there. I didn't compete but I did help out with TriShave. It was another awesome day spent promoting a great brand and seeing lots of awesome Triathlete's do their thing. I was able to catch up with a few friends too - that was a nice surprise. Funniest thing happened whilst I was there handing out the prizes. I was standing next to a really nice young chap who had the nicest legs and who was handing out the medals and he was asking me if I was into Triathlons, Im like "yeah, love the sport. I love swimming but I suck at running, I start somewhere at the front then finish towards the end". He proceeds to say "yeah I love running. Im the other way around". Five seconds later he gets announced as having the fastest run split (5km) during his race of 14mins. He looks at me and smiles, I look at him........my jaw drops, he laughs a bit more. Anyway, he was really supportive of this old duck trying. 
After the day was done I still had a 70-80km ride and a 15min run off the bike to get done. Doesn't sound to bad, but Sunday was stinking hot. At 4pm it was still 34 degrees celcius and there was a hot wind blowing. Now where I live there is not alot of shade happening so it was just about hydrating well and trying not to let myself overheat too much. I stopped twice along my ride and bought some really cold water to drink as both my aero bottle and normal drink bottle were hot as hell. And I just dug in deep for a 3hr ride. Good Ironman training I kept telling myself. Three hours spent in my own head was not as bad as I expected it to be. I was entertained by the stares I was getting from people, and it kind of made me feel BAD ASS......hahahaha. By the time I finished my run, I was dripping sweat and just couldn't wait to get in the cold bath. It was divine.
Then this morning I found my run mojo. It's been ages since I felt really good about my run and I have never really had anything positive to say about running. That was until today. Something just finally clicked, and I could feel myself just running. And whilst I still know I run funny it just felt good. I had great music happening, the sun had only just gotten out of bed and I was enjoying the moment. I feel only good things coming my way from now on. Strength, courage and determination will get me to my goal of Port Macquarie Ironman 2013. Of that I am certain.

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