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


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?

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