Exercise Just for the Fun of it…Really.

I can see you rolling your eyes and scoffing, is exercise ever really just fun??  Absolutely, when the sun is shining, the temperature is perfect, you have a great group of friends gathered and a sense of adventure and anticipation in the air.  This is exactly how it happened a couple of months ago.  It started with a conversation about the legend of the Rock Cairn in Pannawonica.

Legend has it that a local townsperson would walk his dog to this location, making sure to pick up a rock from Pannawonica and transport it to the hill.  Over many years the Cairn of Pannawonica was built.  Every now and again a few townspeople will go for a wander to find the cairn, have a look, and take a rock with them from town.  I loved the story and every time I looked out in that direction, that little mound on top of the hill called out to me to come and visit.  Between a couple of us we locked in a date and then opened the invitation to  anyone who wanted to join us on the journey over unmarked trail, through spinifex and snake territory.  Sounds amazingly fun right??

Exercise doesn’t always have to be to achieve something, or to improve fitness, sometimes it is great to exercise just for the fun of it.  If you haven’t grabbed a group of friends and gone on an outdoors adventure then you need to do it now.  Go on…..


Journey to Half Marathon

Why a Half Marathon?  To see if I could?  This is a good enough reason as any for me.  As you have possibly picked up by now I am quite easily convinced to try something different although I didn’t think that the words ‘I am training for a half marathon’ would ever come from my mouth.  Apparently if you add wine and the right kind of crazy people these words flow quite easily…who knew?  For me the main challenge in running 21.1km would be to get there injury free.  At the time of committing to this goal I was probably sitting at my heaviest weight in 5 years which is not great given the repetitive impact of running.  My plan of attack was to be patient, build up gradually, and use cycling as another way to build endurance without overdoing the running.  I used the Couch to 10km app on my phone as my starting point, as I love the convenience of knowing exactly what to do and when.

When we were deciding which half marathon to commit to, it involved looking at those events that we would want to travel to, that gave us enough time to train, and was scheduled sometime this year.  We were also conscious that in the Pilbara we needed to train over the winter months otherwise it becomes too hot and the flies are a huge problem.  In the end, it came down to choosing between a half marathon in Fremantle or a half marathon trail run in Margaret River.  While Fremantle was tempting, the pictures of the course in Margaret River was too beautiful to turn down. The fact that this region is know for its spectacular wineries had no impact on the final decision OK!!


From today, there is officially only 8 weeks to go until the Margaret River Half Marathon Trail Run and I haven’t even introduced my training partner Renee.  Renee is cute, tiny and has a wicked sense of humour.  She loves a good laugh and has many hidden talents…..just ask her about ‘the caterpillar’.  I don’t have any really embarrassing photos of her so this one taken after our 12km City to Surf run will have to do!  I’m sure she’ll love it.  And yes we were at Kmart, and yes we were testing the merchandise which by the way was surprisingly really comfortable.  Seriously go grab one, a bargain at $79.  (You’re welcome Kmart)


Mums who rock….my lovely training partners.

I asked Renee if she would like to document her journey from sometimes runner to half marathon alongside mine just to give you another perspective, a reminder that no two journeys are ever the same and just get it done any which way you can.  Lucky for us, Renee was on board for this and I’ll let her have the page now to say hello and start telling you about her journey to half marathon.

Hi all. My name is Renee and I am the lucky person that Bethany has chosen to train with for the upcoming ½ Marathon Trail run in Margaret River. Devil’s Lair Fifth Leg Trail Run to be exact. A quiet glass of wine with a good friend can lead to trouble.  And I am not talking about a Katy Perry staying out all night, maxing out credit cards trouble.  WORSE!  I am talking about discussing (and on the spot registering) for my first ever ½ marathon trail run….did I mention first EVER!! I truly did not know just what I was signing up for.

But that moment is history and the hard core training regime has begun. I guess I can understand her choosing me.  Am I an experienced trail runner?…ahhh no.  Am I an experienced long distance runner?…ahhh no.  I was ripe for the picking.  Only way was up for me.  Yeah I had done a couple of 5km runs before, thrown in a rare 10km, but that was pretty much my experience in long distance running.  I am a hockey player through and through.  Hockey was my life for 30+ years (not giving away my age at all here!)  So short, fast spurts of running was my thing. None of this long distance, endurance business, breathing techniques, icing and rolling out fatigued muscles blah blah blah. 

Well I learnt very quickly when my first run ended in a torn calf muscle. WHAT!!!  I woke up at the crack of dawn to commence training on my mid-life crisis……I mean new found goal.  Half way through my easy stride….BAM….felt like I was slapped in the back of my leg.  Slight hiccup considering I had exactly 21 weeks to train for my first 21km.  This was not going to beat me.  I had committed myself to this run, and would not let a wee tear in a major muscle rain on my parade. 

RICE was my best friend and my new hang out joint was to be the local gym to do bike work. Hahaha…me???  I had never ridden a bike beyond the local deli for hot chips or the school to drop the kids off.  And now Beth has me climbing mountains and doing sprints after a “light” warm up.  (Note: I was ready to vomit after the warm up!!)  However, I had the vision of Ryan Gosling waiting at the finish line with a glass of wine and a puppy, (my fav motivational meme!) so kept upright and moving. 

 Ryan meme

Second ‘first run’ report…….. LOVED IT!!!!  I was nervously excited to go for my first, slow and steady run since injury.  I certainly didn’t break any speed records but I managed it without incident.  Happy to report, I haven’t looked back.  With the support (and often BIG push) from my ever enthusiastic training partner, I have managed to keep the runs up and we are heading in the right direction….towards Margaret River!!!!

So shaking up the run routes in a town that has a population of approximately 800 people and is 3km around the WHOLE town was always going to prove interesting. But we left the ‘city limits’ to find some great off-road tracks and trails.  The surrounding landscape that many people just wouldn’t get to see (or be bothered seeing) is just breathtaking at times.  We live in such a beautiful part of the world that I am sure many take for granted.  Who would’ve ever thought our little piece of ‘Pannadise’ held such hidden gems.


So training was progressing well and we were about to come face to face with our next hurdle (for lack of a better word). We had been planning to complete a three and a half week camping trek with the families across the iconic Gibb River Road for some time and trying to keep training, while on holiday, while in the remote Kimberley’s region, would be quite the challenge.  

To be continued…….

Mums Who Rock – What does it take to become an Ironman Finisher?

I have recently returned from a three and a half week holiday travelling throughout the Kimberleys in Western Australia.  Lets just say I’m finding it a little tough to pick up the reins of real life again.  In my search for motivation I found the perfect story to give me a kick up the bum.  It has all the best ingredients: a strong, amazing leading lady, an impossible dream, hard work, setbacks and achieving the dream against all odds.

Without further ado I would love to introduce you to Rebecca Sheppard, Beck, who I first met way back in 2009 when we were both attending the Townsville Multiple Birth Association playgroup with a toddler and twins, dark circles under our eyes, extra baby weight and wondering when we would ever sleep or carve out any time for ourselves ever again!  I love her journey, I want to stand up and cheer for her crossing that finishing line, and I want to take my hat off to a fellow mum getting it done and making time for herself.  Beck has kindly allowed me to share her story…….

fam IM2

Beck and her family.

My ironman journey

People talk about their ironman journey and I never really appreciated this expression – until I finished one.

I am a 41 year old, mother to 3 kids (aged 9, 7 and 7) who decided 2 years ago to have a career change from a Fisheries Scientist to a full time high school teacher. While I have always been sporty and swam as a kid, I only completed my first ‘enticer’ triathlon 4 years ago, after getting fit again and loosing my baby fat. I then did the swim leg for the Cairns 70.3 and was hooked and thought I can do this myself! I bought a second hand bike and started riding, running (very badly) and swimming. In the following 2 years I completed local triathlons and two Cairns 70.3 races which I loved.

Last year I hit the big 40 at the Julia Creek dirt n dust festival…..and while being slightly intoxicated ….joked with a mate about doing an Ironman. Why not I thought? Then when I mentioned it to a friend, they laughed and told me there was no way I could train for and do an Ironman with a full time job and 3 kids.  I made the decision right then to do it. Never tell an Aries they can’t do anything! So a week after the 2015 Cairns 70.3 I signed up without telling anyone. I ‘mentioned’ it to my husband one day and while he was supportive he also told me I was insane. While I kept fit for the rest of the year, I didn’t start my ‘proper training’ until January 2016.

I didn’t employ a coach – although a friend from the surf club did my swim programs and another family friend helped with my ride and run sessions. As my husband works away a bit I had to change things up quite often and do lots of sessions with the kids in tow. Generally I trained every morning – up at 4am – so I could be home by 615am – to do the morning school, lunch, drop off rush – and get myself to school by 8am. Afternoon sessions were a bit ad-hoc and fit around the kids activities. I swam when they did swimming lessons, I ran around the footy field while Nate trained and the kids rode beside me on their scooters along the strand or around the block. Weekend sessions were the longer ones – sometimes up at 3am to be able to fit a 5-6 hour ride in AND be home for the football games, dance lessons or lifesaving patrol. The rest of the weekend was spent preparing meals for the following week, school work and marking, nippers, surf patrol and the never ending washing and cleaning.

The first 4 months training were good as the sessions weren’t really (really) long and I got into a routine with work, family and home. It was still hectic and tiring and I felt like a juggler (an angry, tired juggler), but I managed. I had cut out alcohol and processed sugar and physically was feeling strong. Running has always been my nemesis and something I have never comfortable doing – or good at doing – so being able to run 20km comfortably on a Sunday morning helped both physically and mentally. Which is why rolling my ankle and then developing plantar fasciitis in the other foot was such a big kick in the guts (and head). I did everything I could to help – physio, podiatrist, sports doctors, massage, drugs…… but nothing seemed to work.

I felt defeated – I had put so much effort, time and training in for so long and felt like it was all for nothing. Mentally I was a mess and ready to give up. Luckily I have some amazing friends who I could talk to, draw inspiration and reality from. Maurice from Skilful Thinking shared a saying with me that stuck with me through to race day….“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”. I needed to stop making myself suffer for a silly mistake (running in dark without a torch) and focus on what I could do. For the last 2 months of my training I was limited to water running and very short runs…..but could still ride and swim. So that’s what I did.

Leading up to race day was not as relaxing as I would’ve hoped as we were in the middle of exams and marking. I only had one day off – which was spent packing the car and driving with the 3 kids to Cairns. Once in Cairns I started to relax as my hubby was there as well as my mum. The day before was relatively quiet after making sure I was organised with nutrition, race bags, special needs and equipment! I did however spend some time reflecting on why I was doing an Ironman after a friend shared his ‘why’. As I had never raced/trained/exercised for more than 6 hours, I was unsure why I needed to do this…..but I took the time to think about it anyway.

These are my “WHY’s”.

  1. It is for me. Selfish – yes, but once you have kids nothing is ever about just you. But the training part of this race is. It’s to show myself I can be an independent, amazing and determined woman who can do anything.
  2. It is for my kids. To show them no matter what you want to do or how hard or stupid it may seem, you can do it. And you never give up. Never.
  3. Is for all the busy, tired working mums who are exhausted, overweight, depressed, under-valued and who feel worthless at times. I know how you feel because I WAS that mum. It’s to show you that you are and can be so much more.
  4. Is for all my friends, family, colleagues, neighbours and random people who support, train, wake up at 3am, lend a hand, babysit, cheer, encourage, smile and wave…..it’s for you that I will keep going when I want to stop…. because you helped me when you didn’t need to or expect anything in return. I’m not going to let you down.

Race day

The ocean was a bit wild and rough, but as a good swimmer, I didn’t mind at all. My goal was to do the 3.8kms in 1 hour.

swim IM

My first lap was good however my second lap was a bit slower as I got stuck in ironman ‘traffic’. It had also got choppier by then as a storm came in. I felt great as I ran up the beach and looked at my watch and read 1:00:20. Transition went smoothly and I was on the bike. The roads were wet so I took it fairly steady.

At the 29km mark I felt the dreaded lump in my rear tyre. A flat! In my 6 months of training….averaging 250kms a week – I never once got a flat. So I managed to get the rear wheel off, pull out the glass and put a new tube in. This took me about 15 mins and then another 5 mins to get the wheel back on. 1 km down the road and it was flat again. I quickly worked out I hadn’t put the tube in very well (got a pinch flat) so I took a little more care and changed it again. For some reason I was ok with this and wasn’t too stressed. I got back on the bike and got another 100kms on the bike and was feeling good. Then the worst happened – just outside Port Douglas – a third flat. With no tubes or gas left I had a bit of a cry and thought this was it. All over! 6 months for nothing. This is when my values, my ‘why’ and my mental strength helped. All I could think of was the reasons for doing an Ironman and my kids standing on the esplanade with their homemade signs, pom poms, bells and face paint waiting for me. I had dragged them to physios, chiros, pools and running tracks over the last 6 months……and for what? It couldn’t be for nothing. I had made them believe they (and I) could do anything they wanted. I looked at the time and worked out I had 4 hours to get back. Could I walk my bike back in that time? I was willing to try. Thankfully it didn’t come to that as an event person rode by and stopped. He didn’t have any spare tubes but he rode into Port Douglas to get one for me. In this time I turned my watch off – I just wanted to finish. 20 mins later and I was back on the road….fingers crossed that I wouldn’t get another!!!

The head wind and rain along the coast was full on but as long as my tyre was up I was happy! My friend Nat was still waiting for me at Yorkeys Knob (I was an hour behind my predicted time) and she drove beside me cheering, yelling at me and encouraging me. Riding along the esplanade and seeing my kids, husband and mum waiting was amazing.

I took the time in transition and strapped my dodgy foot before the run, took a nurofen and started. My good friend and training partner Trevor had said to me, once you get off the bike and start that run – you are an Ironman. That was forefront in my mind. Nothing was going to stop me. My plan was to run between each aid station (2-3kms) and walk through the aid station (while drinking and eating…..the flat coke was amazing!). The first time I saw the kids, my friends and the crowds was incredible. I felt fantastic and couldn’t stop smiling. I can’t remember thinking about much on the run…..but I loved every kilometre. As I had stopped my watch I honestly had no idea what pace I was doing (nor did I care) or what time it was – I just had to finish. The final 3 km were fantastic and having my friends and family there as I crossed the line will be something I will never forget. I crossed the line at 12:58 and can honestly say I loved every minute.

ironman finish (3)

3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run……BAM, that is how an Ironman is born.

Was it the hardest thing I had ever done: YES!

Was the training and preparation physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting: YES!

Did I finally understand why they call it a journey and not just a race: YOU BET.

Will I do it again: HELL YES!!! Sign me up for next year baby!

Red Dog Relay 2016

The Red Dog Relay is an outdoor, multi-sport adventure, which is fast becoming known as one of the Pilbara’s most iconic annual events and is held on the WA Day Long Weekend each year.  Why Red Dog?

“Red Dog was a friendly kelpie cross who lived his life hitching rides and travelling throughout WA’s north before he died in November 1979.  Tally Ho was his first name, given to him by his first owner and the one who brought him to Dampier.  The nickname “Red Dog” has been attributed to the red dirt of the Pilbara Region.  A second owner, was a bus driver whose work allowed Red Dog to travel via bus around Dampier, Karratha and surrounding districts, thus the dog became very well known by the locals.  After his second owner died, Red Dog spent a lot of time travelling on his own and was taken in by many members of the community, some who took him on trips as far afield as Perth, Broome, Roebourne, Point Samson & Port Hedland.”

I had only just moved to the Pilbara a couple of months before this event last year but had tagged it for one of my future hitlists.  Lucky for me, a Panna team was being formed this year and they weren’t too picky!  I didn’t put in a lot of effort towards training for this event, although I had done some mountain biking and running several weeks out, time just got away from me to be able to put a dedicated effort in.  While this event is a competition, it has a very friendly and relaxed vibe and I wasn’t stressing too much about completing the distances as each leg is completed as part of a team effort.  There were some 25 teams entered this year, with over 300 competitors and support crew making the most of the Pilbara region with an 18km run, 4km paddle, 48km mountain bike, 180km 4WD, 9km walk, 1km swim and 123km road bike leg through some of the most picturesque and diverse landscapes the Pilbara has to offer.

The Pannawonica Team, Panna Pikey’s (team name care of the Irish contingent), consisted of six members with three females and three males.  As we were very well prepared…ahem….we decided to hold our first meeting two days out from the event to make sure we had a support crew, all the right equipment/food/accommodation etc, and to decide who would be doing what leg of the relay.  I could be wrong, but I think our process for deciding who got to do what, was based purely on who sucked the least on each leg.  Obviously, we were a highly competitive team…watch out for Panna Pikey’s!

LEG 1: 18km RUN (Three members of the team to complete either 8km, 5km, or 5km)

The race kicked off from Dampier with the run leg first up, early on a wet and miserable Saturday morning.  Apparently the Red Dog Relay is getting a bit of a reputation for being a dirty, wet weekend, all part of the fun I was told.

LEG 2: 4km PADDLE (Four members to participate, 2 x 2km in a double kayak)

There was a little controversy amongst the team over certain positions in the tandem kayaks.    Now I am certain that there are no tall people in Pannawonica….ok, there might be a couple…..but I generally find that I am the tallest person around, especially out of the girls, and I am probably what you would politely call solid.  The night before the race, the team was sitting around having a quiet drink and talking strategy when the paddle leg came up and the topic of kayak position was open for discussion.  Obviously in the tandem kayak, balance is key and you will generally have your heaviest person in the back of the kayak.  My paddling partner, who is tall and lanky (and Irish, just saying), without hesitation declared that ‘Beth is DEFINITELY in the back’.  Really?  Sheesh, maybe I have been hitting the chocolates a little hard but couldn’t he have hesitated a little, or pretended to at least consider that I wasn’t the heaviest?  Lucky I grew up with a father who affectionately called me Big Bertha, so meh…water off a ducks back.

After our runners did a fabulous job, we were up first for our team in the paddle.  After all the ribbing he received after his comment the night before, my paddling partner sheepishly told me to take the front position.  Despite some doubt, we nailed it….yep, chunky but funky!!

LEG 3: 180km FOUR WHEEL DRIVE (4 Drivers, 4 Quizzes)

This section covered many miles of red dog country from Dampier to Karratha, Cossack, Roebourne, and finishing up in Millstream National Park.  It was divided into four sections with a questionnaire to be answered before the next transition point and driver change over.  As the organisers didn’t want to encourage speeding this leg was an untimed leg.  Hmmm, we read this as stop and get a coffee at Macca’s, as you do during an adventure race.

It was a fun leg and you really got to see a lot of the diverse Pilbara countryside as well as learning lots from the quizzes you had to complete.  Only two of the four sections were actual four wheel driving but not very difficult.  It was a long leg, over four hours of driving, and I have to say it is sucky being a girl on these adventure races, there are no toilets anywhere out on the road.

LEG 4:  48km MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDE (3 team members – 12km, 22km, 14km)

After four hours in the car, I was more than ready to get on with the mountain bike leg.  Our first rider had driven ahead and was ready and waiting.  It had been fine for all of our 4WD leg but of course it decided to rain just as we came in to tag into the mountain biking.  This part of the course had actually copped a lot of rain, it was muddy and washed out in some places.  First riders made it through, but as second rider I was stopped just before 10km as some of the track was a little unpredictable for flash flooding.  To be honest, I was completely bummed.  I had just started settling into my ride and felt a little ripped off.  Not to worry, I decided to join my team member for the last section of the mountain bike leg.  I am so glad I did, this section was a beautiful ride.

And that was the end of Day 1.  My wonderful husband and kids, and the rest of our fantastic support crew families, had driven ahead and set up camp at Millstream Homestead campground (at least those that didn’t blow a fuse in their car did). It was a fantastic location and camping with the team and support crew was a great way to end the day.  After a wet night, a bacon and egg breakfast was provided the next morning to fuel us up ready for the second day of competition.

LEG 5:  9km CROSS COUNTRY HIKE (2 team members to complete together)

Red Dog19

Our trail walkers off to an early start.

LEG 6: 1km SWIM (2 members, 2 x 500m)

All the teams came in pretty close together on the hiking leg, tagging the first of the swimmers for their teams.  The Panna Pikey’s were sitting at about middle of the pack, so several swimmers had headed off in front of our first swimmer.  As you already know, our team is very supportive and would never dream of having a bit of a laugh or paying out anyone on the team.  So I won’t mention how our first swimmer dove in and headed in the opposite direction because that would be a little embarrassing.  I imagine it would have been hard to know which direction to go when only 10 or so other teams had gone before you right?  Lucky the support kayak managed to cut him off and point him in the right direction.  No, that definitely wasn’t the rest of the team rolling on the ground with laughter.

Even without training at all for the swim, good old muscle memory kicked in, and I managed to pull back a couple of places in the swim.  It was a beautiful morning and I loved the swim at Deep Reach Pool.

Red Dog12

LEG 7: 123km ROAD BIKE (4 team members – 31km, 20km, 36km, 14km)

The final leg of the race started about 20km drive from Deep Reach Pool.  The distances for each ride leg were a bit confusing and weren’t the same distances as detailed in our handbooks.  Our game plan was a little back the front as our riders with actual road bikes ended up doing the shorter sections while the two of us with only mountain bikes clunked along for the longer rides.  The first section wound through the stunning Chichester Ranges and was a tough but scenic ride.  Our second rider whizzed through the next session and I was barely ahead of her in the car to be dropped off at the checkpoint.  Initially, we thought the two middle legs were about 27km which I was fine with.  I was feeling a little weary after yesterdays activities and an interrupted nights sleep, so was happy thinking that I might have a shorter than expected section too.  Why I thought my section would be shorter as well didn’t really make sense when you do the maths, and I was about 10km in when I realised this.  My support crew stayed a cautious distance away when they told me this section would be about 36km, approximately 10km more than I had psyched up for.  They threw some lollies out the window at me and then dropped back to trail a safe distance behind.  I admit my head was not in the game for this ride.  It was a long flat ride with the occasional slow climbs thrown in and I was my own worst enemy.  The middle 10km dragged on in the worst way until I spied another competitor in the distance.  Yay, someone to try and catch and enough incentive to get my focus back.


It really was a fantastic weekend and I would encourage absolutely everyone to give this event a go if you are in the Pilbara for the WA Day Long Weekend.  Go Team!!



Hitlist No.6

Its been nearly six months since I last posted a hitlist….I know completely slack.  I even had to search back to review my last one and see what number hitlist I was up to.  Who remembers this one?  Obviously my standard was dropping even then, I couldn’t even be bothered typing it up!!


On the plus side, I did manage to complete all of these items so all is not lost.  Need photographic evidence?  Yeah, I wouldn’t trust me either.

  1. Three Sisters Walk

    The beautiful Three Sisters. I cannot believe how busy this attraction was in the Blue Mountains. So many people, especially in the afternoon. We ended up coming back to do this walk early in the morning to beat the crowds.


    If you look closely at the first picture you can see the walkway that leads to this point right under the Three Sisters.

  2. Echo Point to Scenic World

    Its not a successful hitlist item until you have dragged half your extended family along with you!


    Hello creaky knees….going down, down, down. There were a lot of stairs, glad I was going down….I think.


    Such a beautiful walk.


    I would probably have to rate this as my favourite walk yet.


    Big call, but come on it had a waterfall too!

  3. Jenolan Caves

    Jenolan Caves, what a hidden gem. You literally drive in under the mountain and cave systems. Very cool.


    Self guided tour.


    As we had to cater from age 5 through to age 75, we chose to complete the Lucas Cave tour. There are a lot of stairs at the start but then the tour is quite manageable with lots of rest stops.  Would love to have seen more of the different caves.


    You must try the short walk around The Blue Lagoon. Spectacular.

  4. Illawarra Coastal Drive


    Check out the blog post I’ve written about this one, yep I do write posts occasionally.

  5. Trail/Walk Wollongong region


    Wollongong Botanical Gardens.  Ok, I did have plans to complete a more hard core trail but was rained out at the last minute so this will have to count for something. It is a pretty great location to spend the afternoon and we did walk there and back, totally counts.

  6. FebFast – 30 Day Exercise and Eating Well Challenge


    Not a complete success but I did manage to go chocolate free for the month and only drank on two occasions.  Progress not perfection. 

  7. Mountain Bike Ride around Panna


    Totally nailed this one. 

  8. Register for a new Fitness Event

I registered for the very first Mothers Day Classic in Pannawonica so this one can be ticked off too.

Now you believe that I completed the last hitlist, I can present my 6th list.  I think this may be one of my most ambitious hitlists yet with lots of big ticket items.

Hitlist 6 edit

Wish me luck!!  Did I mention I don’t run?

She Goes Everywhere……Places You Should Visit.

Hellooooo…..anyone still out there?  While it has been some time since I have posted anything on the blog I have still been busy exploring, working, and getting involved in this little community out in the middle of the Pilbara.  I thought I would do a quick update via a picture post to catch everyone up on the highlights.  At a later date I will hopefully share a little more about my trip to the Blue Mountains earlier this year, as my family and I had some great adventures there.  I am also knee deep in my next hitlist with lots of exciting things planned for the future.  In the meantime here is a little snapshot of the places I have been exploring over the last three months and which you really should add to your travel hitlist!

Mt Nameless, Tom Price

Exmouth, Western Australia

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne.

Numbat Trail, Swan Valley and Hyde Park, Perth

Pannawonica, Western Australia

There is no place like home.  I am in full training mode again with the Red Dog Relay coming up and my next big, scary goal is a half marathon trail run in the Margaret River region.  Here are some pictures of Pannawonica while out and about.

Ok now we are all caught up!!  Have you been to any of these places?

FebFast 2016 – Come Join Me!

The start of a new year for me always lends itself to setting new goals of some kind.  I always find myself reviewing the year just gone and deciding on areas that need improving.  2015 was another big year for my family starting with celebrating a 10 year wedding anniversary, a Queensland holiday, a move from Perth to Pannawonica, a new job, completing a few hitlists, and visits to Monkey Mia, Coral Bay, Karijini, Wollongong, Blue Mountains and Bali.  On the downside I have been a little too relaxed with food and exercise over the last few months and unfortunately I am feeling the effects.  The scales aren’t being too kind either……

Ok if I didn’t already feel a little sluggish and blergh, the scales did tip me over the edge.  I am determined to make some changes to my health and get back on track.  So the first order of business this year, while I catch up on some blog posts, is to kick some bad habits.  It is so tempting to jump on the quick fix bandwagon, especially at this time of year where good intentions are high and advertising companies know we are vulnerable.  There are so many special diet plans and magic weight loss supplements all promising success, that it can be easy to spend money on the dream.  I have to admit I look every year for something to help make weight loss easier, but every year I come to the same conclusion.  We all have the tools at our fingertips to lose weight we just need to find the willpower necessary to make the changes.  That is the difficult part and you need to find it regardless of whether you have spent money or not.

First step for me is obvious.  Chocolate is my nemesis.  Moderation is not a word I know well when it comes to chocolate and I know it is an all or nothing approach for me initially.  While I don’t drink a lot of alcohol my intake is something that has crept up over the last couple of months and I figure it won’t hurt to cut that out for a period either.  Enter Febfast.  I have heard of Febfast often in the past and thought it was just a tagline to promote better health.  Little did I know……

“Since 2007, febfasters have enjoyed thousands of sugar and alcohol free days, saving money, losing weight, improving energy levels, sleeping better and feeling much, much happier! In this time they’ve also supported thousands of young people across Australia faced with serious disadvantage to access the support services and resources they need. When you sign up for febfast, you’ll join a community of thousands. And, as a registered febfaster, we’ll send you exclusive recipes, meal plans, advice and of course, inspiring memes to get you through the month!”

febfast image

I love the concept, love that it supports a good cause, and think its achievable.  One month off chocolate and alcohol, can’t be too hard right??

For the month of February I will be going alcohol and chocolate free.  I will be checking in daily over on my Exercise Hitlist Facebook page to document my journey and be accountable.  I would love as many people as possible joining me simply by commenting on my Febfast posts.  Tell me what you are giving up and how your journey is going.  Come and help a girl out!

Don’t forget to register or donate over on the Febfast website if you can.

Be Like Beth

There is no pressure to register or donate but I donated for a couple of reasons.  For one, it is for a good cause and secondly, I feel that by making a donation I have made a commitment to last the month without chocolate and alcohol.

Time to suck it up….



Grand Pacific Drive

This is one of those drives that you want to be in some kind of fancy convertible with the top down, hair streaming in the wind, red lipstick on and not a care in the world for those precious minutes it takes to complete the drive….


Meanwhile in real life, I was in a family car with my mother-in-law and four less than impressed kids.  Same, same really, but there was nothing to stop us still appreciating the journey.

The first time we did this drive was when we were returning from visiting my father-in-law on Christmas Day in the nursing home that he now lives.  While it was a good visit and he is comfortable there, I have to admit that it is still a little depressing to think that that is where it ends for him.  Life is short, these little reminders are what motivates me to make the most of life, explore, make a difference, grasp opportunity where ever possible.  So in true Beth style as we were leaving I asked my husband if we could take the coastal drive home.  My husband loves plans and hates when I spring last minute changes on him, and usually it is 50/50 chance on whether he agrees.  Seeing as he was in holiday mode he rose to the challenge and agreed.  My husband grew up in the Illawarra so had a good idea where he was going but was not 100% on the exits.  Ahhhh yep, we did end up a little lost.  He may have been urged to try a road that was a ‘short cut’ but ended up as a 20 minute rough drive to a dead end….oops.

Needless to say I didn’t push my luck and didn’t ask him to actually let me out of the car to take photos.  This is as good as it got that day people…..


No stopping today.


It was such a beautiful drive.

Of course Murphy’s Law being what it is, the second time we drove the Grand Pacific and planned to stop and enjoy the view it was wet, grey, and cloudy.  So unfortunately my photos don’t do it justice.


Bald Hill Look Out – Such a shame it was a miserable day.


If you look closely you can see the Grand Pacific Drive hugging the coastline.


Hopped out to stretch the legs. What a view, even when wet.


For all the lovers out there bring a padlock with your names engraved, lock it on to certain parts of the bridge and throw away the key. Together forever. I thought it was kind of cute.


Now that’s what I call a Sunday Drive.

It is definitely worth checking out if you are near Sydney and the Illawarra region.  Pack a picnic lunch, grab your sunglasses and red lippy, and check out Grand Pacific Drive.

Hitlist Number 5

I didn’t quite get a chance to post my new hitlist prior to going on holiday to Wollongong, New South Wales.  I love holidays and I love the chance to explore new backyards.  Half the fun for me is checking out what sights are around and what might be possible to visit.  I like to keep exercising on holiday and it is a great chance to have a little break from the gym, get outside and explore.

After living in Pannawonica, where a 2 hour drive to the closest shopping centre is no big deal, I often look at places to visit anywhere in a 3-4 hour radius from Wollongong.  One year we did a family trip to Canberra and this trip I did look at travelling to the Snowy Mountains to hike Mt Kosciuszko, the tallest peak in Australia.  I changed my mind for our family trip because the new location had a lot more to do in our short timeframes and lots of fun for young and old.  I have also included a couple of items to help me kickstart my health and fitness when we arrive back in Pannawonica.  Short and sweet for this hitlist.



Happy New Year Everyone, I hope 2016 sees you crossing off all your personal hitlist items!

My Top Tips for Exercising with Kids

For those of you that may be thinking of exercising with your kids but don’t know where to start, this is a post for you.  As I have mentioned here and here, kids can struggle to meet the minimum requirements for physical activity as recommended by the American Council of Sports Medicine (ACSM), especially as they head toward their teen years.  Current guidelines are as follows:

  • Children and adolescents should accumulate a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity daily as part of transportation, physical education, sport, free play and planned exercise. The activities should be a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity. Moderate intensity is defined as activity that increases breathing, sweating, and heart rate and vigorous intensity substantially increases breathing, sweating, and heart rate.
  • Sedentary activity is a strong contributor to overweight and low physical fitness. Sedentary activities such as television viewing, computer and telephone use, and inactive video games should be limited to < 2 hours per day.

While my kids are pretty active, I know I can be guilty of leaving them on technology for >2 hours per day especially on weekends.  Progress not perfection.  I believe that the first part of the equation is teaching our children to value and enjoy exercise and this is one of the most beneficial things that we can do as a parent, coach or trainer.  Here are my top tips for exercising with children.

  1.  Monkey See Monkey Do – Exercise in front of them.

We can try and teach our kids healthy habits in many ways but at the end of the day they will be watching and learning from the habits of those closest to them. Typically, most of us will head off to the gym or out the door for a run or ride on our own and sometimes the kids don’t get to see us actually exercise.  Trust me, I am all for a bit of time out while exercising but I also think it is important for them to see us huffing and puffing, sweating, and finding it difficult too.  This may mean taking them to the park and doing your workout while they play, taking them for a jog/walk in the pram, letting them scoot or ride beside you while you run, using attachments for bikes to take them along for a ride, or simply putting on a fitness DVD at home while they play.  More often then not I bet they join in.

2.  Variety is the Spice of Life

Mix it up, keep them interested.  Exercise doesn’t always have to mean running 4km, doing lap after lap in the pool, or just training with your sporting teams.  Although all of these activities definitely have a place, participating in a range of different movements has many benefits for kids.  These can include reducing the risk of overuse injuries and providing opportunity to develop a large range of movement skills, therefore increasing their confidence and the likelihood that they will continue to exercise long into the future.  Research shows that children who do not develop these
skills early in life may be less likely to meet or exceed recommendations for daily physical
activity later in life.  So get busy moving with your little ones.  Check out my earlier post on 7 Ways to get the Kids Active and Outdoors for some inspiration, or if you are stuck indoors (because it is nearly 50 degrees celsius outside as in Pannawonica at the moment), one of my children’s favourite games is ‘Just Dance’.  I have attached a YouTube link so you can see what’s involved but you can follow this link to purchase, it even comes as a smart phone app.  Just quietly, it is hilarious watching your kids playing when they don’t know you are looking.  I love it because they drop the ‘too cool’ facade and just boogie!!

You got up and gave it a go didn’t you??  Go on admit it….

3.  Watch out for Overheating

Be mindful that children have a large surface area of skin when compared to their little bodies, as such they are more exposed to heat and are also less efficient at cooling the body down when it does heat up.  Basically, this means try to avoid exercising during the hottest parts of the day, make sure they keep up the fluid intake not just during exercise but also in the lead up to physical activity, they will need more frequent breaks when it is hot, and keep an eye out for signs and symptoms of overheating.  You can read more about it here.

4.  Exercise as a Family – What is good for one is good for all…

Some of our favourite moments have come from being active as a family.

Just get out there and be active.

5.  Strength Training is OK

There is a lot of misconception surrounding strength training and kids but the research supports that it is safe and beneficial when performed correctly.  I found a great article that busts common myths and misconceptions surrounding children and strength training and you can check it out at this link.  My recommendations for introducing kids to strength training are as follows:

  • For the most part, body weight exercises are the perfect introduction to strength training and with all the variations you should be entertained for a long while.
  • Don’t expect perfect technique straight up, it takes time and repetition to develop new skills.  I find that I give them the basics and try not to pick at them the whole session.  As long as they are not unsafe I will cut them a bit of slack, especially in the first few sessions of a new program.
  • Stay with the same program for at least 4-6 weeks.
  • If at all unsure pay for an Exercise Physiologist or qualified health professional to design a program for your family.  You can have peace of mind from anywhere between $60-$120 depending on who you approach.  You may even be able to claim these sessions back through health insurance.
  • Technique, technique, technique.  Children need to master good technique and good body awareness before they even start thinking about introducing weights.
  • Should you decide to introduce weights to a program keep it simple.  Make sure you are very confident in the person instructing your children and the focus must always be on good technique.

Surprisingly kids love boot camp sessions.  We have recently started family boot camp sessions and apart from a couple of spots of whinging here and there, my kids are more than happy to work out .  I think they also know not to waste time trying to get out of it as it doesn’t work with me!  We keep these sessions short and sharp, usually all finished in 30 minutes from start to finish.  Crank out some great tunes and happy days!

6.  It does not always have to be fun.

Shock, horror, I know.  Nearly every article I read is about making sure exercise is fun for kids, blah, blah, blah.  It does have to be enjoyable but that is not where our jobs stop.  I think that if we set kids up with the expectation that exercise and physical activity is always fun I believe we are setting them up for failure.  Instead we should be encouraging them to find the satisfaction and joy in completing something difficult and teaching them how to deal with situations when the going gets tough.

Not everyone will agree with me and that’s OK. Not everyone will understand why I do crazy things such as 4km fun runs with my kids (and expect them to actually try and run it all) or complete boot camp sessions as a family and I am OK with that too.  For me it is simple, how can I possibly ignore four years of university training, nearly 15 years of working in the health industry, a multitude of research articles and my own experience with exercise, when it tells me that staying active is one definite way to increase our chances of living a full and healthy life.  Time will tell, but I am enjoying the journey in the meantime!