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!!

 

 

Rewind and Review

Now that we have settled in Pannawonica, I have time to do a quick review of my last hitlist.  I think it is really important to acknowledge the things that went well and the things that did not work so well, celebrate all the good stuff, take the lessons learnt, and shrug off any failures or mishaps.  At the end of the day it is all about movement….active movement, forward movement, progress, living life and making the most out of your opportunities. So how did I go with Hitlist No. 2?  To be honest I can’t even remember what was on the list now, I was a little consumed by the Adventurethon but looked forward to reviewing to see what I did get done.Hitlist 2.2

  1.  Run 5km (Couch to 5km running program) – Loved this running program and will be doing this again with the kids in my new hitlist item ‘4km Mother’s Day Classic Fun Run’ with whole family.  Also really glad I achieved my 5km running goal along the cliffs of Kalbarri.Warm up walk to Island Rock which is where I started my run and the boardwalk ended.
  2.   Mundaring Weir Stair Workout – That was painful, only completed 3 full return runs from top to bottom.  Beautiful place to work out though.End of the final stair climb!!  Thank God, stairs officially suck balls!
  3.  Volunteer at OXFAM 100km – I loved this night, such a great atmosphere and very well run.  I liked that I felt that I was giving back in some small way to a good cause and back to events that I love to participate in (without much thought to all the volunteers that make these things happen).This was at the start of my shift, all four members completing the 100km which was quite a feat.  Quite a few teams lost members due to injury or exhaustion.
  4.  Try a Kickboxing Class –  I didn’t get to do this and I still want to do a class.  This was simply that I just couldn’t juggle all my comittments to make it happen.  Another time.
  5. John Forrest National Park Troll Bridge – This was awesome and still my favourite day out with the family.After only 800m we came across the 'Troll Tunnel'.  You have to make it exciting and a little scary for boys.  In we go.....dah da daaaaa (thats supposed to be scary music).
  6. Kayak to Penguin Island – This didn’t happen either sadly.  Realised that I probably didn’t quite have the skills or knowledge to do this on my own and couldn’t justify the expense to do a guided trip at this point in time.
  7.  Kings Park Tree Top Walk/Jacob’s Ladder – This was a great, easy day trip with the kids.treetops2

    Jacob's Ladder, Kings Park

    Jacob’s Ladder, Kings Park

  8.  Join the local MTB social ride – Everyone should try mountain biking it is such a great way to get and/or stay fit.  Social rides are a great way to meet people, learn great tips and learn about fun places to ride.Love the trails....although trees and I have a love hate relationship.  I often struggle to get through gaps without hitting my handlebars lol.  I'm so cool!!
  9.  Complete my Healthy Exercise Challenge with the kids – Really liked doing these things with the kids and just remembered that I was going to try it during school term and not just on the holidays…hmmm, and this is why we review!Find a local bike path - Where does it take you?
  10.  Trail Run at Bold Park – This didn’t happen as I left it to the last minute, then ran into the calf injury, then ran out of time.  Bummer, will have to keep this at the back of my mind and try and get there next time I am in Perth.
  11.  Participate in the Perth Marathon Club’s 7.5km run along the Esplanade – I feel like I am making a lot of excuses…buuut this was a scheduling clash with my husband’s FIFO roster.  This was a Sunday morning and usually the husband is home except for this very weekend.  I couldn’t very well make the kids wait at the finish line for me….I did think about it.
  12.  Try and MTB once a week – This was about a 16 week block for this hitlist and while I managed to ride every week I think I only managed to actually MTB maybe four times over that period.  This was a fail.
  13.  Organise to be fitted for my bike properly – Success!  I did do this one and very glad I did too.Managed to get on and stay balanced....Yay!
  14.  Sullivan’s Rock to Monadnocks Campsite, Bibbulmun Track –  What do we call this one? 50/50?  I did do a portion of the Bibbulmun Track and walked Sullivan’s Rock, but then failed to go in the planned direction and proceeded to get lost.   Points for trying??Bibb Track
  15.  Complete in Adventurethon Albany – Too right I did, feeling quite proud of that one.

I managed to complete 9 out of 15 items for a 60% completion rate.  Looking back I feel like I achieved so much more.  It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter about the things you don’t do only about the things you do.  I still believe that I complete more when I write them down and plug away.  So get busy dreaming, planning, and most importantly just get outside and move!!

Linking up with One Mother Hen.

Fitness Events in Australia – Challenge Yourself

One of the reasons for getting this blog up and running was to inspire people to set some goals and make a start on living a healthier lifestyle.  As I have mentioned before, when I put together a hitlist for myself I try and have a goal that is a bit scary and out of my comfort zone so that I continue to challenge myself.  I thought I would help you out and put together some of the sites that I look at for some inspiration for my big hitlist item.  Stop procrastinating…..lock in an event….and get training!!

Australian Running Calender – I’ll kick off with running events because it requires very little equipment and training can be done absolutely anywhere.  If you are new to running don’t forget to check out My Top Running Tips from an ‘I can’t run’ Mum and Exercise Physiologist.

Park Run Australia –  This is a free weekly event, a timed 5km run held in many parks across the world.  Good place to start if you are nervous about participating in an event.

parkrun2

Eventfinda – Upcoming Sports & Outdoors Events.  This is a calender of many, many, different sports.  You just have to choose one that tickles your fancy.

Eventlist – Australian Triathlon, Running, Obstacle Racing & Multisport Event Calender

Oxfam Trailwalker – Challenge Yourself, Challenge Poverty

This was at the start of my shift, all four members completing the 100km which was quite a feat.  Quite a few teams lost members due to injury or exhaustion.

Stairclimbing Australia – Looking for something different?  Stairclimbing is a thing!  Looks tough but covers some pretty great locations.

Ocean Swims – Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Pacific, and Europe

Adventurethon Australia – Off road multi sport event (Kayak, Mountain Bike, Trail Run).  Different distances for different levels of fitness, also can be done as a team event.  You can read about my first Adventurethon here.

Albany finish

Adventure Race Australia – This race involves a bit of everything.  It is off road so trail running and mountain biking is involved.  For the water component you can often choose whether to kayak, canoe, or swim.  There is also an element of navigation/orienteering involved as well as some alternative challenges (these are optional).  It looks like a lot of fun and encourages family and team participation along with individual racing of course.  There are some great prizes up for grabs too.

Tough Mudder – Mud Run

Basic RGB

This is by no means an exhaustive list but it should give everyone a place to start.  What are you waiting for?

If you know of any other great events that I should check out please get in contact with me and share the fun.

Adventurethon Albany

Well, it wasn’t perfect.  It wasn’t pretty.  But this mother of four, who couldn’t run four months ago and couldn’t kayak as little as four weeks ago, finished her first Enduro adventurethon – 5km paddle, 2km beach run, 4km paddle, 22km steep mountain bike ride, and 8-10km trail run.  This is how the event unfolded (you may want to get comfortable and grab a coffee). We loaded up the car and headed to Albany on the Friday before the Saturday event.

Looks like an adventurous car now!!

Looks like an adventurous car now!!

Albany is approximately 400km south of Perth and we had quite a leisurely drive down.  I will do another post on the different things we did in and around Albany as it is definitely worth a visit.  As we drove down the main street of Albany, it was a little overcast, a little cold, and really windy.

Cruising down the main street of Albany...nothing like a bike and a kayak on the roof to announce that we were here for the Adventurethon.

Cruising down the main street of Albany…nothing like a bike and a kayak on the roof to announce that we were here for the Adventurethon.  OK it doesn’t look overcast, but that is because I snapped the only patch of sunlight!

As we arrived a little before check in time, we decided to cruise around and check out some of the locations as per the course outline posted weeks earlier by the organisers.  First we took the scenic route around Royal Princess Harbour with the windmills of the Wind Farm glinting in the distance.

Beautiful view

Beautiful view

Then we headed to Camp Quaranup and Point Possession.  This was the point where we would paddle out to from Anzac Peace Park, complete a run, before paddling back.

Definitely couldn't complain about the scenery!

Definitely couldn’t complain about the scenery!

We did try to visit The Gap and Natural Bridge in the Torndirrup National Park but found that the road in was closed  At this point the hubby had lost his tolerance for my ‘just drive and see what we can find’ approach as we hadn’t yet stopped to pick up a map, so sadly we didn’t checkout the blowholes. Next stop was to check out Mt Melville, one part of the epic mountain bike ride.  We found signage and tape marking for the course which was a little bit of a reality check.

And guess what I found on my scouting trip...a toilet!!  If you have been following along you'll know I was a little concerned about the toilet situation, but turns out I didn't actually need to go.

And guess what I found on my scouting trip…a toilet!! If you have been following along you’ll know I was a little concerned about the toilet situation, but turns out I didn’t actually need to go.

Checking out the view and quietly freaking out at what I had signed up for.

Checking out the view and quietly freaking out at what I had signed up for.

Off to check in at the Albany Holiday Park which was basic but had everything that we needed.  Pre race briefing was that night at Due South, a lovely restaurant right on the harbour.  As we pulled up the wind was blowing a gale and the water was really choppy.  I think I may have peed my pants a little at this stage and the first tendrils of real doubt crept in.

You can't really see the choppy water in this photo but trust me it was daunting OK!  Even the kids were a little concerned...."Mum are you really going to paddle over to that island?  Won't you tip out in this wind?"....Not helping boys.

You can’t really see the choppy water in this photo but trust me it was daunting OK! Even the kids were a little concerned….”Mum are you really going to paddle over to that island? Won’t you tip out in this wind?”….Not helping boys.

Pre race briefing did not help matters as race organiser, Joel Savage (the same guy who answered my naive questions and knew I was not so experienced on the paddle), ran through all the safety concerns for an adventure race.  You know, beware of the bitey things in the water, if you can’t manage the paddle just signal the crew in the safety boats (I am sure Joel was looking straight at me, eek),  don’t forget 2 compression bandages must be carried so you can deliver your own first aid for broken bones, snake bites, cuts and grazes, you know, minor things.  Ok, forget the quietly freaking out stage, I was in full freak out, blowing into a brown paper bag at this point!!  Doesn’t help when it was only a fairly small race number and everyone there looked fit, firm, and fantastic and I felt every inch the mum with four kids hanging off me.  Obviously there is risk involved, like any outdoor activity, and duty of care requires that every eventuality is covered where possible.  I know this, but my slight nervousness may have exaggerated the import of these gentle reminders. Poor Hubby, every five minutes that night I was in his ear…”Do you think I can do this?”….”Will I be able to paddle on that choppy water?”….”Have I done enough?”…..”What do I do if I can’t do the paddle?”…..Are you asleep, nudge, nudge, elbow to ribs..”Was this a stupid idea?”  He was so very patient and supportive, and so certain of me and my ability to do it.  If I wasn’t such a tightwad I swear I would have given it all up then but I hate to waste good money so suck it up I did.

Race day dawned and kick off time crept inexorably closer.

Race day dawned and kick off time crept inexorably closer.

I spent most of the morning on the toilet (no wonder you don’t need to go for the remainder of the race…nervous pee anyone?), but the other part of the morning was spent organising all the gear, honestly hubby had that pretty well covered, and chatting to other competitors.  Everyone was very friendly and happy to help out where possible.  Lovely Dave, who was worried about having the slowest boat (he actually may have had the slowest boat as he did have a very heavy kayak which took on a lot of water).  Dave would paddle 2 hours to work and walk his kayak, on his homemade wheels, up through the city to his office, how’s that for amazing?  Members from the RSL did a brief welcome speech and provided information on the history of the area we would be covering and the relevance to our ANZAC’s.  It was great to hear a little more information on the area, pretty great start to the race…Why should I worry about a little old race when the ANZAC’s were heading off to war from this very spot about 100 years earlier.

The race has begun!

The race has begun!

Five minutes into the race and I was once again cool, calm, and collected.  I was confident that I could do the paddle and that I could get back in if I fell out, I was comfortable that I had done enough training and that I could hang in there to the end even if I hadn’t quite done enough.  From that point on I let the doubt go and began to enjoy this event that I had invested so much time and energy on. Once I got the hang of the tipping and rolling motion, I started to pick up my pace a little.  We headed past Cheynes Whaling Boat, a shipwreck marking our turning point to head to Point Possession.  Once we got past the shipwreck we encountered much smoother conditions and I really started enjoying the paddle.  After pulling up on the beach, throwing on an old pair of shoes, the run section took us across the beautiful white sandy beach of Point Possession up and over a steep rocky outcrop, back along the beach on the other side and back into the boat.  It was frustrating not being able to run (due to the calf injury I sustained 8 days out) but I took the time to eat a banana and have a drink…a leisurely stroll really.  Caught a couple of the guys again on the paddle back to the mainland, and then my boys were there to cheer me on.

Nothing like a good welcome back on dry land.

Nothing like a good welcome back on dry land.

Quick stop to pull on shoes and helmet and off I went for the bike leg.  There were lots of hill climbs, some quite technical with loose gravel, stairs, and tree roots, which I am not so good at.  I did find I was pushing my bike a lot!  The first wooden berm was quite steep with a steep drop at the end..was glad that I walked it as one of the guys had come off on it just as I came across it.  Once reaching the top of Mt Melville we headed across town and up Mt Clarence and Mt Adelaide.

View from Mt Adelaide

View from Mt Adelaide

Yep, three mountains in one day.  I had a little stack on some sand, quite embarrassing really, but other than that the ride went OK.

Feeling OK at this point, felt like I still had some fuel left in the tank.

Feeling OK at this point, felt like I still had some fuel left in the tank.

What to say about the run…it still frustrates me that I couldn’t run it and see what I could do with the run.  I probably would have walked the hills still but the flats were killing me.  Everyone was so friendly on the course and I thank the couple of guys that stopped and had a chat along the way.  The calf was a little twitchy especially on the rock hopping section, where you are jumping from rock to rock.  Usually I love rock hopping, but I was nervous of the calf the whole time.  Having a complete stack and landing knees first on some sharp rocks didn’t help matters!  Blood started dripping from the knee, so it was lucky I had my bandages to wrap it up.  All good still able to finish just added a few bumps and scrapes. It was really good to finish this race and I was actually pretty emotional, mainly cause I had so much doubt this time round, and it was just nice to prove to myself and others that we are stronger than we think we are and can do so much more if we set the doubt aside and just go for it. Albany finish Finish emotion Honestly, it was a great event and if you have done some training there really is nothing to be afraid of.  Forget tours to learn more about a town or city just do an Adventurethon.…the best way to see the sights of the city!  And women, get your butts out here!  Grab some friends and do a team event, do the Taste of Adventurethon, or go the whole hog yourself…….the kids will love training with you and you will surprise yourself!

If you are interested in reading more about my journey to adventurethon, the ups and downs, and what I did training wise you can follow these links:

Registering for My First Adventurethon

Journey to Adventurethon Albany

Journey to Adventurethon – Update 2

Journey to Adventurethon – Update 3

Journey to Adventurethon – Update 4

Journey to Adventurethon – Update 5

Journey to Adventurethon – Update 6

Interview with Adventurethon Creator Joel Savage – Asking the Stupid Questions

Journey to Adventurethon – Update 7

The Funny Thing About Failure…

John Forrest National Park and the Troll Tunnel…A Picture Story

This would have to be one of the best family day trips we have done, I know big call, but it was just such a nice day with lots to see and explore for the boys.  Its another reason to get outside and explore all your National Parks as you never know what gems you may come across.

John Forrest National Park is located in the Mundaring Shire and can be accessed via Park Road off the Great Eastern Highway, or from the Western entrance in Swan View (cnr of Pechey and Morrison Roads).  We chose to park at the Western entrance as we wanted to ride our bikes and the old railway tunnel was located close to this point.  I thought we would need something early in the piece to grab the boys attention or we would lose them to their whinging about sore legs or that they were too hot.  If you are going via the Park Road entrance there is a negligible National Park entry fee.

Here are a few pictures from our wonderful day exploring a small part of John Forrest National Park.

 

After unloading all the bikes, helmets, and backpacks we were ready to go.

After unloading all the bikes, helmets, and backpacks we were ready to go.  We didn’t really know what to expect but that is half the fun of exploring.

After only 800m we came across the 'Troll Tunnel'.  You have to make it exciting and a little scary for boys.  In we go.....dah da daaaaa (thats supposed to be scary music).

After only 800m (we actually missed the first entrance as it was only a little trail off to the right of the main path) we came across the ‘Troll Tunnel’. You have to make it exciting and a little scary for boys. In we go…..dah da daaaaa (thats supposed to be scary music).

We made it out alive, one little torch between us.  Let's be honest, it was a little daunting.  It was cold, wet, and very dark in the middle of the tunnel and you just had to trust that there was nothing nasty waiting for you!!

We made it out alive, one little torch between us. Let’s be honest, it was a little daunting. It was cold, wet, and very dark in the middle of the tunnel and you just had to trust that there was nothing nasty waiting for you!!

The tunnel itself is only 340m long and you can always see the light at the end of the tunnel, so while a little daunting it was achieveable and a little thrilling.  You can always ride around it if you are not up for it as the road loops around.

The tunnel itself is only 340m long and you can always see the light at the end of the tunnel.  So while a little daunting, it was achieveable and a little thrilling. You can always ride around it if you are not up for it as the road loops around.

Next stop was National Park Falls which was only another kilometre along the trail.  Spring is a great time to visit as there is plenty of water on the falls and the wildflowers are blooming.  Plenty of rock hopping for the boys too.

Next stop was National Park Falls which was only another kilometre along the trail. Spring is a great time to visit as there is plenty of water on the falls and the wildflowers are blooming. Plenty of rock hopping for the boys too.

At this point the boys were starting to wonder what was for lunch.  Lucky it was only another 800m or so to the John Forrest Wildflower Tavern.  It was great, the boys were able to feed the kangaroos that were lolling around.  We saw three joeys in their pouches too.  The birds were really friendly too.  We had a great pub lunch and really reasonable prices.

At this point the boys were starting to wonder what was for lunch. Lucky it was only another 800m or so to the John Forrest Wildflower Tavern. It was great, the boys were able to feed the kangaroos that were lolling around and we saw three joeys in their pouches. The birds were really friendly too. We had a great pub lunch, with really reasonable prices.

Next stop was Hovea Falls, again, this was not far along the trail.  I bet you are wondering what path I took across to this point??  OK, yes I did get my feet wet, doh!

Next stop was Hovea Falls, again, this was not far along the trail. I bet you are wondering what path I took across to this point?? OK, yes I did get my feet wet, doh!

On the return journey we let the boys have a bit of a splash in the rapids rambling past the Tavern grounds.  Water was still a little chilly and we found a few little leaches on one of the boys after they got out....eeewww.  Hate those suckers.

On the return journey we let the boys have a bit of a splash in the rapids rambling past the Tavern grounds. The water was still a little chilly and we found a few little leaches on one of the boys after they got out….eeewww. Hate those suckers.

Our little man learnt quite quickly to stand when Dad stands, sit when Dad sits, and laugh when Dad says pedal!  Time to go home.....what a wonderful day.

Our little man learnt quite quickly to stand when Dad stands, sit when Dad sits, and laugh when Dad says pedal!

Time to go home….what a wonderful day.

 

 

7 Ways to get the Kids Active and Outdoors

On my current hitlist I have listed an Active Kids challenge as something I wanted to complete.  Basically, I wanted to have a good hard look at how much time my kids actually spent outdoors and active, and then focus on specifically planning a week of activities that will ensure that my kids are outside and active for at least an hour every day.  I decided to do this in the school holidays initially as it would keep them (and me) out of trouble and there wouldn’t be the obvious time constraints that come with the school term.  In saying that I also want to try this during the school term to see what changes I could incorporate into our daily lives.

There are many reasons that kids, and adults, should be staying active for at least an hour every day and these are just some of them:

  • It helps kids think better (also check out this link too on the benefits of daily activity and improved brain function)
  • It is good for emotional health
  • It is good for motor development and weight control
  • A family that exercises together, stays together…don’t have any research on that one, but it is what I believe!
  • It is fun
  • The great outdoors are just beautiful.  The opportunities for exploring our surrounding areas are all in our grasp if we just make the effort to look.
  • For the most part it is free

I am sure these reasons come as no surprise to anyone so why aren’t we all doing it?  Are our excuses legitimate or have we fallen into a bit of a rut and not thought outside the box about how we could fit it in?  Are our priorities in order?  I like to think that my kids are fairly active but when I took a good look at how much ‘moderate’ exercise they do I think we would only meet the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for physical activity on 4-5 days out of a possible 7 days.  Hence my wish to pick up my game, make a plan for the holidays, and see if I could do 7 days of outdoor activity for more than an hour each day…..

ONE – Mountain biking – Check out your local mountain biking club for information on your closest trails.

Mountain biking - check out your local mountain biking club for information on your closest trails.

TWO – Head to a new park. Have you explored all your local parks?

Head to a new park.  Have you explored all your local parks?

THREE – Head to the beach. Australia is an island people, so for most of us our closest beach isn’t that far away.

Head to the beach.  We live on an island so for most of us our closest beach isn't that far away.

FOUR – Good old fashioned fun at a creek.

Good old fashioned fun at a creek.

FIVE – Find a local bike path – Where does it take you?

Find a local bike path - Where does it take you?

SIX – Spend a day at home – gardening, playing, jumping, riding.

Spend a day at home - gardening, playing, jumping, riding.  In this case they helped us carry and load all our camping gear too.

SEVEN – Go camping! Great way to recharge the batteries and have some quality family time.

Go camping!  Great way to recharge the batteries and have some quality family time.

So there you have it, seven great ways to get outside and have some fun with the kids.  What are your favourite ways to get outdoors and stay active?

Journey to Adventurethon Albany

I thought I would do a quick update every couple of weeks on how my training for my first adventurethon is progressing for anyone who is interested.

Focus this week was to start running and get into a bit of a routine.

Focus this week was to start running and get into a bit of a routine.

Was going to start CrossFit this week but sick with a cold so I decided to stay with similar program to last week.

Was going to start CrossFit this week but sick with a cold so I decided to stay with similar program to last week.

So overall I am happy with where I am at and the body seems to be holding up OK.  I have ordered a new pair of running shoes that I am hoping will help me out with some calf and shin pain.  It is only niggling and I have really been hitting it with the roller and stretching.  After a rest from running it seems to recover OK at the moment.  My biggest focus now is on getting the diet on track.  While I have lost just over 1kg in the last two weeks, it really should be more considering the exercise I am doing, and I know my chocolate addiction is to blame.  Damn you chocolate!!  My goal is to lose 5kg in the next 5 weeks.  I usually find that if I increase my water intake (leave a jug on the bench), increase my greens (some at every meal), and ban all chocolate, I find that I am able to drop the weight.  I eat carbs at breakfast, but then don’t eat a lot of simple carbs during the rest of the day.

If you know any good links for a fitness journey of any kind, for weight loss, or regarding nutrition please feel free to leave a link in the comments section.  That would be great!!

Your body can stand almost anything

Paluma Push MTB Race – Mountain Biking is awesome.

Paluma Push 2014 has just wrapped up for another year and this hugely popular event sold out in just 4 days with a massive 650 entries.  I have been watching some footage of this years race and it had me remembering just how great this event is and so I thought I would do a quick post on my experience in my first MTB race.  If you have been thinking about trying the whole mountain bike thing out, check out this video clip as I think it captures the spirit of the Paluma Push and mountain biking in general.  I love getting off the beaten track and there are some fantastic trails around and suitable for all skill levels.

As I have mentioned previously, due to having many, many kids in a short timeframe, I would get my exercise fix from sitting on an exercise bike while the kids slept.  When the kids were a little older and I was at a point where I wanted to challenge myself the most obvious choice for me was to look at a bike race.  The trouble was I hadn’t ridden a bike that actually moved for quite some time and I didn’t even own a bike!!   There were several reasons I chose mountain biking.  One reason was that I thought it would be a great activity that the family could enjoy as most clubs have  a range of organised activities including social rides, MTB events, senior and junior skills workshops, and Townsville Rockwheelers also organised camp outs too.   The other thing that appealed to me was that it was away from traffic and roads and I didn’t need to pit my new riding skills against a car!!

Riding the bike that don't move!

Riding the bike that don’t move!

My first bike was a Focus hardtail, Black Forest 29R, chosen by my husband as I had absolutely no clue and didn’t know the difference between a hardtail and dual suspension.  I loved that bike.  I started riding along bike paths initially but was still doing the bulk of my riding on the exercise bike and/or spin classes.  My cousin kindly offered to take me on my first trail ride.  OMG, I thought I was going to die.  There was no skill involved on my part, I just held on and bounced crazily over every bump, log and rock.  I could not wait for the ride to end and I was amazed that I didn’t come off.  I persisted with it and am so glad I did as I rode some wonderful trails with spectacular scenery.  My favourite would have to be the Under the Radar track in Townsville, but I also rode other fantastic trails in Townsville, the Atherton Tablelands and in Mareeba.  I have had several stacks including one where I hit a stationary tree because I didn’t want to ride over a rock.  Should have chosen the rock!  Then there was the time I went to stop to allow a couple of spunky young male riders to pass and not so gracefully fell off my bike across the trail in front of them.  Not my finest moment.  There was also a memorable encounter with a rather large snake.

Unexpected visitor on a social ride with Townsville Rockwheelers.

Unexpected visitor on a social ride with Townsville Rockwheelers.

In the final lead up to training for the Paluma Push, I was averaging about 100km of riding a week.  I would do one flatter, longer road ride (45km), one session of spin/stationary bike (35km), and an off-road mountain bike ride (20-30km).  I also cycled up Mt Stuart several times in the lead up to the race as I had heard Paluma Push involved quite a hilly track.  About a week out, I went to collect my race kit only to be told that my husband was registered but not me!!  I don’t know how that happened but I was devastated.  My lovely husband somehow managed to sweet talk race organisers into letting me race in his place….in the male category.

Oops! A mistake in registration led to me taking my husband's spot in the male category.

Oops! A mistake in registration led to me taking my husband’s spot in the male category.

Coming in to the finish line where they threw in a sneaky last hill.

Coming in to the finish line where they threw in a sneaky last hill.

Despite all the mishaps I made it to race day in one piece.  Paluma Push 2013 had about 500 competitors and the atmosphere was electric.  I think what makes this event so popular is friends and family come out in droves to support the riders and all the volunteers make it such a well run event.  It has a real community feel, riders of all skill levels and all body shapes come to give it a go.  I really enjoyed the ride and finished in about 2hrs.  I placed 70th overall and was the 7th female across the line.  Was I proud?  Damn straight I was.  I was proud that I had trained hard and consistently for this event, proud that I gave it a go, and proud that my kids got to see their Mum participate in a sporting event.  It was also one of the first times that I realised that maybe I wasn’t quite over the hill, that motherhood didn’t mean the end of participating in things I want to do, and that I had a few more good miles in these tyres of mine.