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!!



Mothers Day Classic 4km Family Fun Run

As I mentioned previously, this event was merely the icing on the cake on our journey to run 4km as a family.  All the work, the pride, the satisfaction came from training together twice a week, sometimes three times a week, in the lead up to the Mothers Day Classic.  By the time the actual day rolled around it was all about celebrating a job well done.  We decided to make a weekend of it and booked a unit in Dampier, near the beach, where we had a relaxing couple of days playing at the beach, park, and enjoying a dinner out.  The other important part of the weekend was raising awareness and funds for Breast Cancer research.  A big thank you to our family and friends who sponsored Team Campbell and all our efforts. I will let the photos tell the story of our day at the Mothers Day Classic 4km Family Fun Run.

It was a great event to participate in, and it may become a Campbell family tradition.  The husband has been a little forgotten in all this, but his story is also pretty impressive.  My husband would be the first to tell you that he is not the most athletic person but he was quite keen to sign up for this family challenge.  Hubby has never run 4km without stopping…..ever.  The first time he did this was at this event, with three of his boys, holding hands as they crossed the finish line.  Mr Exercise Hitlist was a little emotional, quite chuffed, and it is a moment that he will cherish for a long time to come.  Mission accomplished I say.  Another special mention must go to my eldest child, 8 yrs old, who managed to complete the whole course without stopping.  He wasn’t fast but he stuck to his game plan and just kept plugging away.  This is harder than it looks in this type of event, as there are people everywhere so it is hard to keep a steady pace as you try and weave in and around people.  There were also a lot of children in the event, which was fantastic, but most kids would walk a little, and sprint or jog a little, then walk again.  My younger kids found that hard as they wanted to walk when the others were walking even though they had run much further in training!  They all did a fantastic job, but especially the eldest who was probably one of the only kids to run the whole distance!!  I am beyond proud of my little family.

After returning home from our weekend I asked the kids and hubby what they thought about training, running in this event, and whether they would do it again.

B1 (8yr old) – What did you like the best about training?  Icy poles at the end.  Favourite training moment? When you and I ran that whole 3km.  Did you feel like you could run 4km without stopping at the start?  No way! It was really hard at the start.  What did you feel like when you finished the 4km on race day?  I was really proud of myself, it felt good.  I also felt like I was saving lives.  Would you do it again?  Maybe, not for a while.  I would rather train for a bike race.

B2 (7yr old) – What did you like best about training?  Icy poles.  Favourite training moment?  When we did that really good run all the way to the pool and then we got to have a swim.  What did you feel like when you first started running? I didn’t like it.  My legs hurt and it was hard.   Did it get easier? Yes!  Some days it was awesome.  What did you feel like when you finished the race? Awesome.  Would you do it again??  Yes.

I found this drawing B2 had drawn a few days after the race....I think he had fun right?

I found this drawing a few days after the race….I think he had fun right?  B2 is the one right at the top yelling ‘Weeeee….’

B3 (7yr old) –  What did you like best about training?  Icy poles.  Favourite training moment?  The days off.  What about the 3.5km run?  That was good.  When I ran the 3.5km, I felt like I could keep running and running.  What did you feel like when you first started running?  Sore after the run.  What did you feel like when you finished the race?  Good.  When prompted for something other than ‘good’? I liked that we all ran together.  Would you do it again?  Not really.  I want to do a bike race.

B4 (5yr old) – What did you like best about training?  Icy poles.  Favourite training moment?  When I sucked it up and ran all the way to the shed which was the longest run.  (Just over 2km)  What did you feel like when you first started running?  I didn’t feel like I could do it but I could.  What did you feel like when you finished the race?  Good.  It was my first time to do a race.  Would you do it again? Yes.

Hubby – What did you like best about training?  Icy poles.  Loved the occasional cheer squads from the locals.  The guys waiting for the bus to go to work, and the more sane locals who were sitting outside having a beer.  Also loved the ticker shown by B1, and B3 when they did their breakthrough runs.  It was hard work though and some days I really didn’t feel like doing it.  Favourite training moment?  It was a training run with Team Rangas, which started out shocking, but then they kicked into gear and ended up putting me through my paces.  What did you feel like when you first started running?  I doubted whether I could do it, I wondered whether my knees could do it.  I thought surely this is just a phase and Beth will give it up.  I was surprised when it got easier.  What did you feel like when you finished the race?  I was a bit emotional, I was proud of myself.  I was blowing out holding hands with my boys as we crossed the finish line.  I was really proud of the twins for digging deep, as we mixed up where the finish line was.  They thought we were done but then had to find something extra to run the extra 500m to the actual finish line.  I was really impressed that the eldest finished without stopping, thought he would be the first to stop given the attitude at the start of the race.  Would you do it again?  Yeah I would.  I would love to do a team event with the family.

Me – What did I like the most about the training?  I love the excited chatter when we got home from a run, when they would chat about how far they ran before stopping, how awesome so and so was today, what we should try next time.  All while sucking on their icy poles.  I think this is really why everyone loved the icy poles!!  What was my favourite training moment?  It still has to be the D-Man running the 3.5km, it just clicked that night, he ran so comfortably.  He was just buzzing, and I swear he would have run the loop again if I let him.  Proud mumma moment.  In saying that, all my boys had runs that just made me proud!  What did you feel like when we first started running?  I felt like this was going to be the longest 10 weeks of my life and it would be a miracle if I didn’t have a mass mutiny.  There was a lot of ‘Sometimes things are hard, and it hurts, but you just have to find a way to get it done’, ‘Suck it up princess’, and ‘We just have to get the job done tonight boys’.  There were a lot of runs where I was really proud of them because they gave up at some point, felt like it was too hard, but then managed to regroup and finish off strongly.  What did I feel like when I finished the race?  I stayed with my youngest during the race and he didn’t have the greatest run.  He was a crook with a small cough and a little overwhelmed by it all, so during the race I actually felt a little underwhelmed and not sure I had met my expectations of race day.  Looking back at it all, it was all that I needed it to be and a great family bonding experience.  My youngest wore his medallion for all of the next week, to school and everywhere.  He would have worn it to bed if he could.  Would you do it again?  Absolutely!

Stay tuned for our next adventure, looks like they are all on board to try something else!

Running with Kids and Keeping it Real – Journey to Mothers Day Classic 4km

I haven’t really explained what on earth made me decide to train for and run in the Mothers Day Classic 4km Fun Run with four kids aged 8, 7, 7, and 5.  Initially, I guess I wanted to share the joy I get from setting a goal, working and training hard, and finally completing the task to the best of my ability.  I also wanted them to feel pride in a job well done.  Exercise is one of the best ways to make yourself proud….it lies completely in your hands.  Run a little faster or a little further, lift heavier, work harder, don’t give in, show up, all of these things build a sense of pride, resilience and self confidence.  I wanted to give this to my kids.

My vision was to train regularly as a family and hopefully complete the 4km without stopping.  Along the way I also wanted to convince the boys that they wanted to achieve this as well, not just because I wanted them to do it, but because they wanted to achieve it for themselves.  An impossible task?  Possibly, but give it a go I would.  Here’s where it gets tricky, how to convince the boys that this was not just a cruel and unusual form of torture?  From the start, I was up front with them that this wouldn’t be easy, that sometimes they wouldn’t feel like running but that we were going to commit to training at least 2x per week until the Mothers Day Classic Fun Run in about 10 weeks time.  There are very few sporting activities available in Pannawonica so I also explained that it was a good way keep fit until the football season started and I may have also reminded them of the fun I had doing the Adventurethon last year and wouldn’t they like to be part of something like that?  OK, OK, hard sell but they were quite happy to agree to the terms.

I will be honest the first few runs were far from joyful, happy family bonding times….the kids were whinging about sore legs and being short of breath before the first 100m was completed.  We set targets for where we would run to each stretch and then that was non negotiable, no stopping before we reached our target.  As you can imagine no one felt the same on any given day so negotiating our targets could be quite tricky and were a point of contention that quite often led to tears.  Mum or Dad pulled rank more often than not in the early days or we would have walked the whole distance before we could agree on where we were running to.


This was our first run – lots of walking, tried to make it interesting by heading out around the truck and past the big drive in screen.

I find it amazing to look back and see where we started, the boys were shocked if I suggested they run more than 200m and yet most runs now are at least 2km before our first walk.  Our pace on the first run was 10.21mins/km for 2.6km whereas our last run together was 7.36mins/km for 3.4km.  It really does blow my mind, we are capable of so much more than we think we can.

There were plenty of tears along this journey but I went in with the knowledge that jogging the distances that we would be doing would not hurt the kids, that endurance would improve, and that putting down the technology and getting outside would be nothing but beneficial.  I often think that as parents, we want to make things easy for our kids and give them everything, but in doing so we are not giving them the tools to survive the curve balls that life will sometimes throw us.  So I didn’t mind them struggling a little with this as I want them to know they can tough things out and get the job done. This may sound a little harsh but it was my gut decision that they weren’t really hurting, just struggling because it was hard initially and they didn’t know how to deal with that.  Besides, I figure my kids cry when I ask them to tidy their rooms or put away the technology at times so I took it with a little grain of salt.  Looking back I would do the same all over again because they got it.  Each time they may have cried, they were able to regroup and they finished the job and were proud of themselves.  When they completed a great training run, they knew they had done something fantastic and their little faces would glow.

It wasn’t all tears, especially after the first few weeks they all quite enjoyed the routine of exercising together.  We initially split up, with Hubby taking Team Chunky Butts and I took Team Rangas, so it was a little easier to encourage and judge how far to go each time.  I loved the chats along the way, I loved when the kids would choose the targets and choose to push that little further, and I loved the end of the run debrief where they would all be trying to tell each other where they went and how far they went today.  Many great moments along the way.

All in all it has been a great experience to do as a family and come race day it really doesn’t matter what happens.


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.


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.

Journey to Adventurethon – Update 7

With under two weeks to go until I give my first Enduro Adventurethon a crack, I am wondering and hoping that I have done enough.  The body is starting to spring a few leaks, the back and hamstrings are a little touchy and this time around it is a little bit of calf pain on my right leg that is side lining my running for the past few days.  I am hopeful that it is just muscle fatigue as it started during my 2km run after a particularly gruelling crossfit session.  I tried running again two days later and the calf was starting to pull, cramp, and complain again so I stopped and walked instead.  I am a little nervous about this new strain as I need to keep up the running!!  I have decided to drop the crossfit for the next two weeks so that my body doesn’t have to deal with that added stress and concentrate on some longer endurance sessions followed by a lighter week leading into Albany.

In this last stretch I am really starting to think about the details.  Do I wear my shoes in the kayak or put them in a backpack?  Or just try and go barefoot on the beach run?  Water bottle only for kayak, banana during the run, kayak back.  May need second bottle with energy drink?  Camelpak waiting with bike, ice in camelpak?  Homemade energy bar/balls for ride?  Ordered little bag for the frame of the bike but may also need a waterbottle holder and bottle for the bike as well.  Will need a second smaller camelpak for the run.  Wondering where I leave shoes and socks?  Do I need a watch to make sure I am keeping fluid and energy intake up as I tend to forget and then really hit the wall.  Have done that a few times with some of my longer sessions.  I like the idea of frozen hydrolyte iceblocks in water bottles and down the top to keep me a little cooler during the run but wondering how to keep them frozen or stop them defrosting too quickly at least….so many questions.  Anything else I need to think about?  Any answers or tips let me know!


Monday – My cousin offered to take me out kayaking on his kayak again.  While I did slightly better, managed to stay in for a decent stretch, and only tipped out three times, I did come to the realisation that I would need a different kayak that I felt more comfortable in.  Definitely toying with the idea of swapping to the duathlon.  Lucky the hubby is home this week which opens up my training options a little.  5km run in the afternoon, dragged my eldest boy on his bike to keep me company.

Tuesday – Crossfit followed by a 2km run.  I even had one of crossfit girls ask to keep me company and joined me for the run.  Emailed a few of the paddle clubs in the area explaining my situation and asking about lessons and advice on beginner kayaks.  Trawling through Gumtree to find a secondhand kayak that would be suitable.  Now the Canning River Canoe Club was one of the clubs that I emailed.  David Brown was the contact I emailed and not only did he call me that very afternoon to try and help me out, he went out of his way to fit me in that very same night.  He told me later that he was a little nervous about this mother of four who had never really paddled before and wanted to make 8km in four weeks…and didn’t even have a boat.  Never the less, he was still willing to do what he could to help me reach my goal.  We tried out the Endorfinn kayak, I didn’t even fall out, and we knocked out about 3km that night.  At the end of the session, David just gave me a pat on the back and said that he thought I would be fine.  I just have to say, that David was exactly who I needed to restore my broken confidence.  The practical tips and the guidance on technique, just in that little first session was fantastic.  I was able to tee up 2 more sessions with David and again I am grateful that he was able to make this happen for me.

Image Credit  –  Canning River Park, nice place for a paddle, or run, or play with the kids.

Wednesday – Rest Day but I picked up a second hand kayak.  I have a boat.

Thursday – 90mins Exercise Bike and 50km in the morning.  5.5km run in the afternoon.

Friday – 2km row then Crossfit session with my youngest in tow.

Saturday – 2hr paddle session with David from the Canoe Club.

Sunday –  Hilly road ride on MTB, 1hr 45mins and 30km


Monday – Paddle 4km followed by a 5.5km run

Tuesday – Rest Day

Wednesday – Crossfit followed by 2km run.  Calf muscle was pulling/cramping towards the end of the run but finished off the run.  Not happy with the calf but hope it was just a cramp.

Thursday – 90mins exercise bike.  52km.

Friday – Paddle 4km.  Strawberry picking and lunch out.  Crossfit in the afternoon.

Saturday – At David’s suggestion we paddled at Point Walter Reserve which had a little more chop to the water which would be more like the conditions I would be paddling in come race day.  Point Walter Reserve was another beautiful spot to have a paddle.

Image Credit – Point Walter Reserve

Attempted to run after the 2 hour paddle only to pull up short with the calf muscle problem.  Grrrrr, so annoyed right now.

Sunday – 28km road ride on the MTB, followed by a 4km walk (grabbed one of my children to keep me company).  Walking doesn’t seem to worry the calf.

So the plan of attack is to stay away from running til after rest day on Tuesday and then give it another go.  I have been religiously rolling, stretching, and using the anti-inflammatory cream.  I did investigate the compression socks but am unsure that they will be worth the cost?  Anyone used them?  This week I really want to work on going full distance blocks of training ie 8.9km paddle followed by 22km bike  or 22km bike followed by a longer run.  I also want to try a mini adventurethon on the weekend.  Hell week has begun.  Then I want to drop back distances in final week but keep the intensity up.  Tick, tick, tick goes the countdown clock……c’mon body hold in there.

Journey to Adventurethon – Update 6

This has been a long, hard two weeks and to be honest I am feeling a little defeated by this big goal I thought I could do.  It started with a run of visitors.  I love having visitors, in lots of ways it can take the load off, but it can also disrupt the rhythm of the household.  Its like when you are running and you find your stride, the whole run can feel quite comfortable (unsure what I’m talking about, yeah well, I don’t get that feeling very often but it has happened a couple of times so I live in hope everytime I run).  My point is that I feel like my stride is out of whack, everything just feels like hard work.  Then there was my back.  Not long after coming back from our road trip to Kalbarri, I did a couple of big crossfit sessions which, on top of the travelling, not so good nutrition choices, poor rest, and limited effort put into stretching, was a recipe for disaster.  The back flared up along with significant tightness in several other muscles surrounding the area as often happens.  So I implemented some injury management strategies including some anti-inflammatories, rest, massage, stretching, stretching, and some low impact exercise to get back into the swing of things, which seems to have got me back on track.

Now, there is the whole kayak thing.  As in I can’t stay on the bloody thing!! We are waiting on roof racks for the car so I can transport it, then hoping that I will be able to lift it on and off by myself so that I can train.  All this doubt, uncertainty, and negativity is exhausting.  Trying to stay positive when you are not really believing it is exhausting.  I am exhausted.  SO, I need to devise a plan of action that I can believe in because I need to stop wasting energy on doubting.  I have a few options to follow up on this week to see if I can stay on track for the full adventurethon or I move to plan B which is to swap over to the Dirty Duathlon (13km run, 22km mtb ride, 1km run).  13km run is scaring me a little also but I WILL be having a crack at something.  OK vent is over and now for a quick wrap up of what I did manage to do over the last two weeks.


Monday – 5.5km run

Tuesday – Cleaning and running around in preparation for visitors arriving tonight.  Crossfit in the afternoon with 4 kids in tow.  They were very well behaved, did some homework, played on a big tractor tyre, and joined in with a little of the session from the sidelines.  Felt my back twinge a little in this session.

Wednesday – Rest Day.  Woke up like I had been run over by a truck.  Had planned to rest today anyway and catch up with my visitors.

Thursday –  Rest Day.  Massage in the morning and then out and about with visitors.

Friday – Touring the Swan Valley with visitors.  Quick low impact ride on the exercise bike.  60mins, 42km.  Then out again that night.

Saturday – Walking around Kings Park.  Completed a few stair climbs (Kokoda and Jacob’s Ladder) then did a 3km run.  Stretching.

Jacob's Ladder, Kings Park

Jacob’s Ladder, Kings Park

Sunday – Rottnest Island.  No training just a long day out and about.


Monday – Girl’s shopping trip.  45mins on the exercise bike followed by a 3km run (my eldest boy rode his bike to keep me company).  This run felt really good and I had a glimpse of the possibility that I may just be able to still do this.

Tuesday – 30km hilly road ride.  1 hour 45mins.

Wednesday – Crossfit + 3 x 400m runs after the session.  Kids basketball in the afternoon.

Thursday – Rest Day.  Not recovering as well as I would like.

Friday – Crossfit killer session, followed by a 2km row (machine)  Went for my first kayak with my awesome cousin who showed me the basics in his kayak.  Fell out as soon as he let go of the boat!  Then fell out many, many, many more times.  Felt quite defeated and not sure I can do this.

Saturday – Unbelieveably sore.  Took the whole family out for an afternoon at the river.  Tried out my surf ski that I picked up from the side of the road.  I tipped out more than I did yesterday, and that is saying something.  Aaaaggghhh don’t know what to do.

kayak tip

Sunday – Tired, sore, and defeated.  My wonderful friend, Snooze, organised to take my four boys to the movies and spoil them rotten.  Hubby and I went for a date ride.  Hit the mountain bike trails and had some fun.  Only about 15km but blew some steam off.  Just went out to enjoy it and the hubby.

What to do, what to do?  Any suggestions or words of wisdom would be quite welcome. 


My Top 10 Running Tips – From an “I Can’t Run” Mum and Exercise Physiologist

So you have decided to start running and are thinking that there is no way that your out of shape body is going to come to the party.  Yep, I’m hearing you, I have been thinking that since I finished having kids four years ago.  But its kind of part of the plan if I am going to complete an Enduro Adventurethon in Albany.  Now that I have managed to hit my 5km milestone recently I felt like I should share my top tips if you want to start running…..

1.  Buy some decent shoes.

This is where it all begins, protecting the point of impact and therefore reducing the loading through the knees, hips, and back.  This translates quite simply to less injuries.  Athletes Foot is a good starting point if you have no idea what you need in a shoe as their staff tend to be well trained and knowledgeable.  However, last time that I was at Rebel Sports store I noticed that they have a nifty little machine that tested foot loading pattern and gave feedback on what support you would benefit from and sizing info.  Usually you see this at Athletes Foot but good to see that it is a little more mainstream now.  If you have any specific concerns your best option is to review with a Podiatrist.  Also, if you find a shoe you love, I’ve learnt to stick with it!

Love my Brooks running shoes.  For me they are just so comfortable.

Love my Brooks running shoes. For me they are just so comfortable.

2.  Protect the Puppies

Researchers in Britain estimate that during sport, the average breast can move 21 centimetres (about the length of a box of tissues) in a figure eight movement. Breasts don’t only move up and down, they move side to side, and even in and out. Given the average breast weighs about the same as 1.2 litres of milk and is held in place by skin and Cooper’s ligaments, that’s a lot of bounce or slide.

Read more:

The following table is from The Exercise and Breast Support brochure that was funded by Sports Medicine Australia.

Sports Bra and exercise

So if you don’t want the boobs any lower than they already are than I suggest you do your best to bind those puppies up.  In fact, I believe that preparing for a run is like preparing for a cyclone…you have to strap down or tuck away everything that can move!   There are some great compression garments out there and I recently bought a 2XU trisuit for my upcoming adventurethon that was really comfortable.  For a cheaper option, I find wearing a sports bra and one piece swimmers under my running gear is quite good.

3.  Strengthen the Pelvic Floor

This means learning how to activate these muscles properly.  Its not just for the ladies either, men can also benefit from improving their pelvic floor strength.  You can read a little about it here and here, but sometimes its worth getting some feedback on whether you are actually working the muscles the right way.  I think it is worth the money to review with a Physiotherapist who specialises in pelvic floor training especially if you have any concerns.  There are plenty of tools out there to help strengthen the pelvic floor such as the Wave Chair (physio), the kegelmaster, Ben Wa Balls, or Luna Balls.  Just be careful googling some of those!!

4.  Participate in Regular Strength Training

Guess what, muscles have a purpose.  In simple terms muscles create movement, stabilize joints, and generate force and power.  The more muscle stability around the joints the less the risk of injury.  Also increased strength has been proven to translate into increased endurance.  Increasing core strength is also going to lead to increased efficiency in your running, reduced injury risk, and longer time running til fatigued.  Need more convincing?  Then you might want to read this article.

5.  Change your Mindset

Since having kids I have been a little overweight and not as confident in my body.  Even after losing over 25kg and getting somewhat fit I have been very hesitant to start running.  I am just shy of 5’10, and I am not lucky enough to be that lean and lanky kind of tall person.  Nope, I’m built like a good solid workhorse.  Running, after kids, has just been uncomfortable and honestly I have been happy to get my exercise fix from everything but running.  That all has to change now that I am stepping out of my comfort zone and doing an Adventurethon that includes an 8km trail run.  One of the biggest things that had to change was my attitude to running.  I started thinking about why I can run.  I started remembering that I actually used to be pretty good at running, especially cross country running.  I started to believe that it is a skill that can be learnt, endurance that can be trained.  These changes in my thoughts made all the difference, and guess what?  Running doesn’t suck quite as much as I thought it would.

Allow yourself to believe that you CAN.

6.  Learn How to Run

Seems simple doesn’t it?  Learning to run correctly from the start can make all the difference to how you go with a running program and is an important strategy for injury prevention.  Check out this video.

7.  Use a Running Program to get you Started

I am following a Couch to 5km program that is designed to get beginners running 5km in about 9 weeks.  I love having a set program to follow.  I don’t have to think about it or worry about when I should be running next….I just do as I am told.  I have tried this program before, not long after having the twins, when I was still quite overweight and had no strength training behind me either.  I really struggled and found it very difficult.  This time round I was excited to find the first 3 weeks quite comfortable and I was tempted to skip ahead.  However, even though my endurance was up to standard, I wanted to give my body a chance to catch up and develop the right muscles needed to run further and faster.  No injuries!!  If you need a little more support and encouragement then you may want to check out Operation Move.

8.  Stretching and Foam Rolling

If you are going to all the trouble and hard work in order to improve your running distance or times than set aside 10-15 minutes at the end of your exercise sessions to stretch.  Keeping your muscles loose, pliable, and hydrated means that your joints and ligaments stay healthy too.  Prevention is so much easier than rehabilitation.  I strongly believe that the roller has played a significant role in keeping me injury free during my training and really urge everyone to give it a go.  Check out my blog post on what foam rolling is all about.

9.  Enjoy your Rest Days

This is actually harder than it sounds.  I found that the more I improved the more I wanted to keep working at it, but intellectually, I also knew that I had to give my body time to repair and get stronger.  The rest day is a crucial part of the training program.

Rest Day

10.  Select Your Tunes

I actually don’t mind running with the wind in my face and only my thoughts to keep me company.  It makes a nice change from the noise and chaos that is four boys asking millions of questions.  Its a chance for me to sort through the things I need to do, any emotions, the good and bad things from the day, and finally to allow myself to dream big things.  In saying that who hasn’t gone for a run and been lifted up by an awesome song and gone that little bit faster or further.  Sometimes I have even run a little longer just to hear the end of the song.  And who hasn’t run to this song at one time or another….


I am linking up with Jess for IBOT so come on over and check out her latest post.

5km Done and Dusted in Beautiful Kalbarri, Western Australia.

So for those of you who follow my facebook page you will probably be aware that I finally hit that 5km milestone.  I have been sitting just under 5km on my training runs three times a week and I knew it was time to step it up.  On the weekend we travelled to Kalbarri which is a small coastal town about 580km north of Perth in Western Australia.  On our arrival into Kalbarri we pulled into The Grandstand Lookout to check out the view…..

Grandstand Lookout

Grandstand Lookout

I noticed that there was a path leading in and out of the lookout and on further research discovered that there was an 8km trail that hugs the coastline from Natural Bridge to Eagle Gorge.  I decided then and there that if I was going to complete the 5km hitlist task then I was going to make it memorable.  This coastal run would be the first time that I have run more than 5km after having four kids and the first time I have run this far in more than 10 years.  I think the last time I ran any decent distance was the 14km City to Surf event from Sydney to Bondi.  It would also give me an idea of how I was travelling fitness wise for the upcoming adventurethon.

My parents are visiting at the moment which is one of the reasons we were out exploring some of WA.  My mother was really keen to walk the trail, my dad not so much, but he didn’t want to miss out so he bravely put on his best walking gear and came along for the experience!!

My father's best walking gear....not quite the party he thought it was going to be. Haha.

My father’s best walking gear….not quite the party he thought it was going to be. This boardwalk was misleading, it only went for the first 800m.

I was going to head out early with my parents but woke up with a headache (didn’t drink enough water the day before) so I decided to go a little later after rehydrating.  This actually worked out for the best as I ended up finishing about the same time as my parents.  I will let the pictures do the talking as they tell a far better story of the magnificence of the trail then I ever could.

Start of the walk - Natural Bridge lookout.

Start of the walk – Natural Bridge lookout.

Warm up walk to Island Rock which is where I started my run and the boardwalk ended.

Warm up walk to Island Rock which is where I started my run and the boardwalk ended.

Running literally on the edge of Australia - pretty amazing.

Running literally on the edge of Australia – pretty amazing.

Just under halfway point was the Grandstand lookout.  This is mum contemplating the view....and waiting for Dad!

Just under halfway point was the Grandstand lookout. This is mum contemplating the view….and waiting for Dad!

This is the point that I caught up to Mum and Dad 1km from the finish point.

This is the point that I caught up to Mum and Dad,1km from the finish point.

Cutting inland a little as I ran to the carpark at Eagle Gorge where hubby and the boys were waiting for us.

Cutting inland a little as I ran to the carpark at Eagle Gorge where hubby and the boys were waiting.

My boys were cheering, what's a girl to do?  Victory salute, haha.

My boys were cheering, what’s a girl to do? Victory salute, haha.

Stretching at the end of the 8km at Eagle Gorge.  Feeling quite a sense of satisfaction at this point.

Stretching at the end of the 8km at Eagle Gorge. Feeling quite a sense of satisfaction at this point.

Apart from the first 1km of wooden boardwalk that I walked for my warm up, the rest of the trail was either really rocky or sandy.  This meant that the going was quite slow but I found that the slower pace meant that I completed the remaining 7km quite comfortably.  This is good news for the Adventurethon, just have to do this after kayaking 5km, running 2km on sand, kayaking 3.7km back to mainland, and riding 22km on mountainous terrain.  Shouldn’t be a problem……..

Journey to Adventurethon – Update 2

So I am still plugging away and feeling pretty proud of my consistency and that my body is holding up quite well.


Monday –  CrossFit first session! Scary…

Tuesday –  Rest Day and Foam Roller session

Wednesday – Mountainbike Ride (60mins), Wk 3 Run 1 after getting home.

Thursday – CrossFit

Friday – Exercise Bike (45mins, 25km) and Foam Roller session

Saturday – Wk 3 Run 2 with all four boys on their bikes.

Sunday – Exercise Bike (50mins, 28km), 4km walk at King’s Park with the kids


Monday – Wk 3, Run 3, followed by a strength session. (Set 1: Bench Press/Pull through with rotation/Push Ups, Set 2: Lat Pulldown/Squat Thrusters/Low lunge with 10xrows each side) 3 times through each set.

Tuesday – Rest Day

Wednesday – CrossFit in the morning, Wk 4 Run 1 in the afternoon

Thursday – Exercise Bike (60mins, 36km) followed by a small 2km walk/run with 2 kids and 2 extra bikes to pick up other 2 kids from friends place.

Friday – Crossfit in the morning (was dreading it because I was so sore), Wk 4 Run 2 in the afternoon with my eldest boy.

Saturday – Party Day for my eldest.  Only managed to play Bullrush at the park, which was quite a few sprints so I am counting it!!

Sunday – Wk 4 Run 3 completed in the rain and so tired from sleepover party for 14 boys the night before.

Motivation - Be awesome

This was a tough two weeks to get through as I started CrossFit, stepped up with my sessions, increased my runs slightly, and my husband was away for most of this time.  So I was really wrecked, my body aching more days than not, and I have to admit I questioned my ability to fit it all in.  I have tried to go to bed a little earlier the last couple of days and had a rest day yesterday and I am feeling quite a bit refreshed.  The body feels quite good, shins/legs have settled down so I think the shoes have made a big difference and I do believe just sticking with the run program is allowing my body to adjust to the running.  I also think the foam rolling is making a big difference too.

In terms of diet, I still have plenty of room for improvement.  I still need to make sure I am drinking a lot more and had a couple of slip ups with party food which I am not too worried about.  On the whole I feel like my nutrition is going ok.  I feel like I am toning up and clothes are feeling a little looser as well.  Winning!

Goals for the next two weeks will be stepping up again with the running and maintaining nutrition as much as possible.  It is going to be school holidays next week which will make it a little more difficult to get my sessions in…will just have to get creative.  I have also bought 2x sessions of kayak hire so Snooze and I can go for a bit of a paddle to get the feel of what we need to do.  I have been looking for a secondhand kayak on Gumtree but haven’t got lucky yet.  Feeling quietly confident that I can do this……I think.

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