31

Jul

How do you find your balance?

-A basic introduction to Reiki.

What is your complimentary practice? You are probably familiar with the Yin and Yang symbol. It represents balance and energy. 

We get a lot of our Yang energy from our training; heart rate gets elevated and stress hormones increase. But how do you balance that out with some Yin energy? Both are requirements for us to lead a balanced spiritual lifestyle and have our bodies functioning in a healthy way as represented by the symbol. 

You might practice yoga, massage or meditation to get your Yin energy but have you ever considered Reiki? 

Reiki came into fruition in Japan in the 1900’s and was developed by a man named Mikao Usui. Reiki literally means ‘universal life force energy’ (Rei – universal Ki – life force energy) 

It was on the back of a societal breakdown, that changes in the structure of cultural norms in Japan meant there was a fear of uncertainty that accompanied this radical change. It was no longer certain that Japanese farmers’ offspring would follow in the destiny their parents had mapped out for them (continuing the family trade) and they began to travel for business and education rather than pleasure. It was during this time of uncertainty that many Japanese people looked to religion to show them a way forward and help them cope with the feeling of isolation. It was Usui’s decision to create a system of spiritual development that would be accessible to all people that was not aligned with religion. Thus, the birth of Reiki. 

Reiki is a hands-on or distance, spiritual healing practice/therapy that is non-invasive and used alone or in collaboration with other alternative healing modalities. Reiki sessions can last from 60 – 90 minutes depending on practitioner and does not require the removal of clothing. The practitioner uses energy channels and transfers this to the individual. The practitioner targets energy fields around the body, at times in alignment with your body chakras. Energy can decrease in certain areas of the body and the practitioner can aid in increasing the flow of energy and releasing any blocks. 

It is thought that if the body energy is low then an individual is more likely to be unwell or distressed. There is research, albeit limited in comparison with other complimentary practices, that support the many benefits of Reiki. Keep in mind here that this practice is very individually experienced so quite subjective and there are many factors to consider. Certainly, there is a placebo effect to the therapy like many complementary modalities. Regardless, many people experience increased levels of relaxation, increased energy, decreased stress levels, decreased pain, decreased anxiety, mental clarity, improved immune function and it provides an avenue for you to connect with your body and mind on a deeper level. 

Reiki does not claim cure illness or disease, moreover it promotes a balanced and optimal state of body so that healing can occur from within. The National Institutes of Health USA have trials in progress that are investigating the effects of Reiki on stress, fibromyalgia, AIDS, prostate cancer, painful neuropathy and cardiovascular risk factors. (https://www.reikiaustralia.com.au/?page_id=211) 

Reiki can be used with essential oils, crystals, and can be chakra focused, but that conversation is for another blog. 

It is important that you find a qualified Reiki practitioner who is open about the way they carry out their practice, as there are many diverse forms and branches of Reiki. Ensure you are comfortable 

with the practice principals and have an intention on what you seek to gain from using Reiki as a spiritual healing modality. 

The experience of Reiki is different for every individual so you are best to go in with an open mind and then discuss your experience following your sessions. 

My personal experience with Reiki has been a very positive one. Once a sceptic but now a believer in the practice, I became a level 1 Reiki practitioner a couple of years ago. I practice on myself and have practiced on others and have found experiences to be nothing but positive. I have begun to tie in this practice with Yoga more recently. 

Whatever mindful practice you choose to participate in, I hope that your intentions are being met.

Reiki References:

The Reiki Bible, Eleanor McKenzie – The definitive guide to the art of Reiki 2009 

https://www.reikiaustralia.com.au/

https://reikirays.com/

25

Jun

A moment two years in the making…

So, two years later here we are, back for part 3 of my Ironman journey.

If you’re interested, or to freshen up your memory, you can get up to date on parts 1 & 2 below.

To say it’s been a roller-coaster of a journey is an understatement. There’s been a lot of ups but some very low lows.

As I sit here and reflect on the past 2 years, I’ve learnt so much about myself. These challenges have taught me things that I may never have learned if I’d had an easier and smoother journey. I’m so grateful.

Returning from Cairns this time last year with a broken clavicle and 4 stitches in my face, I was absolutely gutted. My race before that, was in Busselton WA, 2017. A cancelled swim due to shark sightings and a shortened bike course due to bush fires left me deflated from the day. I felt I had not truly becoming an Ironman.

I couldn’t help but wonder why this was happening, why was each race ending with me feeling so broken, both physically, mentally and emotionally. It made me feel so out of love with the sport, something that had given me so much joy the past 5 years.

While I was recovering from my injury I didn’t think that continuing on with these big events was something I ever wanted to do again. I will never forget the feeling when I got back on my bike for the first time in over 3 months after my shoulder recovery. I was so underwhelmed. I hated it. After not pushing it too much, I decided I’d just let it be, that desire might return later on.

Thankfully it did. Over time I started craving being back on the bike, being with my tri buddies. I started tossing up the idea of getting back into some races. After much debating and discussion, I decided that I did want to have another crack at Ironman. It turns out I wanted it more than ever. But I was only going to do it if I could convince my best friend Sara to do it with me.

With over 6 months from race date, Sara and I made a pact. We were going to do this. It was on!

As the weeks flew past, I felt like I was regaining some of that fitness I had lost, but boy it felt harder than I ever remembered.

Starting from a lower base of fitness than ever before plus trying to rehab an injured shoulder was posing it’s challenges.

I was trying to find the balance of not over doing the shoulder but also not fluffing the process of preparing for what is one of endurance worlds toughest challenges. This is where my coach gave the greatest guidance. Adam from Beckworth Racing was a huge mentor for me throughout the year. I’m so grateful for his work. As the weeks due closer I was starting to feel my best, things were coming together. An Ironman build is truly unique and getting to the end in good health and uninjured was always my aim.

6 weeks out from IM Cairns I raced a half ironman distance (1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21.1km run) in Port Macquarie. Boy I’m glad I pencilled this race in!

It was another big learning day for me. Trialling nutrition, race strategies and testing how the body was feeling. Safe to say I was excited to be racing and may have overdone the bike on a tough hilly course which compromised my run.

After that race I made significant changes to my nutrition and my bike plan leading into Cairns.

It was soon time to fly to Cairns, heading up the Tuesday before. It was certainly a nice change in weather. The cold weather had really set in in Melbourne so 25 and sunny in Cairns was just perfect. A few short sharp sessions to keep the body ticking over helped nicely. It’s amazing to seeing the town transform into Ironman Village. Athletes from all over the world here to do the same thing you are. There is such a buzz around.

On the days leading in to the race the weather wasn’t great. It was all: wind, rain, sun, repeat. However it wasn’t anything I hadn’t already trained and prepared for back in Victoria.

The night before Ironman I had the worst sleep I think I’ve ever had before a race. It was an early start in Palm Cove, alarms off at 5:00am to begin the final prep before we were to head down to the swim start.

The sun started to rise, we could see the water was actually the best it had been all week. Still not amazing, but better than the day before. The wind was up, but again we knew that.

One thing I’ve learnt from racing, is wasting energy on being nervous is exactly that, wasted energy. Deep breaths and focusing on the immediate next task at hand kept the nerves at bay. Sara and I suited up and got in for a quick warm up swim, the water temp was cool and refreshing. We were ready.

A rolling start on the beach was slow but exciting, watching people enter the water knowing that they had begun their Ironman journey is great to watch. In we went at around 8:00ish am. Bring it on, 3.8km of challenging open water swimming. There was a lot of people in the first 200m trying to find their momentum as they were swimming into the waves. It was hard at the start but I knew it would settle, just breathe and pass them until I found my groove. The swim was honestly the best part of my day, I was wrapped with my time in those conditions, and to think this time last year I was in a sling unable to move my arm for 13 weeks! It was pure joy!

Straight out of the water, trying to clean the famous Palm Cove mud from my face, I was so happy to be running into transition, I felt so good. Getting on the bike was a slow exit, with lots of other doing the same. Seeing familiar faces who were cheering me on was awesome! Now it was time to settle in for a very scenic 180km on the bike down the Captain Cook Highway. My plan was consistent heart rate (especially on the hills) nutrition and hydration. With the Port Mac’s Half Ironman experience in the back of my mind I feel like I achieved my goals for the bike. My time was slower than expected but I feel the last 70km stretch from Port Douglas back to Cairns challenged me. With a tough head wind I knew I needed to reassess to save my legs for the run. As I was getting back into Cairns city I was so close but the wind was making me feel slower and slower. It was just head down and pedal, focusing on who was ahead, trying to catch them until I was on the esplanade. I was so pumped to see people as I flew down the last 3km. 180km ride was complete.

Transition was heaven, having the beautiful volunteers help you get ready to run, offering food and water, tying my shoe laces. Its only brief but their kindness really gives you such good vibes to get out running.

Running out of transition and onto your last leg is the best. Having friends and family there all cheering for you along. This transition was the best I’ve felt coming off the bike, in any race. The plan for the run was stick to pace and keep on fuelling. I stayed on track until around 21km, I really started to slip in pace and my stomach wasn’t feeling great. My selection of nutrition wasn’t appetising anymore. Soon after it became a run/walk. I loved the 4-lap course, by that time of the day it helped me so much knowing where people were across the course. Knowing they would be there, offering support and encouragement really did help.

Before I knew it, I was finishing my 4th lap and soon to be running the down the famous red carpet. So much emotion came over me, tears running down my face, I had finally conquered my long dream of becoming an Ironman. 2 years in the making!

The music was pumping, friends, family and strangers were cheering so loudly. Hi fiving everyone along the side, the famous words “Jaimie Lee, you are an IRONMAN” while crossing the finishing line. 

I knew my best friend Sara wasn’t far behind, so I waited for her. Seeing her run the red carpet and being awarded with her medal was the absolute highlight of my day.

We did it, we are Ironmen!

The feeling is hard to explain for me. It took so much emotion, time and sacrifice over the past 2 years to earn the experience of feeling that feeling in that moment. It’s something I’ve wanted for so long. The meaning behind this race was so much more this time around.

I guess when you want something so bad, you can push through anything to get it. There is always a way, we just have to dig deep to find it.

Thanks for the kind words or support throughout this journey (and for reading along).

I truly appreciate it.

Here’s to the next adventure, whatever it may be.

JLB

22

May

wim hof ice bath

Fad, fact or fiction – The Wim Hof Method

If you frequent Armstrong Street in Middle Park between grabbing a latte at the local cafe or a pub meal while you’re laundry is drying at the laundromat next door (as I’ve heard is the standard for a few of our members) you may have seen a few half naked and freezing people roaming the laneways.

These people may or may not be part way through a Wim Hof session with the one and only Lars from Lars Ice Bath.

So, what is it all about? Well, The Wim Hof Method is based on three pillars. They are 

  • Cold therapy or exposure
  • Breathing 
  • Commitment 
Trying to cover the commitment and mindset pillar whilst plunged in tub of ice… having a photo. 😀

The man behind this, Wim Hof believes that combining these three things can reduce stress, improve sleep quality, heighten your concentration and improve performance.

The theory goes that chronic stress is very bad where as acute or short bouts of stressors can be very beneficial for adaptation. Which makes sense if you think about the stimulus we apply in say the weight room. We wouldn’t apply the stress to our muscles chronically, that would just cause injury. Many of us in our professional or even personal lives place chronic stress upon our systems.

As someone who has been involved in the fitness industry for 10 years this all sounded very appealing and I was eager to put the theory to the test. 

Before diving into my experience a brief introduction into who Wim Hof is. Wim, aka “The Iceman”, is known as an athlete who has set Guinness world records for swimming and sitting under ice. He also holds the record time for a barefoot marathon on ice. Not bad right! Recently he featured on Channel 7’s Sunday Night which was a great break down and snap shot of who he is so below is a link of that episode if you would like to know more about him.

My Experience with the Wim Hof method .

Exposing ones body to freezing temperatures is one of the three pillars of the Wim Hof method. This method of cold body therapy  has picked up considerable ground across the globe, particularly in Australia as it has been linked with numerous health benefits. 

This method involves sitting in a sealed insulated container of ice for a period of time whilst the cold water is circulated around the body. Unlike the chryo chambers which use extremely cold air and are relatively expensive. The Wim Hof method is a affordable (and some say more effective) alternative.

I decided to give this method of recovery a try. I myself had just started getting back into full training off the back of an ACL reconstruction surgery in February 2018. To really reap the benefits I ensured I had done a heavy block of training leading up to the session.

My week had been:

  • 2 x heavy weight sessions
  • 1 x olympic style weightlifting lifting session 
  • 2 x metabolic conditioning sessions

Fair to say my body was relatively fatigued! 

So I gathered a small group of brave friends (RevoPT’s very own Luke and Darren) to join me in this session at middle Park Fitness where we met the man behind this method in Melbourne Lars or also known as the Ice Viking. 

Luke after a full submersion in the ice bath.

We arrived and entered a small confined space where the Ice bath session would taken place. After some quick introductions we were told to strip down to our shorts and lie on our backs to commence some breathing exercises.

The process followed this:

  1. 30-40 Power breaths – This is essentially deep breathing at a steady pace in and out through the mouth. Inhale fully but not exhaling all the way out. As we inhaled we felt out belly rise and on the exhale, we felt your belly fall. It felt a bit like we were hyperventilating, but that we were in control.
  2. Following step 1, we held our breath
  3. Breath in for 10 seconds slow and controlled
  4. Repeated steps 1-3 – We cycled through this process for what felt like 20 minutes almost.
  5. Finally we held our breath and tried to get out as many push-ups as possible

The breathing exercises were something that I had never tried before and my body responded to it almost immediately with my extremities feeling tingly. This exercise allowed me to get into a deep meditative state and for the most part felt very relaxed.

I feel this definitely helped enter a state in which I could control what was to come, and almost uncontrollable urge to jump out of a huge tub of ice!

Following on from the breathing exercises we were given a run through of the ice bath and were going to enter one at a time for a duration of 5 minutes each. We were advised to hop straight into the tub and not waste any time. 

The Initial 30 seconds were the most challenging, particularly through my extremities where my blood flow felt cut off. After following Lars instructions and controlling my breaths I begin to relax and take back control of my mind. I could then take in the challenge that laid ahead of me. Five minutes felt like an eternity but I managed to see it through. 

I was encouraged once hopping out to move constantly to avoid “shaking like a leaf” later according to Lars. Post Ice bath my energy levels felt good and felt very alert, rejuvenated and I definitely feel like it accelerated my recovery.

My final thoughts

I was very impressed with the recovery session and benefited a lot from the session. The breathing component was something I’ve never done before and since then I’ve tried to incorporate it into my daily routine. I feel this is a must try recovery method if you are game enough.

10

Jan

Set yourself the goal to get a little S.M.A.R.T.er this year

Cheers can be heard around the world. Everyone is on a holiday high and people are sharing their new years resolutions with those around them. Are they the same or similar to last year? Did you fall short of your previous resolutions/goals and have you given it any thought as to why? Were you not serious enough? Did you lose motivation? Was it something completely out of your control (accident/injury)?

The new year is here and what a perfect time to chat about health and fitness goals and achieving them!

Even as trainers we can lose motivation at times (yeah I know, crazy, right?) but the one thing that keeps us coming back in each week is having a goal in mind and knowing we can achieve it, providing we stay consistent with our training and nutrition.

If you already have a goal in mind or you have thought about something in the past, are you being S.M.A.R.T about? After all, if you are serious about turning your dream into reality you will need to get serious about your dream and convert that into a goal using the S.M.A.R.T system.

How does that work? A S.M.A.R.T goal can be broken in the following ways. Ask yourself, is my goal:

Specific – Is your goal Specific? If you’re going to tick if off your bucket list you will need to be very clear as to what you’re aiming for. Your goal/goals should include exactly what it is you’re achieving with specifics such as ‘who, what, when and why’. For example, instead of saying “I want to lose weight” or “I want to get fit”, say “I want to lose 10kgs by the start of June this year” or “I want to be able to run 10kms in under 40 minutes by August”.

Measurable – Is your goal Measurable? If it’s to do with weight, how are you measuring it? Are you taking weekly or fortnightly measurements? If it is to do with getting fit, how will you measure it? Are you tracking kms ran each week?

Achievable – Have you set a goal that is Achievable? Setting a goal that is too hard or a bit too far out of your reach could leave you discouraged and wanting to give up. But setting one too easy could make you feel disengaged by not having a challenge in front of you.

Realistic – Is your goal Realistic? If you want to do a triathlon and smash it out in a good time, but you don’t have access to an area to swim or a bike to ride then it could make it difficult to practice and nail that fast time. Be sure to set something that is practical for your circumstances. Or put a plan in place to change these circumstances.

Timeframe – Lastly, make sure you set a Timeframe. You may set smaller goals in order to get to achieving your larger goal. Be sure to stay on track to the timeframe you set and make sure its specific. You can be a last minute person like myself or you can be organised and hitting your targets daily but either way, having a deadline is always very motivating, as long as you keep to it!

Set you goal. Focus and go about putting in small sustainable changes to your everyday.

So now you’re familiar with the S.M.A.R.T goal setting system, is the dream/goal you had in mind S.M.A.R.T and if not, how will you change it to make it one? Dream big, focus and if you are unsure about your dream/goal or you need some help with coming up with a challenge, then please don’t  hesitate to ask a trainer to assist with a S.M.A.R.T goal for the new year.

Leave us a comment below with your goal for 2019. We’d love to hear it!

12

Jul

Find your best fit and you’ll find your ultimate fitness

Where do you or why do you train where you train?

Like most people, when I first joined a gym, it was not for fun. It was because it was something I thought I ‘had’ to do.

I’ve been a competitive athlete for as long as I can remember, and until the age of 17 a large chunk of my days were spent sprinting on a track or trying to get a ball into an absurdly located hoop. Like a lot of young athletes, after graduating high school I felt aimless without the structure of classes and training. Oh sure I was still active, but after such a high level of activity for most of my life the drop in intensity affected me in ways that I did not anticipate. I no longer had to wake up early for practice, so I stayed up later. Without school and team trainings, I had to actually make plans to see my friends (ridiculous, I know). Worst of all, as expected when someone goes from training over 12 hours a week to not at all, my body started changing… So I decided to join a gym.

Joining a gym used to conjure up a bleak image of rows of treadmills, and oversized men grunting, in a room of mirrors whose sole purpose was to make you unhappy with yourself. When I did first join a gym, the reality was not far off at all, aside from the perky music constantly blaring to mask the sounds of discomfort. Luckily, that is no longer the case. Unless that’s what you’re into which is fine too. But sometime in the last decade or so, the definition of ‘fitness’ changed. Somewhere between activewear as acceptable streetwear and goji berries becoming a household staple, the concept of a gym became a much broader term, with Crossfit boxes, Yoga studios, Functional training studios like our own RevoPT, and everything in between. Exercise has became less about putting in the man hours against ones will, and more about what KIND of person YOU are, (and want to become).

I think we’re better and fitter for it!

Humans are tribal animals, always searching for a sense of belonging. Whether you are an accountant with a high stress work environment, a stay at home mum covered in pureed peas or a night owl of a university student, there is a training community for you. Or hell, you might even find more in common with someone from one of these other walks of life than you ever dreamed of. The right gym for you is no longer just the place that is located the closest with the cheapest membership. That is not what keeps someone going back. The place we choose to train is where someone else smiled and introduced themselves at your first class when they saw you were nervous. Where a guy you had never spoken to in your life cheers encouragingly at you that you can do it when you thought you couldn’t. The place you choose to train is where the other mums share the appreciation for some time to yourself and say they’ll see you next week.

The actual type of exercise, be it a 45-minute HIIT session or a 90 minute strength grind, is and always will be a factor in the progress you’re achieving, but that almost becomes a peripheral factor in your overall wellbeing. The connections we build within the wall of the places we choose to train at are what keeps us going back. Before you know it YOU are the person introducing yourself to a new face. YOU are the one shouting encouragement to someone you’ve never spoken to. And along the way you have become physically stronger, you’ve gotten leaner, and your energy levels are back up.

Seeing many of the bonds and friendships formed here at RevoPT between people from all walks of life that had never met before is one of the many highlights of working in an environment with a culture such as this. People regularly catch up out side of the gym, for fitness based activities but also simple social outings. This might not be the main reason you to start working towards a healthier version of yourself but I’m pretty darn sure it’s going to help you get your butt to the gym on those days that dragging yourself in here seems almost impossible.

That, in my humble opinion, is one of the main reasons why we choose to train where we train. So if you are still stuck in a cycle of dragging yourself to a gym and seeing no progress, or simply struggling with motivation incessantly, perhaps it is time to consider that it isn’t that exercise is just ‘hard’, but that you have yet to find the place that serves who you are on your strength and fitness journey.

Find your tribe!

15

Dec

My beautifully ugly obsession – The good, the bad & the ugly of Ironman Triathlon.

Shark – Bike – Bushfire – Run

Ironman Western Australia – Part 2, The Race Report

So here is, the race report for IM Western Australia.

I tried to keep it short, but the day was just so unbelievable that it was hard. The journey was one I’ll cherish forever. It has shown me strength I never knew I had. I hope you enjoy.

Its been nearly 2 weeks since the big day and I’m still trying to find the words to express how I feel about the whole experience.
It was such a whirlwind from the moment I left Melbourne right through to crossing that finishing line.

I can honestly say that once I hit the first stage of my taper, 2 weeks before the day, I was so proud and confident of what I had achieved over the past 6 months. I was proud of the commitment I had shown to my training, health and overall the whole process. To me getting through the months, weeks and days of training was the hard part. I knew that if I committed to the process, come race day, it would be the easy part.

The week leading in was pretty crusiey, work definitely kept my mind busy. Packing the long list of equipment for the event, then keeping up with short easy sessions to keep the body ticking over. It felt so good to see the body freshen up, to have this amazing fitness I was feeling ready and excited.

We left home for our flight to Perth bright and early on Thursday morning for our expected departure at 8:00am. While we jammed packed ourselves into the taxi; my partner Scott, Coach Katee and her husband Mick with all our luggage plus 3 bikes, we were pumped to go. On the way we all received a text message saying our flight has been delayed. Cool, no worries, 2 hours is nothing. Upon arrival at the airport when checking in we were then told our plane had mechanical issues and we were being redirect to Sydney with now a 4 hour delay. Not ideal, but ok what can you do. After getting through all that we sat down to enjoy our coffee when Scott received a text to state we were required to now board a flight to Canberra within 20mins of it leaving. WHAT! After confusion and no answers as to why we were headed there, we were on our way. No word of what was happening with our luggage. We landed in Canberra and still they were unable to tell us what was going on, other than we weren’t flying to Perth until 7:00pm.

So 10 hours now to burn in the Australian Capital Territory.
I remember reading in my notes on my training program the instructions for Thursday were to keep cool, hydrated and off my feet. Turns out we spent the day touring around on our feet and very stressed as we still didn’t know where the luggage was.

A phone call from my coach when she had landed in Perth (the flight we were supposed to be on also) made my day. She was standing at the conveyer belt in Perth with our bags and Mick had collect my bike. PHEWWW!!!

Finally boarding the plane to Perth, we were delayed another hour. Ahh what the hell is another hour hey?! Scott and I finally made in to our motel in Perth at 1:00am.

Friday we made the 3 hour trip down to Busselton, south of Perth. I just couldn’t wait to get there. As soon as we arrived I was straight down to the expo to check myself in. This was like no other check in I’ve experienced. As I was a ‘first timer’ the beautiful volunteer called out to the others and next thing they are all cheering and ringing their cow bells. It was an incredible feeling. They too were as excited as me. I signed my life away, got weighed and was on my way. Straight to the merchandise tent. Quick look through we then went to check out the famous jetty. It was BEAUTIFUL! Just like the photos. The vibes around the town were amazing, I’ll never forget it.

That afternoon a few of us went for a quick spin on our bikes to check they were all good from the flight and to have a quick look over the bike course. It was my first taste of the imfafous Busselton wind. Boy it was strong. But hey, I had plenty of training in wind. That wasn’t going to make me worried.

Saturday was a busy day. Our Tri club, Holistic Endurance got together to do a swim, ride and run. The water was stunning, seeing star fish, turtles, sting rays and even a dolphin swimming underneath us. The water was cool, calm and clear. I couldn’t wait to be out there swimming around the jetty. Off on our ride, it was hot already. Again an insight into what we would be facing on Sunday. A chance then to run on the course, along the coast. Not only did this help settle the nerves but it also made the fire in my belly burn big for what was about to come.

After what felt like forever packing all my gear in to appropriate bags, one allocated for all my bike gear the second for my run gear. Plus two bags for special needs that would I would have access to on the bike and run course if i needed. We set off to drop my beloved bike and gear into transition.

From there outside it was like trying to find a needle in a hay bail, there were bikes everywhere! I loved seeing so many people wanting to achieve the same thing I did. Transition is actually very carefully organised, numbered and labelled. The time spent in transition I was able to visualise how it was going to work, where to enter, where to exit. Also have I mentioned how amazing the volunteers are? They were everywhere being so helpful.
After that, everything was completed there was nothing else to do other than relax. Everything was done. Such a strange feeling, something I had been waiting to feel for such a long time. This was it.

A quick visit to see the boss Luke and his family who had flown over to spectate (how cool is that but the way) definitely helped distract me from what could happen on Sunday. Chatting about the whole process of what we had been through and what lay ahead of me, it was such a good time to reflect.

It certainly was an early night for me, I was always curious if I’d get much sleep the night before and Ironman, as in past before previous events, this has not been the case. Turns out I slept like a log!

Waking up at 4:00am, the day was FINALLY here. I remember Scott turning over and saying “Its your Christmas Day.” He was so right, everything I has dreamed about doing was about to unfold.

Well at least I thought it was…

We arrived at the the event and there were people everywhere! I walked straight into transition and dropped all my food, water/electrolytes off at my bike. All was good. I then started hearing announcements being made over the speaker that there had been a shark sighting at the jetty. WHAT THE HELL! Were they serious? Surely not, surely they would scare it off and we would be on our way, this is my Ironman Day. When no announcements had been made the vibes in transitions were getting worse, people talking about what might or might not happen. All we were told was to stay at our bikes until further notice. I remember looking down at my watch and it was nearly 7:00am (our start time) and starting to get anxious, this was our start time we should be in the water, how I thought the day would unfold wasn’t going to plan.

We were finally told that the swim was NOT going ahead. I was honestly devastated! Surely the shark would leave once we all started?

So new plan, we would start on the beach front and every 6 seconds, 2 people were allowed to start. This was to ease the congestion in transition and on the roads. My friend and I waited out in the sun for over an hour. That sun was beaming down on us, it was hot and I was beginning to get hungry. This didn’t make me feel positive at all. I made a new plan for my nutrition, for when I finally got to my bike. 2 hours after our original start time I was out on the bike, it was now 9:00am.

This was the best feeling ever getting out there, we had finally started. I was doing an Ironman.
The first 90km I was having the time of my life, speed was good, nutrition and hydration perfect. I was back to the 90km turn around point in no time. Seeing Scott an my best friend Sara was the best feeling ever. It was definitely heating up though, I was collecting water bottles at each aid station and pouring it over my head, face and back to try and keep cool.

There is about 20km on the bike where I have no recollection of what happened. What I do remember is looking down at my Garmin and it said 110km, from that point on I was in trouble. I started to feel really sick in the stomach. My water was hot, my food melting. Nothing I put in my mouth was satisfying me. I still had 70km to go.

Approaching the 135km mark I start to see a lot of smoke coming from a fire, I thought to myself how strange it was that they were allowed to burn off on such a hot day?! As I came closer to the 135k turn around, someone was calling my name. I couldn’t make out who it was, I was starting to feel so delusional. First I thought it was Scott, it couldn’t be. As I got closer I could see it was my boss Luke and his wife Lisa. They were cheering so loud for me, I was thinking so myself, stop cheering, stop it. As I turned the point I looked over to Lisa and told her I was really sick. She could see it in my face that this was not one word of a lie.

Little did I know that the smoke I had seen earlier was coming from an out of control bush fire. It was headed very close to the bike course. The heat it was projecting towards us was unbearable. Later I found out that it clocked 40 degrees out on those roads.

Nothing improved on the bike, passing aid stations to collect water bottles that were just as hot as the ones I already had. It had nearly been 1.5 hours with me vomiting and unable to keep anything in. I had vomited all over myself, over my bike, still riding. This was bad. I pulled over and this beautiful man stopped to ask if I was ok, he could see I was unwell. I didn’t know what I needed, nothing was working. He offered to get the ambulance, I knew that if he did get them, my day was done. I wasn’t ready to quit yet. I managed to tell him I needed to get back to transition. That was now my goal, it was all I could focus on. He told me to get on my bike and follow him back. So I did. His direction was what I needed, I was unable to make a rational decision. I was finally making my way back to what I thought was transition. In the distance I could see my coach and other athletes from Holistic Endurance, cheering for me like crazy. Again in my mind I was telling them to stop, I was failing, don’t be happy for me! I pulled in as I thought it was transition, got off my bike I was really distressed as I could not cool myself down. I felt like I was cooked from the inside out. I explained what had happened as best I could, I didn’t know what to do. This part is a bit of daze to me, but I remember Coach Katee saying to me, the choice to continue was mine and she would support me with whatever I decided. The look in her eyes, I knew it wasn’t good. She gave me a bottle of crisp mineral water that was so cold that I wanted to skull, but knew I had to sip or it would come up. She also gave me very clear instructions what to do next. To get to transition, cool down by standing under the hose, eat and drink something. And most importantly, that I had this!

I got to transition and Scott was there on the sideline, I couldn’t even look at him, I was so disappointment with myself, I knew I had let him, my coach myself and everyone back home down. I hated this! The volunteers took my bike and I wobbled over to the guy with the hose and I stood there while he sprayed me down from head to toe. This was heaven. I walked over to get my run bag and got organised. The volunteers gave me iced water and help me put it down the back of my top and under my cap. Part of me didn’t want to run, how could I possible get through a marathon? I had been vomiting the past 2 hours. I remember looking around and there were girls everywhere looking as sick as I was. Some vomiting, some crying, some encouraging us saying we could do it. One girl close to me was hysterical, she was so distressed with the whole situation. It actually made me feel uncomfortable. I had to get out there and at least try. I walked out and again got hosed down with water, then spotted a familiar face. Mick (coach Katee’s husband) he had followed me in since seeing me get off the bike. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but I know it was encouraging. Katee and him both believed in me that I could at least try.

So I did, off I went. Out on the run! The crowd along the beach as just insane. The vibes they were giving me made me forget about the past 6 horrendous hours, I was doing this. I was going to give it my all. They were cheering my name, hi fiving and running alongside me. An incredible experience. I got to the first aid station where I took a piece of watermelon, it was the best tasting watermelon I’ve ever had. Finally something that my body would take! The next thing I knew I was passing through more and more aid stations. One of my favourite parts of the run was seeing Katee and the HE crew, I was smiling (and probably crying) I could see the joy in them that I hadn’t given up. I was doing this. It gave me so much strength to keep pushing.

I then saw another another spectator/friend Paul who was on this bike motivating us along the path. He rode alongside me for what felt like eternity. Constantly checking in, telling me to pick it up. He distracted me from the pain I was in. My body was hurting and I was still burning hot.

The minutes, the hours and the KM’s passed, the sun was setting and I was just focusing on the next thing. Get to the aid station, pass that KM. The tiniest goals, felt like the biggest. But ticking them off gave me more strength, it was rewarding. I needed to keep distracted.

On the final 3km of the run I could see a friend ahead, Shelly. I’ve know her as long as I’ve been in the triathlon world, she was walking. I needed to get to her. I did, I told her we had to get to the finish line, we were nearly there. We ran/walked that last 2km before finally hitting the beginning of the finishing shoot. We were there.

I cannot explain the thrill of it, running down that red carpet, lights flashing, the tunes pumping, people cheering for me! I wanted to stop and just watch, take it all in. I wanted this moment to last forever, but I also wanted this whole experience to end. I was hurting.
I could see my name on the top of the finish line banner, Pete Murray calling my name. It was everything I had imagined, however the feelings were 100% sweeter. I had finished. I did it!

A volunteer grabbed me and asked if I was ok, I had no idea if I was. I could see Scott, Katee and the support crew by the sideline, they gave me my finishers towel and walked over to them. Katee had my medal and she out it over my head and hugged me.

I had finished, it was over.

By this stage I was very emotional, seeing everyone so happy for me. I was so happy for me. I have never felt so proud of myself, than what I was feeling in that moment. I had beaten all the demons in my head, I had delt with all the curveballs that were thrown to us, I had overcome the thought that I was going to give up while out on the bike. But, I didn’t.

I DID IT!

It was hard to comprehend what had happened across the day, the sharks, the bushfire, the heat. Everything was/is a blur. But I know I am so pound of myself for finishing what I had started.

The following day it was important to debrief. I had said I was never doing it again. That I was done. After many chats and reminiscing, I found out that over 700 athletes (from 2,600 including the 70.3 athletes) pulled from the event. That someone hit a kangaroo on the bike (could this be anymore Australian). That temperature were much higher than what was predicted, much higher, 36 by 12:00pm.

That the conditions we were faced with were very challenging, some saying worse than Kona.
This helped me not be so hard on myself, sure my times were slower than anticipated, but I did the day as best as I could. I nailed the training leading in and looking back, it was the experience of a life time.

So my response has now changed when people ask if I’ll do it again. From “never again,” to “Cya in May at Cairns Ironman.”

I want to experience the whole thing, swim, bike and run. I will not stop to I am an Ironman.

So, my quest to become an Ironman continues.

I CAN AND I WILL BE AN IRONMAN