Three great things…

The sun is shining outside in the true Melbourne autumn way.  That means blue skies, perfect temperatures and a light breeze off the bay.  It is the sort of day that recharges everything, and I’m feeling content right now.  So I thought I’d share a few of the beautiful moments that life has created for me recently…

– Just now, I took our lovely Leila (our four-month old rescue Labrador) for a walk around the block.  She was a bit tired from a great play at the beach this morning, where she had her first real socializing with other dogs.  Around the block, for the first time, she walked next to me on a loose lease, stopping to sniff now and then, not pulling, not dragging me behind her. It was such a contrast to our drag-and-tow walk on Sunday, from which my hands are still healing.  It was a magical twenty minutes with my first ever dog, and as I type this, she wanders in, contentedly licks my hand, and wanders out again.

Lovely Leila

Lovely Leila

– On Friday last week, I took a friend for a run in Sherbrooke Forest.  That sounds simple enough, but for me it was an epic journey.  I didn’t want to admit it to her, but I’d never driven to Belgrave alone, and was terrified.  Even finding the train station to pick her up was a big deal, as I was navigating alone and the signs were not good.

But I found her, drove her up the long, scary, single lane road, and found my way to Grant’s Picnic Area.  I’d been wanting to drive here for a year, but chickened out each time, going back to Mount Dandenong because I knew the way.  I led her on a 7.5k loop through tall gum trees, pointing out Lyrebirds and Kookaburras, Wallabies, Rosellas and Magpies.  Afterwards I drove us to Olinda for lunch down small roads I had never traveled.

The drive home took us down a twisty, turny, single-lane road.  If I’d been alone, I probably would have pulled over to still my shaking hands, but with her, I kept going, and drove us the hour home, finding the way without help.

Stepping beyond my comfort zones is never, well, comfortable, but once my territory is expanded, I have found it never shrinks back to the same size again.  So I’m grateful to her in so many ways, because now Sherbrooke Forest is mine too.  I know I can drive there without such great fear, and this opens the door.


Me running downhill in Sherbrooke Forest

– The same friend, it turned out, is an accomplished pianist.  She came home with me, and I asked her to show me something on the piece that had stalled me in my forward progress.  She pointed out that “both hands played in the Bass Clef”, and I knew just what she meant, and suddenly the mystery became clear and I could play the piece and move forward again.  I’ve only been playing for three months, teaching myself from children’s books, so each step forward is a small miracle.

– Yesterday, I went to train in the free weights area at the gym.  These two gigantic young men were training there too.  Next to them, someone had set up the squat rack with 60 kg of plates.  I asked them if they were using it.  They said no, but would not meet my eye, and I felt suddenly invisible.  One of them pointed out to me that there was a water bottle near the rack, so someone must be using it.  Go away, he was saying, some big guy like me is using that squat rack.  You’re too old and female to work out here next to us big blokes.  I looked around the room.  There was one elderly gentlemen, the two men I had spoken to, and one woman with a trainer.  No one was using that squat rack, and so I proceeded to unload it and use it, while the two muscle-men alternated between pretending I didn’t exist, and scowling at me.  No one came back to the rack, and I felt, somehow, that I had forced a space for us women in the free weights area that had not been there before I arrived.  Later, one of the men came and asked me to use a grip on a machine I’d just finished with.  This time, he met my eye, and I was no longer invisible.

So, three great things.  On this glorious blue-sky day, the world is seeming a whole lot brighter than it did a few weeks ago.

Oh, and the Roller Coaster Run is about ten days away.  I’ve dropped back to the 21km option, and I’m thrilled I’m going to get to do this wonderful race that had seemed out of reach when I was injured back in January.

Wishing you a day of blue skies and sunshine…

Runner’s World Magazine: oh my!

Waiting in the schoolyard for my kids, I heard the distant sound of church bells.  How pretty, I thought.  As always, I’d forgotten that was the ring tone of my cell phone, and it chimed away in the distant reaches of my handbag until I remembered.  Too late to catch the call, I studied the number I didn’t recognise, and quickly called voicemail before the bell rang for school dismissal.

It turned out to be Adele from Rapid Ascent, the race organisers of the Salomon Trail Series (amongst other massively wonderful events).  They were calling to let me know they’d put my name forward to Runner’s World Magazine, based on my blog about their races, for the “What it takes to…” section.

Runner's World magazine, published by Rodale s...

Runner’s World magazine, published by Rodale since 1971 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Say what?!  I was just reading that section, poring over the photos and the details of these real people overcoming amazing obstacles to do life-affirming things through running.  I was going to appear there, amongst them?  Really?

My smile stretched ear-to-ear and I felt like dancing a little jig in the schoolyard.  I didn’t because I already feel a bit of a freak there, imagining the other moms saying, in soft whispers, behind their hands, there goes that mom who is always running, what’s wrong with her?  Why does she run so much?  So I did the jig inside, and then told a few good friends the exciting news.

Here’s the thing:  I’ve been thinking, and planning, and thinking, and wondering where to go next in this great big wild adventure that has been my mission (career seems too little and limiting a word for what I do).  Should I be doing more coaching? Go back to Personal Training?  Teach BodyPump or stop?  Write the next book, and if so, should it be a memoir (too revealing) or fiction (possible but it would be a memoir anyway with character names substituted for real names)?  What could I do to earn a bit more money to support our family?  Organisational Psychology jobs on LinkedIn make my blood run cold, and no one seemed to be advertising for a maverick with a short attention span who didn’t like to be bossed.  Hmm.  What to do?

I’ve always believed that the world opens the doors that are meant to open for us, but only once we’ve been banging against them for a really long time.  I’m not really into the “send the message to the Universe and then wait around” school of thought, because you can be waiting around for a very long time, with lots of other sad people who were once filled with hope.

So I’ve been banging against lots of doors, throwing pebbles at windows, digging under fences, doing all I can do make this mission of mine bear fruit.  From blogging and speaking, Twitter and Facebook, standing on a stage dripping sweat and lifting weights with groups of twenty-five, I’ve been doing everything I can to “prime the pump”, as Zig Ziglar used to say.  My work all has the same aim, that of inspiring others.  Helping them live up to all they can be.

I get scared sometimes.  Of course I do.  The questions come late at night or after reading an unforgiving review of someone else.  How can he/she/they think they are inspiring, that little evil voice goes.  How can you?

Shut up, I say in my head.


Funny, just as I was writing this, I hit a brain freeze…

And still.  A few moments later.  It won’t go away.

Funny how when you give the inner gremlins an inch, they take a mile.  They stop fingers from moving on keyboards and play a sad, lonely song in our heads.

Shut up already.


So…when Runner’s World emailed me this morning (a few days had gone by since the initial phone call, and I’d started thinking maybe I wasn’t going to be in the magazine after all), asking for a few more details, suburb, occupation, well, I nearly jumped for joy.

If I can inspire one person to get up, to run a trail they would not otherwise have run, I count my career as a success.  I count my mission as having been achieved.

What do I do next?  For me, it is always the next.  It is very hard to be present with success because I’m always thinking what’s next.  So here’s what’s next:  keep banging on doors, writing what flows freely with abundance, shouting my message through whatever medium is available.


That word just popped into my head.  It sometimes turns up in songs when I teach BodyPump or in literature that I am lost within.  It always makes me itchy, angry, jittery.  It always makes me want to kick something over.

Here’s the thing:  limits are there until we jump over them.  Once we do, they turn to us, and, with a shrug of their skinny little shoulders, they walk away.  They disappear, as if they were never there in the first place.

Runner’s World Magazine.  Who would have thought!

Salomon Trail Series 2012: Anglesea Race, smiling all the way

Salomon Trail Series 2012: Anglesea Race, smiling all the way

Oh…and this weekend is the race that started this amazing journey: the Surfcoast Century 100km.  This year, it falls on the same day as my son’s most important soccer tournament, so I have to miss out.

But the next day is the 15km Anglesea Race which is part of the same Salomon Trail Series.  I’ll be kicking up my heels in joy at that one, and thinking about the days when the limit of my longest run was 10km.

Runner’s World Online

Rapid Ascent and the Salomon Trail Series