Posted in Life, Poem, Writing

Far Away

When it is far away

I am trapped inside an empty space

Where life demands I function

And pretend all is connected

And for a million days and a million dark nights

I wait

With sealed lips and a heart half full

Until it returns

 

 

Posted in blogging, exercise, fitness, Life, Physical fitness, Sport, Writing

THE PHYSICAL BATTLE OF TRAINING- THROUGH MY EYES

THE PHYSICAL BATTLE OF TRAINING- THROUGH MY EYES

Featured Image- Tom Gersekowski

Late this afternoon, I went for a run as part of my training for the 70.3 in June. You know, I probably wouldn’t have done it, if I didn’t have to. It was humid, and hot, and I was tired for the simple reason that I am always tired. I am becoming quite bored with this excuse, but a valid one it is.

As I was pounding the pavement, I found myself watching the people on the esplanade. Little kids kicking balls with their folks, people walking their dogs, and others simply lying on the grass taking in the serenity. A little mirror in my head brought attention to the fact that for a second or two, I was wishing I was one of them. One of those people who appeared to be completely happy to sit still, and smile as the world happened around them.

I could feel the sweat dripping from my arms and legs and running down my face. My breathing was controlled, and my pace was steady, but my mind was wandering. It was jumping into the lagoon pool with all the tourists, it was walking along the sand with my puppy-who was sitting at home so desperate to go with me- it was reading a book on the grass under a sleepy palm tree and it was parked with my mouth permanently perched over the bubbler, hydrating me with the best tasting water in the world. I wanted to be there. I wanted to be far away from the heat and the thirst and the sore feet and the tweaking knee and the Garmin.

Oh the Garmin.

Having a Garmin watch is like having a spy attached to your wrist. Those little numbers on its screen have a habit of telling you when you are too slow. I can hear them shouting at me like a school teacher.

“You are not trying hard enough today. You may as well go and lie on the grass and watch the pelicans in the mudflats”

But my feet keep moving…like they always have. I often wonder why I don’t just give up and turn the dial down a few notches.

Perhaps it’s because last weekend I ran 9km in 41 minutes, and I smiled when my Garmin delivered the good news. Perhaps its because when I swim, I no longer have back ache like I used to. Perhaps it is because after a training session I can stack the Cadbury drinking chocolate into a cup and fill it with cold milk and devour its contents without worrying about the consequences…

Or perhaps it’s actually because I like it.

Despite the moans and groans, I must actually like it. I like conquering the discomfort in order to be a little better than I was yesterday, even if I’ll never be as good as some. Even if I can’t compete with those around me. Even if sometimes I want to throw in the towel because no matter what I do, I am slower than those I admire.

The thought of giving up on finding the ‘best of me’, makes me feel as if I am on a downhill slope, as if the best of me has been and gone. So I must pound the pavement. Because the truth is, I never want to let go of growth.

The best of who I am lies in tomorrow’s challenges, because that is how it is for me. And as long as my heart desires new experiences, there will forever be a reason to put one foot in front of the other.

I might be 43, but life ‘aint over yet baby.

Posted in blogging, exercise, fitness, Life, Physical fitness, Sport, Writing

Training for a 70.3 Ironman event-It’s not how I thought it would be.

 

 

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Featured Image-My brother in-law David Martin enduring his cycle from Cairo to Capetown.

There are four months to go until race day-Cairns 70.3 Ironman, 2017

Triathlon is something I just fell into accidentally about 16 years ago. Several staff within the intensive care unit in the Royal Melbourne Hospital all pledged to enter a ‘Just Tri-it Series’ over the Victorian summer.

Back then at 27, I was riding a mountain bike and racing  300m/10km/2.5km distances. This was challenging for me, as I’d never done anything like it before. I’d spent my formative years playing Basketball and Netball and competing predominantly in school sports such as athletics and cross country events-a direct result of living on a farm in central Victoria and being unable to physically get to anything else.

Over the years, I have entered various triathlon events, mainly sprints, a standard, many, many, fun runs, the 2010 and 2013 Great Pyramid Race, and I began competition swimming  for a couple of seasons in the Australian Masters Swimming Comp when we moved up to Cairns to live.

In 2016, I did the swim and the cycle in a 70.3 team, and I have completed the 1.9 km swim in a team for 6 consecutive years in Cairns. However this year I bit the bullet and entered the whole 70.3 event, together with my husband.

It’s interesting because a triathlon of this distance has never really been a goal of mine. In fact, I haven’t really ever had any sporting goals, despite my active involvement and consistent training in one form or another. I usually just go for a run, or a swim, or climb a big hill at pace to alleviate the nervous energy I have always had. My preference is by far training over racing. Why? Good question. Racing gives me a degree of anxiety, when training is simply a lifestyle that suits me.

Training for an event however, seems to add a bit of the old “I have to train” rather than “ok, I feel like I want to train” element that I don’t like. So I have made a decision.

I do not have a Tri coach.

A coach is a massive advantage and is the answer to getting you across the line if you require an external voice to drive you to success. I would definitely benefit from one, however at this stage, I can’t justify the cost. So I am doing it by myself. I have opted for higher intensity and less training hours. This is because there are days, mostly during the working week, I simply don’t feel like going. I have two boys who have there own activities which demand my attention, I have a few hobbies that I love so much they literally keep me breathing, and I work in the hospital as a nurse 4 days a week.

For me, less is more and more is less. Confused?

For me to sustain the training to get me across the line in the 70.3 in four months time, I have to have the freedom of not training when I can’t, for whatever reason that may be. If I need a sleep in, I’ll have it, and I’ll train later that day instead. If I have to miss a session, I won’t panic, I’ll simply train at a higher intensity next time. I realise that to many super triathletes and those in training for Ironman this is rather an unorthodox approach. Surely, to finish one of these gruelling events, it requires unwavering discipline? Indeed, however there is room for a little creativity.

What do I mean?

I mean that everyone is different. Some train their butts off for 12-18 months prior and smash it, and some, train to cross the line. To say they’ve done it. To convince themselves they are still capable of physical greatness. Thousands of athletes push themselves to compete in these endurance events, but you won’t find two people that have had the exact same training experience.

I know, that if I burn out, I won’t even get to the starting line, and I won’t get to hang with all the awesome people in wetsuits, in the dark, wide eyed with excitement and anticipation. Race day is a great, great day. One feels a real sense of achievement even before the gun goes off and a huge sense of camaraderie, when racing next to fellow athletes battling the elements and withstanding the painful demands on their bodies. It’s when the reward for the 50 million flat tyres, the wake up calls before the birds chirp stun you into disbelief, and the terrible sessions that make you curse and question what the hell you are doing is forthcoming.

So for me, my training mantra is very much like this:

Train as efficiently as you can, when you can-because that’s how it works for you.

Be happy with whatever happens-there will always be, many things out of your control.

Enjoy the process- you are so, so lucky to be in a position to grow and to unravel ones strengths and ones weaknesses.

If it happens you are lucky enough at the end of the process to cross the line, smile, and enjoy the connection you now have with those who have trained with you, who have supported you and who are racing alongside you.

I pushed hard this weekend, and I felt the pain of having to meet a target distance as a result of an upcoming working week, but it’s done, and I’ve gained, and at the end of the day, I know, I’ve done the best I can, and that has to be good enough.

We’ll see what happens next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in blogging, Life, Parenting, Writing

Back To School Photos-Ouch!

Melissa Deakin-Flickr3874536088_5064b46bcc_o

 

 

Back to school photos are interesting.
 
Personally, I love viewing photos of my friends children. Their cheeky expressions, their toothless grins, braces, no braces, the refusal to stand still for literally a few seconds, the refusal to smile the older they get, it’s all priceless stuff.
We as parents, are reflecting on times gone. The ‘new’ first day of school, a reminder that time keeps rolling on, and our babies are one step closer to being their own person. We share these moments with a sense of pride, a sense of relief, a sense of hesitation, and a sense of gratitude. Gratitude that despite the challenges, they’re healthy, and they’re loved, and they’re happy, and they’re growing up, and they’re ok.

So thank you to those of you who understand a parents desire to share the happy little faces of their own-as huge as the volume may be-because these pics, represent so much more, than a school uniform.

Posted in blogging, Life, Stories, Writing

Unseen and Unheard

Why have I not been writing? Good question. I have been wondering that myself for some time, and I’ve come up with nothing solid. No simple lightbulb moment that’s hit me in the head and said “oh that’s why”.

Writing is like breathing to me. Essentially, mandatory stuff to keep me alive and well. However, for some reason, the urge I once had to express myself was replaced with a preference for silence. A silence within me that smothered the words and the stories and the desire to share.

Was I sick of the sound of my own voice and inflicting  my repetitive personal thoughts onto all of you?

Was I concerned about judgement, disapproval, or the misinterpretation of my message?

Perhaps it was a combination of all of the above with a bit of fear and a bit of “what is really  the point?” thrown in.

Those who know me have born the brunt of my writing inactivity with a bombardment of new hobbies, adopted by my restless self to fill the creative gap. However like a dog begging to be taken for a walk, the words in my head would tug at my fingertips in desperation.

The fear of exposing my personal thoughts to the world was repeatedly superimposed on me by more than one source.

“Don’t air your dirty laundry in public”

“What is wrong with you?”

However that fact that I listened, is what stopped me writing in the first place. Ironic? Terribly. However as soon as I began hesitating before putting pen to paper, and as soon as I ceased being myself as a result of others opinions, judgements or expectations, I realised I needed to re-examine my sense of self and my reason for writing in the first place.

It is all over, when you change yourself to suit others-bottom line. FORGET IT! It just doesn’t work and pretending, is incompatible with happiness.

All that is uniquely YOU is lost. All that is SPECIAL is buried deep underneath sensitivities and self doubt and all of that ridiculous rot that has absolutely no place in the real, honest, raw world. The world that adores us for who we truly are. A world that pains for less plastic and more of the real deal.

What is writing anyway? It is simply connection.

Sometimes words connect, and sometimes they don’t…

What I have learned, is that when they do, it’s not only magical, it’s important. Connection is what keeps us alive. It’s what helps us  feel understood, and validated and loved and valued. Cliché cliché cliché , bla bla bla…but I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if I ever, ever, forget that again.

For any part of you that you willingly share, be it only a part, will resonate with those that it is designed to reach, and that is all that matters…

So why did I stop writing?

…because I lost sight of what was important to me.

Are you unsettled?

Re-align your vision, listen to your own voice and allow yourself to re-discover who you are, what you need, who you want to be with, and what is truly important;

TO YOU.

Unseen

Posted in blogging, Deep, Life, Writing

Winning the battle

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WINNING THE BATTLE

~Nicole Martin

I am sitting here in silence and darkness and strangely I am still alert.
It’s very rare that this happens at this time of night without me instantly fighting sleep-life is never predictable.
It’s like the hammer has ceased banging my head into the ground, and I am able to reflect without distraction.

The boys are all asleep-it’s been a long day for them. I ran around earlier and put clean sheets on the beds, closed all the windows and turned on the air conditioning. There is something about making the environment nice for my boys, that is quietly satisfying as a wife and mother. Not sure what that is, or where it comes from. Instinct?

Perhaps it’s the feeling of tucking them in, and knowing they are safe and resting comfortably under my modest little tin roof, that draws out the deepest, most raw sense of security and relief within my subconscious me.

Relief that we’ve all been blessed to get through another day.

Relief that I’ve managed to drag my way through work and school lunches and dishes and school bags and dirty clothes just well enough for all to be content, whilst they rest under warm doona’s in the crispest of sheets in the coolest of aircon, in a blissfully unconscious and unbothered state of sleep.

I stare at them.

Look at how tightly closed their eyes are. Look at their little heads soaking up the softness of their pillow below. Look at their hair, all young and thick and all over the place, falling as it pleases, and resting exactly where it lands.

They breathe softly whilst their now big boy bodies concentrate on growing into men. I bought them that bed, and those pyjamas, and that pillow. I am proud that we as parents have managed to do that, when we had no idea what we were doing-at first. I am relieved, that despite the challenges we have faced as parents, and all of the problems we never managed to solve, they have grown up anyway, and they’re ok.

And now I will join my boys and share in their journey of subconscious bliss until tomorrow. When it all starts over, and the wheel once again groans and then quickly gains momentum, turning in time with life. All are forced to jump aboard and fend for themselves dodging obstacles, passing through fields of yellow daffodils, collecting money as they pass go, and heading to jail in times of bad luck.

But the wheel will always stop. Giving us time to reflect on the chaos, and allowing us to realise that the peace that happens every now and then, is the result, of winning the battle.