M is for Melbourne where I’ve been once, marathon (which my running-mad husband has done close to 100 of), marsupial (a mammal whose young are born incomplete and then carried in a pouch on the mother’s belly like kangaroos), Moreton Bay fig trees, the moon, and mosaics (which I’ve done some of and loved it but hardly find the time for nowadays).

M also stands for Magic Miles (the yacht my husband and his running mate joined as part of the Three Peaks Race in Tasmania in 2013.)


I’ve included a professional video of the highlights of the Magic Miles team’s Three Peaks Race in 2013, made by Nick Roden who went along on the yacht. It was an amazing experience, even for us as spectators. None of us had ever done or been involved with anything like it. The race brought sailors and runners together to form a magnificent team, and we got to meet some fantastic people. Some of my photos have been included in the video.

Coincidentally, the last leg of the Three Peaks Race is a run up and down Mount Wellington in Hobart.


View from the top of Mount Wellington on an overcast and windy day

And finally, m is for mum!!



I is for Ironman! Ironman stands for triathlons held all over the world, which involve a 3.8 kilometre swim followed by a 180 kilometre bike ride followed by a 42 kilometre run. My husband loves endurance sport (marathons, ultra marathons, ironman triathlons and crazy ultra open water swims). It’s not something I’d ever be able to do though, so we are very proud of our Ironman.

I also stands for Indian Ocean and iron ore, which is mined in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Last but not least, I is for interaction with fellow bloggers, which I’m really enjoying especially during this A to Z challenge where I get to see even more interesting posts.

Mind Games – Unfit Me vs Future Fit Me


Yesterday morning when I turned on my training GPS it had this delayed reaction. I was all kitted out and ready to go, turned on the Garmin but there was a delay before it made its customary start-up sound. Almost like a hesitation. And my first thought was: “has it been that long since I’ve used it”? Or maybe it instinctively knew I was going to find ice on my car’s windows when I went outside for my walk, or maybe the battery was just running low, which was of course the most likely scenario. I use it for all my walks because I like to know my (average) pace and distance. It stops me from getting bored and keeps me from slowing down too much (we can’t have that).  In my (former) fit days I raced against that GPS – if my pace was slowing down it meant that I had to speed up, which I promptly did – and it kept me motivated to better my pace and times. I love my GPS and feel a bit lost and even aimless if I’m out walking and I can’t use it for whatever reason. It’s like a big part of the purpose of the walk has been taken away. I’m not a runner – dicky knees, torn ligaments and knee reconstructions in my teens have ruled that out – so walking is my thing, but when I want to walk for exercise it has to be at a decent pace that gets my heartrate up – no slow ambling for me then.

There was a time when I was quite fit and did 21km races (I even did a marathon once, a long, long time ago) but training as a walker takes up a bit more time than what training for a running race does (only because I’m not an Olympic-paced or -style walker) and between then and now also lies a back injury, a few years, the standard daily responsibilities of house and work that require time and attention, children’s injuries, etc. In short: life. It happens. For me, the routine of daily exercise has always required a certain almost selfish type of focus that I just haven’t been able to manage recently. Some days I’ve had the best of intentions to go out but then my warm bed seemed a much more attractive option at 5:15am when the alarm went off and it was cold, dark and rainy outside after a long wintry night. Ugh. The sound of the wind blowing and the rain falling is undoubtedly intensified in the darkness. When it’s a bit windy outside but it’s dark and I’m trying to judge how wet I’ll get if I go out exercising it always sounds like it’s blowing a gale and I can visualise dark clouds rolling in readying for the heavens to open as soon as I’m far enough away from home that should I turn back I’d be in as much of a drowned-rat-quandary than if I’d kept going. That halfway point where you’re no better off if you turn back and just have to keep going. Especially windy weather sounds much more drearily miserable and stormy than what it actually looks like and as soon as it’s light and I’m able to see what the weather looks like all my previous conjuring up of terrible winter storms disappear like mist before the morning sun. Its bark is definitely worse than its bite. Some mornings when I’m listening to the weather outside and I check the weather forecast and rain radar on Weatherzone PLUS (which my husband installed for me because it’s much better than Weatherzone) I can’t help but wonder how anyone stays fit – what is the incentive in venturing out into that? But lots of people do – and yet again I have to battle my own weak mind. If I could somehow put the energy utilised by the mind games I play with myself to constructive use I’d be able to do 14 hours of work in a day. Give or take. What should have been a 5km walk then by default becomes a 3km walk otherwise my procrastination would have me turn up late for work. Maybe I should just think about it less and just do it.

As soon as I’ve allowed that tiniest bit of doubt to set in and I lie back underneath the warm covers it becomes ever so easy to come with excellent justifications of why I should stay right where I am instead of venturing out into the cold and dark morning. Exercising in the afternoons has never really worked for me either because it’s so easy to come up with excuses at that time of the day when so many other things are happening, plus there’s always dinner that has to be cooked, kids’ sport commitments, etc, etc. Early mornings are the best time for me because then you get up and go and get it done for the day and it’s such a great way to start your day. I know from experience that once I’m in the routine of doing it daily it becomes easy to do it, and when I was fit I actually, believe it or not, enjoyed it, looked forward to it and missed it badly when I didn’t do it. I loved those endorphins so much. Every morning when I went out the new day felt like a fresh start, albeit a bit crisp in winter. It’s great to see the first rays of daylight coming through and hear the birds announcing the start of the new day. It’s such a peaceful time of day to be out on the road breathing in fresh air and clearing your mind.

My favourite walking path on a cold dark morning with view towards Fremantle harbour

My favourite walking path on a cold dark morning with view towards Fremantle harbour

It’s not like I haven’t done any exercise at all recently, I’ve still kept going and seen glimpses of my former fit self who used to count my weekly kilometres and kept spreadsheets with details of distances and pb times – oh to be able to walk 10km in under 70 minutes again!! I’ve seen her occasionally, we’re not complete strangers, she has to still be around somewhere. It still annoys me when other walkers jog past me only to slow down to a pace slower than mine as soon as they’ve passed me, after which I’ll pass them going at my consistent pace and peculiar style, and then they actually rustle up another little jog and pass me again, and start walking slowly again in front of me! In fact I find it insulting – it’s like they’re trying to tell me they can go faster than I can (but then by all means keep going faster than me if you want to!) – but after a while they give up. Some give up after being passed about twice, and some doggedly keep doing it for about four or five times in a row.  What’s with that anyway? I have no problem with runners passing me (can’t keep up with them anyway) because they’ll keep going at their own pace, neither do I have a problem if someone walks past me – that might bring out my competitive side and make me up my pace – it’s only the silly wanna-be-in-front-of-me-slow-walkers-who-jog-past that get up my nose. I see it as motivation to go faster though, so I probably shouldn’t complain about it too much.

At least my desire to be fit again hasn’t deserted me and as long as that is around I suppose there is hope for me yet, even if my interpretation is that my GPS shows signs of not being used enough. My motto has always been “Never give up” so in my mind there still exists a future fit version of me. Tomorrow morning I won’t hesitate when the alarm goes off, I’ll put on my shoes, go out and go and find that future me. It might take a while to find her but I’m sure she’s out there somewhere and I’m much more likely to find her out there than sitting on this chair and hey, never give up!

Never, ever give up!

Never ever give up!

An Island, some Quokkas, Bagpipes and a Marathon

Picture a little island off the coast of Western Australia only about 19km from Perth. Far enough away to feel like you’ve escaped the hustle and bustle of life’s everyday responsibilities but close enough for it to be easily accessible by ferry, boat or plane and for the mainland still to be visible from the island. It has everything one can possibly need for an island holiday with a range of accommodation choices, a bakery, some cafés, shops, a pub, bike hire shop, mini golf course and some more, without it being over-developed. One can do as little or as much as you like, hang out around “The Settlement”  where the shops are, go to the beach for a swim or a snorkel or take yourself for a bike ride to one (or more) of the many spectacular bays around the island or visit some of the historic spots. With no private vehicles on the island, cycling and walking are the two main modes of transport which greatly adds to the laid-back relaxed vibe and the kids absolutely love the freedom that this safety allows them.

The island was initially named “Rotte nest” (meaning rat’s nest) by the Dutchman de Vlamingh in 1696 because they didn’t know how else to describe the Quokkas, but the name was later adapted to “Rottnest”. These cute little marsupials are still probably the most well-known animals on the island quietly going about their business, sometimes cheekily trying to get into accommodation units after food and often suddenly hopping in front of a cyclist which gives cause for quick evasive action. Cycling back to our accommodation on the northern side of the island after a meal at the pub at night with very few lights and no moonlight to guide you, negotiating our way around the unpredictable Quokkas always makes for some interesting encounters, especially when you’ve forgotten to take a torch or light of some sorts.

Quokka mum and baby

Quokka mum and baby

I’ve had another interesting experience of a different kind whilst cycling to our accommodation at night on our second visit but our first overnight stay on the island. My husband was only able to join us on the island the next morning so the kids and I went across on the ferry late afternoon and by the time we’d checked in and were ready to head out to our unit some 2km away, it was dusk and getting dark rapidly. I realised very quickly that my sense of direction on the island which relied upon the cycling around we did on our first trip some 3 ½ years prior, was established in broad daylight and limited to certain parts of the island, and that it all looked very different in the dark. After setting off in the right direction but taking a wrong turn we ended up in what felt like a maze of little streets and cottages where one looked just the same as the other in the darkness. The map wasn’t much use because I couldn’t discern one street from another, it was pre-smartphones (and therefor Google Maps and a little blue GPS dot), I asked people for directions twice, ended up phoning my husband in exasperation because he’s so good at directions (but frustratingly wasn’t much help over from the mainland this time) at which point the kids started getting worried. Eventually I gave up on the maze and we made our way back to the main “Settlement” area where I knew my way around and we tackled the (even darker) road that runs between the lakes out through the middle of the island. This didn’t inspire much confidence in the kids either as it was pitch dark by this time, there was no moon, no street lights, and we didn’t have a torch and neither was I really exuding an air of bravado (falsely or otherwise). We stopped every couple of hundred metres and I used the light from my phone’s screen to check that we were still on the road and not about to cycle straight into one of the lakes and we finally made it to our unit, only to be teased about it by my husband to this day.

Last weekend we packed our bags and set off for our annual trip to the island again and I was persuaded (mostly by Child No 3) to leave on the first ferry of the day at 7:30am which meant having to get up at bright and early 5am to be there on time. Our family does seem to have the knack for getting up early when we have to travel, sometimes getting up at 3am, so it’s probably just as well my husband (as the main early bird in the house) is not in charge of the ferry timetable because then we’d probably have been on a 5am ferry. That said, arriving on the island at 8:15am gave us the entire day to explore and enjoy and we cycled along the southern side of the island stopping at most of the breathtaking little bays so the girls could swim and snorkel and I found plenty of photo opportunities along the way – it truly is a very photogenic place – and we had the best time.

Parker Point

Parker Point

Jeannie's Lookout

Jeannie’s Lookout

Bathurst Point Lighthouse

Bathurst Point Lighthouse

Then on Sunday morning it was time for the (21st) Rottnest Marathon and Fun Runs. A unique race in a very unique setting with the marathon start heralded by the wail of bagpipes at 6am and the bagpipes, having become a traditional part of the marathon, being played throughout the race at Armstrong Hill. The atmosphere on the day is always lively and cheerful with lots of runners and their families and friends having descended on the island for the weekend and even more people going over to spend the day on the island and run a fun run while they’re there. Never an easy race contending with hills, quokkas, snakes and almost always the wind, but the spirit is always that of camaraderie and appreciating the privilege of having all of this on our doorstep.

Early morning before the start of the marathon

Early morning before the start of the marathon

Bagpiper at the start of the marathon

Bagpiper at the start of the marathon

Heading back home after an amazing weekend in such a magical place is always a touch melancholy and makes me dream of a simple life but reality beckons and so we’ll recount great memories and look forward to our next visit to this little paradise island with its quokkas, beautiful scenery, great vibe, individual character and very unique charm.