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  • HELLO!

    I am Janine. A working mum from Perth with a hubby and 2 kids, juggling life and training... and loving every second of it. I am fun, encouraging, supportive, a little quirky, very determined and even more passionate about sharing the joy of life and participating in triathlon with anyone who will listen. I honestly believe, if I can do it, anyone can!

    Level Zero means a few things to me. It is the base level for coaching, a community coach. It is what I hope this blog will be.. a COMMUNITY. A safe & friendly place to share knowledge, laughter, information and inspiration. Level Zero also signifies where I started from. Back in December 2012, I was 25kgs heavier when I participated in my first triathlon. My passion and motivation to improve my performance, health and fitness has me now reaching higher... and for me, the only way is up!

my many HATS..

Literally and metaphorically I have a LOT of hats!Growing your hair out means I get to physically wear a lot of hats to hide the chaos of my weird mullet bob thing. Metaphorically, I wear a lot of “hats” for all my different roles in life.. often changing them multiple times in a day!

First and foremost I am a wife and mum. My kids are growing up so fast and I adore spending time with them. Sometimes I feel like I am on a roller coaster of mother guilt trying to ensure I am a good person for them and myself.  Brad is the love of my life. Almost 16 years of marriage and he still makes my heart skip a beat! My family are priority one but I have certainly realised in the past few years that happier me, makes for a happier home life for everyone.. so sometimes compromises need to be made and we have to work together  as a team to make sure everyones needs are at least attempted to be met. That in itself is a great life lesson for my kids, as well as others I hope they are learning from my actions. Prioritising, scheduling time for yourself and others, living a healthy and active lifestyle, along with commitment, perseverance and dedication.

This year I have also juggled the various hats of being a wedding photographer, triathlete, Witsup scholarship ambassador, North Coast Tri Club Vice president and swim coach. I am busy.. but I really love being busy. I thrive on to-do lists and helping people. I sometimes take on too much and I sometimes have to wear more than one hat at a time. As with all things in life, things change and sometimes your priorities and time need to be re-assessed and re-allocated. 2015 definitely feels like a year of change and growth for me. I have also learnt a lot this year about what brings me joy, lights me up and fuels my fire… So I thought it was about time to share what’s going on in my life with all my hats.. I know lots of people are wondering whats going on with my life and my hair.. LOL!;)

I have been a wedding photographer for a long time. It feels like a lifetime. And I have loved every minute of it. It is always such an honour to be there to capture the story of 2 people committing to each other surrounded by their loved ones. As much as I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the job, it has come at the cost of a lot of missed family time, birthday parties, anniversaries and weekends. For a long time, that didn’t feel like a sacrifice, but since moving to Perth and seemingly “starting again” that sacrifice has become more apparent. Add in the effort of running a business that requires so much forward planning and self -promotion, and doing it solo, and it soon feels like a lonely and tough way to make a living. So time for a plot twist. 2015 will be my last year of shooting weddings under my business name. I still love photography and have no plans to sell all my gear, but I will be changing direction and I’ll definitely be taking some more photos with my “real” camera just for fun again!

Winning the Witsup Ambassador Scholarship has been the BIGGEST shock and highlight of this year to date! It has been a huge adventure and I am loving the experience so far. I am looking forward to what the rest of the year will bring,.. and of course, I am hoping to make my supporters/sponsors proud and inspire lots of women to give triathlon a go! It still feels surreal that I got the gig but I am so very grateful for the opportunity to share my passion, enthusiasm and experiences with anyone who will listen!;)

If you had asked me three years ago if I would ever do an Ironman, I would have laughed in your face, spilling my large bottle of coca cola all over you in the process! I am not sure I would have even known what it truly was, including the crazy distances or the mental fortitude and physical strength required to get it done. It wasn’t on my radar of possibility.. it wasn’t even in my galaxy! Moving to Perth was such a massive catalyst for my lifestyle change. Weight loss, exercise, and new found time to myself. Time to work on me and time to meet new people and discover triathlon. It’s been a crazy journey and I love that Brad and the kids are on it with me. I love our “Team Kaye” active lifestyle and that we are teaching our kids that anything is possible. I sometimes still feel a little queazy when I think about Ironman WA in December and doubts about my mental/physical strength sometimes flutter through my thoughts… but my excitement and determination kick in pretty quickly. I am so excited for this challenge. I am excited to train for it. To race it and to hopefully conquer it. I dream of that finish chute and those magical words “You are an Ironman”. It is going to take so much commitment of time and energy over the next 20 weeks which also means there are couple of other things that have to “give”, aside from my already obvious lack of domestic skills!

I have been a member of North Coast Tri Club for about 2 and a half years. NCTC was my base for everything I have learnt in triathlon. The people are so welcoming and inclusive, and so very inspiring and helpful. It is a community I am very proud of and very happy to be a part of. Very few inflated egos, lots of great people and a whole lot of fun! I am heavily involved with the club and I love it. I have been coaching the Kids Trystar program for the past 2 seasons and six months ago took on the role of one of the clubs swim coaches, coaching 3 nights a week. I get such a thrill out of coaching! Helping people to challenge themselves is awesome, especially when you see their improvements in both ability and self belief. Coaching makes my heart happy and I am loving the opportunities NCTC has given me to pursue that. It has also been an honour to serve on the committee for the past 2 seasons, this year as the Vice President. The club is continuing to grow and flourish and I look forward to watching that happen. I have decided to step down from the committee for the coming season. It is time for some new ideas, new energy and new people to take my place. My commitment to supporting the club and coaching will remain unchanged though.

I have been a GKE Endurance Athlete for around a year and a half now. Kate Bevilaqua is my amazing coach.. I am in awe of her dedication to her sport and her drive, commitment and determination! She is a constant source of inspiration but also my sounding board, cheerleader, sufferer of my many email novels and my good friend. I adore her and Guy and am thrilled they are in my corner and helping me chase my dreams. They ave created an awesome little family of athletes and I am so proud of every one of them! I was beyond thrilled when Kate and Guy asked if I would be keen join their coaching team.. HELL YES! I am a qualified Level 1 Triathlon coach and I will be coaching ladies looking to get into the sport or trying out a new distance, any distance. They don’t have to be Perth based.. I am excellent at email novels and Skype:)If anyone wants any more info, contact Kate through the website, GK Endurance. I am so excited about this opportunity and I cannot wait to share my enthusiasm and passion for this sport, and help people chase their dreams!!

So you can see I have a lot of  hats in my wardrobe.. some I haven’t even mentioned and probably a few more I “wear” regularly too! I love all my hats and I am grateful that they give me a chance to find my path, chase my dreams, and coverup my weird mullet bob thing!;) 


Albany Half | Race Report

Recovery is well underway here.. which sadly is including more box unpacking and ikea furniture construction than anything as we settle into our new home. It has taken me a few days to process the Albany half I must admit. It was a sensational race, a real country race that was well organised and had fabulous volunteers. The scenery and location was breathtaking, and the race course itself was unique and challenging!

The swim was a triangle, and included 2 laps with a little beach run around a buoy in between. The cycle was out and back. You left transition and proceeded straight up a hill before heading down past the entertainment centre  before a few turns onto a long undulating road out of town. The roads would not be closed but the traffic controllers were in place to keep everyone safe. There was always going to be wind to contend with as well. A known fact about Albany apparently. And the return trip would involve a sharp trip back up the hill at around 84km when your legs really didn’t feel up to the challenge. The ride back down the hill into transition would bring relief though. And the run was a 2 lap course that included undulating bike path, a traverse across soft sand, 3 km run along the waters edge on hard sand, and an up and down section of boardwalk, and repeat!

I am likening the race to labour.. which I know is extreme but it gave me a similar sense of fear of the unknown, discomfort and stress. But then it was over and it’s kind of forgotten .. not so much that I am signing up again but enough that I am not completely ruling it out… (although 2016 would be challenging 1 month post my first ironman.. I expect to be still broken!)

Race day was Saturday which felt a little weird.. I am used to Sunday races I think. We woke up early, just after 4.15am and scoffed breakfast & coffee and did last minute packing while trying to be super quiet and not wake our support crew (my bestie Amanda and all our kids). Brad was racing too but had been suffering with a chesty cough and “man flu” for over a week so it was tough for him to quietly hack up a lung.. yuk! We drove into transition at 5am and found a primo parking spot before heading across to pack the bikes with nutrition and  get our gear ready. It was gloomy & chilly and that seemed to affect everyone.. the mood and energy was a little flat and gloomy too!  We headed for the obligatory toilet stop and wrestled into our wetsuits early to try to add some warmth to our chilly bodies. The wind was whipping around and the water looked choppy and not all that inviting. Nerves were a little frayed as people huddled around trying to stay warm and get prepared. Transition closed at 6 with the race briefing at 6.15. We then headed towards the beach and milled around trying to stay warm and not freak out about how far apart the buoys looked. The pros were off at 6.30, with the men following at 6.33, and then us ladies at 6.35.The water was choppy and it was quite chaotic at the start… lots of legs, arms and waves crashing into me. The first buoy felt a million miles away. I kept looking up and wondering if I was getting further away rather than closer. Finally I rounded it and the space opened up a bit as people headed for the 2nd buoy.The swell was constant and it was tough going. The water was lovely and clear though and I could see the bottom most of the way. I tried not to think about “men in grey suits” as much as possible. I wanted to find some fast feet and grab on but I just couldn’t find anyone to pace off.. I think I went out a little too easy. As I came out of the water, my friend Ruth was right next to me and she cheered me on, I sucked in some big air and ran around the buoy and back into the water for lap 2. The second lap felt just as horrible as the first but it went quickly and I was out of the water with Ruth still on my heals! swim time- 37:48 (not my best time but not bad considering my swim preparation (or lack there of).

Into transition, I was planning on putting my arm warmers on as it was still grey, cold and windy but with wet arms, I was fighting a loosing battle and quickly gave up. Helmet on, shoes on, and grabbed my bike and shuffled to the mount line. You pretty much had 5 metres of flat before the ascent started so I was very grateful Brad had reminded me to put it in a low gear before I racked it. I was surprised to see I had overtaken some blokes in the swim .. although they went past me on the bike pretty swiftly up the hill..The uphill was a tough way to start a bike ride. Trying to get my heart rate down and breathing settled was a challenge but it wasn’t long before the downhill and onto the main road out of town. The roads weren’t closed but there was plenty of support and the traffic controllers were awesome. I am usually a nervous nelly on the road but I felt completely safe for the whole ride. We turned left off the main road and onto lower denmark road and the tailwind was awesome. There were a couple of “hills” that reminded your legs to wake up but otherwise, the 45km out of town was pretty lovely. Ruth had passed me about 10km out, and I decided to try to pace off her as best I could, hanging back behind the 12m drafting zone but sticking with her until around 40km. where I got a second wind and passed her just before the turnaround, The narrow road freaked me out and I had to unclip to steady myself to turn and she whizzed past me and was off slicing through the relentless headwind like a hot knife through butter. Me, on the other hand, felt like I had the brakes on or someone was pushing on my chest, “You shall not pass”.. It was a crazy headwind. Stronger than I have ever experienced. As I watched my pace drop and people passed me, I couldn’t help but giggle as I calucleted how long the turn trip would take me at my current pace. And then it started to rain. Which made me giggle more. It was either laugh or cry at that point. I actually yelled onto the wind “how much harder can this get?”..  My left leg was starting to cramp and I was experiencing some “chaffing” discomfort which didn’t help my mood. I decided to suck it up and tucked down as tightly as I could and worked on building my cadence and getting back as quickly and efficiently as I could. As we turned back onto the main road, a massive truck passed me and scared me a little, so I gave myself a hurry up  & toughen up pep talk, battled up the last hill (that is a tough way to end a race!) and happily coasted back down towards transition.

I was VERY grateful to get off my bike! Bike: 3:28:18

Back into transition. The sun had started to peak out and it was warming up. Shoes, hat & race belt on and out onto the bike path. I saw my kids and Amanda just near the aid station and it was an awesome mood pick me up.. (hence the goofy arm raise thing?)

Out along the path at about the 3km mark, my left inner thigh was doing a weird muscle twitchy dance thing and my shoelace was coming undone (forgot to put my elastic laces in.. doh!). I stopped at the aid station to tie my shoelace and as I raised my leg , my whole left thigh went into a massive cramping spasm and I let out some weirdo noises and threw myself onto the nearest rock to try to take the weight off my leg. A few minutes of rubbing, noise making and salt tablet swallowing passed and it seemed to ease up so I got up and shuffled on. Brad had passed me on the return trip of his last lap as I was struggling to stand up and was looking strong (and shouting things about salt tablets to me). The discomfort in my thigh lingered for another few km’s and we went up over the soft sand and onto the beach, where it took a little while to settle. My pace wasn’t awesome but by this stage, all I wanted to do was finish. Running on hard sand wasn’t too bad. The view and breeze was AMAZING! The slope of the beach was a little odd underfoot but I was grateful for the relative flat! It seems a long way to run looking at it but the 3km passed fairly quickly, with some cheers from friends at the end before heading up onto the grass, and up the boardwalk to the turnaround and back down. I was determined to keep moving, only stopping to walk the aid stations and chug down coke, electrolyte and several salt tablets. As I started my last lap, Brad was finished and cheering me on. I kept asking him how he went and he wouldn’t tell me.. too busy fussing over me and handing me extra salt tablets. I caught up to Ruth just before the last turnaround on the path. It was great to see her running strong. It had gotten very hot and I could feel myself burning. I was grateful for the volunteers at the aid station who quickly slathered sunscreen on my shoulders. By this stage the numbers on course were dwindling but the atmosphere was still great. Everyone was cheering each other on as we passed each other in both directions. A camaraderie of suffering I suppose! I saw some friends and Brad at the turn off the path (and I gave Brad a quick cuddle) and then hit the beach for the last trip. I was pumped and feeling great.

I tried to pick up my pace  but the sand made it tough. As I came toward the end of the sand, Amanda and the kids were there.. mine rushed down to give me a high five!

Onto the boardwalk, and up the path towards the turnaround.. I had a huge grin on my face. I was going to finish! woohoo! Around transition and into the finish chute. Awesome feeling.

Run time 2:21:40, total time 6:27:22.

Realistically.. that is not a great time for me….but I don’t care at all. This race was TOUGH. Training while moving house, over christmas, and everything else going on in my life has been challenging and less than consistent. I wasn’t mentally or physically prepared for it. Idid take a lot of positives from this race and it also highlighted lots of things I can work on. I have decided, not every race needs to be a PB. For some, it is just about finishing. And this was definitely one of those races for me. I thought about pulling out the day before, during the first lap of the swim, on the return trip of the run and also when I cramped up at 3km. But I didn’t. I kept going and finishing was definitely a sweet reward. 

After the race, we headed home to shower and came back in for the presentations at 3pm… (we were hoping too win the bike or a spot prize!) We noticed people milling around a noticeboard and realised they were the interim times so went to have a look. I instantly scanned for Brads name… 4:50:39 and 6th in his extremely competitive age group. Amazing!! especially since he was still crook and struggling with a terrible cough. Brad looked at my time (I didn’t care about the official time.. my garmin had told me all I needed to know) and he excitedly told me I came second. I started to laugh and had to check the results myself. Yes I had come second in my age group.. but only 2 ladies actually finished the race…heheee!  I honestly feel a bit ridiculous but the trophy is very pretty! And best of all, Ruth also came second in her age group after us playing cat and mouse all day. She only did IMWA a month ago.. amazing!

The rest of the day was dedicated to wine, cheese, chocolate, chatter and an early night! We explored Albany the next day which (unfortunately for my sore legs) involved too many stairs and a lot of walking! Albany is very beautiful, hilly and windy! And of course, this adventure wouldn’t be anywhere near as much fun without Brad to share it with.I am so proud of him for racing strong when he has been so crook and exhausted from moving us. He is, and will always be, my superhero! Also a huge shout out to my bestie Amanda for her neverending support, encouragement and help with the kids; my coach Kate (& Guy) for everything they do to help me be the best I can be; my buddy Marie who didn’t have the best race day but deserves to be very proud of herself for giving it her all with a sore leg; and to everyone else who toed the line at Albany.. I salute you! It is a spectacular race and definitely one to be proud of completing!

I will be back.. although maybe not next year;)

Thanks also to Christina Bartels and Amanda for the photos!

WITSUP Scholarship Ambassador

I write myself lists… a lot. On random pieces of paper, special notepads from expensive stationary stores and in one of several apps on my phone. I take great pleasure in crossing things out, but every so often, I get so overwhelmed by the stuff on my list that I struggle to decide where to start which results in high level  procrastinating and me doing nothing.

Decembers list was intense, scattered all over my desk and home with reminders set in my phone… I even cracked out the highlighter! Lots of November weddings to edit, time away from home with my husband competing in his first ironman, my training for Albany half ramping up and LOTS of last minute things required for me to do and organise for our new home. My head was spinning and I didn’t think I could take on anything else.

Enter stage left, the Witsup Scholarship Ambassador. An awesome opportunity for someone to experience what life is like as a sponsored athlete and to inspire and encourage women in our amazing sport. Entries closed on December 12th at 5pm AEDST.

With my coach, husband and training buddies encouraging me to enter, I was keen but also scared.  This year they were looking for someone more “grassroots” and although I believed I would be awesome at this role, I had memories of entering last year where I hadn’t even made the short list. I had changed so much in a year. My passion and enthusiasm for the sport had increased, but my approach to training and racing had definitely changed.. I am so much more patient and trusting of my pathway to reach my goals. My personal success was not hinged on results or “podium spots”, but on participating and challenging myself. Don’t get me wrong.. I love seeing my times improve.. but they are not everything and they will never define me.

Brad often gives me a hard time about how opposite I am.. weirdly outgoing but also very humble.. I am an introvert and an extrovert depending on my mood or the angle of the sun J I am so super awkward when people compliment me but don’t hesitate to share myself openly withothers. This is definitely me:

So making a 90 second video about myself was definitely WAY out of my comfort zone.  I procrastinated about it and finally on Thursday 11th, one day until entries closed, I filled in the online entry form, and grabbed my phone and recorded a snippet of parts of a day in my life. It’s not fancy, or especially great.. but it was authentically me. Here it is.. I waited until Friday mornings final pep talk to myself and hit send.

After that, I went about my day and tried not to think about it or get my hopes up. One week later, the short list was to be announced. There was a days delay which was tough, but when I checked my phone at 6am on the 19th, I scrolled down the page, reading Stef’s lovely words and the intro’s and I was absolutely blown away to see my name and video mixed in amongst 5 other amazing women. I watched their videos and was in awe of the depth, talent and awesome-ness of the ladies I was included with. It took me a little while to process that it was actually my name, by which time my phone started tingling with messages to congratulate me. It was an amazing way to start the day! You can see the shortlist here

On Monday 22nd, the winner was to be notified, and the unsuccessful applicants would also be told before it was announced. What a nerve racking day waiting for the phone to ring but not knowing what the news would be. Adding to this heightened emotion, this was also the day we were waiting on the bank to transfer the final payment for our new home so that we could collect the keys from the builder before they went on holidays until mid January. We needed the transfer to take place, … we really NEEDED the keys. Our lease was due up on the 5th January while the builder was still on break.. and without keys, we would be homeless. Emotions and senses were definitely on full alert that day!

As the day progressed, I tried to carry on as per normal but my phone definitely didn’t leave my side. Brad was busy doing house stuff and had the kids with him, while  I had an 11.30am appointment with Super Ruth (my training buddy and physio) who loves to stick needles in me. During my appointment we chatted like usual, but I was nervy so I didn’t really notice her akwardness or her sending text messages.  As our appointment finished, she opened the door and I spotted my beautiful coach, Kate .. who said something about coming for an appointment while she grinned at me.. and then I spotted Guy with a big smile on his face and his phone up, obviously videoing me. Then I saw Brad and the kids and it hit me what was happening. Kate handed me an envelope and that’s where it gets a little fuzzy for me. I was overcome with emotion. So excited and very freaked out. I stopped processing things I think. I was mostly worried that I wasn’t wearing my GKE hat because it was dirty from the run I had done that morning…LOL! Thankfully Guy filmed it all so I can re-live it.. you can see that here

I read this amazing noteand then Kate rang Stef (chief of Witsup) and put me on. Chatting with Stef was surreal and I struggled to form words… the ones I did get out were of the babbling variety! I was quick to pass her back to Kate in case she changed her mind! After I paid my bill, and we went outside, there was lots of hugging, laughing, freaking out by me, photos, dancing and mostly more of me freaking out! I am still in awe of this happening to me. I am beyond excited about this opportunity.  I will share more details of what it means for me and involves as things move along. For now, I just wanted to share the story and remind you that anything is possible, regardless of who you are. For a few moments that afternoon, I had a little panic about the fact that I am NOT an extraordinary athlete, I am just an ordinary girl. As my husband reminded me, they chose me BECAUSE of that, not in spite of it. All I have to be is ME.

Note freaked out face below: The Witsup announcement

As I said in my video, I am not a podium seeker, I am a boundary pusher. I had already planned to push a lot of my boundaries this year (including my first Ironman in December.. eek!) and this experience is sure to help me with that.  I am very confident 2015 will be an amazing year of pushing my boundaries, of learning new things, meeting new people and exciting opportunities. I cannot wait to get started!

I also wanted to say thank you to everyone who has offered me their support and congratulations. I feel very blessed and grateful!! I am so lucky to have you all in my life! A big shout out to my hubby, Kate & Guy, and Ruth for pulling off the fabulous surprise.. it would not have been the same without you guys there!

And thank you to Stef, the Witsup crew and the amazing sponsors who make this opportunity possible. I am very excited to meet you all and share my 2015 adventure with you!

IRONMAN WA 2014 – through the eyes of a spectator..

The journey towards his first Ironman for my hubby Brad has been relatively easy in someways. He hadn’t suffered any injuries and had been consistent & dedicated in his training.  He had the amazing wealth of knowledge and support of our coaches, Kate & Guy from GK Endurance, behind him and he seemed to be taking everything in his stride. I was beyond excited for him to give it a crack! And WOW! What a weekend we had in Busso!!

I wanted to document this through my eyes.. being a supporter and spectator is tough work and very emotionally and physically exhausting. Sounds ridiculous compared to the actual competitors suffering through it, but it is hard to explain. Watching someone you love “endure” and seeing the depth of their spirit and courage is quite amazing, a little terrifying and creates a whole lot of nervous energy. Strap yourself in for a big blog post..;)

Our “weekend” away (which was actually 4 days) started when we drove down to Busso on Friday lunchtime. We had 2 cars full to the brim with bikes, nutrition, club tent, kids, crap, crap and more crap! Our beautiful friend Amanda joined our adventure with her 2 gorgeous kids. We arrived in Busso at around 2pm and unpacked and then headed in to the rego tent and to explore the merchandise area! I think this was the first time the enormity of the station hit Brad.. the signage everywhere, lots of athletic people wandering around in ironman gear and the mammoth amount of barricades everywhere to mark the course out. The kids had a ball on the “red carpet” goofing around, although Lucy didn’t enjoy us trying out an aero helmet on her quite so much (note the death stare;))Rego time.. hoping Brad doesn’t CRASH & BURN!

Back to our accommodation to relax and get settled before an early night.

Saturday saw us up early to head in for the Ironkids rego and race. The kids had a ball..there were cows on the beach (odd but awesome). The kids scored all sorts of free stuff from the sponsors including a mammoth amount of free flavoured milk! They do the Ironkids event so well ! They get to run and ride on the course and they even change the signage over the finish line.  Pete Murray commentated.. getting them warmed up and calling their name over the line. My kids had an absolute blast… except for maybe the bazillion flies that were bugging us all! 

Brad caught up with our awesome coaches and GKE athletes for a gentle ride, run and ocean swim…. and I of course, had to capture some of it:)Last minute pep talk from the coach before heading home for lunch, rest and to get his gear and nutrition ready for tomorrow. We came back in around 3pm to drop of his bike and transition bags. This was weird and very unfamiliar and the nerves started to kick in then.. It was odd to pack everything into a bag and leave it there overnight, and even though we both looked at it a hundred times,  the fear of forgetting something was lingering. Racking his bike and seeing ALL off the racks almost full with bikes was quite spectacular! Gear dropped off, bike racked and tyres let down.. then home to carbo load and get his tattoos on:)Obligatory tattoo mug shots:Early to bed and surprisingly we both slept pretty well… even with the hill top hoods concert wafting across the darkness outside! 4am the alarm went off and we bounced out of bed and prepared ourselves for the day. Lucy decided to come with us to get Brad settled in transition and to be there while he waited.. and Jack was coming down later with Amanda to watch the swim start. The sunrise was beautiful … the sky filled with colour and light as people bustled around getting themselves into transition, nutrition on the bikes and tyres pumped up. Brad was pretty quick and came out and was quickly nabbed by a volunteer who started slathering him in sunscreen. The the special needs bag drops as well as his street gear bag before getting in his wetsuit and the walk down to the waters edge to watch the pro’s start and cheer on Kate & Guy. Lucy didn’t leave Brad’s side from that point. He was calm but very quiet. I could tell he was nervous but was fighting to stay relaxed. She just wanted to hold his hand and not let go.. And then they were called onto the beach.. We wished him luck and I watched him walked onto the sand and quickly got swallowed up by 1899 other competitors in a sea of colourful swim caps. At this point I was fighting tears and the nausea that was washing over me. I really wanted him to have a great day, and a good swim! First timers were asked to wave their hands and I searched for him with no luck,.. and then within moments the gun went off and they all took to the water in a mass of chaos, colour and splashing. Time to try to relax and get a coffee before heading around to the exit to watch the pros come in followed by the age groupers. It is really quite something to behold.. like the crest of a boat disrupting the water.. a wave of colourful caps and swinging arms, converging towards the shore along the side of the most spectacular jetty! Such an amazing thing to witness!We spent ages trying to spot Brad.. studying every yellow capped person that exited the water and suddenly it was him! Way quicker than we all expected. 1:07:39 swim!! WOOHOO!!

We bolted around the back of transition to try to beat him before he got to his bike. ( note to self : running in thongs with a heavy arse camera is challenging..;)) We saw him run up his aisle and grab his bike.. we were screaming and yelling at him (poor bloke) and he let out a massive yahoo that he had made it through the swim, a big grin and then he was on his bike and gone!  Back home to wait, have coffee and breakfast. Lucy and I tried to time our trip back in to see him between lap 1 and 2 but we missed him by 1 minute:(DOH! We hung around and watched the other age groupers and then finally the pros came in to start their run. It was HOT and the flies were RIDICULOUSLY relentlessly annoying… but we were having so much fun! The vibe was awesome! My phone was going flat fast from the over-checking I was doing of the tracker app I have. A little while after he hit the 151km mark, I wandered around to wait for him at the bike entrance. The wait wasn’t too long.. he was FLYING on the bike and it was great to see him smiling as he came off the bike and he looked strong as he made his way (via the loo) into the transition tent. Bike: 4:54:51 !!!! Brad’s folks had arrived and it was great that they were there to see him come out onto the run and cheer him on through the 4 laps of the course. It really is a sensational course for spectators as they loop past you 2 times each lap and I am sure it is good for the spirits of the competitors to have barricades lined with people cheering them on! I loved the energy of the people around me.. happy and positive mixed with weird nervous emotions. I must admit,waiting for Brad to return on the last 2 laps was tough.. wondering if he was slowing down because of pain or if he was still even moving forward. It was always such a relief to see his face and he was still grinning and looking strong, even though he was cramping up and struggling to hold his pace.  It was beginning to get quite HOT! There was a slight breeze picking up which bought a little relief from the flies but we were all fading a bit from standing and waiting for so long. I am super proud of my (and Amanda’s) kids.. they stood there and cheered and clapped everyone who passed by. A few quick dips in the beautiful blue water to cool themselves down but otherwise they stood and endured (in our cool team kaye t-shirts!)! When Brad  hit the last lap, we made our way around closer to the finish shoot. When he came into sight he gripped his arm and yelled out that he had 4 bands to us.. meaning he could head to the finish chute. We bolted across to the chute while he made his way around the back, and I dissolved into tears of pride and relief as I watched him run towards us and the finish line. As he ran past us, I tried to pull myself together and I must admit I giggled as I watched him jump up and high 5 the timing board. Run- 4:18:26.Total Time-10:27 !!!! OMG! So proud!

He was ushered off into the recovery tent and it seemed like forever until he exited (slowly) and gave us all massive hugs. His face was lit up with joy. I was completely in awe of him and my heart was bursting with pride!! He was hoping for around 11 hours, and he smashed it. His run wasn’t what he hoped.. the first 20km was great but after that he struggled with cramping. His bike was awesomely strong and his swim was so much better than he expected. He is thrilled with his result… as he should be. He did his first enticer triathlon in January 2013 and could barely swim, had just bought a bike and was a casual runner at best. And now he has completed his first Ironman with an amazing result! The medal is pretty awesome too.. After he hobbled to the car, we headed home for him to shower and get a well deserved beer! Our house was at the far end turn around point of the run course and we then sat on our balcony and cheered all the amazing competitors as they passed by, hoping to inspire them as much as they were inspiring us!As the sun set and the glow sticks came out, we kept on cheering anyone who came past.  I couldn’t help but reflect on what an amazing journey Ironman has been for our family and for Brad. Hours of training, juggling life, time, money, commitment, dedication and sacrifice.. but it was so worth it to see the sense of self fulfilment and pride on my husbands face. It is hard to explain the places that ironman takes you too.. highs and the lows.. It challenges your idea of what you might be capable of, what you can endure and what sort of “stuff” you are made of. Watching people bent over and hobbling but still moving forward towards the finish line was one of the most powerful things I have ever witnessed. Determination and self belief are challenged more than anything during this event and it is so inspiring to see people reach that finish line and celebrate their success over their mind and their bodies!

And just because CRAZY seems to run in the family, I took myself down the next morningand signed up for IMWA 2015! (Holy crap!!!!) So it’s my turn to see whether I can conquer my inner demons and get myself to that finish line. Strap yourselves in for what I expect to be a LONG , possibly emotional and totally awesome 2015!

Time Management

One thing I am asked often is how I fit it all in.. and my response is typical of me.. “badly”. I am not a superwoman, or super mum. I live in my training gear all day, (so much so that one of the admin staff at school thought I was a PT.. hehee)  I wear a hat most days because there is no point doing my hair when I am on the way to the pool or to put a helmet on. My house is often a mess, we often have no bread or milk, we rush out the door most mornings, and we just about always seem to have something on to rush to after school. But that is my normal and I must admit, I kind of love it.

Brad is training for an ironman, I am training for a half ironman. We both work (him definitely more structured than me), and the kids have lots of after school activities and play dates. Our life is full.. and  rather busy, but we are happy. To make it work, we all have to work together. I have a calendar and put everything in it. I schedule just about every activity in all our lives and  it makes me calmer to see at a glance what I have on and what is coming next. Fitting it all in often requires some organisation and negotiation. Thankfully my husband is an agreeable bloke and he is willing to train at odd hours to work around my  work or training commitments. I have a fabulous job that allows me to work at unusual hours and around my training sessions. I also have awesome kids who understand that they will always have one loving parent present but often (especially on weekends when we tag team our long ride and runs) they won’t always have 2 present, and the one that is there might be a little tired and slow to move off the couch. They are completely supportive of our training and know that they are always priority number 1 to both of us.

Do you struggle to fit it all in?? I can highly recommend getting a calendar and scheduling everything you can think of; what time you will or can get up, leave for work, work hours, get home, have dinner. And then find any gaps and see what you can fit in it. I have regular group training sessions and they are almost written in stone. I do my absolute best not to miss them. My other sessions are scheduled around my work commitments but I try to keep them in school hours as much as possible or early in the morning when the kids are still asleep so that I don’t impact on my kids too much. We find a way to make it work and get it done. I will often run to one of the kids sports/games and Brad will run or cycle the long way home. Brad swims at the same time as the kids do their Monday night squad sessions.  And it means I often get up earlier in the morning than maybe I would like (I will never be a morning person no matter how hard I try). With our “system” Brad and I don’t get to train together… which is totally ok since I wouldn’t be able to keep up with him anyway.. but it gives us something else to talk about around the dinner table discussing times and distances, locations, routes and hill efforts, mixed with me nagging Brad about nutrition and pacing.

I am actually quite proud of our little system. We are constantly tweaking and adjusting it to fit our lives. At the moment, Brad’s ironman training is definitely taking top priority .. (its a long day in the sun if you haven’t done the work. Plus we are all beyond excited to watch him race it!! ), and the kids are settling into a new term with new summer activities. My tri coaching commitments have increased (kids coaching for my tri club and after school sports at 2 schools) and my wedding season is also in full swing. Add in the final stages of our new home being built and we are juggling and rushing a little bit more than usual. But we are still having fun and still making it work. How do you fit it all in? How do you find time to get what you want done? I would love to hear how other manage their time and training/fitness activities. xx j

November 5, 2014 - 7:44 pm

Ali - My short answer is I don’t…between work, kids, house, husband I struggle…and my fitness is nowhere near you!
What does help is riding to/from work, and similar to you, running to the kids activity.
I need to bite the bullet and get up early for exercise. I think your commitment to a club/trainer/buddy forces you out of bed. Good tips for what I need to do next….