Tag Archives: Australia

Week 1 – Operation Blackall 100 – Challenge to ‘Ring the Bell’

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 10.17.38 pmThe challenge if you choose to accept – run 100km along the Sunshine Coast Great Walk and other sections of the Mapleton National Park covering the Blackall Range to ring a cowbell!

You would be mad to accept it… good thing I am mad!!! Challenge accepted!

While this challenge is not the longest total distance race I have done (IRONMAN is 226km) it will be the longest and most difficult running event I have set out to complete.

My dedication to training after the Davao 50km Ultramarathon was in a word WOEFUL!!! While I was having a great time doing yoga and laying on beaches in the Philippines I was also pretty much actively avoiding running. Deep down I knew that I was in a pretty bad emotional spot in regards to training.

So did my coach! He emailed me with a loving arse kicking with the right amount of challenge, arse kicking and motivation!

Coach Motivation

Coach’s Motivation

So today is 29 weeks till race! Monday’s will hereon in be known for updates and progress reports for Operation Blackall 100 – Challenge to Ring the Bell. Each Monday morning I will post my weekly training program and for subsequent weeks (after this post) my training completion rate along with any challenges the week presented!

Follow my ups and downs on what is going to be an emotional roller-coaster training for a massive race! This is no 5km walk in the park… this is 100km of some of the hardest trails around! Stairs and more stairs plus water crossings and hills, lots of bloody hills! Hell just look at the Blackall 100 Race Profile

Being a traveling plant-based endurance athlete has its challenges but this is part of my amazing life. Part of creating my free-range lifestyle is because I wanted to be able to travel, eat plant-based and race in crazy races so this is the time I prove to myself that I can do that and do it bloody well.

The real reason I am going to post each week is simple: accountability! I am making myself publicly accountable to my training because publicly stating my goals and requirements works for me. I am more motivated to train when I have people watching my journey. While you might not even give a flying shit that I am doing this but I will give a shit if I post a week where I have all red on my training program (red means I missed the session!).

Are you ready? It is going to be a long 29 weeks but some goals require big commitments of time and dedication! I’m ready to make this training my bitch! Blackall 100 it’s me and you baby!! Let’s do this thing!!!

Week 1:

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 9.41.59 pm

Time to get fucking serious about this thing!

Blessed Be
Robyn xox

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2013 Year in Review

When this year started I could never imagined that I would be sitting in my old bedroom over trying to down scale all my belongings after just finishing dinner with my family.  The year started with me firm in my decision to resign from my job as soon as my lease on my apartment was up and head out into the world.  I didn’t expect that I would be back in Australia so soon and I certainly didn’t expect to be feeling like a fish out of water.

So many countries so many destinations

So many countries so many destinations

My Wanderlust Odyssey was cut short and that has left me not really knowing what 2014 will hold for me.  I am somewhat in limbo, do I stay in Australia with Ignasi and battle the immigration department to get him a visa or do we go to Spain.  Though I know without hesitation that 2013 was a year of growth and experiences I will never forget.

Before I commenced writing my list of experiences I was feeling a little empty and a little unsure of my decisions.  Coming back to Australia though a difficult choice, in reality I just wanted to continue traveling.  REALLY I wanted to keep traveling after a miscarriage!!!!! I know that was not a healthy and sane option given the circumstances but it still doesn’t take away from the fact sitting at home where it is comfortable and familiar and initially (and still a little now) I felt like I shouldn’t be here.  The beaches of Costa Rica and Machu Piccu still called me name loudly to come experience them.  As well as biking down the death road in Boliva.  Things I won’t get to do now for some time.

Giving myself a hug of love and compassion, I remember that despite any pain I have at being home after losing my beloved little angel I had a bloody fantastic year.  At the start of the year I kicked it off in style by running my first ever marathon with a pretty damn good time.  Helped facilitate a women’s weekend workshop and growing in the company of 30 amazing and beautiful women gave me a little glimmer of what direction I wanted my life to take.  With that in mind and my lust for traveling firmly in my heart I faced a very big fear of mine, I finally quit the job I no longer enjoyed and commenced traveling more of the world.

As a brief snap these are some of the great things that happened in 2013 for me:
Ran my first marathon in 4.23.24
Quit my job to travel the world
Walked the Camino de Santiago
Fell in love with a wonderful Catalonian man!
Visited my sponsor child in Senegal
Visited Cuba – decided its the last place I ever want to revisit
Jumped into Gran Cenote
Visited Chichen Itza Ruins
Swam between the two islands of Caye Caulker in Belize – I impressed myself here!
Qualified as an ESL teacher
Added 9 countries to my list – Spain, Portugal, Senegal, Andorra, Cuba, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Hong Kong
Committed myself to writing more
Finally started my first e-book
Ran my first women’s self-esteem morning tea
Meet wonderful people from all over the world that have touched my heart
Learnt more than 5 Spanish words – ok I know more than 5 but I still have a long way to go!
Getting to spending time with my family (most whom I haven’t seen in over 2 years) and my beautiful dog!
Got published on a women’s travel website
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There are many more amazing things that happened, like the day Ignasi bathed my feet in freezing waters on the Camino de Santiago or the little dogs all over the world that got their photos taken while I squealed ‘Why hello!’.  After looking at the good things I thought about the things I wished were different.  I say different because bad just seems like it was too big of a word to use.

So the things I wished were different:
Money issues with former company not being solved swiftly
Miscarriaged at 13 weeks
Didn’t get to volunteer due to pregnancy issues and subsequent miscarriage
Didn’t get to complete my year long travel plans
Removal of items from Dubai – hopefully resolved by new years
Family illness and tragedy (not my stories to share)

So when you actually weigh up the great things to the things I wished were different it’s 18 to 6.  Pretty damn good odds in favour of great things.

I am also finishing the year in style.  Christmas with family, my darling Ignasi arrives on my birthday!!!! The remainder of my family arrive around the same time and I will have finished my 10000 kettlebell challenge, done 30 days of the no poo challenge (I am thinking I will never by shampoo again as I have found no difference between shampoo and no poo aside from the cost). My 2000 words per day has been more than just a little difficult but the 3 liters of water a day has been surprisingly easy.  And I am pretty sure I have become addicted to PicFrame and posting photos with little comments on them on my Instragram account – aussiebutterfly76!

So to be fair this year has been bloody amazing! I am still grieving our angel and I think I will for awhile yet but I can see all the amazing people, experiences and a few too many ‘things’ in my life.  The list of things I am grateful for would take hours to write.  One thing is certain I learnt the value of faith and trust.  Trusting that everything would turn out the way it was meant to and not how I wanted it too took a lot of faith.
cuban_face_n_Fotor 2013-08-17 06.53.54-1 2013-08-17 06.28.56-1 2013-08-20 16.06.39-12013-11-29 06.33.50 Candle for Lost Loved Ones
12 days of the year left and still a few amazing things to come! I am a very lucky women!
What were the great things that happened for you in 2013?

Blessed Be
Robyn xox

Am I betraying my own dreams?….

DSC02672_Fotor_CollageAs I finish this post from my parents back veranda, I am pondering whether I have betrayed my dreams.  Having departed Tapachula and spending a day in Mexico City and we’ve both flown to respective home countries till we meet up again in Australia in a few weeks.  All things going to plan.

All things going to plan, what does that really mean?  If my former plan was still in motion I would be getting ready to travel south through the rest of Central America before heading onto South America.  I am trying not to feel robbed of the experience but in actual fact I have had an amazing if not different 7 months and if my plan had happened I wouldn’t have fallen in love.

So I didn’t get to 12 months.  I did travel for 7 months and managed to visit 8 countries (Spain, Portugal, Senegal, Cuba, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Hong Kong), walk 800km across Spain, fall in love, visit my sponsor child, travel the length of Cuba, meet amazing people and realise more about myself than ever before.

When I first decided to take 12 months off and travel I knew it would change and challenge me.  I departed confident and happy but also a little angry at how I had been responsible for the past few years being stressful.

Today, I am still grieving the lose of our beautiful angel but I am not grieving the time I spent becoming the person I am.  Talking with another expat recently I realised going home is actually a really hard thing to do.

I am so completely different to the girl who left for a contractor job in Afghanistan in October 2009.  Sure, I had been to Europe and served in both East Timor and the various countries in the Middle East Area of Operations but I wasn’t fully aware of the freedom I truly had.

I’ve had the opportunity to visit 44 (3 more if you count some transit countries).  17 countries prior to October 2009 meaning in the last 4 years I have visited 26 countries! Not bad! A vast number of those countries have been war torn or very improvised.  Children not being able to read or write, who are forced into slavery or sex-trafficking.  Women who face unbelievable hardships and men who struggle to find ways to earn money.  Some of those men are driven to terrorism to support their families rather than for ideological ideas.

Whilst I am excited to sit on the back veranda at home with my family I am already feeling like a fish out of water.  We don’t have concrete plans for the future, do we stay in Australia, do we go to Spain, do we go somewhere else.  I have no idea where I will be in 3 months time.  That is ok.

After just over 4 years I have been living and working overseas I have been truly blessed and my gratitude for my life has meant my passions have changed.  They now lie with helping others, whether it be through my blog, coaching people on the difficult personal challenges we all face from time to time, children in developing countries or in the book outlines waiting for me to write the words.

Traveling has made me realise I don’t need all the ‘things’ I have.  My drive for a minimalist lifestyle will be difficult.  For a long time I have been surrounded by things.  I have beautiful furniture, thousands of books and all kinds of stuff.  Sorting through my life will be a trip down memory lane but a very cleansing one.

So the plans of Costa Rica for Christmas, cycling the Death Road in Bolivia, hiking the Inca trail and visiting friends in Chile have been put on hold for now.  They are all still places and things I want to do and I am not letting go of those ideas, just the plan to do it now.

For now the plan is actually a little complex.  My list of things to do is growing every day:

Personal to do list:

  •     Doctor’s appointment (check up for everything including skin!!)
  •     Re-boot health and fitness
  •     Hair cut
  •     Start ‘No Poo Challenge’
  •     De-own and de-clutter  (Terry’s ISO, Mum’s farm, Cudgerie)
  •     Sell all unwanted belongings via ebay/garage sale/gumtree/any means possible!
  •     Create a refined wardrobe – sort through clothes from Australia, Dubai and my travel clothes
  •     File taxes – probably should have done this each year but I wasn’t paying tax in Australia (weak excuse!!!)

Free-Range-Human to do list:

  •    Finish first draft of: ‘Many Steps, One Journey: Aussie Butterfly’s Camino de Santiago’ (working title)
  •     Find copywriter to proof draft and then publish!!!
  •     Finalise portfolio career
  •     Finalise Women’s Self-Esteem Afternoon Tea program
  •     Create 28 Day E-Course
  •     Soap making course (Melt & Pour, Cold Press – Goats Milk and Beeswax & Honey)

Foods that must be eaten:

  •     Vegemite
  •     Bega Cheese
  •     Lasanage
  •     Samboy Salt & Vinegar Chips
  •     Step-Dad’s eggs
  •     Anything BBQed at home
  •     Roast – Lamb or Chicken
  •     Grilled chicken wings
  •     Tim Tams
  •     Melted beta cheese with vegemite and avocado toast

I know I could add a lot more to this list but for now I will leave it too only that.

Coming home is hard but I am very grateful I have such an amazing partner, a wonderful family and friends all over the world that anywhere I lay my backpack could be called home.  Plus I can write anywhere in the world so this is just another chapter I get to write!

Blessed Be
Robyn xox