From HIIT Session, To Hard Hit.

Damp drop-offs from a cozy car.

I sit this morning, clutching my freshly made and steaming hot coffee for warmth, as I gaze out at the leaden grey sky enveloping my little piece of the world. Droplets of water wind their way down through the specks of dust welded to my windscreen. The children were a little reluctant to step out from the coziness of the car into the cool damp day. A day in stark contrast to that of not so long ago when I energetically stepped out for my second HIIT session…

The sun was shining brightly, but still retained the freshness of early morning. I inhaled slowly and deeply as I began walking to warm up, preparing my mind and body for what I reasonably expected would be an alternating experience of easy… Hard… Easy… Hard… Easy… Hard… Easy… Done!

The landscape was gently undulating, the surface a relatively smooth black tar road winding through bush alongside a country creek. I wasn’t wearing the most suitable shoes for the session, but given the fine conditions and obstacle free surface, what could go wrong?!

I picked up the pace and began my first set of higher intensity running, pushing until the timer gave me permission to slow down again to recover ready for “round two“… Easy, hard, easy.

I had barely regained my breath when the shrill sound of the timer screamed at me to speed up again. Still recovering from my first HIIT session, my somewhat sluggish muscles struggled to keep up the pace, but I pushed on as the gradient of the road fell slightly in my favour and gravity gave me a little more speed with no extra effort. “A walk in the park“ I thought smugly to myself.

As my right foot struck the barely-downward-slope of the surface, the ever so slightly increased impact put an almost imperceptible jolt through my struggling-to-get-fit body. I felt a painless “pop“ at the base of my right buttock and my leg suddenly stopped functioning, but my left enthusiastically continued to catapult me forward… Easy, hard, easy, hard… Splat!!!

My body parts struck the solid black surface in rapid succession – first the small embedded pebbles gouged my knees as my elbows and palms were thrust forward colliding with the ground in a vain effort to protect my upper body. Although, thankfully my face did not impact too harshly, my teeth thought my lips would provide some cushioning.

The slow motion spectacular – in my mind’s eye – concluded gracefully with my face to the ground and my back arching, my toes attempting to tap gently on the back of my head, in what I think skateboarders and the like might describe as a “scorpion“ pose.

The dust settled, my body relaxed back onto the ground and I paused for a moment, not actually sure I was still all in one piece. Slowly I lifted my limbs and managed to get upright. I glanced around, furtively hoping that no one had witnessed my clumsy humiliation.

As I took my first step I realised that the popping sensation was in fact my hamstring tearing, and it was beginning to hurt! I had no choice but to hobble back to my car (which I am sure was a lot further away than I first remember parking it) to slink home with my tail between my legs, nursing the pain of my wounds, and temporary defeat.

Nursing my wounds.

In the time that has passed since, I have recovered well but am not yet quite up to running. The recent rainy weather has provided some extra recovery time and I’m now looking forward to the opportunity – and a break in the weather – to both regain my dignity and a semblance of fitness.

I guess it will be literally always “one foot in front of the other” on the journey to health and vitality.

Have you encountered an unexpected and unseen obstacle on your journey?

Focus on the Positive.

I’ll take an extra shot of sunshine with my coffee today!

The morning school-run is done. I am lucky enough to be out of lockdown and have a school-run to do!

The window is down, a fresh breeze ruffles my not-so-tidy morning hairstyle. The radio blasts out a beat while The DJs joke between themselves. It’s amazing how a good dose of sunshine and a little music can lift the spirits… In fact, for a moment they were soaring!

My thoughts were flooded with fond memories. Even one from my youngest childhood bubbled to the surface. A very special woman (Mrs Murphy), without warning, once pulled me to the side, looked deeply into my eyes and said “you are truly blessed“, and do you know what?… I believe she was right!

Even when life‘s road felt bumpy and the mountains ahead seemingly insurmountable, something – however random – reminded me to be grateful for what I already have.

Much later in life, thanks to my partner, I was given the gift of seeing Tony Robbins speak, and amongst all the wisdom he had to impart, one simple phrase spoke loudly to me… “What you focus on, you will move toward“… And that is so true! It is up to us whether we focus on the positive or negative, but think back and you will see it is so.

What will you focus on today?

Keeping Nature at Bay

I can feel the turn of the season. The sultry humidity of summer is fading into cooler nights. Today as I glance upward, I appreciate the warmth of my coffee. The sky is rapidly transforming – the bright blue to grey, the grey to charcoal. The fresh cleansing scent of rain approaches on the strengthening breeze. The soil is already soaked but mother nature clearly intends to saturate it just a little more.

Blue to grey, grey to charcoal

Isn’t it funny, ironic really, that we crave nature within our lives – as much greenery as possible both in and around our homes. Clean clear bodies of water within reach. The sound of birdsong over the screech of traffic. Fresh air drifting through trees instead of smog polluting our lungs… And yet, we spend much of our time actually keeping nature at bay!

We deny the nature of our bodies and the natural ageing process. We rip the hair from our skin. We both bleach and tan our bodies. We apply potions and lotions, and resort to surgery in the quest to preserve physical youth.

We love and tend to our gardens, and yet spend much of our free time cutting them back, killing the plants we don’t like and mowing the forever growing grass in an attempt to sculpt our surrounds rather than leaving them to grow as nature intended.

We build houses overlooking oceans, perched on clifftops and lining the banks of rivers, only to deny the water’s natural flow during a king tide, or a storm, or a flood. Keeping the water at bay with barricades of sandbags.

It just occurred to me that we have taken on an eternal battle with an ultimately foreseeable outcome. We seek to have close contact with mother nature, and the general populous is doing what they can to preserve our natural environment, yet paradoxically, we constantly find ourselves keeping nature at bay.

We may seek to control our planet and mould its natural components to our desires, but in the end – no matter what the outcome – the planet will win.

A Merry Christmas Musing

Christmas is something different to everyone. I wonder what it is for you?

As I sit, sip and soak up the summertime scent of my surrounds, I reflect upon Christmases past.

One of my favourite childhood memories is lying on the ground gazing upwards at the tree my father had brought home. It was real, and the heat of the day was drawing out the magnificent Christmas aroma of the essential oils in the foliage, disseminated throughout the living room by the fan as it cast a cooling breeze across our swimsuit-clad bodies. Cottonwool snow softly falling to the floor, jostled from the branches by the fan. I remember feasting on cold juicy watermelon, and the smell of my mother’s Christmas cake cooking in the oven drifted through from the kitchen, reminding us that family members would soon be gathering to celebrate with us.

Our present day Christmas – like those throughout the world – paints a very different picture. Extended family festivities and crowded Christmas parties are simply not an option. Gatherings are minimal and I am lucky enough to be able to choose open air venue for family celebration, as we must distance ourselves a little from those we love in order to protect them from this invisible enemy, the coronavirus.

I try to imagine how Christmas will look for us in the future? Will large family gatherings be a thing of the past? Will our Christmases become more private and reflective? Or will we triumph over COVID-19 and celebrate the season on a grander scale than ever?

For now, I will savour my coffee – laced with a little Christmas cheer – and appreciate my family, grieve for the multitudes who have lost some of their dearest this year, and hope for a brighter and more positive future for humanity to celebrate in the years to come.

Merry Christmas 2020!

Enjoying my coffee from last year’s lovingly decorated & well-used mug.

A Mothers’ Day Musing

We are all different. Our life experiences are all different. Our life expectations are all different. And so, for mothers, the celebration of their role be different.

I reflect upon my experience, and wonder about yours.

I grew up in a tight knit family where Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day were almost as important as birthdays. We’d creep out into the dewy green garden at dawn – our mother’s own masterpiece – with our father, to pick a few favourite blooms to decorate the breakfast tray. Dad would help with a hot cup of tea or coffee, and we would scrape some untidy blobs of butter and jam across a couple of squares of dry toast. By the time we were ready, the warm drink was barely that and the toast was cold, but I knew our mum would be sat up in her bed eagerly awaiting it, because three smiling faces (shepherded by my dad) delivered it with a bucketload of love.

Over the years, my little family have developed our own way of celebrating Mother’s Day. Some things never change. Their dad supervises a floral masterpiece from the garden, while my eldest coordinates the menu (very similar to the one my brothers and I used to deliver). I sit up in bed eagerly awaiting my three little smiling faces with their grand presentation, just as my mother did.

This year we followed breakfast with something a little different – a wander down to a quiet local beach with enough fishing rods and bait for a couple of hours of quality family time… And do you know what? This was my best one yet!

Whatever your experience or expectation, I’d love to hear about yours.

Musing over Reminiscing

Today I find myself having a morning coffee musing about an afternoon’s reminisce over a Reisling… Well not quite, it was actually a very tasty Sauvignon Blanc.

Catching up with friends is like a sprinkle of sugar on a doughnut, like the proverbial icing on the cake. We might still otherwise enjoy that doughnut or piece of cake, but it is the dusting of sugar or lick of icing that makes it extra special. Just as moments with friends can be the spice of life.

I feel so incredibly fortunate to know that I have pinches of the “spice of life” scattered all over this spectacular country – literally north to south, and east to west.

It is truly comforting to know that regardless of my location or situation, I will always be able to take a moment and enjoy the company – either from a distance or face-to-face – of someone who really gets me. A family member or longtime friend. A recent association or “mother in arms”. A colleague or casual acquaintance.

Significant (if not always long-lived) friendships come unexpectedly and from all walks of life. Somehow at that moment, something connects you… A common purpose, a common need, a common interest.

Never ignore an opportunity to positively interact with someone. It feeds the soul, and becomes the spice of life!