Tag Archives: healthy-living

Back into the running

It’s been a while since I did much running but yesterday I made the bold move of entering the Brisbane Marathon on 4 August. There’s nothing like a crazy goal to kick me into gear.

I have been wanting to get back into running for some time now but wanted to give myself time to rebuild my fitness and endurance after last year’s forced break. I always knew that, when the time was right, I would re-enter the running arena. Suddenly, the time feels right. Sure, I could have done the sensible thing and taken a staged approach of entering a 10km, half marathon (or two) and then a marathon. But regular readers of my blog will have worked out that the sensible thing isn’t something I do.

The City to Surf Marathon in Perth last August was my first marathon. I ran it in 4:17 but didn’t prepare properly so paid a heft price. For the Brisbane Marathon, I’m taking a different approach. I have a training program that only requires me to run three days a week, which is about the most I am willing to run because I need to leave space in my life for the various forms of cycling that I love. Especially now that I’ve scored a steel frame and forks, and a few other bits and pieces with which to build a single speed road racer.

But back to the running. My goal for the Brisbane Marathon is to run a 5:00 – 5:30 time. That’s right. I don’t want to run fast. My goal for the marathon is to soak up the experience of running in a massive crowd of runners in my home city. I want to come home with loads of photos. And, most of all, I want to remain injury free both pre- and post-race.

So today, I kicked off my return to running with an easy 5km trot through my neighbourhood. I didn’t wear a watch or carry a GPS device with me. I just went for a nice easy relaxing run. And that’s how I hope to continue my marathon training. I know I have the base fitness to keep moving for 42.2km so now I just have to build the confidence that I can run most of the distance comfortably enough to make the most of the day. My training won’t be about building speed or running hills. I gave that type of training up when I quit triathlon. Nope, I hope my running training will be an extension of the pleasure I am getting from my other “training”.

Total: 5km run


Feeling smooth on the trails

Whoops Witch Way went out trail running tonight with our third team member, M. We had a fantastic smooth run along some beautiful flowing single track and across some shallow creeks. The 7.05km flew by so quickly and easily that I’m wondering whether the trick to my running is to do it infrequently and well. Because every time I try to run more than once or twice a week I start to feel the old injuries flare up. But when I run once or twice a week, those one or two sessions always feel so good; like I could run all day or night.

I probably won’t blog again until sometime Sunday because I’m going on a two-day kayak camping trip out on Moreton Bay with my son. He and I haven’t been camping together since September 2011 so we’re well overdue for a father-son weekend away.

Total: 7.05km night trail run

Pool pony races

Pool Pony Racer by Andrew Gills
Pool Pony Racer, a photo by Andrew Gills on Flickr.

My sister and I had scheduled our regular weekly trail running session last night. But she sent me a message during the day to tell me she had bought pool ponies. For those unfamiliar with pool ponies, these are blow-up rubber horses that you ride in the swimming pool.

As soon as she told me about the pool ponies, I suggested a change to our training regime: pool pony races. It proved to be a fun full body workout.

We raced up and down a 25m pool on the pool ponies, which worked out our legs, arms and core. It takes a lot of balance to stay on a pool pony when the person you are racing tries to pull you off. And I’m sure laughing while exercising is tough on your abs too.

We also did a few laps kicking on kick boards and a few laps riding on the pool noodles. It was one a fantastic and fun session.

I’ll be resting for the next two days to prepare for Saturday’s 200km road cycle. It’s expected to be 32’C (89.6’F) so I will need to be well rested and hydrated for it. Today and tomorrow will be long busy days (tonight I have volunteer commitments after work, then tomorrow I leave home at 3:30am and won’t return until 10pm because I have to travel interstate for work). So when my alarm went off at 4am to go cycling this morning, I turned it off and slept in.

Total: 45 minutes pool pony racing and other pool activities.


So I got up at 3:55am, got on my motorbike at 4:20am, rode 45km (28 miles) to the canoe club, waited from 5:05am-5:45am for the Tuesday morning paddlers to arrive (they were due at 5:15am for a 5:30am start) and then got back on my motorbike to ride all the way home without a paddle. No one showed up. I know I got the day and time right because I double checked. I decided it’s a sign I’m not meant to join the canoe club just yet; I’ll wait until I move closer to the canoe club.

Instead, I had a delightful 4km walk with my partner. I got home from my wasted time just in time to catch her walking out the door. I enjoyed the walk much more than I would have enjoyed the paddle because I had fantastic company šŸ˜‰ .

I have a 200km Audax Australia ride on Saturday afternoon from 4pm. I will have to climb 2,500m over the course of the ride. I think I will put this morning’s relaxing walk down as tapering for the ride. Haha.

Total: 4km walk

Scary forest at night

Tonight was my sister and my regular trail running session. We intended to run 5km but ended up doing 8.24km. It was heaps of fun despite the heat (it must still have been about 30’C despite the sun having set). We cruised along together at a comfortable 7-8 min/km pace other than the kilometre we walked, which we covered in 9 minutes. We are still walking up the hills in our training sessions because I don’t want to overdo things with my shin splints and SIJ (which flared up a bit today but is still manageable).

We ran some fire trails and then set off down the You’re Kidding single track. We cruised through the pretty grass tree forest, where our lights shone off the grass tree fronds. Then through the scary forest, where the trees seem to be further from the track when on foot compared with on our mountain bikes. We hopped over fallen logs and twisted our way through the corners.

You can see our workout through Endomondo here.

Total: 8.24km night trail run.

2012 in review

What a year! I achieved so much that I thought was impossible on 1 January 2012. Despite the lengthy period of injury frustration, it’s been a good year for me.


I started the year by running my first ever half marathon at Convicts and Wenches on Australia Day. It was hot and humid, but I managed to complete the course in 2:10.57 despite being barefoot. The achievement took me by surprise because I only decided to enter a day or two before the race.


I was still racing triathlon last summer and in February I completed the Kingscliff Olympic Distance Triathlon in 2:25.53. It was my first Olympic Distance Triathlon after returning to training in July 2011 and I was proud of the achievement. My dad and I spent a delightful weekend camping at the beach in Kingscliff, making it an even more special event.


I smashed the Twilight Half Marathon in 1:46.33 in March. I ran in shoes and had a negative split. The event was a huge confidence boost for me and I finally realised that I can run. This realisation sparked the adventures I took on the following months.


In April, my mum, grandmother and I traveled 2,000km each way to the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Triathlon. The triathlon was awesome but the trip was even better. I rode my motorbike while Mum and my grandmother drove Mum’s ute. We took tents and camped out in national parks and Outback camping grounds along the way. Then we spent a day sailing and snorkeling at the Whitsundays on the way home. It was magnificent.


I fell in love with adventure racing in May. After completing the Byron Bay Olympic Distance Triathlon on the 12th, I also completed the Queensland leg of the Adventure Race Australia with my sister as team Whoops Which Way. After 7:48.33, my sister and I cross the finish line and I declared that adventure racing pooed all over triathlon. I fell in love with adventure racing that day; a love affair that I intend to indulge in 2013.


I didn’t race in June. I took the month off after the end of the 2011/12 triathlon season to evaluate my race goals for the second half of the year. I didn’t really see myself as a triathlete anymore and changed the name of my blog from TransTri: Adventures of a Transgender Triathlete to TransVenture: Adventures of a Transgender Outdoor Athlete. It was a statement of intention and represented a huge shift in focus.


I returned to racing in July, completing the Tre-X Off-Road Duathlon. The event was fantastic fun, though I was one of the slowest mountain biker on the course. I then followed this up with the Flinders Tour 50km Trail Run, which I completed in 6:48. This was a huge milestone for me because it was my first 50km trail run and I completed it in well under my 8 hour goal time. After this I decided to run 12 marathons or ultra marathons in 12 months. The plan was cut short due to injury in September but the fact that I conjured it up shows just how my self-image had changed: I no longer doubted my abilities.


August was a month of triumph and tragedy. I completed the 22km Lake Manchester Trail Run and an orienteering event. But my biggest achievement of the year was my first marathon. I can’t express the sense of achievement and pride I experienced when I crossed the finish line of the City to Surf Marathon, Perth in 4:17. I felt so accomplished and the memory of that experience will live with me for a long time. I have to admit that the marathon is not an event that I would be likely to run again in a hurry but just to enjoy the experience once was amazing.


September was the start of a challenging 4 months. I injured my hamstring at the City to Surf Marathon and then my shin splints got so bad I needed to rest. I took 8 weeks off running, which drove me crazy. But for the month of September, I stayed relatively positive and hung in there; focusing on cycling.


My final event for the year was the 100km Brisbane to Gold Coast mass participation cycle challenge. It was a fantastic day. Mum and I rode 160km together; the mass ride and then we rode part-way home. It was fantastic.


November was the most difficult month of my year. I experienced deep depression and anxiety after my sacroiliac joint went. I couldn’t run or ride. In fact, I pretty much couldn’t do anything. It took a lot to keep going through the depression and everything in my life suffered. But at the same time, I did find space in my life to reconnect with my faith and spirituality. Perhaps this is part of why I was injured: to force me to make time in my life for balance and others.


This month has seen me recover from both the injuries and emotional health struggles. My sacroiliac joint is settling and I’m getting better at managing the shin splints. I’ve returned to running and cycling. I’ve entered a string of adventure races for 2013. And I’m making positive plans for all aspects of my life.


2012 was a successful year. Bring on 2013 šŸ™‚

Teams ‘We’re Lost’, ‘We Must Be Nuts’ and ‘Whoops Witch Way’ are ready to race

After four months away from racing, I am excited to say that I have just entered a swag of events for the first few months of 2013. Here’s how it’s going to look:

  • 1 January 2013 -I have signed up for the Eleven out of 11 Audax Australia cycle. This 100km cycling event will take me across the eleven bridges that cyclists may use to cross the Brisbane River. It’s a non-competitive event, with the goal being to complete the 100km within the 6:30 allowable time limit. I am looking forward to this event to test out my fitness after a lengthy period off the bike. Given This event sets my intention for the year.
  • 12 January 2013 -I am riding the 200km Moonlight Wander, a night-time Audax Australia cycle. It will be my first overnight cycling event and my first 200km event also. The time limit is 11:30, so I should have no trouble finishing if all goes well.
  • 3 February 2013 – I am riding the 100km Brisk Beaudesert Audax Australia cycle. This scenic course will include some hills. While there are longer options for this ride, I don’t want to overdo things by going too hard too early.
  • 8 February 2013 – My partner and I have formed team We’re Lost to participate in the City Raid night-time urban scavenger hunt. I am thrilled to bits that my partner is joining me on this adventure because it will be her first adventure racing experience. She’s been working hard the past four months to improve her fitness and change her lifestyle from being someone who didn’t do any exercise to someone who walks 4km every day and does weights at the gym 3-4 days a week. I’m so incredibly inspired by her efforts.
  • 16 February 2013 – My sister and I have reformed as adventure racing duo Whoops Witch Way to participate in the Kayak Kapers four hour paddlegaine. We will be hoping to gain bonus points for wearing the optional pirate costumes despite our team mascot actually being a witch (don’t ask because we don’t know the answer to the witch thing either). This will be our first paddlegaine so we are sure there will be plenty of laughter and maybe a little swimming.
  • 24 February 2013 – I will be teaming up with a friend from running as We Must Be Nuts inĀ Race 6 of theĀ Qld Tri Series. I have the easy leg, being the swimmer while my friend tackles the bike and run in her first every triathlon.
  • 9 March 2013 – Whoops Witch Way will be lining up at the Kathmandu Adventure Race where we will be paddling, mountain biking, trekking and navigating our way around a six-hour course. This will be our first adventure race since Adventure Race Australia in May 2012 and what will hopefully be the first of many for the 2013 adventure racing season.
  • 24 March 2013 – Whoops Witch Way don’t bask in our glory. No, we go straight back out there and race. So we’re backing up a few weeks after Kathmandu with the iAdventure Spring Adventure Race. This is another six-hour adventure race format including biking, trekking, kayaking and navigating.

Nope, I don’t do things by halves and yes, I am a bit crazy. But after a year of solo competitionĀ  in triathlon and running, and then a four month recovery from injury, I am looking forward to focusing on team and Audax events in 2013. It’s going to add a whole new level of fun.

See my Upcoming Events and Travel page for a full list of the events I currently have planned for 2013.