World Multisport Championships: Death drives determination

My journey to compete at the Speights Coast to Coast World Multisport Championships started midway into 2014 after a string of successful Adventure Racing results. I decided it was time to return to the race that I had promised myself next time I’d really see what I was capable of.
Death drives determination
Back in 2008 I’d completed the 243km race as a 2 day individual, my Father on my support crew who was in the depth of Prostate Cancer. I’d surprised both myself and my support crew (who were often relaxing in transition not expecting me so soon) and I placed 10th Female. This was the start of opening my eyes to what my body and mind was capable of and after my Father died, I set off overseas determined to make the most of life and all its opportunities.


Living in Brisbane I trained on the Brisbane River, with its limited white water (read none) and off road running conditions fairly tame compared to the rugged, harsh, rocky New Zealand terrain.

A trip over to New Zealand at Christmas to train on the course had me tear the ligaments in my ankle which meant the 4 weeks lead up was not quite as I had planned.

When I arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand 2 days before the race I sat in my kayak for the first time in a Swimming Pool, feeling thankful it isn’t leaking. My support crew who had driven down 1000km from Auckland and my family hurriedly set to work until 11pm to sort my pump and drinking system in my kayak.

On route to Kumara, the west coast start for the 243km Coast to Coast journey we tested out the drinking system in a lake (which miserably failed and required last minute problem solving) and practiced my transitions with support crew. Whilst painfully catching my arm in the zip whilst running putting on my life jacket we were pleased we’d practised and believed that things could only get better.

Arriving at a very quiet Kumara Race Course we set up camp in the Kitchen, happy not to use our tent. By 1130pm I was grumpily taking my flat air bed to sleep in the bathroom to remove myself from a choir of snoring.


D Day dawns!

At 4am on Saturday 14th of February I was eating cereal and fruit and both excitedly and nervously thinking of the mission ahead.

Racking my bike in the dark and walking downhill towards the ocean to line up at the start I was thankful it wasn’t that cool (especially coming from a QLD Summer.)

I had been seeded 8th so I positioned myself next to 6th and after a crack of jokes and smack talking from Nathan Fa’avae (World Champion Adventure Racer) we were off!

The crazy start of the 243km race involves a mad 2.4km dash from the beach to our bikes (for 55km of riding.) This leg is draft legal so there’s huge pressure to run hard to get yourself in a fast bunch.

I’d worked hard (considering my injured ankle) to improve my run, being likened to a diesel engine and most definitely not the Road Runner.

Getting onto my bike in 5th place I quickly settled into a bunch.

The peloton was riding at a slower pace that I wanted, although there was no one ahead to push to a faster bunch so I just tried to relax.


No one willing to do the hard work

The first person in the Peloton does most of the work leading the group. There were only a few of us willing to take on the head wind to lead the bunch. The others sitting in behind each other getting an easy ride and saving their energy, despite annoyed comments from the leaders for them to take a turn.

Coming off the bike my crew was easy to spot in red. We’d assumed they would be able to run with me in the transition, every second standing still was time I could be moving forward, however it was not the case. I remember looking at my food and drink on the ground instead of accessible in my crew’s hand and made the split decision it would take too much time, taking off down the farm track whilst pulling my bag on.

Whilst struggling to get my breath I realised I still had my ankle reflectors on and my GPS tracker hadn’t been changed over. I took a few frustrated minutes whilst running to change it and ripped the zip tie which meant the tracker was uncomfortably smacking my shoulder for the whole run. It then dawned on me that in my impatience I didn’t take in my necessary fuel and I cursed myself even more, my mood becoming darker and darker as more and more people passed me.


Ill judgments taking its toll

Crossing the first river I dipped my cup into the icy water talking in overdue hydration and headed onto the track along the river. This was not my plan as the day before I had worked out a direct line along the river bed – what was I doing?! After I got my foot caught on a tree root and smashed to the ground it dawned on me I needed food and quick.

The 33km run was tough, rough and technical, and involved picking your way through the rocky river bed up the Deception Valley.

I was battling with my mind, visually taking a baseball bat to my negative thoughts, however the more people that passed me the more angry I got with myself for not being faster, and the more those negative thoughts gained power.

It was a cold 12 degrees at the bottom of the valley and after taking a full body plunge whilst tripping running through the river and getting momentarily carried downstream, I was feeling cold.

As I reached the top of Goats Pass I crammed snakes into my mouth hoping they’d dissolve and I wouldn’t have to swallow them and irritate the already sick feeling in my gut.

On the final 5km along rocks and pebbles into Klondyke Corner all I could think about was the ‘rest’ I’d get when on my bike (‘resting’ being code for going as fast as you can and making up time.)

My next transition was quick and I put on my camel bak full of Infinit so I could concentrate on sucking in calories and powering my pedals for 15km. The first suck to the tube and the fluid poured out and didn’t stop until it was empty. There just went my nutrition! Five minutes previously I had angrily thrown off my full drink bottle, not wanting to carry an extra 750gms, now I regretted that decision.

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Lack of food and emotions run high

Running 1km down to my kayak I became tearful, my emotions running wild as the lack of nutrition getting to me. I ran stuffing in banana and rice and could almost instantly feel my body respond with more energy.

Due to risk of Hyperthermia with the cold temperature and winds, paddle jackets were compulsory. I spotted a woman in the water before me and made a note to catch her.

The 70km paddle of braids and a stunning gorge with grade two rapids along the mighty Waimakariri River was tough. After 90minutes I was sucking air in my camel bak – how did I manage to finish 4hours of nutrition in 90mins? Did my support crew mix it wrong? My dark thoughts took over. What was I going to do? I had 55km to go, 1 gel and 1 banana. I’d have to slow my pace down.

At Woodstock the plan was to eat my banana but as I reached into my pocket i couldn’t find it.

Did it fall out?


I was so certain I’d seen it.

Was I hallucinating already?

In Multi-day Adventure Races sleep monsters can be very real, but I’d only been going 10 hours!

I had a bit of a whimper as I envisioned the last hour on empty.

Further along I spotted a people on the river bank and yelled out to them for food. A guy ran into the water pushing a muesli bar into my hands and I felt the cells of my body leap with joy as I made quick work of the bar and paddled the remaining 10km of braided river with a (slight) smile.


New found strength on the bike

When I was lifted out of my kayak, I ran 800m uphill on wobbly legs to start the windy flat cycle to the finish at Brighton Pier.

Being told I was 8th and it was possible to catch 3 Women, I was excited to get on my bike and make short work of the 70km along the Canterbury Plains. I took off feeling fast and strong. My speedo read 34.6km/hr average and I told myself to hang on as I starred down the long and straight South Eyre road, passing 3 men but seeing no women in sight.

An hour in and I started sucking on air from my camelbak and that sinking ill feeling washed over me. Out again so soon?! This should not have happened!

My arms were aching as I started to see the speed on my speedo fall and I grumpily gave up hope of a fast final ride, opting to finish feeling good and not driving myself into the ground.

The run up the finishing chute at Brighton Pier to receive my can of Speights from the one and only 9 times winner Steve Gurney, and I’d done it.

243km from one side of New Zealand to the other, in 8th place in a time of 15hours and 56 seconds!
I’d learnt a tremendous amount about myself and the race and all I could talk about was ‘Next time…’
Yip 2016, I’ll be back!


A massive thank you to my amazing support crew (often putting up with my grumpy hunger!) Felt Bicycles and the Peebles Group, and the impressive Richard Ussher with his new and definitely improved role as Coast to Coast Race Director.
Wow what a race!

Feeling strong, super fit, and sexy…that is, when I allow myself to feel that way ;)

So people have been asking me about my training, and it has been going well.

Terrific in fact.

The body is adoring the work I’m giving it, and my fitness has gone through the roof.
Every week I’m making massive progress, and it keeps startling me, and I mean startling me!

I’ve always been pretty fit, and I’ve always been good at pushing myself and working hard, but my fitness has massively improved in such a short period of time, it’s actually quite amazing.

Just tonight I went out mountain bike riding with Trevor Mullens (who I hadn’t ridden with in over 2 weeks.) I was feeling like I must’ve been slowing him down, and felt like I wasn’t going very hard (especially compared to last time we rode together – I was pushing HARD the whole time!)
Trevor couldn’t stop telling me how well I was riding and that I had improved so much (we rode a lot of single track, and around some good hills
– Trevor has a ‘Go F**ken HAAARD!’ mentality on all the hills “Need to train hard in training so you thank yourself when you’re racing’ 😉 -which is pretty awesome !
He said he wasn’t slowing down for me at all.


So the reason why I felt like I wasn’t going hard enough was because my cardio vascular fitness had improved so much, my body had adapted and although I was going much harder and faster than 2 weeks prior, it felt easy – MASSIVE WIN!

But what was interesting to me (well actually not that much of a surprise) was that I didn’t feel like I’d improved, didn’t feel I should be proud – this is a constant issue of mine as I never really feel happy with myself, I’m always wanting more, pushing for more, and have a difficult time in appreciating myself  and feeling good about who I am and what I’ve done.

Whatever I’ve done I’m always looking at how it could be better, what could I do differently next time, what else I could do etc. Which of course is great for never ending self improvement and self development, but not so good in helping yourself feel good about who you are and who you are becoming (which is one of the secrets to getting what you want in life!)
And yes, i am working on it 🙂

We all need to feel good about who we are and who we are becoming.

Waking up in the morning and saying to yourself “I’m tired’ “Man I’m fat’ ‘Jez I slept through my alarm! I’m soooooo useless!’ ‘Argggh I hate my hair, I look dreadful!’ well I can guarantee that you will feel that exact way.
(or any other words you say to yourself)

And in fact the Universe actually thinks that’s how you want to feel, and will happily give you more and more situations or events that continue to reinforce this to you.

So the solution?

Change your thinking!

Change what crap goes into and out from your body (ok now I’m hitting on ensuring you fuel yourself with nutritious real foods and hydrate too 🙂

But change your thinking and you literally change your world!

NO you don’t need to lose 5-10kg before you’ll be happy.
Don’t need to get a promotion, get out of debt, buy a house, find a partner, paint your lounge etc,

Sure, there’s no denying you may NEED to do those things, but you’re more likely to do it if you focus on what you want (as opposed to what you don’t want) and if you immediately feel happy or good about where you are now.

-By  focusing on what you want I mean instead of saying I want to find a partner who doesn’t cheat on me, isn’t fat, and doesn’t spend their day watching TV, doesn’t smoke, has no baggage
(which just the fact you focus on that, you WILL get that in your life!
It’s the Law of Attraction. You get what you think about most of the time.
However if you focus on what you want e.g. A smart, witty, driven partner who is loving, caring and pushes and supports me in my drive to be a better person.
Then that’s what you’ll get!

Now doing this isn’t easy.

Most of us have ingrained negative patterns of thinking, and you aren’t even aware of the utter negative crap you’re fuelling yourself with every single second.

But being aware of it is the first process to change right?


So I have what’s kinda like a dream book, but it’s a book where I’ve written my dreams, goals and aspirations, and the ideal me- the words I use to describe the person I’m becoming.
I try to look at these as often as I can, to remind me and keep me focused on the positive, and what I’m aiming for.

And it works amazingly so.

If I don’t feel like doing something, or I wake up and do feel tired, and down about my accomplishments so far, I have a quick read and it instantly changes my feelings.

It helps me put on my running shoes and sprint out the door.
If I’m reading about a driven, determind, super fit, strong and  inspiring woman, how can I not do something that will positively make me feel that way?
My using this simple technique I am  pretty much guaranteed to become the person I want to be! Wohooo!

Sure it’s tough, and my negative thoughts constantly creep in and sit on my shoulder unannounced and uninvited, but I’m learning to recognise them, or keep them away by reading and referring to my little book.

Maybe this is something you could try to?

It’s such fun to write, and it makes me feel so good reading it (and the opportunities that have presented to myself since doing this literally blows my mind!)

But I’m too far in debt, I’m too lazy, I’m too unfit, I’m too unmotivated to do such a thing, I hear you cry.
Then what on earth have you got to lose???!

Focus on what you want to be, who you want to become.

And be nice to yourself in the process.

Yes you may not be there yet, but you are on your way, you are working towards a more positive future, and you are amazing for giving it a go.

But remember, it’s really, really, really hard not to achieve your goals if you don’t give up.

So just make the decision not to give up!

The only thing separating you between where you are now and where you want to be, is your mind.
Noooooo not the fact that you don’t have money or time, or motivation, or that you have kids, or don’t have parents, or don’t have legs….. it’s your mind!

So go on get writing.

Don’t restrict yourself.

What is the ideal you like?

What is your ideal life like?

Write it down and look at it every day.
Multiple times throughout the day even.

Trust me, it will positively change your life.

I believe in you 🙂


Grow flowers or weeds

Opportunities are all around us, and there for the taking (if you dare)

It’s incredible the speed things happen when you are clear about what you want in life (however open to how they present themselves.)

So in a whirlwind of action (just the way I like it! 😉 I found myself a fantastic place to live, an amazing studio to run my business from an invitation/introduction into the Adventure Racing community, and support and connection with like minded Fitness Professionals, and an invitation to Search4Hurt’s Hurt Camp.

And it seemed to spring from four things things…

First of all:

1. Knowing what I want
I identified what my life would look like if it was ideal, what I would be doing, who I would be with, and how I would feel (this wasn’t easy, and required a lot of thought and deliberation) and I wrote it down (there’s something powerful in writing on paper your goals.)

2. Believing I could have it
I must say I still find this a challenge however I work on smashing my limiting beliefs daily.
There simply is no point identifying goals, saying positive affirmations, or even being so determined to achieve your goals if you simply don’t believe you can actually have it. It won’t happen.
As Napoleon Hill put “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Just wanting something is not enough, you need to believe it can really come true.

However having identified these, I was almost too scared to leave the house (haha crazy aye!) as I knew through the Law of Attraction what I wanted in my life would come in fast and furiously, and I kinda felt like I wasn’t ready for it yet – again proving I was struggling  with actually believe in myself…

So I found if I really wanted my ideal life to manifest I then needed to do 2 things:

1. Say yes (Be open to ideas, suggestions and invitations; and then agree to do it) or actually ask for help.
I contacted MAX International College for Fitness Professionals  in Brisbane (I had trained in their college in Auckland), various Business mentoring/support groups, and the Adventure Racing community, but I needed to commit, take people up on their invitations and get myself involved (even at the time if it wasn’t exactly what I thought I needed – how do I really know what’s best for me?)
Asking to be involved, and saying yes to invitations/opportunities was required to start my life to roll..

2. Getting out there and actually doing it (actioning what you said yes to.)
It may sound simple, but it’s so easy to say you’ll do something, and it’s quite another to actually do it.
Living an awesome life is an act of doing, which requires action, which means smashing through all the excuses and all the valid reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t, and then doing it anyway.
Actually opening a door that presents itself to you and having a look inside, not imagining what it would be like or waiting for the right time, just as Nike say ‘Just do it!’

So I went out there and I met people, I trained with them, I moved out of my old house, I facilitated relationships, I put my Search4Hurt video together – I actioned what I said I would (and what would get me living my ideal life.)
*In life we are constantly presented with open doors; some wide open, some obscurely hidden, others which only lead to a single room (and require you to go back – however never without learnings) and yes some with tricky or imaginative unlocking systems; but they are always there, even when we can’t ‘see’ them.

**Broadly speaking, every function we perform subconsciously or consciously is controlled by the brain. The Reticular Activating System  (RAS) senses things around us and sorts them out. However it deals with thousands of information every second so it filters things out for us.
Have you ever noticed when you’ve decided to buy or have bought a car, and then suddenly, as by magic you notice the roads are full of this exact car – that’s your RAS in action! The cars were always there, you just weren’t paying attention to them!)
The same thing is true about opportunities, and options available to you (the open doors.)
They are always there, but it’s what you are focusing on, what you allow yourself to see….which is controlled by what you are thinking about.
As Earl Nightingale put so well ‘You become what you think about most of the time’ or ‘You get what you think about most of the time.’

What and how you think it a huge predictor of what happens to you in your life.
Your thoughts are reflected back to you like a mirror, and what happens to you (your life experiences) are always in align with what you are thinking.
For example telling yourself you can’t afford things, and if you’re constantly thinking about how you don’t have enough money; this is exactly what will manifest itself in your life – you WON’T have enough money and you WON’T be able to afford things.

Yes I know it sounds a wee bit crazy, but your thoughts hold a the key to unlocking what you want in your life.
Throughout the day I am constantly focusing on my thoughts (directed to what I want and believe I can have)  and this account over the past few weeks is a prime example of how this is actually happening in my life.

So back to my story…..

So I met with Trevor Mullens and it started a flurry of things to occur in my life.

What an amazing, generous, wise, full of energy and life character is Trevor!
He wonderfully invited me into his home, and introduced me to his family, his friends and the Adventure Racing community. I made sure I said ‘yes’ to his invitations to train and meet people (even though part of me was saying it was too far, too early, too long, and would be too hard etc. But I decided to shut up those petty concerns in my head by doing what they said i couldn’t do!)

A phone call one evening from Trevor had me lining up at the start of a 5hour Adventure Race the following day with the lovely Kymberly (replacing her injured Team Member.)
It required me to wake up at 4am, after getting home from work at 11pm, and collect a bike which had 2 flat tyres and then make my way to meet with Kym, who I’d never met before, and compete in an Adventure Race, which I haven’t done since 4 years ago.
But I was not going to say no! 🙂

The following weekend Trevor paired me up with Shane (a strong athlete) in a 3 hour Adventure Race, who pushed me hard and we ended up coming first in the Mixed Team…..and then part of me started to wake up to the fact I may not be as shit as I thought  I was*

*I find I massively over estimate others and under estimate myself. Constantly wanting to better and push myself, I’m pretty crap at acknowledging my abilities. I think also people also underestimate me.
They judge me by what I look like (and don’t think I’m as strong or as fit as I actually am.)
This has pretty much happened constantly in events or trainings I have taken part in in the past 8 or so years. Especially as I’ve always been one to make do with what I’ve got and don’t buy into looking the part.

I remember this happened recently when I took part on the Brisbane to Gold Coast 100km cycle. Riding in bunches quite comfortably at over 42km an hour, I got quite startled looks from the guys, and particularly when I over took them on the hills.
Come to think of it, I think I quite like this response, people saying ‘holy sh*t you’re doing well!’
It’s like they look at me with different eyes, with respect.
I like to prove people wrong, and I definitely don’t like to fit the ‘normal’ mold that’s for sure.
Stand out. Be big, be bold.
I think it’s the Leo in me that craves the centre stage   😉

So then the following weekend had me pairing up with sweetheart Nicole to take on the 12hour Dawn Attack Adventure Race.

That was 3 Adventure Races in 3 weeks.

And I loved it.

My top five values in my life are represented with what Adventure Racing is all about.
The fit and connection I have with the sport is unreal, and the past 3 weeks has made me feel even more alive, as I’ve found a sport that resonates so dearly with me.

I know this may sound very deep (and this next bit possibly a little stupid) but it’s kinda like I’ve found my ideal soul mate (in Adventure Racing), someone that can push me and support me to achieve my dreams in life.

Adventure Racing to me is full of excitement and challenge, it’s about braving the elements, getting back to nature and appreciating and immersing yourself in the outdoors.
It’s about believing in and trusting yourself, being bold and daring, taking risks, and problem solving.

To me it has the perfect balance of physical fitness and strength and your cognitive capacity to plan, comprehend, analyze and reason.

The cognitive requirements of the race are just as important as the physical; it’s just as important as how and what you think, as how fast you can run, cycle or paddle (or what other activity they may surprise you with.)

The notion of thinking on your feet couldn’t fit better with Adventure Racing.
It’s as much of a race against yourself, as it is with the allocated time or your fellow competitors.

It’s a race that is so many way mimics the trials and tribulations with life.

I believe it’s a sport that can teach us much about how to life a successful life…..
So I after my 12 hour Adventure Race on the weekend, I came up with a few things I believe Adventure Racing can teach us about life….

…Which I’ll share with you next time my friends 🙂

Until then, something to ponder…….
What would you love to be doing if money and time was no object?
What’s your ultimate passion in life?
What sort of life would you love to live?

No buts, ifs or maybes.
Just let your imagination flow (and capture these down on paper)

Have fun!! 🙂