Well this is something that took me completely by surprise, how my life and mindset further evolved in a massive way, after I first attempted to “Climb – in my own way” by walking the steep ocean Boardwalk at Coolum on the Sunshine Coast in 2012. That day was my version of climbing the gorgeous Mt Coolum – but to do it in a way that I knew I had a chance of at least making it to the ‘top’ of a steep slope. That day was also my first fundraiser for SBH Qld – which I also attached (all on the same day/night!) my Goal to Walk down the beach on Sunset, and my first ever Standup Slowdance. What an introduction to, what was to shape the direction and rest of my life, in a huge way!
What a MASSIVE DAY/NIGHT – I literally could not walk, for almost a month afterwards! haha 😀 But – this day/night was to shape my future, in ways I just did not realise at the time!
Never in a million years back then, did I even think it was possible that I could one day, climb an actual Mountain…and more!
Fast forward to further down the track of Chasing my Dreams, and achieving many other things (some big, some ‘just fun stuff’) that, once again, I previously didnt think were possible (but…over time I came to realise – as is my mantra – “Anything is Possible…in your own Way!”). Achieving, and doing many of these things that “I’d love to do that one day!”, even just the smaller, fun stuff, had such a wonderful effect on my confidence – I’d realised that there was one major thing holding me back – my mindset.
With a switched-on mindset, with support structures around you (people, and the environment you surround yourself with), and with the willingness to adapt that Goal/Dream to doing it “in your own way” – Anything really is Possible!
Then came 2014, the year of my 45th birthday – a milestone that was very important to me personally. I got to thinking, what can I do to celebrate this – to ‘pat myself on the back’ for smashing this milestone out of the park?
‘Climbing something’ was the first thing that entered my mind – again I thought, well an actual Mountain is out of the question right now (but, just quietly in the back of my mind, I really was starting to think “Maybe this can become real…maybe?”)
I’d always been fascinated with indoor rockwalls, mountains, and the adventurous mindset of climbers who scale them – some as if they were just flying through the air up that surface. That was it – I HAD to celebrate my special day by attempting to do this. So, once again, after working my butt off in my physical training/therapy – and meeting the owner/founder of the awesome RockIt Climbing gym here on the Sunshine Coast, them kindly arranging the support I would need on the day to attempt (achieve) this – I woke up on my birthday, raced down to RockIt – and next thing I was scaling that wall! haha it was SO MUCH FUN!!!
I made it up to the 6m mark, the Wall was 8m – I was very proud of even being able to make it a couple of metres, let alone 6! And there it was, I was a climber – in my own way, and with my guide near me if/when needed, but I was doing it!
Fast forward (although it seems like a decade between 2014-2017!) to mid/late 2016.
Something that felt so delicious sparked deep inside of me and told me, with absolute certainty and not a shred of doubt in my mind…
“I CAN CLIMB MOUNT COOLUM – I *NEED* TO DO THIS. I NEED TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN!!”
So, once again I worked my butt off with my training – but with an extra special dose of motivation – this is IT, my Dream I had always thought wasnt actually possible – I’m on my way to actually attempting/achieving it! I CAN DO THIS! (as the amazing human Matt Golinski himself said to me before I attempted the 2km Walk in the Sunshine Coast Marathon – those words are very dear, and incredibly motivating to me now!).
It really felt like a dream at times, very surreal – this is actually going to happen.
THIS right here, is the Magic of Chasing your Dreams – the once ‘impossible’ (even if just in your mind) was steadily turning into This really IS Possible! Wow.
July 2017 (ironically, the ‘number year’ of my beautiful ‘racing family’ and Team who gave me the wonderful opportunity in 2011, which turned into….well this website and how I now live my life, says it all, really!) arrived – and I was off – meeting up with my Team who were supporting me up & down that beautiful Mountain…
While I didnt make it to the very top (after 2hrs of gruelling, exhausting but exhilarating effort and shuffling through all of those beautiful rocks and raw nature – I have come to absolutely love rocks and big boulders, all their various natural forms, curves and colours, sitting there ready for me to explore and navitage my way around them) – I was absolutely satisfied with my achievement. I got my view, I got my Goal…I GOT MY MOUNTAIN!! Wow…
That was it, I was addicted – just as Racing is in my blood – Climbing had slowly crept in over all those years, and was now embedded into my very soul.
But still, I thought I was done. I thought Mt Coolum was my one and only chance to Climb – especially as this body of mine was getting older (I was 47 at that time) – and also after my Climb, being hit full force with influenza, dislocating my finger, losing function of my arm – with surgery and a rough, long recovery to ‘get it back’. Plus being hit with a serious mental health crash. Thats it I thought, I’m done. This part of my life is over.
I started to let go and to grieve ‘the woman I was, and the life I had built up since 2011’.
Throughout anything else that has happened throughout my lifetime, this was undoubtedly one of the hardest things to come to terms with, and to accept that this was happening. I had an insight as to what elite athletes are saying when they talk about ‘life after sport, it can hit you like a ton of bricks and leave you at loose ends. Something that is such a big part of your identity, is now over’. This scared me, as I could somewhat relate – in my own way. I felt that I may be heading back towards my ‘pre-Chasing my Dreams life’ and the person I was, where I just felt…lost.
But..my mind and life had other plans! After a long, mentally tough two-year break from “all things Chasing my Dreams” (and my life, really) to recover from everything that had hit me since that magical Climb in 2017 – I started to get itchy feet to get back out to raw nature again, it hit me quite by surprise. “Uh oh…there it is!” I giggled silently as I felt it…that feeling deep inside me that tells me, I need to get back out on another adventure! My 50th birthday was approaching, after all…another milestone – and you know what that means… 😉
Another gorgeous local area had always been in my mind, to find a way to get there (but knowing it just was not an easily accessible area, so I’d basically accepted that thats one thing I’d have to just not have a ‘want’ for – except, as someone offered once, to ‘piggyback me there’). But you know what entered my mind…thats right… “easy, who needs easy when I know I want to do it?” haha.
And then my want to trek the rocky, off-track distance to Serenity Falls (from Harrys Hut end, Buderim Rainforest) was born…more pushing hard at my training, hearing from others what the trek is like, seeing photos and coming up with somewhat of a Game Plan – next minute my 50th birthday arrived, and I was off to get these beautiful Falls I had heard and seen so much about, with my Team around me…
While it wasnt a steep mountain, Buderim *is* a Mountain so it was a steady incline trek which took many, many hours to get there (and back out again).
The effort was very, very well worth it!
After Serenity Falls was done and dusted, I laughed and thought “Well this really is it this time – my last hurrah – I am 50 after all and surely its time to slow down and face ‘Life after my big Fitness Goals’?!”. I had started to come to a healthy acceptance this time, unlike after Mt Coolum when it hit me like a ton of bricks. But again, my mind had other plans…(who’d have guessed, right?)
Just days before the Covid-19 situation got more serious, and evolving overnight/by the hour at that stage without much warning in March 2020, I was speaking with a staff member at O2 Performance (an incredible, newly built world class training facility housed at the Sports Hub, here on the Sunshine Coast – which I am absolutely blessed to be able to push my body and mind to its limits, at) about our local Mountains…in particular, the picturesque Glasshouse Mountains. At the end of that conversation – one of those beautiful Mountains was cemented into my mind as my next big Fitness Goal, with this inspiring young mans encouragement – Mt Ngungun. Yep, thats right – I was intending to do ANOTHER Climb (as always, linking it to raising funds for SBH Qld (Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Qld), and about to commence training for it! haha “Somebody stop me!” (while of course, having serious respect for the serious Covid-19 situation foremost in my mind, and being prepared to wait until ‘the right time’ to do this).
I had recently been to the entrance of this mountain, while on a local roadtrip with an acquaintance – funnily enough, ‘something’ struck me that day – I was soon to find out what that feeling was about!
With this beautiful Mountain in my sights, I was determined to do all I could, to achieve it. Only to have the news that, days later, my awesome training facility was being closed because of Covid-19 – and we were being asked to stay at home unless it was essential.
Being high risk, I took this very seriously, and so my life, as others also experienced, as I knew it came to a screeching halt.
But you know what….and again this is the pure Magic of Chasing your Dreams – that Goal, that beautiful Mountain, stayed with me in my mind throughout my entire many-months isolation at home, through all the incredibly tough struggles that hit me personally/mentally during that time – especially when I got ill early on and feared that I may have caught this serious virus that was surrounding us.
Now, fast forward to mid-July 2020, and being back at O2 Performance for just under a month now, and loving being able to push my body & mind through whatever I set it – I havent set a date yet for this latest big adventure yet (I’m still in a bit of disbelief that its actually happening! haha) – it may not be till 2021 given its already mid-year and I’ve had several months of immobility due to Covid-19 restrictions and gym closure – but I do know that from now until I achieve it, my mind is fully switched to doing absolutely everything I can, to give my body and mind the best chance possible for this.
First task: Get rid of my “Covid Curves” which crept in over the last few months of less movement, more stress and uncertainty (and personal stressors that hit) – its time to get my mobility and condition back which I’d also lost – ready to train so I am able to conquer this beautiful Sunshine Coast Mountain!
Mt Coolum will always be my ‘special one’ as it was the one that I never believed I could – but then I did…but this one is going to be special too – as all my Fitness Goals, and other Dreams, even the fun stuff, are – in their own Way! Who knows if this may be my “last hurrah (Take 2!)” – it may be, I am getting older (and starting to feel it! haha)…all I know is, I’m going to do everything I can, to keep climbing and Chasing my Dreams (fun stuff, and the big ones!), for as long as possible!