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Posts tagged ‘challenges’

A Slice of Maroochydore, Sunshine Coast – Qld

I decide to take a chance and cancel the booking for my ride on the courtesy bus. I let the receptionist know my change of plans and step out into a world of metal and rubber. I’d booked my car in for its service and this meant a trip to Maroochydore; an all day event.

I maneuvered my way around waiting cars parked in the receiving area. Efficient service attendants, preoccupied with providing their services to patient customers pay me little regard, so I make my way up the inclined driveway that leads to Sugar Road.

I snap open my iPhone’s case and activate my Google Maps App. I don’t use it often and it reacts sleepily, surprised, I think, it’s been called into action.

I sense my own rustiness at operating the App. I rely on my car’s GPS when driving and when I walk to keep fit, I track myself on my Map My Walk App, but I can’t say I use my GPS much.

Orienteering is not one of my strong points – I learned this fact a long time ago at my Year 11 trip to the snow; my first and only trip to the snow fields. I didn’t get lost on the snow, but I did manage to have a difference opinion with a fellow peer I’d been teamed with for an orienteering session.

At almost every station, we argued, possibly too strong a word, so let’s just settle for disagreed, about which direction to take next. Luckily for me his strong personality won out and I gave in at every station – and his sense of direction proved right on every account. And each time, my face blushed a deeper shade of rose. Talk about embarrassing. Who knows what he thought, but what seventeen year old cares about the ego of a guy from another school, who quite possibly, I will never clap eyes on again. Still haven’t to date, or if I have, I would be hard pressed to recognise him with the passage of time. I can’t even remember his name, or if I ever knew his name. How sad, when you think about it. He played a fairly significant role in helping me understand my weakness in this area of special awareness and my sense of direction, or lack of it to be precise.

The App fires up and after I check the address of the beach on Safari, I tap the information into the phone. Immediately the App shows my destination and a woman’s voice begins to tell me where I’m to go – north-west. Great! That’s really helpful to me; me who has no concept of direction. I feel a dilemma coming on. Do I go right, or left?

I crack open the Compass App and puzzle at whether I’ve actually ever used this App before? I have no recollection of it, if I have, but there’s always a first time. Surprise! Surprise! I manage to work out what direction to take. I should have known it would point me the complete opposite way to the direction I felt drawn to. The story of my life; I could almost bet on this, if I was a betting girl.

So, off I head and trust the compass knows where it is taking me. Reading and following along with the map proved interesting, too. For whatever reason, I couldn’t expand the map so I could get an overall picture of where I was situated and where I was headed. I had to keep exiting the App and returning to it to make the arrow point in the right direction. It is obvious to me, and it will become obvious to anyone reading this, that I know little about what I’m doing – I know it’s not the Apps fault, it definitely is the operator’s lack of knowledge in this case.

However, today’s challenge is just what I need, it seems; plain as the nose on my face and I’m thinking now that I need to explore new areas more often because today’s adventure proved to be a lot of fun.

I discover local leafy avenues I’ve never walked before and the whole experience gave me a taste of local life around this neck of the woods. The pathways I trod led me to a major road called Alexandra Drive. I continue in the direction of some high-risers and turn down Sixth Avenue, heading toward Cottontree.

I took a path leading to what looked very much like a beach access and my eyes were rewarded with a stunning sight of sparkling crystal waves gently frolicking across the wide sandy shoreline; the tide bowing down and receding back into the depths of its mother’s belly. White water bubbling and bumping onto the beach’s creamy, blonde sand happy as a glass full of champagne bubbles.

Maroochydore Beach, Qld

Maroochydore Beach, Qld                                              photo credit: Deb Smith

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Surfing action at Maroochy                                         photo credit: Deb Smith

Life Savers on duty at Maroochy Beach Photo Credit: Debbie Smith

Life Savers on duty at Maroochy Beach                            photo credit: Deb Smith

I snap a couple of photos to capture my morning’s expedition and decide to explore further. At this point I felt a good coffee fix was warranted and well deserved.

Rock pools - Maroochy Beach photo credit: Debbie Smith

Rock pools – Maroochy Beach        photo credit: Deb Smith

I continue my walk along an esplanade running alongside the beach until I stumble upon a quaint little breakfast bar called, The Beach Street Deli Café.

The Beach St Deli Photo Credit: Debbie Smith

The Beach St Deli                         photo credit: Deb Smith

This looks just like the perfect spot to stop in and order a coffee, a light breakfast and do a spot of writing. I wander in and order freshly squeezed orange juice, a flat white and a serving of their free-range egg and bacon Panini with cheddar, red onion pickle and homemade smokey bacon sauce.

And here I am. Breakfast is finished, my coffee drained and quite a number of words are accumulating in my notebook. Yes, all handwritten with care and devotion.

I sit at a beach-styled window bench table on a timber stool in a private corner of the café. I gaze out through slatted white colonial louvres and allow my thoughts to mull and stir around in my head, dreaming across the waves of the Pacific Ocean I see peeking through the palm trees across the road.

I head off after a couple of hours pass and explore the Cottontree area and manage to use the GPS to find my way, eventually, to the Sunshine Plaza, where later on I will be picked up by the service department’s courtesy bus driver.

Exploring Cottontree photo credit: Deb Smith

Exploring Cottontree – along the Maroochy River – photo credit: Deb Smith

I’ve really enjoyed this morning and I think that if I only challenged myself more often to do these little expeditions, I’d improve immensely in my navigation skills.

Well, we’ll see.

Until next time,

Happy hiking…

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Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining…Even Best Plans Sometimes Need Tweaking

Brisbane has copped its fair share of rain lately, along with the rest of the East coast of Australia. We’ve experienced some exciting storm season situations along with more flooding. Unfortunately, it seems this is becoming the norm, rather than the exception. Long periods of serious rain has been known to create cabin fever in even the most patient of folks and I’m no exception to this rule.

There was a time in my past when we lived on a property an hour away from Rockhampton and we were situated in a dry belt. We’d watch the storms build all around us and then pass us by. As a family we made a pact that if it would just rain for us we would never again complain about the amount of rain that fell. I’ve always been mindful of that comment. I put it down in the never say never category as quite frankly, I’d like to have more control over when and how it rains.

The recent rain has disrupted the way I train. I don’t mind walking in the rain but I try to avoid downpours, which is what we’ve been experiencing. This has necessitated the way in which I train and I’ve had to become creative; well, for me, at any rate. This is saying a lot because  I am happiest just to walk for fitness. Until I was diagnosed with plantar faseiitis quite recently,  I never did much else except walk, for I am a walker and a happy one at that. I know there are many different ways to get fit, but I’ve just never been concerned with any of them.

However, that has changed now.

There is another saying that seems to fit in with my rainy days theme and it goes like this: It never rains but it pours! Whilst this saying was triggered by the rain initially, I make reference to it based on a few health issues that have cropped up recently.

After I got back from Sydney I finally succumbed to and paid a visit to the doctor to suss out my right knee. Over the years my knee has always been a little sensitive and flares up for a while but generally settles quite quickly. In the past, when it flared up I’d feel some pain, but I’d usually just persevere and I’d never been inclined to check out what the problem is. I can remember these flare ups as far back as when I was 18 and riding horses. I’ve just lived with it and the thought never occurred me to ask a doctor. But while I was in Sydney walking around, I think I may have jarred my knee and the result has been a more than normal painful and slightly swollen knee. When combined with my Plantar Faseiitis, both on my right leg, well I must admit, I felt a little out of sorts and had to take another enforced break. Some X-rays confirmed  mild osteo-arthritis; just great! But, I guess it is to be expected from the normal wear and tear on the body.

I am managing the Plantar Faseiitis with stretching exercises given to me by my sports podiatrist and don’t have to go back to see him till June or July. Now I am working with a physiotherapist to sort out my knee issues. I am currently learning and executing exercises that will strengthen my knee and hopefully take the current stress off it. I’ve certainly had my ups and downs with these conditions over the past couple of months, but it is all character building, I’m sure.  I have ‘rest’ days when I feel I need them. I try to listen to my body, however, there are days when my knee aches and I won’t/can’t give in to it and I try hard to push through the pain and continue on walking or exercising. Generally mind over matter can be a powerful thing for me, but I’m not advocating this to others. It really is a matter of figuring out what works for me and how much I can put up with.

I combine my walking (between 7 – 13 kilometres per day) with a 20 kilometre cycle (stationary exercise bike) workout, weights for knees and upper body, stretches for total body, sit ups and physio exercises. This can sometimes take a large chunk of time, so I play around with the combinations. It all seems to be working and I notice that I can climb stairs quite well now and in my job at QPAC, when I hold open the large glass doors and greet our guests, I can generally do this with ease now. When I first started I felt awkward and it was hard to hold the doors open. So, I believe I am seeing and feeling improvements in myself.

My repertoire of exercises and fitness program has grown from simply walking. My goal of walking 1000 kilometres along the Camino Way has had more far-reaching benefits than just getting fit for the walk. I am making some lifestyle changes that will make a permanent and positive difference to my life. I’ve cut out adding sugar to my coffee or cereal, I strictly limit my intake of alcohol and try to eat fresh, unprocessed meals in small quantities. And, it is working. I am getting fitter, more toned and slimmer.

Colleagues and friends have begun to notice the difference and often express their compliments. This is very encouraging to someone who is trying very hard to improve physical fitness levels and train for a significant journey. I really do appreciate everyone’s support and encouragement.

I always try to look on the bright side of life – even when the chips are down. The rain and the injuries, whilst I wish I didn’t have to suffer through them, I am thankful for them because they have pushed me to look for different ways to do things and I am much better off for it. Every cloud does have a silver lining – it seems…

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Contemplation in the early hours of the morning – 5:20am…the road is wet and quiet. I start my walk in the dark some twenty minutes before this photo was taken. The lights are still glowing. Soon the sun will peek through the trees and the lights will disappear.

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And as if one cue…the sun makes its appearance. Oh what a beautiful morning…oh what a beautiful day…I’ve got a wonderful feeling…everything’s going my way.

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