Cycling Options for Families with Young Children

This blog was originally posted to the Gear Up Girl Website as part of my Ambassadorship for the 2018 Gear Up Girl Event.

I am a single Mum with three kids ages 2, 5 and 7. Over the years I have had to try a variety of different cycling options to keep me in the saddle while keeping the kids happy – and setting a good example. My own father is a lifelong cyclist and when I had my own children, it became important to me that I show them from an early age the joy that could be experienced on 2-wheels.

When my oldest child had his first birthday his gift was a $100 bike trailer from Big W. The trailer was simple enough to hook up to my very ordinary commuter bike and folded flat for convenient transportation and storage. It was a simple trailer without any bells and whistles but served us well for five years.

1. trailer and bike

Then baby number 2 came along and once she was old enough we regularly hit the road. It is recommended that children don’t ride on a bike until they have excellent head control. The minimum recommended age is 6 months, but I felt safer riding with them from 9 months and didn’t do much riding until they had turned one – I also found it difficult to get a helmet to fit and stay on comfortably much before 9 months of age. With two young children, riding was a great way for me to get some exercise and was guaranteed to send at least one of the kids to sleep.

2. in the trailer

Our bike trailer was light and, for the price rather rugged. It also had room in the back for a small picnic or swimmers and towels as well as other baby paraphernalia. The other great feature was because the trailer had 2 wheels it wasn’t possible for it to tip over – even if the bike should fall the trailer would remain upright keeping the kids safe when loading and unloading. The trailer also had a net to keep out bugs and a rain cover – we don’t generally ride in the rain, but this was great for keeping them warm on cold winter rides. What I didn’t like was that the kids were so low to the ground- the trailer (even when using a flag) wasn’t very visible to cars, and should we be stuck in traffic the kids were both at exhaust pipe level from the neighbouring cars.

3. bike trailer bike seat

My kids are rather tall, and it wasn’t long before they outgrew the suggested height limit for the trailer – although we kept using it for long after that point. As they grew it became an increasing workout for me to pull the weight of the trailer on my bike and we sought mostly flat routes. I love to ride but when I am out with the kids it is all abought fun, exploring and being together and less about pushing the pace, serious hills, or rough terrain.

We also have a Trail-Gator attachment that allows you to turn any child’s bike into a tag-along bike by lifting the front wheel and attaching them to the back of an adult bike. The great thing about this is that the child can ride with you if you are going long distances or covering tricky terrain, but as soon as you reach a safe riding space you can unhook, and they can ride independently.   We only rode with this Trail-Gator Bicycle Tow Bar a few times as we had difficulty getting the child bike to attach correctly (operator error I am sure) but it is another option and something I would like to resurrect now that my oldest can ride under his own steam.

4. Trailer bike and bike seat at school

When I started to look for a new bike, we trialled different cargo bike at specialist bike shops. We loved the long tail cargo bikes and despite being a tad dubious at first, and worried about looking like a lightweight – I began to seriously consider an electric system. But at around $5000 for a decent electric cargo bike it wasn’t an expense I could justify.

By this time child number three had joined our tribe and the bike trailer was no longer enough. For his first birthday he got a Topeak Bike Seat. This was the first time I had ridden with a rack mounted baby seat and I found it much harder to manage than the trailer.   The problem was that the baby seat made the bike very top heavy. Given that you had to balance the bike while inserting a child, and then mount the bike yourself (especially difficult if you don’t have a step through frame) it was very easy to over balance the bike and on several occasions the bike (and the baby) hit the ground.

By this time my oldest child had started school and I made the commitment that if we did use our bike/trailer/baby seat combo to do the school run regularly in the first six months then we could justify the expense of a cargo bike.

It just so happened that shortly thereafter the Taga 2.0 was advertised online as a special Kickstarter project at an affordable price (about $2800). The original Taga was a bike I had lusted over when I only had one child, so I was thrilled they were now offering a bike that easily carried 2 in a bucket at the front with the option of carrying a third child in a rear mounted baby seat or tag-along bike. There were lots of delays with the Kickstarter campaign and the bike took over a year to arrive, but it was well worth the wait. We are now the proud owners of a four person “bike bus”. The Taga 2.0 is a trike with an adult seat behind a bucket holding up to 70kg in a variety of configurations including baby capsule adaptors.

7. Allegra on the Tagalong

When we purchased the Taga 2.0 we had an option on whether to upgrade to an electric bike or not. Boy am I glad we went for the eTaga. The benefits of an ebike are enumerable. The Taga bike itself is heavy (not to mention loading it with occupants and school bags) so pedal assist is lifesaving. It also means that on hot days we can crank the pedal assist level up and arrive at school having cruised up the hills with barely any effort, and certainly without breaking a sweat. The addition of a battery has certainly meant that we ride more frequently especially in hot weather. Plus, it does give us a quicker trip when we are in a hurry.

6. family rides with the taga

In NSW the law states that if you are under 12 or riding in the company of someone under the age of 12 you can ride on footpaths. So legally I can ride our Taga trike on the footpath – however given it size, traversing around other footpath users, and obstacles can be tricky, and we mostly ride on the road. We are also lucky in that most of the regular routes we ride have wide roads with plenty of room for cars to pass around us.

9. taga and tagalong

I always try to be as courteous as possible when riding on the road. Whenever there is space, particularly when riding up a hill, I move as close to the curb as I can to allow cars to pass. We all wear helmets all the time, I also bought cheap tradesman’s vests in Fluro colours from Kmart and the child riding on the back wears one to make them more visible. Our trike is very noticeable, and we are always waving and saying hello to people as we pass. As rather obvious cycle enthusiasts we set the standards by which other cyclists are judged and we try and set them high.

I adore riding with my kids. More often than not all three kids request transport by bike rather than car. It is cooler (both in temperature and style) and allows us to ride right into the school grounds rather than fighting for a parking spot, walking in, and getting into a boiling hot car after school pick up.

8. Taga and independant rider

If you are looking at ways to increase your riding with kids in tow, there are plenty of options out there. Most keen family cyclists are happy to let you have a spin on their rig and many bike shops offer trial periods, so you can test the various options. I highly recommend that you try all the options available before deciding – don’t forget that you need a set up that changes as the kids grow (or new ones join your tribe).

Happy riding!

5. our team ready to ride

Our favourite locations for family rides

  • The Cook’s river bike path
  • Along the waterfront at Sans Souci / Brighton Le Sands
  • The bike paths around Olympic park
  • Bicentennial park at Homebush
  • Lake Gillawarna
  • Centennial Park

Reasons they are our favourites- easy parking, scenic rides with wide paths and not too many hills, toilet stops and non-cycle related bribes (I mean activities) for tired kids, a playground, beach, or water feature.

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Encouraging Children to Ride

This blog was originally posted to the Gear Up Girl Website as part of my Ambassadorship for the 2018 Gear Up Girl Event.

“It’s just like riding a bike” … but riding a bike isn’t always easy.

I have been riding forever and spent most of my childhood whipping round our neighbourhood on two wheels.  Not only that, I have spent many of my ‘mum’ years riding with my kids behind me in a trailer – that’s why I found to so hard to understand when my oldest child was really fighting against learning to ride.

My oldest son started school at five years old in 2016 and I naively believed that he would just suddenly start riding a bike and enjoy it as much as I did. However, turns out it took us a lot longer to get him confident on two wheels.  Here are my tips for getting children riding independently.

KNOW YOUR CHILD

My son, while outwardly exuberant, lacks a lot of confidence when it’s him alone facing a challenge.  Like all childhood milestones, bike riding comes at different times for everyone and I needed to wait until he was ready, maintaining a positive ‘can-do” attitude the whole time.

START YOUNG

No matter at what point a child starts riding a 2-wheeled bike, there are plenty of options for younger kids to enjoy the freedom of wheels.  Plastic ride on trikes, scooters, balance bikes, push along parent handle bikes, a baby seat on the back of an adult bike and tag along bikes.  Getting active on a bike and getting kids outdoors is a brilliant activity for the entire family no matter the age or skill level.

 

CHOOSE THE RIGHT BIKE

Originally, we had my son riding his uncle’s old BMX from back in the day.  While lovingly restored, in great condition and the right size for my son, it was far too heavy a bike for him to learn with.  He had difficulty gaining the required momentum and even lifting the bike up from the ground.  Hit up some speciality bike shops, talk to other parents and let your kids go for a spin on a friend’s bike before you choose the ride for them.  The difference was instant the moment we switched to a more appropriate bike.

GIVE THEM A SAFE PLACE TO RIDE

When I was a child we had long driveways and quiet roads on which to practise riding.  Now with higher density living and more traffic on the roads than ever before kids struggle to find a safe place to ride.  Luckily, I have a car big enough to keep the kids bikes in the boot on a semi-permanent basis.  We live close to some great parks which have excellent bike paths and can head for a quick spin after school.  Netball courts and quiet back streets also make for bike riding havens.

SET UP A BIKE POSSE

Our breakthrough really came when I made a date after school one day to meet some other mums and kids at a local park.  The other children were all more confident riders and it wasn’t long before my son forgot his fears to chase after the others and suddenly he could ride.

MODEL BIKE RIDING BEHAVIOURS

My kids know how much I love riding and being outside.  Often when I get the chance for a little “me” time I will jump on my bike and head off for a spin.  Show your kids how much you enjoy riding, go on a ride with them – it doesn’t have to be far or fast, just enjoy.  If you don’t own a bike, ask around, someone likely has one sitting in the shed that you can borrow.

 

SAFETY FIRST

Would you buckle your child into their car seatbelt and then get in and drive off without putting your own seatbelt on first?  Remember when we ride with our children it is important that we show them that safety is not just for beginning riders.  Always wear a correctly fitted bike helmet and make sure you teach them basic cycling safety from an early age –obey the road rules, use lights/hi-vis in low light conditions and respect the other road users.

Bike riding is a skill for life.  It broadens our transport options, benefits our health and is a staple part of childhood for many kids.  Get out there today and share riding with your own kids.

Gear Up Girl – Brand Ambassador

I am super excited to have been chosen as one of 20 brand ambassadors for the Bicycles NSW Gear Up Girl Ride in March 2018.

IMG_2135.JPGGear Up Girl is a Bicycle NSW initiative, run with the support of the Heart Foundation, that provides opportunities for women to experience the pleasure of riding a bicycle.

I love to ride, on my own or with the kids and I would love for you to join us!

The kids and I participated in the 20km gear up girl ride last year and will be participating in the 20km ride again on March 11th 2018.

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The 20km ride starts at Wolli Creek and follows along the shores of Botany Bay and over the Captain Cook Bridge before finishing at Cronulla.  It is almost entirely on bike paths and quiet back streets.

You have to be 8years old to ride on your own bike (under eights can be attached to a parents bike as my kids will be).

If you register before January 6th it is only $41 which includes a fully marshalled event, great support and a rest station as well as the all important FINISHERS MEDAL.

Best of all, anyone under the age of 16 on event day rides for free!  Whether they are attached to your bike or riding under their own steam they are cost free and still get a medal!

Even better if you use the code “joinmegan” you are eligible for a 10% discount.  And to top it off you can #RideWithMe.

Online Journaling : Day One

I have always loved journaling, it may be that I have a slight stationery addiction, or it might be a reflection of how much I would adore to read back through my own childhood.
For years I have kept four journals (one for me and one for each of the kids). I will readily admit that keeping them updated had become a bit of a chore, and I was very close to running out of room in one journal which was going to force a decision – do I buy a new journal or change method.  So I recently made the switch to digital journaling. It was a hard switch for me as I adore something tactile to hold, but a month in and I am so glad I made the change.
My process was such that every time one of the kids did something cute or memorable I would jot it down on a bit of paper or in a note on my phone.  Then once a month I would sit down with all the journals and expand on the notes in handwritten form.  I am rather long-winded so this process took me a while.  While I love the end product I was not loving the process.
So I bit the bullet and investigated digital journaling.  I did some online research and settled on the app DAY ONE.
Day One is available in iTunes (android and online versions are in the pipeline) it come highly recommended, has been around for many years and it has completely revolutionised my journaling.
Features I love
  • Tags – one of the biggest time wasters in keeping separate journals for all my kids was that if we did something altogether, then I had to write it out in 4 separate journals.  With Day One I just write an entry and tag it with each child’s name.  That way the same entry is logged in each child’s journal
  • Photos – I can upload photos into my journal entries, there is a maximum of 10 per entry but its such an amazing tool.
  • Social Media Links – It was relatively simple to use the IFTTT integrations they have to hook up my Instagram feed.  Every time I post on Instagram it is automatically saved as a Day One entry. This integration is also available with Facebook although I have yet to set it up.
  • Date and Location stamping – when you upload an image Day One will automatically tag that entry with the time and location the photo was taken.  You can of course edit this if you choose.
  • PDF exporting – its so simple to create a PDF from the Day One app – you can choose entries from a specific journal, special tags or a set date range.  Then export and you have a PDF of your journal. My intention is to PDF each year for each child (and for me) and then get them printed and bound.
  • Reminders – you can set a reminder for a certain time each day to journal – mine is set every night for after the kids are in bed.

Features I don’t love

  • There is no android or web app.  I am a much faster typist on my computer and some long entries I would much rather use a full keyboard and web interface than type on my phone.  I have overcome this by typing on my PC and emailing to my phone and copying into Day One but will be so glad when my journals are available online.
  • I am worried about how much storage space they will let me have.  This was the first app I have ever paid for (it was $7.95 I think) and I already have 385 entries and 638 photos.   At some point I assume I will need to pay for a bigger account.
  • My pinky finger on my right hand is sore.  I use it to support my phone when I lie in bed and type and I’ve been using the app so much that I have a sore finger – boo hoo.
  • THAT’S ALL – I LOVE THIS APP.

How I use Day One

  • You can have lots of separate journals.  I have one for each of the kids and one for me, another for exercise and so on.  I probably should just put all the kids entries into one journal as I use tags so heavily but I am working it out as I go along.
  • Each day (generally at night) I go through my phone and add any pictures that I take and compose entries it really does only take a few minutes and I have a great record of our days.
  • As I go during the day, if something memorable happens I will add a new entry to a journal I have called “To complete” and will just make a quick note without worrying about specifics.  At the end of the day I will come back and flesh this entry out,  save it to the correct journal – and hit save DONE.
  • As mentioned above every Instagram post I make is automatically imported into Day One.  I have these added to a journal called INSTAGRAM.  Each night I go into this journal, edit the details to include more personal insights and save it in the appropriate journal.
  • I adore the “timehop” app and Facebooks “on this day feature”.  So each day – normally in the morning before I get out of bed, I go through those two programs and import my “past” into Day One.  I haven’t found an automated way to do this so at the moment it involves saving photos from Facebook entries to my phone, copying the text and manually pasting them both into DAY One.  It is time consuming but I am so excited that the end product will be a pretty complete reckoning of my life in the digital age (hello fellow Facebook addicts).

So the end result, if you have the $7.95 to spare and have thought that you might like to one day look back upon your life I can highly recommend DAY ONE.

Illawarra Fly and Zip Line Tour

Illawarra Fly is in the Southern Highlands, just outside the small village of Robertson. It’s roughly an hour and a half drive from Sydney either along the coast via Wollongong or straight down the Hume Highway. The facility to easy to find with plenty of parking. There is a small café and gift shop on site and the toilets are in the main building.  There are picnic tables available and many families had packed their own lunch.

The Zip Line experience includes entry to the Tree Top Walk. Zip-Line participants are required to sign a waiver, they must be over 4 years old and 105cm tall (their height will be checked before they enter the safety briefing). Riders between 105-120cms are required to ride tandem with an adult. The combined weight limit for each ride (tandem or single) is 120kg, although the waiver you sign states this as 110kg. Additionally, you are not allowed to ride if you are beyond the first trimester of pregnancy and you are required to have a reasonable degree of physical ability.

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Zip Lines tours run every 30 minutes. Our ride had 7 participants including 2 couples, my 6-year-old who was riding solo and my 4-year-old who was riding tandem with me.

Next to the entrance is a small building where you are taken for your safety briefing. There is a short video that explains a few simple rules and gives you a taste of what is to come.  The rules included, no touching the trees, no bouncing on the platforms (known as cloud stations), and of course, have fun.

Then we are asked to perform a few simple movements to prove that we are physically able to complete the course. The movements are basic things like squatting to prove you could get onto a cloud station safely.

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Then it is time to get suited up. Children were guided into their harnesses by a staff member while adults were instructed on how to put them on ourselves, each harness was tightened and checked by the staff and helmets completed the ensemble.

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Once you are all suited up, you follow the path down the hill carrying your gear. The walk is not long but children may need help carrying the heavy clip that attaches you to the zip line. Family and friends who are not riding are able to accompany you to the first platform and after you launch can continue down to the tree top walk where they have a great view of the zip line riders overhead.

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Riding is great fun, you are high in the tree canopy and there are gorgeous views all around. There is a staff member to guide you on and off at every cloud station, you simply sit down on the wide part of your harness and lift your feet up to launch. Once you reach a platform you point your toes into a net and stand up – simple. If you are riding tandem however, remember that you will have the extra weight of someone on your lap to lift as you land.

The staff members are all really fantastic, helpful and encouraging. My 6-year-old went before me and they made sure to take good care of him when he reached the platforms as well as giving great guidance and being very knowledgeable about the area.

I am not afraid of heights, and, I knew that we were all securely attached the pulley system, but still- that moment, when you had to let go of the guide railings to move around a tree 35m in the air, made you feel alive.

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Now, I knew we were going to be zip lining but the rope bridges came as a surprise (they do tell you about them in the briefing). From the first cloud station to the second and then on to the third you walk over 2 rope bridges. If you walk carefully and step in the middle of the rungs the bridges are quite steady (although you are free to bounce if you wish).

It was a proud parenting moment seeing my 6-year-old step bravely out onto the first bridge. Then it was my turn. My 4 year old did so well, especially since the steps were about as wide apart as her maximum stride. We struggled a little on the first bridge as I was trying to hold her hand to give her support. On the second bridge, we managed to get her hands holding on to the hand rails which was much easier.

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My two kids handled the experience well- the heights didn’t faze them. The guide was telling me that they frequently have to head out on the bridges and coax across people who get stuck. This is not an experience for the faint of heart, those afraid of heights or if you get particularly anxious. The staff, and fellow riders were very supportive and I would encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and try it.

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The remainder of the experience was 2 more zip line rides, a super long one and then another final ride where the guides encouraged us to try some tricks – just letting go and flapping like a bird was enough for some but another member of our group even tried flipping upside down. The zip line finishes right near the start of the treetop walk. A perfect spot to meet other members of your party and take in the views from the elevated platforms.

The tree top walk is 500m of elevated platforms on the escarpment overlooking the Illawarra region, 710m above sea level. Even on a cloudy day there are beautiful views out to the ocean and up and down the coast.

The walkways are very safe with high fencing so kids can explore. However, you are still standing suspended over the tree tops and can feel the two cantilevered ends sway in the wind so it can be an unnerving experience.

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In the middle of the walkway is Knights Tower than rises 106 steps above the platform, so you are standing 45m above the forest floor. The climb is worth the effort, you get an amazing view and kids will get a kick out of being so high.

The entire experience, zip lining, exploring the tree top walk and wandering back to the shop will take about 2.5 hours. The surrounding bush itself is just beautiful and there are displays along to way to learn about the flora and fauna of the area.

Illawarra Fly is a fantastic experience, a chance for kids to get out and appreciate the natural beauty of our country and the new Zip Lining experience is a great way to inject some adrenalin into a beautiful day out.

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Top Tips

Take warm clothes – it can be rather cool in the southern highlands, even in summer and especially when standing on the escarpment or high up in the trees.

Make a day trip of your visit to the area. Stop for pies in Robertson or to visit some cute shops in Bowral or Moss Vale. Let the kids run wild in the nearby National parks, visit Carrington Falls (the lookout is currently closed for renovation), take a walk-through Minnamurra Rainforest, or enjoy a scenic drive along Jamberoo Mountain Road or Macquarie Pass and back along the Sea Cliff bridge.

No loose items are allowed on the zip lines. If you wish to take a camera / phone with you it will need to be attached to you with a lanyard or in a pouch. Suitable pouches are available to purchase at the ticket office. Lockers are available to store your belongings while you ride.

You can take a Go Pro with you – if it is secured properly. If you are riding tandem however the Go Pro footage will be obscured by the rider in front.

Tickets are cheaper if you buy online before you go, with a 10% discount available.

If you are visiting during peak time ring and book your spot on the Zip Line tour as they can fill up quickly especially during the middle of the day.

Be aware of the limitations of members of your group. For some people the height of the zip line and Tree Top walk will just make them uncomfortable.

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The tickets for this event were provided by ellaslist and this review originally appeared on their website.

Summer Of Fun

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I have a dear friend whose kids are several years older than mine.  For years she has inspired me with her enthusiasm for school holidays.   While so many parents are out their bemoaning the arrival of summer she is out their planning to have fun and enjoy her kids.  Yes, kids are hard work.  Yes, sometimes I would do anything for a break.  Yes, I just want a clean house for 2 seconds. Yes, the summer holidays are long.

But I chose to be a Mum, my kids are pretty darn awesome, and hard as it is to see sometimes they will only be young for such a short period of time, and I want to make these breaks a time of joy that they will always remember.

So rather than face the next six weeks with dread, I am going to take a leaf from my friends book.  I am looking forward to this time with my family.  I am going to enjoy spending time with the kids (especially the Boy who I have missed since he started big-school).  We are going to have a Summer to remember – a Summer Of Fun.

Yesterday was the last day of school for the year.  When we got home I got the kids started making lists of the things they wanted to do in the holidays.  We don’t have lots of money to spend and we aren’t going anywhere exotic, but we can still make plans and do fun things together – and that is the thing that counts/

I wish I had of been more prepared with some supplies to make a fancy list of our adventures.  And I wish I had put some thought into how I will make this all work but I am excited with how our plans have started.

The Boy’s amazingly dedicated Kindy teacher sent home a few notes on things that he can do to keep up his progress over the summer break – practise keeping his writing evenly sized and neat, working on his reading comprehension and revising maths concepts.  So part of each day will be 20 minutes of quiet reading and then 20 minutes working on some of these ideas (in whatever ways we come up with).

I have included the start of our list below.  I encourage you to enjoy this summer, look on this time as a blessing not a burden.  Sit down and watch a movie, then get up and go explore.  Even if you have to work most of the holidays you can still make it a time to remember – host a dinner party on a weekend, try a new food or meet your family at the door with water pistols. I would love to hear from you if you have any plans for the break.  And feel free to join us for any of our adventures.

The Summer of Fun List

  • rehearse and put on a show for daddy
  • watch a movie under the stars
  • go to a drive in movie
  • set up a waterslide in the backyard
  • take the train into the city and go exploring
  • visit a new beach
  • go fishing
  • visit poppy
  • check out a new library
  • have a water balloon fight
  • explore a new scooter park
  • bike ride round Olympic park
  • make a giant sculpture out of recycled cardboard
  • spend a day reading new books
  • Christmas craft
  • write a letter to Santa
  • go to the cinema
  • Lego day
  • have a treasure hunt
  • build a fort
  • Left or Right adventure (go for a drive and flip a coin to choose your direction)
  • perform service for someone less fortunate
  • visit Karloo Pools
  • visit the disused Helensburgh rail way tunnels
  • visit family in the country
  • cook sushi
  • bake and decorate cookies
  • prepare and serve a fancy dinner
  • invite friend for dinner
  • have school friends over for a play date
  • have a PJ day
  • make jam
  • complete some scouting activities

So far, so good.  Day number 1 of the holidays, we participated in parkrun, went to visit Santa and chilled out with a friend all day.  We finished up with some sprinkler fun in the yard and salad and steamed dumplings for dinner.

2016: Running gets a big TICK

At the start of the year I set myself two running goals (and later added a third)!

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GOAL 1: run 5km in under 30 minutes

GOAL 2: run at least 20 parkruns

GOAL 3: run a half marathon

 

 

 

Well here we are facing down the last few weeks of the year and I have achieved so much

 GOAL 1:

img_3063After several faltering attempts with pausing and narrowly missing my time – on November 14th I finally ran 5km in under 30 minutes. I honestly used to think this was an impossible goal but I did this with comparative ease. I am not saying it was easy, and once my 5kms were done I did stop my watch and walk home. But I am amazed at how far my fitness has come.

I will say that this run came a week after a half marathon in Carcoar and during that week I only did one 6km run so I was running well rested and I think that helped. Plus, it was my first outing with the new Garmin 235 I got for my birthday and I clearly had something to prove.

GOAL 2:

I started the year right, running the parkrun double at St Peters and Campbelltown on New Year’s Day. Since then I have managed to hit parkrun relatively frequently. I normally run/walk with all three of my kids so this is never going to be a race for me, it’s more important that the kids get out and enjoy participating with me. We have volunteered a handful of times in various roles and run in various configurations with a double and single pram as well as recently using the ergo baby to carry the Baby now that The Girl is old enough for her own barcode and can motor the 5kms on her own.

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So, my 20 parkruns for the year goal got a big fat tick on Saturday December 10th. During the year, most of my parkruns are at our local Panania course, we also did Menai a few times, St Peters and Campbelltown and the beautiful Fingal Bay while on holidays.

GOAL 3:

img_2648Running a half was on my long-term goal list for “sometime” in the next few years. However, when an opportunity presented itself in April I showed up with 36 hours notice and ran/walked the Canberra Half in 2:48. That gave me the confidence that I could cover 21.1kms and then led me on and on. In the end, I have done 3 official half’s this year – dropping my time to 2:26. Even more importantly in my most recent event – the Carcoar Cup, my PB time stayed at the 2:26 I set on the Gold Coast in July. But rather than running in the incredibly flat Gold Coast I ran up a huge mountain. As well as that I ran 35km at the CPU event as part of a relay, ran numerous other smaller event with my family and ran close to and over 20kms on at least 5 other training runs.

 

THE RESULT:

As 2016 comes to a close, I am stronger, fitter, lighter and faster than I was at the beginning of the year. More importantly I am happier, healthier and have made some amazing new friends. I could not be prouder of my efforts and how far I have come, and I am thrilled with the example that I am setting for my little people. It still shocks me regularly that I am a runner. How the heck did that happen? But for whatever reason I have found something that I enjoy and I’m just going to keep doing it. Now what goals should I set for next year?

2016 Events

Carcoar Cup  6/11/2016
21.1km (up a mountain)
2:26:58 Pace: 6:58

Shire Mile 5/11/16
1mile (1.6km)
08:22 Pace: 5:13 min /km

Centennial Park Ultra 100km team of 3 7/8/2016
35.78km (split into laps 3.54km long)
4:05:34 Pace: 6:52

City to Surf 14/8/16
14km
1:38:34 Pace: 7:02 min/km

Georges River Festival of the Feet 16/7/16
3km Fun Run (with the kids)
25:34 Pace: 8:31km

Gold Coast Airport Half Marathon 02/07/2016
21.1km
2:26:40 Pace: 6:57 min/km

Sydney Harbour 10km 10/07/2016
10km
1:03:43 Pace: 6:21 min/km

Oatley Park Fun Run 17/04/2016
2.5km (with the kids)
32:33 Pace: 13:01 min/km

2016 Australian Running Festival – Canberra 10/04/2016
21.1km
2:48:45 Pace: 7:59 min/km