Monthly Archives: February 2012

Climbing my ‘Mountain’

When I think about even attempting to climb/walk the Coolum Boardwalk…I am immediately exhilarated….I LOVE a challenge!  I know its going to be a massive task to do it, but that’s whats so exciting…to push my limits further than Ive ever done before.

Daunting..exciting..’fire in the belly’…heartwarming (I am so touched by the support Ive received so far)…this would have to be one of the most emotionally charged tasks I have ever set myself, in my life.  Bring it ON!

The Coolum Boardwalk is my ‘special place’ – Ive spent many an evening/dusk, pushing up and down that Boardwalk, reaching into one of my passions in life (photography), taking photos of the beautiful colours, ocean, and landscape along the way. I feel ‘at home’ along this Boardwalk.   This is one other reason why this Climb is so important to me….because of where it is.

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‘Stand up’ Dancing and Walking down the Beach…

I have never been a ‘jealous’ person…but I do admit that whenever I see people walking down the beach, hand in hand…or couples up on the dance floor, dancing together, I do feel a little envious, that Im ‘not able to do this’.  My NEW way of thinking, that ANYTHING really is possible, has changed this to…you know what, I AM going to do this one day!!

When this is going to happen…I am going to feel what it is like to do this, like other people do all the time…it is going to be AMAZING!! 😀


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My progress so far…February 2012

This post is for me to record my progress so far, in my quest to achieve these Goals..I am concentrating mainly on the BIG one (walking up Coolum Boardwalk)..but I know the other two will happen naturally, in their own time as well 🙂

From late 2011, where I barely had the confidence to stand up out of my chair, on my crutches, I have gradually but carefully built my body and confidence up to, now, today February 2, 2012 – being able to do ‘6 laps’ (approx 30metres each way), of a walkway at the gym.  Thats a whopping (approx) 180 metres!! Wow!  I have to tell you, it is amazing to feel this sense of achievement 😀  *The last ‘lap of the walkway’ was a bit’scary though lol…my chair was right up the other end of the walkway…I felt myself start to falter alittle, and thinking uh oh my chair is right up the other end…totally out of my comfort zone. I was almost going to get someone to get my chair….but I pushed through, and I DID IT! 🙂

I now have, as of today February 2, 2012, more of a set Plan on how I am going to conquer these goals…rather than it being a mere thought in my head, and being committed to doing it in my mind, I now have, thanks to the advice of a friend, and also trainers/staff at my gym, an actual set plan of how I am going to start conquering this ‘Mountain’ (and the other two Fitness goals).  I even have ‘written homework’ to do, which my Trainer has set me….how did THAT happen, written homework, from a fitness Trainer??  haha 😉

This also means, not only is it very real….and the commitment has gone even deeper…I am now accountable to others – and that in itself is a little daunting..cant back out now! haha….but its all good…its what I need, to MAKE it happen!

OK so…walking is very slowly progressing, set plan is starting to take shape, I have a trainer session next week to set up a workout program that is going to suit these Goals…its all Systems GO, from here! Wow…

Now that I have a Team of people behind me, supporting me in this…this is all becoming VERY real! lol…OMG its not just a ‘possibility’, it IS happening.  This is huge.  This has the potential to become something very, very special in my life.

February 6, 2012 – it has suddenly hit me how HUGE and REAL this all is…..I was so pumped up and confident that I went to the gym and walked 240m (approx), and then did a massive workout afterwards..I am SO enjoying this new revitalised energy I have found deep inside myself, lately!  I also have my first ‘steps along the Boardwalk’ planned for next week, a friend has kindly offered to come with me once a week, to practice walking the Boardwalk, even if its just a few metres the first time…each step I take, is one step closer to me being able to Climb my Mountain!

February 7, 2012 – my body isn’t enjoying the MASSIVE work I put into it yesterday…OUCH!! haha…and I have had moments of ‘what am I doing, can I do this…’ before I remind myself – I am just at the start of stepping up my fitness to this level needed..I CAN and WILL do this..its just going to take a bit of time and a lot of effort! 🙂

February 9, 2012 – my first ‘official Climb PT session’ with Mike.  And what a session it was….WOW…we didnt add/change a lot of exercises today (we discussed what to focus on, what my needs were/are going to be, how we are going to approach this, along with adding two new exercises), but as today was my first ‘official step’ towards these Goals, I couldnt help but feel…overwhelmed, pumped up, daunted, excited….all at the same time.  Wow – the journey towards these HUGE fitness Goals has just stepped up a massive gear, today! 😀

February 15, 2012 – Well todays the day – today is the day that I take my first steps along that Boardwalk…along my Climb.  Unbelievably nervous, out of my comfort zone, psyching myself up bigtime, even a little teary at some point during the day.  What an emotional ride this is…the Boardwalk itself means something special to me, Ive spent many an evening ‘pushing’ the Boardwalk in my chair, enjoying the breathtaking scenes, as the day fades, and the awesome colours of nature at dusk hits the ocean and sky.

After some encouraging words from Stacie – I head off…as I drive closer to the Boardwalk, and as it comes into sight….I really can feel the intense focus come over me – I call it my ‘race face’ – the same focus hits me, as I can see in racecar drivers as they are sitting on the Grid, waiting for that green light that signals the start of the race.  Their eyes are SO focused (love it!), and thats how mine are feeling, at this point.

I arrive at the Boardwalk, and after some nervous chatting with Stacie, we set off…no big expectations, Im thinking ‘even if I only walk 10metres, Im going to give it everything Ive got’.  It feels…exciting, daunting, even a little scarey to be way out of my comfort zone – this is why its so important to have Stacie with me, to reassure me that I am not doing this alone.  We chat away as Im walking (Im a ‘chatterer’ when Im nervous…lol)….and I start to feel a little more comfortable, the more time goes on.  I walk a distance…then stop as I ‘think’ Ive had enough – but then, as is typical me ‘show me I can do a little, and I immediately want to reach beyond my limits to do even MORE!’ – after I catch my breath, we set off and I do a second stint, with Stacie by my side.

Turns out…with two seperate ‘stints’, with a rest inbetween, I manage to walk 122.14metres (Stacie kindly brought a tape measure along, so we could accurately measure my progress).  Wowzers!!  As Stacie said “I NAILED IT!!”.

Unbelievably pumped (and already a little sore, and ‘jelly legged’ (lol)…BRING ON the next stint!

February 16, 2012 – I backed up yesterdays massive effort, with a PT session with Mike….I dont know whether it was the adrenaline still pumping inside of me from the night before, of the massive distance I covered (which was probably part of how I managed to walk that far, with the adrenaline and ‘I can do this’, pumping inside of me)…but….WOW….what a session.  I feel SO alive, so pumped, an UNREAL feeling!!

THIS is what life is all about.

February 20, 2012 – Headed to the gym for another PT session with Mike – I was SO pumped, as the next day I was about to head off to Melbourne for a very exciting ‘100Things’ adventure.  I fully intended to ‘take it alittle easy’ (and Mike knew this…lol), as I didnt want to tire myself for my awesome trip away – but I ended up having the opposite type of session – fully committed – LOVED it!


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Joining the gym – it changed my life!

My journey at my gym (Suncoast Fitness in Maroochydore) started officially on 9 October 2008.  But, my journey with them started a few days prior, when, suddenly one morning I woke up and had the thought ‘I cant do this anymore, something needs to change’.  I felt like a ‘fat nobody in a wheelchair’ and I just knew there was something out there better for me, and it just hit me – ‘Join a Gym’ – the feeling was like a bolt of lightning, I had to follow it.

After a number of phonecalls to various gyms/fitness centres, and a visit to a couple, I came away with a feeling of, maybe this isn’t the right way to go, I just don’t feel that THIS is the answer, somehow – but it kept niggling at me, to keep trying.  I kept Google-ing….searching… knowing that there WAS an answer out there somewhere,  and suddenly hit on ‘Suncoast Fitness’.   I called them the next day, and I got nothing but encouragement to come in.  They, unlike some others, were completely open in regards to fitness vs my disability.  At another centre, I had received “yeah, we might be able to find something for you to do” (the disability seemed to be a ‘block’ to them) – this was not the answer, I wasn’t “looking for something to do”, I was “NEEDING for something to change”.  I received brick walls at other places…at Suncoast, I received an open door, even on the telephone.  Awesome.  I had my ‘answer’.

Suncoast Fitness PT, Mike - who was to become instrumental on my journey of self belief and fitness

I wandered in the gym door, and was greeted with a welcoming, smiley face of one of the Trainers at the gym – the very thing I needed, to encourage me to continue going through that door…I was quite nervous and wondering if this really was my answer.  This particular trainer (along with others who assisted and trained me along the way) was to become instrumental in my striving to keep going, that I CAN do it – even when, especially at the beginning (and at the many times that my body/health has let me down), when I just was not aware at that stage, just what my body was capable of, or at times felt ‘is this all worth it, really?’ – this man just seemed to know even if he didn’t know me well at the time, that I was more capable of what I, myself thought I was.  In fact, every staff member at Suncoast who Ive met and who has taken their time to train me or advise me has been nothing short of fantastic with me, and I cannot thank them enough, for their encouragement and support.  What Im also impressed about is, the way I wasn’t just blindly led into doing ‘any old exercise’, staff did their research re spina bifida, and made sure I was doing the right thing.  In fact, the injuries Ive sustained while at the gym, were of my doing (oops!) – my determined mind is my undoing at times….to want to push the limits even further!  Show me I can do something…and I always want to take it to the next level, immediately! Haha…

Slowly, over the next few months, sure enough, things began to change, not only in my body, but in the place that I NEEDED to change – in my mind.  I suddenly realised, I am not just ‘a fat nobody in a wheelchair’, I am ME, a woman, Tania!   That feeling was something I hadn’t felt for a long time…and what also brought me to this was, the sense of belonging Ive obtained while at the gym…even just chatting with other members, and friends, between sets etc, that’s awesome – Im just ‘one of the crowd, working out’ when Im at that gym…Im not ‘a disabled person out in the community’, I am Tania, a member here, and I BELONG.

My ‘gym journey’ has been a constant up & down battle…but my MIND has won every single time.  That’s half the battle with life…if you can get the mind right – the rest follows naturally.  As Ive  proven to myself time and time again.  Ive had to take several ‘injury/illness breaks’ away from the gym, and exercise in general – but what Ive found is that, even when Im not able to be there, I really miss the place!  Im not sure whether its to do with the awesome feelings of achievement I get every time I work out there, or whether it’s the fabulous people (staff and members alike)…maybe it’s a combination of both!

Fast forward, over many ups and downs with my health, but getting back to the gym whenever Ive been able to…little did I know that, three years down the track in late 2011, I would be reaching for my crutches (I haven’t walked since 1994 when I had injuries to my right foot which landed me ‘prematurely’ in my wheelchair) and walking, slowly, down the walkway at the gym…Wow!  I remember that day like it was yesterday – I was inspired to get up and walk, by hearing about a man in a wheelchair who was, along with a team of ‘pushers’, endeavouring to complete the Melbourne Half-Marathon (21km), that day.  No, he wasn’t pushing his chair the entire distance himself, but he completed the marathon HIS way.

ANYTHING is possible, we can just do things in our own individual ways….but we still do them.

This ‘getting up and walking’ stirred a fire deep inside of my belly…and I got to thinking….hmmm….maybe, just maybe, I may be able to achieve what I thought was previously impossible??

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