About Me

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I am the 45 year old mother of Josie (17), Jacob (14) and Fergus (11) and the wife of Mark. We live in Newhaven on beautiful Phillip Island with various animals including our dog Charlie. I am a recently trained teacher (third year in the classroom) who is busy juggling family, career and my journey to lose weight and be healthy. I have so many balls in the air . . . hopefully, one day I might catch one . . .

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I DID IT!!!!

After watching my husband compete in swim run events all over the peninslua and Bass Coast, I finally decided enough's enough and had a go myself. The "Channel Challenge" is a huge, local event whereby competitors (this year over six hundred) swim across the 500m Channel between San Remo (the main land) and Phillip Island, then do a 2 k run back over the bridge to the post office and finally the finish line outside the local pub (when the event was run 25 years ago with 57 competitors, the publican said he would sponsor it, provided the race finished outside the pub). It's always a great day and for the past 9 or so years, I've stood on the bridge cheering Mark on, saying to myself "next year, I'll lose weight and have a go". And I finally did!

I've been training by walking fast over the bridge and doing a bit of pool swimming and since January I have been swimming with Mark and a group of local people who call themselves "The Turtle Smugglers". This is because originally when the group began they were middle aged men who looked like they were smuggling turtles up their jumpers rather than budgies in their togs! They do a 1.6km swim at a local beach 3 times a week. The first time I went, I could only swim half of one way but gradually I worked up to being able to go down and back to complete the whole 1.6k. Very slowly I might add. Most people had practically packed up and gone home before I finished, but I did improve heaps over the weeks.

The lovely thing this year that it was a real family affair with our oldest son competing for the third time (even though technically he's not old enough to enter!) and our daughter joining in too. Here we are outside our house on the walk into San Remo.

Luckily, our youngest Fergus didn't compete so we had someone to watch the bags!

Here Mark and I are getting ready for the race . . . I took some advice from a seasoned triathlete and put baby oil on--which meant I could get my wetsuit off out of the water, but I still need Mark to help me get it on!

A view of the swimmers from the bridge. I'm in there somewhere! The swimmers left in 3 waves a minute apart. The event has to take place on the dead tide just as the tide is changing as the current is so strong at other times. The open men (18-39) went first, then the women, then the senior men and junior men. I was thrilled that there were still plenty of people in the water when I got out.

Jacob did a brilliant time of 16.32 minutes!!

Very flattering, eh?? I decided I wouldn't try to run, but rather "walked fast" for the two km to the finish. I thought I would be at least 30 minutes, so was very pleased to finish in 27.12 minutes! Mark did a personal best time of 17.24 minutes and we were very proud of Josie who finished in just under 21 minutes.

Celebrating our achievement in the final leg of the race--the pub--with our friends Cynthia and Clare. On Australia day (last Tuesday) I lined up to compete in a 1.2k swim in Inverloch, a much more low key event than the Channel Challenge . . . and no run. My training partner Jenny and Mark thought it would be a good thing to help with my nerves and this was probably right as I was completely unprepared for the fact that I would totally panic when the gun went off and everyone started running into the water. I was out of breath before I even started swimming! Then the current was so strong that I couldn't get anywhere! I thought I'd float on my back for a while and ended up going backwards! I struggled to get to the second marker, and I decided to turn back, although at least I could get back under my own steam and didn't have to be fished out by a life guard. Everyone was very kind about the whole thing and I wasn't too upset, but I was just so thrilled to have been succesful today (and not last, even!) as I was really scared that I would panic again. Instead it was a lovely swim. The water was so clear I could see the bottom and it was terrific to see the bridge that I walk or drive over everyday from a different perspective.

I'm disappointed that I haven't posted more recently. I had difficulty getting my photos off my camera so I haven't posted on the 100 day challenge, unfortunately. Have many thoughts and musings on the weight loss thing, too, and would also like to share some lovely photos from my birthday, so hopefully will get around to that soon. Had quite a few drinks bought for me today, then a lovely visit with Cynthia and Clare and I'm going to bed one happy girl. Night, night!


  1. What an awesome effort - good for you! I can imagine that the sense of achievement is phenomenal when you look back to where you've come from. I'm (unfortunately) at the start, but have managed 3 gym sessions and 2 walks this week. Small steps......

  2. YA... well done girl! You are amazing. And I bet that publican is very happy too, with everyone finishing at his pub.. hot and THIRSTY! lol

  3. YAY well done Lesley, you must be so proud of yourself. Life is much too short to be a spectator. Sounds a great challenge and a great family day.

  4. Lesley, Congratulations on finishing the race. Wow! Amazing. :)

  5. Lesley you are so awesome!

  6. WOW are the first words that come to mind, i can't even begin to imagine the exhilliration you must have felt. I think you are so very brave and can honestly say i had not even considered competing in something like this.

    You are quite inspiring Lesley, congratulations on finishing, and thank you i will take this away as food for thought and start looking for some local challenges.

    Cheers, Donz

  7. wow how fantastic and the photos just show it all, congrats. Orlenna