Final Air Yoga Stretch

While visiting the Gili Islands I undertook some intensive yoga classes and when I returned to Perth I wanted to continue with the stretching.

Unsure which classes to take, I then remembered former Toastmaster (and occasional Cirque du Soleil physiotherapist) Trevor had started Air Yoga. Choice made, I purchased the 20 lesson pass and for the past six months I have been hanging around at Air Yoga’s Leederville studio.

Hanging Around Air Yoga

I took Beginner Air Yoga classes first to adapt to the hammock and learn the basic moves including how to go upside down. Besides inversions, the hammocks are used for stretching in many different positions both from in the hammock and from on the floor.

The exercises were tough and I always looked forward to the final relaxation position, lying in the hammock.

Air Yoga is great for flexibility and core body strength. The yoga classes complemented my triathlon training and served my tight running legs well.

In the six months I improved my Air Yoga movements substantially. Although Friday was my last Air Yoga session in Perth, I intend to continue similar exercises in South America.

Farewell Banyandah Toastmasters – for now

After four years, last week was my final Banyandah Toastmasters meeting – at least for now.

Toastmasters is an international organisation aiming to improve people’s public speaking and leadership skills. Located opposite Maylands train station near Dome Cafe, Banyandah Toastmasters is Western Australia’s oldest Toastmasters club having started in 1974.

I joined Banyandah in November 2011 to improve my communication skills and participating in the club has had a significant positive impact. In addition to completing the ten speech Competent Communicator Award, I have entered speech contests, created the club’s website and was twice Club President.

I have learnt from and shared many fun evenings with my fellow members, including Matt, Kym, Ross, Anita, Keith and Adam. The positive and jovial atmosphere is one of Banyandah’s key attributes.

Public speaking can always be improved and practised and, as Banyandah is such a welcoming club, I may well be back there then upon returning to Perth.

Following Dreams

In one month’s time, I’ll be seeing Pearl Jam play live in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Joining my favourite band’s most fanatical fans in concert in South America was one of my dreams.

Several months earlier I decided to follow my dreams. Since then I’ve quit my job, simplified my life and, two days after the half ironman triathlon, will be flying to South America on a one-way ticket.

After seeing Pearl Jam in Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro, I will travel around Brazil including Salvador, Pantanal, the Amazon and wherever else I fancy. After Brazil I will Spanish somewhere, perhaps Bolivia, before visiting the rest of the continent. After South America, I have pencilled in Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Croatia, Greece and a reunion in Turkey.

In early June, weeks after leaving my job, I rediscovered the following diary entry from my time in Turkey, written eleven and a half years earlier:

2015 Goal

The image above reads:

END RESULT: Total financial independence by 2015. Defined by: the ability to retire, travel or choose any other direction I may fancy without reliance on employer/job or other tenuous forms of income.

I reckon I’m 90% of the way there. To fulfil 100% I need to create a sustainable income. Stay tuned for more on that later.

I can’t wait to discover South America and beyond!

Seven Years of Running

Running race medals

Some of my race finisher medals

This morning I ran the 2015 Fremantle Half Marathon, my final stand-alone running race for the foreseeable future.

Excluding Little Athletics in childhood, I only started running in June 2008. After struggling at first, running became easier with practise. Looking back, I’m surprised at how fast I improved. In September 2008 I finished my first big event, the 12 km City to Bay in 1:01:13, just over 5 minutes per kilometre.

Almost from the beginning, my main aim was to complete the 2010 Istanbul Marathon. The race was a great excuse to return to Turkey, a country I had lived in for six years. I completed two marathons: Istanbul and the preceding 2010 Perth Marathon.

Aya Sophia after the Istanbul MarathonAya Sophia after the Istanbul Marathon

Standing in front of Hagia Sophia after finishing the 2010 Istanbul Marathon

Training for a marathon (42.2 km) requires major dedication and lifestyle changes, something, after the Istanbul Marathon, I was not prepared to repeat. Half marathons are far more manageable and the City to Surf, Perth and Fremantle half marathons were my primary running goals most years.

2014 City to Surf Half Marathon Start

At the start of the 2014 City to Surf Half Marathon

I had intended to finish running following the 2010 Istanbul Marathon but I found the activity too enjoyable and a great way to stay fit.

As much as I would love to bring my running gear to South America in November, I will be travelling very light so extra shoes, clothes and equipment won’t pass the grade.

No doubt I will run races again but when that will be I cannot tell.

2014 Swan River Run

The look of determination near the end of the 2014 Swan River Run 14 km – no onesie-wearer was going to beat me!

PS: I had fun this morning at my final stand-alone race but it was not a personal best. I ‘hit the wall’ and walked most of the last 5 km, finishing in 2:01:00. Running 17 km two days earlier and a warm, sunny second half no doubt contributed to this performance.