What is your running/fitness/adventuring back ground?
Was gym fit in my younger years, but struggled with a long-term illness for 15 ish years, gained about 60 kg and lost all my fitness.
The illness improved towards the end of 2015 and over the next 18 months I managed to rebuild some of my fitness and lose about 40 kg.
I started doing some running mid in 2016 first by myself and then with Sid Wills online coaching support. Then Runbirds started and I was lucky enough to be about to join their first program. (The last 2 thanks to the advice and encouragement of the wonderful Kelly Dicketts!)
What is Runbirds?
Runbirds is a running group/program (ladies only) that caters for beginners and beyond, coached by the fantastic Karey and Chris. Not only do Karey and Chris use their considerable skills to teach and guide you on your running journey, these ladies have created a unique group that promotes women supporting each other, friendship, health and fun. It truly is an amazing group to be a part of.
What does Runbirds mean to you?
Joining Runbirds opened up a whole new world for me, in regards to running certainly but also a world of supportive, enthusiastic, amazing ladies. Through Runbirds I have been inspired by the achievements of others, learnt running skills (mental and physical), made great contacts in the community, made new friends, gotten to know old friends better, learnt there are amazing trails, runs and events all around Townsville to explore, and discovered a world of health, fitness and fun! Oh and coffee on a Sunday of course……..
You headed over to the island with the Runbirds on the morning of Cyclone Debbie. How did you find the 10km trail hike/run/walk?
I was just out of recovery from a major surgery when we did this run, so for me was more of a walk .or jalk? Is that what you call it Daina?. ( Yes a jog +walk = jalk)
It was pretty challenging to be honest, but some of the above mentioned amazing Runbird crew stuck with me and Daina kept up the fun and encouragement so I got through. Though it was challenging, I loved the trail, seeing parts of the Island and views I’d never seen before, the company and I felt elated when I finished. Then a yummy brunch before heading home, what more could I ask! Cyclone Debbie just made it that little be more exciting……
You were the very first person to contact us to put your name down for The Great Island Trek!! What was it that piqued you interest?
I love Maggie Island, its my spiritual home. I lived there in the 80/90’s on and off, but never did any hiking on the trails. I’m not even sure there were these amazing trails back then! So, I love the thought of seeing more of the Island. My son Jacob also loves Maggie, and grabs any excuse to get over there when he’s in Townsville, so it’s a nice bonding time for us (got to grab every chance, he is after all a teenager!) He’s hoping to bring his camera, he enjoys photography.
The other part I am looking forward to is all the happy energy this type of event creates for the participants, I love seeing all those happy faces – weather it’s the Runbirds crew, other friends I know are doing the trek or strangers. We are all out there with a common passion and loving the trail!!
What’s next on your adventure bucket list?
I told my son if I got my health back I would go skydiving with him so we are doing that in the September school holidays too (eeek!!).
I’d like to pursue mountain biking next year, and plan on attending the yoga retreat in 2018 (missed both this year –looks amazing)
I hope to build up to a lot of hiking/running/biking/camping trips and outings.
Meet Leisel, a mother of one kidling aged 8 and one big kid husband aged 47 and loves to Mountain Bike Ride
What adventures have you been on since we last saw you?
RRR mountain bike race from Mt Molloy to 4 mile beach Pt Douglas and the Elevate 8 hour race at Atherton MTB park .
You joined us for our Womens mountain bike retreat with Ret on the island, what were some of the memorable moments that have stuck with you from the retreat?
Great fun with friends. And a great chance to clock off from daily grind.
650 B or 29er?
Favourite post ride drink?
Best pre ride feed?
Favourite place to ride?
Atherton MTB trails
Headphones and music or au naturale when riding?
Just nature sounds when riding
How often do you get go adventuring?
Get on MTB or roady at least once a week. Or more if training for an event.
What's on the bucket list?
NOT to take up lawn bowls any time soon.
If it's dangerous, expensive and fast it's normally got my name in it.
Best inspirational song?
WHIP IT - Devo
"you get in the bowl"
Favourire riding shirt?
Karen you've been to so many of our retreats it might be easier to list the ones you haven't been to.... so here's a memory test for you - can you list the events you have attended?
So I started with the first ever Destination Adventure combined weekend which introduced me to some truly amazing people. From Paddling with Clint Robinson, Mountain bike (and sand riding) skills with Andy and Running with Sid Willis and Steve Moneghetti (including one far too memorable face-plant on the Mandalay Track directly in front of the man himself), more Trail running with Sid, the women's Mountain biking with Ret Howarth, a full on weekend with Clint and I may have snuck in for a part of the next Mountain bike weekend and a run with Melinda Gainsford Taylor plus things like the Glute and Mobility workshop, the Island Deck Party and random video shoots in some spectacular places.
What's the most memorable message from the retreats?
While each one is different, with different skills and different people no matter what you're doing, at whatever level you're at, enjoy it - we do this for fun as well as for fitness - be prepared to push your limits a little and give anything a go you might just surprise yourself with what you can do.
Aside from the skills you gain, the people you meet that take part in these events really do make them something special.
People looking at you now may not release that you've haven't always been this active - can you tell us where you were not that long ago?
A few years ago I weighed in at 120kg and did nothing but work. I wouldn't have been able to run more than half a km, hadn't been on a bike in almost 16 years and had paddled a canoe in a river maybe twice on school camps. Currently 40 to 50 kg lighter (depending on the training I'm doing) I can take on a 70 km multisport race and know I can cross the finish line with a smile, I have so many new skills I'd have trouble listing them all and a whole bunch of wonderful people I never would have met if I hadn't got involved in all these crazy adventures.
Do you have a favourite discipline?
Tough, but I'd have to say Paddling at the moment with mountain biking a close second (never was a great runner ), Since Clint's last retreat I've taken his advice on board and put in a lot more time in the ski and the results are pretty cool, after seeing a big difference in the paddle leg in the Townsville Adventurethon I just took on my first 20km downwind race and have just raced the Maggie Island Loop ( Karen smashed her time from last year!)
My next challenge is back to multisport with On-A-Mission, up at Mission Beach in September.
Can you give us one piece of advice about the Destination Adventure retreats?
Thinking about attending? Book now, there's nothing worse than going to sign up and finding out it's full up.
You really don't want to have to hear how great it was from someone else.
What made you decide to come to Magnetic Island for the Clint Robinson Paddle Retreat?
To escape a Melbourne winter and to learn some tips and skills from the best of the best. I first met Clint a few years back when I started paddling. I'd had a long break away from the sport and I respect his skills, abilities and like his teaching style - can always count on Clint to keep it real
What were the key take home points that you took from the weekend?
a) More time in the boat
b) Drop my top hand
c) Get my core into shape
d) Focus on the catch at the front of the stroke
What was the highlight of your trip?
a) Meeting the Destination Adventure team and a rockstar line up of fellow paddlers.
b) The food....god so much yummy food! Peppers Resort is a top location for such a clinic
c) Exploring Maggie Island - she's a beauty
What adventures have you been on since we last saw you?
Well, I came to Maggie Island to work on technique. I then went to Ningaloo Reef in WA a week later to put skills into practice with a week of downwind paddling in another gobsmackingly gorgeous location with an awesome group of folks - Dean Gardiner - the king of downwind paddling, and an awesome group from Ocean Paddler.
Then, the big one...the Mauritius Ocean Classic! My word....that was so far out of my comfort zone there are not enough words!
Life is short I figure, I like to make it one big adventure