Neutral Hips and Pelvic Tilt

So what is Pelvic Tilt?

The term ‘Pelvic Tilt’ is all about your butt really. Do you stick your butt out or do you tuck it in? Ideally you don’t want to do either if you want to be a runner. I am not going to comment on why you would like to have a tilt as anatomically it is not ideal but aesthetically you may choose to tilt.

To push your butt out or to stick it backwards is an Anterior Pelvic Tilt. To tuck your butt under – common in the way we sit/slouch in a chair – is a Posterior Pelvic Tilt. We can tilt because if we couldn’t it would be impossible to bend over or reach up, but it isn’t a strong position for our body to be in.



Picture credit:

Why do I care?

As technology improves we are living longer and longer. At the moment though, we can’t maintain a head in a jar and so we need to take care of our body and the biggest issue people tend to have as they get older is a bad back. The lowest point of the back connects with our pelvis and so if our pelvic tilt sucks, it puts pressure on our lower back – aka the foundation structure of our spine – and then the whole spine sucks too.

How do I know where my pelvis sits?

Look at yourself side on in a mirrior or better yet, get someone to take a photo of you side on in your most comfortable standing position – not what you think is right but how you would normally stand. If your lower back has a big curve and you have some booty going on then it is possible you have an anterior tilt. If you have a flat lower back then it is possible you have a posterior tilt. You can also then look down at your feet front on in a mirror or by a photo. An anterior tilt causes legs to rotate inward, a posterior tilt rotates legs outward. An anterior tilt goes with a butt sticking out and a belly falling forward. Posterior has belly pulled in and tail tucked under.

Another way to identify a posterior tilt is to sit on the ground with your legs straight and your back against a wall. To get your legs straight and back against the wall, if you need to tuck your tail under, you have a posterior tilt.

A neutral pelvis will have a gentle curve in the lower back.

What is a bad tilt?

As a runner, both posterior and anterior tilts are detrimental to your body and run performance.

Anterior Tilt

Let me introduce you to a term that at the very least will change your thinking on an Anterior Tilt….KKB also known as “Kim Kardashian Butt”….now, this is something that may be a life goal for you and if so then honey, go for that butt! Just don’t be a runner.

Anterior tilt is common in people who have tight hip flexors. This causes the front of your hips to be stuck pulling down or shortening the hip flexors which is a powerhouse of strong running and the result is KKB, lower back pain from impinged discs which in turn may result in sciatica, knee pain from strained ITBs, stretched hammies (which then are useless in power generation assistance for running) and then following down the leg may include calf tears, achillies pain/strain and most of all…..plantar fasciitis.

Tight hip flexors are also common in people who wear high heels as they throw the balance forward which requires the hips to accommodate the leg position and throw the butt back to maintain balance in the body.

Posterior Tilt

Look at how a monkey/ape/gorilla sits on the ground with their butt tucked under. When they stand, it is difficult for them to straighten their spine into a neutral position. It is the same position many of us adopt in an arm chair or if we are slumping while watching TV or sitting at a computer desk for a long time.

In a posterior tilt your hip flexors are weak, hammies are too strong, abs are too strong

How do I change it?

Both Anterior and Posterior tilts can take many many months to rectify but each day you are consciously working on it is one day closer to a strong neutral pelvic position or strong foundation to your spine. The best first step is to see an Exercise Physiologist (EP – or a Physiotherapist if you can’t get to an EP) and have a postural assessment. The EP will work with you on your whole posture and correcting it by stretching and strengthening muscle groups and joints.

For Anterior tilts – if you are sure you have this and know what you are doing, stretching the hip flexors and strengthening hamstrings are a great place to start*.

For Posterior tilts – if you are sure you have this and know what you are doing, stretching the hamstrings, glutes and abs and strengthening hip flexors are a great place to start*.

*Please be smart and seek advice from an allied health professional on this. Many PTs are great with prescribed exercise but not necessarily good at assessing to make an accurate prescription for your whole musculoskeletal structure and given we are talking about your spine being impacted, you really want to get this right. My recommendation is to find an Exercise Physiologist – this is their core business.

Running Cadence

What is it?

Your cadence is the beat of your feet when you run or in other words the rhythm of your running. You can either count it as how many times one foot strikes the ground over one minute or you can count both feet.

Why do I care?

Although it can take some time and feel very awkward at first to change your cadence, this is possibly the most significant way you will improve your speed, endurance, recovery period and effort level without significant change in your fitness or strength. For someone who has plateaued in their running this can be the answer – with patience over several months, I have seen marathon runners who can’t break 4hours across multiple courses drop to sub 3hours simply by adding a cadence focus to their training.

How do I measure it?pexels-photo-83948.jpeg

To measure you can count how many times your foot strikes in one minute or if you lose count easily, try easing into your stride then counting strikes for 15s and times the result by 4. Take a rest for a few minutes and repeat and/or mix it up by measuring 15s, 30s and one minute.

What is a good cadence?

Noting that everyone has a different body, the “optimum” cadence will vary slightly between runners but in general it sits around 85-90 strikes (beats) per minute for single count (i.e. 170-180bpm when counting both feet) and will also vary when on grass vs road vs trails and flat vs undulating vs hills.

Slow Vs Fast

Attribute Slow Optimum Fast
Flight time Longer Shorter Very short
Impact – Knee Heavy Lighter Lighter but more often
DOMS Increased Decreased Decreased
Stride length Longer Shorter Short
Energy usage High HR & Vo2 Lower HR & Vo2 Mod to High HR & VO2


How do I change?

There are so many different ways to tackle this including addressing body position and stride length adjustments to shoe quality and type and a whole pile of technical stuff but my personal most successful way to change is to “Rock Out!” – Your body will naturally adjust when you don’t over think it.

So from a safety point of view running with headphones is super dangerous but the good news is that you don’t have to have headphones on to enjoy your music. Have you ever been out on a run and gone past someone rocking out to beats you can hear and as they head away you find yourself adjusting to the song? You may just smile/giggle and feel better, you may pick up or slow down your pace to the beat or you may just enjoy the brief distraction but the result is the same – you feel good, breathe a bit better and then hit the wall as you try to settle back in and wish you had some beats. Embrace this simple thing. Unplug, play your music and let it help your mind relax while also making others smile. You may even end up with people sticking near enough to enjoy your music and then you make new friends!metronome-clock-music-music-production-162550.jpeg

The other way to do this is to download a metronome app and set it to the speed you want to achieve. This may be a better approach if you are a runner with the need to make a significant change i.e if you run around 70bpm or 100bpm, adjust the metronome by 2-4 beats difference every couple of weeks (yes, this does take time but it is totally worth it).

What beats to use.

There are again many ways to approach this. Once you know your cadence number you can either google the BPM of songs you like and put together a play list a couple of beats faster or slower (depending on how you need to adjust) OR you can just skip to the magic numbers and find running/RPM class tracks that are a certain beat – there are LOADS of them out there specifically designed to invoke a rhythm for your physical movement.

If you have Spotify, this is possibly the EASIEST way to find tracks. You can use spotify to detect your cadence or you can adjust it to the tempo you want and then it will provide music to that pace. This works for the free and premium versions but only on the mobile app.

Who can help me with this?

Well if you live in Canberra Australia you are in serious luck – we have a run coaching program for the ordinary person at Pure Will Running. There are sessions and times all over town, so get in touch and come get some advice. We’re all experienced runners and have collective knowledge on track, distance and trail running. Otherwise google run coaching and the name of your town – you will find someone. In Australia another great coached program with a feel good aspect is Can Too – I coach for them too and highly recommend their programs.

Missed me?

So it’s only been what….nearly 5 years since I maintained this blog but I kept my payments up with good intention and I have done vast and varied study and writing and creating to expand my horizons and now I am ready to breathe again and start sharing.

Things will take a little change – previously I wrote because it was part of a subject assessment for my degree. Now I will be writing and sharing basically anything that springs to mind. Like everyone I have blah days but don’t stress. I will aim to have regular posts and have a few things in draft so if I fall over with a migraine, I can tick a box and still give you my take on the world from my musings.

My world just now consists of figuring out where I am heading, still coaching although mostly just running, teaching yoga, snuggling with Webber so he knows he is well loved and is happy. I have just returned from another Bali getaway and it gave me the space I needed to breathe and take stock. I have things I want to change, things I want to improve and still a whole lot of decluttering of possessions to do (although I have way less junk than this time last year.

Today I want to post some stuff for my runners as I take them on a technique journey over the short summer 4 week term but even if you aren’t a runner I think it is still interesting to get a little bit of insight into something new so strap in again and I hope you enjoy the ride.


Champions adjust

My day today actually started last night. I’m on my way to Mooloolaba for one of the biggest triathlon and multisport festivals in Australia. My role: I’ll be a Technical Official over the weekend, helping ensure the safety and fairness of the racing. All up there will be around 7000 competitors taking part and a Technical Team of around 30…I expect we’ll be very busy!

My housemate is also coming up to race this weekend as a last hit out before he completes IronMan Australia in Port Macquarie in a few weeks. It meant Webber (my handsome 3 legged cat) needed a babysitter – thank goodness for cat loving friends. We only have 2 sets of keys to the house, so I thought I was super clever in giving my front door keys to my friend Anna and using the new back security door keys to get in and out. Clever Fiona however also locked the front security screen which then needs a key to unlock from the inside…with a sprained ankle and no lighting down the side of the house, getting my luggage and the garbages out was going to be entertaining.

Nevertheless, it had to be done, so I adapted and overcame, tricking the cat into the house then locking him out of the garage while I shoved everything (at 4am) out the garage door. The taxi arrived and I was off, or so I thought. On exiting the taxi, I discovered that my pay wasn’t in my bank account yet. I had no cash on me (save for a few bits of shrapnel). I had 15 minutes until my bus was due to leave for Sydney, so I exchanged details with the driver, arranged for him to collect me at the airport on my return to Canberra next week and hobbled in for the bus. I sat down with baited breath wondering if this was the start of “One of those days”.

Nodding off to sleep on the bus came way too easily but we were only an hour into the trip when I was woken by an announcement that there had been an accident on the freeway and it was closed. The driver thankfully was able to divert through some country towns so that we didn’t lose much time – I had a flight to catch! I’d chosen the 5am bus so that I had plenty of time to get from the drop off at the international terminal over to the domestic terminal – clever Fiona because once we hit the M5 motorway in Sydney, it was gridlock. Despite it all, the driver got us to the airport only 30minutes late which given everything, I was impressed.

I headed to the train station connecting the two terminals, bought my ticket and hobbled to the elevator only to have the solo woman riding it not hold the door. Cow (not actually what I called her). I headed over to the escalator jumped on with my luggage and got down to the platform just in time to get the first train through. Yay!

Already clutching my boarding pass, I queued to drop my bags, cleared security and headed off to the revised boarding gate – the furthest possible gate. On arrival I discovered there had been air traffic control problems in both Melbourne and Sydney (flight was coming in from Melbourne), the flight was delayed and I could’ve gotten breakfast and coffee on my way through after all. I started wandering back remembering I’d seen a newsagent close by but before I got to ask him where the best place to get coffee was, he was being abused by a lady who had told off the check in staff too. I had a laugh with him about how horrible she was and how he rose above her pettiness which seemed to lift his spirits a bit. When I asked where the closest place to get a coffee he pointed across the hall – I’d completely missed it when I walked past.

Coffee and yoghurt in hand, I headed back to the gate. The staff announced that anyone needing special assistance or with children to make themselves known as we’d be boarding via the tarmac. Looking at my ever swelling cankle I finished my coffee and wandered up because I knew I’d be slow going down the stairs without flexibility in the joint. The staff were really lovely and offered to come get me just before boarding so I could get a head start on getting down the stairs. They did just that but then when I handed over my boarding pass said I’d need to move seats because I was in an exit row but injured. Sigh…Finally on the plane, chilling out to Channel V and the flight crew come around with refreshments. One last thing before I arrive in Brisvegas 2 hours late…she spills tea over my netbook.

Now these are all very first world issues, but when you are tired/half asleep, sometimes you can lose focus on what’s important. Thankfully I have 4 distractions:

  2. Debbie, my next door neighbour from my childhood whose mother started me out in swim teaching, and I are spending the day together today.
  3. The Catholic world is in celebration at the announcement of a new Pope. AND…
  4. Last night I read a quote that resonated with me: Champions adjust.

Story¹ has it that Billie Jean King (tennis megastar) said this to Zina Garrison when she was coaching her in tennis. Garrison apparently had gotten into a funk and so King just looked her in the eye and gave her that statement. King had drawn this from Hans Selye who in his book The Stress of Life had written:

“Life is largely a process of adaptation to the circumstances in which we exist. The secret of health and happiness lies in the successful adjustment to the ever-changing conditions on this globe; the penalties for failure in this great process are disease and unhappiness.”

I don’t quite see myself as a champion but I do think I’m pretty awesome and one of my colleagues went as far as to tell me I’m B’Awesome (which comes from the movie Bolt by Disney and stands for beyond awesome). Still, given I strive to reach beyond mediocrity, I will take Billie Jean’s point and add it into my black book of awesome quotes when things challenge me: Champions adjust.


¹Story adapted from page 23 of Dr Pamela Peeke’s book Fit to Live. ISBN: 978-1-9057-4402-2

Post script note: So once I got to Brisbane, Debs and I had an awesome afternoon. Lunch in The London Club in Teneriffe, sight seeing from Mt Coot-tha, a trail walk up to Simpson’s Falls, quick trip to the mall and then we created our food baby at Sizzler (Debbie challenged me to add food baby into this post so of course being an over acheiver I’ve now done it twice!).

Just because I don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Once upon a time, when I was re-entering competition/participation triathlon after many years of little to no activeness post back injury, I really didn’t want people I knew/coached with to coach me and learn of my weaknesses.  Writing my own programs meant I kept bludging so I subscribed to an online coach to keep me accountable. It worked for a little bit, but without visual contact, I’d liaise with my coach via training logs only and my motivation soon dropped off.

Shared by my teammate Greg yesterday on Facebook - I love it.

Shared by my teammate Greg yesterday on Facebook – I love it.

Although I am surrounded by many awesome coaches, I needed someone independent that I could hate when I needed to, cry to when life got tough and ignore when I was awesome or thought I knew better (that last bit never happened but I’ve seen it). Actually my team mate from Race for a Cure: Asia Challenge, Greg, posted this picture on my Facebook page yesterday:

I started thinking about the School of the Air that is used to teach children in remote locations in the outback of Australia. Then my brain flicked to the adverts for the National Broadband Network (NBN) which included highlights of people being treated for physical therapies live but remotely via video conferencing in their home/health providers office. I then thought of the term “Satellite Parent” and thought that we may be entering the age of “Satellite Coaching” which got me excited because I thought I’d coined a new phrase! Then I googled “Satellite Parent” and realised it is not quite what I pictured. I realised the search term I was looking for was “Remote Coaching” and I madly punched it into google scholar this morning only to discover…it’s not actually a new concept (even though it’s one I’d never given much thought to before). I’d never seen it in action, but it does exist.

Then my internet crashed because I had several billion pages open in my excitement of creating a ‘new concept’…pft. Still, it’s something I’m keen to explore now. There is a lot of raw talent in sport in regional Australia but getting Talent ID reps or selection panels to remote and regional areas is difficult and sport funding isn’t as big as people think. Wouldn’t it be exciting though if through Skype and other video capturing mediums, that like the NBN proposal of video conferencing remote health support, we could also coach and select people from remote locations? Imagine the juniors from the Alice Springs Tri Club or the Katherine Multisports Club being Talent ID’d and then coached and mentored by the NT Junior Development Program where they can hook in online to team development seminars? Or the NSW Junior Performance Squad who like most states are spread across huge distances being able to build rapport with the other members of the squad through team meetings online*? Or using platforms like slideshare to deliver training direct from the coach each day but available at a time that allows athletes to manage training around school and family commitments? Triathlon NSW already has a fantastic Regional Academy program but perhaps it can reach out further using the internet? I have a picture in my head I can’t shake of the huge timing screens above the swimming pools used in the Olympics and having the head of a coach on the screen, remote coaching the athletes heading up and down the pool.

 As I wrote this post, it suddenly hit me…my coach is a semi-remote coach. Just now, I am on hiatus again from training (still not at the bottom of the exercise induced migraine saga), but before this latest delay, I found someone to coach me who, even though it’s not something I had thought to look for when seeking a coach, also challenges my scientific brain. Graeme at Fit2Tri is amazing, has supported me when I drop into a fit of tears over not being able to train, pushes me to get off my butt, warns me when things are going to be boring (don’t tell him but I haven’t found anything boring yet) while I rebuild, gives me plenty of advice on my food and balancing my training and life needs and best yet:  Graeme gives me realistic pictures of the volume and time commitment in measurable terms for what I want to do.

Graeme’s time is split between Canberra and Adelaide (roughly 1210km/752miles – i.e. not close) but he is available pretty quickly if you need him via email within reason – by that I mean emailing him late at night or right before you want his advice on changing a session is not reasonable (he has a family that enjoys his time too and although he gets alerts on his phone to emails, expecting a coach on call is a big ask unless you’re paying them to be on 24/7 call). Having said that, there is no part-time coaching from him even though you might not see him face to face for a few weeks if he’s away racing etc. He’s also never been unable to organise a coffee time for a chat over programs/training etc and as soon as he is able to respond to you, he will. Our programs are online using Training Peaks and there are loads of articles and blog posts to read too – Graeme also recently wrote the February feature article for Triathlon Australia’s Coaching News about online coaching. No stealing my coach though! I need him for when I’m back upright again! J


*I’m not sure if Triathlon NSW do or don’t use online meetings for their junior development or performance squads – Awesome sauce though guys if you do!

In the early days, my rock moves rocked (and they still do).

My swimming instructor, when I was six, got us to line up at the deep end of the 25m pool (it was an indoor pool near where we lived but not our local pool). Being the youngest of the class which also had my nine year old sister, I simply had to do everything first. The instructor told me to touch my toes and as I did so, he pushed me from my backside into the water. I got a snot full of water and choked terribly on my flailing way back to the safety of the side of the pool. Needless to say, I hated swimming lessons.

This cat is what I looked like trying to dive into a pool (if the cat was also holding its nose).

This cat is what I looked like trying to dive into a pool (if the cat was also holding its nose).

As a 13year old, I was great at backstroke because I didn’t have to dive (there were very few kids in those days doing back dives). Anything else though, I was well back in the field because I either started in the water or held my nose diving which looked more like a cat trying to resist gravity and going in legs first.

The family that lived back to back with us were very much into the local swim club – all their kids were super tall and pretty much built to swim. Their mum, Joan, was the swim club treasurer but like my mum, Joan wore several hats. Joan and my mum were also friends through volunteering with our marching band and the local girl guides unit – needless to say, they were like extended family. Joan had noticed that although I couldn’t dive, I was an ok swimmer and had seen me as a ‘six’ leader in the brownies (the little groups in each unit), so suggested to my mum that I might be a good swim teacher. 

In those days, the local council ran the swim lessons. Instructors were volunteers and the lessons were free – can you imagine?? I’m not sure of the quality of my teaching then, but I really enjoyed it (even on the cold rainy days – it was an outdoor facility). One thing that stuck in my mind was how the kids parroted me, even after the lesson was finished and they were showing their parents what they had learned. It seemed strange to me at the time (I was 13 after all) that they didn’t get all that I’d shown them and they’d pretty much all got something different which meant the following week I’d have to do the same lesson again and then the next week and so on until they got all the points I was trying to convey.

I could see it was getting boring towards the end of term, so I started to mix it up adding dance moves into the lesson. Thankfully, the kids were too young to know any dance moves because I was making it up on the spot, but they did all like thinking they were rockstars and very soon, their fake rockstar moves translated into forward propulsion in the water. After the Christmas break, I was in demand as a teacher despite being the youngest teacher there.

I used to loathe our school swim carnivals – if only I could go back and do them now! This was my local pool growing up – we were so lucky to have such a nice facility.

I used to loathe our school swim carnivals – if only I could go back and do them now! This was my local pool growing up – we were so lucky to have such a nice facility.

Derek Zoolander doing Blue Steel

Derek Zoolander and his trademark pose “Blue Steel” – when I ask the guys to do this pose they almost always do it looking over their shoulder which is exactly what I want to help them achieve body rotation.

I still use my rockstar moves although many have changed names from things like the “pop tree” to “rocket ship” when I work with kids or “streamline push off the wall” when I work with adults. New ones that have stuck though are Michael Jackson’sMoonwalk’ when I work on people’s kick and Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ and (to help the guys) Zoolander’s Blue Steel (pictured below) when working on body rotation and breathing. It makes sessions a lot of fun and with it brings marked progression in short timeframes for guys and girls!

 Now, all my sessions are tailored around my best offering to the group I have in front of me. I still write my lesson plans or drag out old ones, but I’ll pull aside different people at different times and get them to focus on an element of the set – i.e. reaching longer, moving their hips, timing of their breathing etc. Regardless of the set, something can always be added to it to improve their strokes, and they always get homework no matter what their age!

Why coach?

There are two elements to that question – one, my nickname is Coach McFi because at an old workplace there was another Fiona and she was already there when I arrived, so having a surname that started with Mc, I became McFi and when I am coaching, some people have extended that to be CoachMcFi. The second element is why do I coach? For that readers, strap yourself in because I’m not sure I’ll be able to give all the reasons!

Let me give you some examples of why not to coach – which is what is often used as a topic opener for people talking to me about this. Marion Jones, Mike Tyson, Diego Maradona, Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong and others have all individually brought sport into disrepute. The AFL and NRL teams with their salary cap breaches, the current issues with the Australian Swim team’s performance in London after poor athlete behaviour disrupting the camp, the four doubles badminton teams that were thrown out of the London Olympics for match fixing – something that was described as cheating on the holiest of sports events. The ongoing investigation into drugs in sport in Australia which has tarred us all with a dark brush is something I have to admit makes me very cautious as to my next steps in a field of work that I love so much – I should graduate next year from a degree in coaching and exercise science but do I really want to make the jump out of my current career into one that is much less stable and will at best halve my pay?

If people are going to be so underhanded, if the pay is so crap unless you’re at the top, if the hours are so long and for many it’s done on top of working at their primary income source, if you face abuse (despite not being tolerated in sport) from parents/partners/athletes/spectators, why be involved at all? Let me share some stories that are my why’s….

Last week a colleague of mine at work posted a basketball video on facebook that made me cry. Happy tears, not sad ones because the video was so touching (if you have a couple of minutes just now, please watch it before reading on). Moments like the one in the video where all barriers life presents us with are completely torn down often give me the strength to get through the tough times that arise.

Bilbys Civic Squad

Three ladies I recently worked with on their swim technique – I got back as much from them as I hope they did from me and I’m really looking forward to now taking their squad long term again.

Two weeks ago, I was filling in for another coach with triathletes doing swim training (my strength as a coach). In one of the lanes was the three ladies pictured below – mother & daughter on the outside who had just started with our club and one of our graduates from this season’s novice program. They can all swim, they all race and they can all get through a 90min training session with us. All of them though have the hunger for self improvement (and let’s face it, if you can spend less time swimming in the lake in Canberra, all the better!). Without wanting this to sound like an advert, I know I can help them. I don’t know how I know the best way to communicate to them refinements in their technique, it just happens but as you can see from their cheesy grins (lucky you can’t see mine behind my iPhone) they were willing to also help me by posing for this post.

I have met many people along the way through our novice program and I feel very privileged to have been an element of their successes in life. My last house mate and my current one I met through swim clinics for triathlon and like many of our friends, they are like family to me now. There are also people who inspire me – a few years back, Phil started novice 6 months after giving up smoking which he’d done I think for over 20 years. As if that achievement wasn’t enough, he went from not being able to swim five meters in the pool (roughly from the wall to the flags – I honestly remember at one point thinking I was going to have to dive in clothes and all to assist him) to competing in sprint triathlons which have a 750m swim.During the program he was posting some really funny blogs (you may need to click on the blog tab) on our old club website which I’m not sure if he knew but it’s helped not only novices in his program who were facing the same challenges, but also ones since who went looking for information to see if they were doing something wrong and that’s why they were finding the program so challenging. At the end of his program, Phil posted an article titled “SAD”:

…I will post later about future goals for me – this is just a start I hope – but at this time sincere and heartfelt thanks to all the coaches who have taken us this far – Garry especially! The others are too numerous to name, you are all great – but a personal thank you to Fiona for teaching me to swim – i owe you a beer when you return from sunny Europe   Cheers to you all, Phil.      

It still swells my heart and gets me all full of pride. Phil lost an extreme amount of weight over the program and the following years, went on to longer distance triathlons (pretty sure he even did a half ironman) until his progression in his professional life took off with the new found zest he had for his whole life. When Phil gave up smoking and started this journey, I doubt he had any idea of where it would take him and the impact he’d have on other people.

Another story is of a female triathlete (I won’t mention her name because I am conscious she doesn’t like limelight despite how incredible she is), who came into our program barely able to walk because of her size. She told me she took on the challenge of the program to shut her mother up – her mother was badgering her to make friends. This lady was in her 40’s, single, introverted but happy – or, as she told me later, so she thought. The program was based around helping people from all walks of life to complete a triathlon. In that year, we had people who were ex-pro athletes from other sports and the age range was from late teens through to early 60’s. Possibly the most diverse group we’d had but that is one of the many reasons I love coaching it.

By the end of the program, this lady had not only completed her first of then to be many triathlons, she’d made friends outside her work. She was getting out more and her mother was relieved to find she was having to call her on the mobile rather than house phone to get in touch. I am so not claiming it was all me, but I’m happy to know I helped facilitate a change that led to this lady leading what she described as a self imposed oppressed life into one where she felt like she now could try out many more things. She now races at events up and down the coast – she always thought she was too fat to go to the beach but when she’s racing she’s part of something and feels she has a place there and has even now tried snorkelling, surfing and sailing. 

This is just a few examples of how becoming physically active has positively altered the lives of others. Not everyone is nice but I figure they’re just different to me and they will find a coach somewhere that is perfect for them. Just like the volunteer work I’ve done with Cure Cancer Australia, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army or serving in the Royal Australian Navy and soon I will serve the community in the Rural Fire Service, coaching for me is about serving others to help them in their life journey and in return I gain self satisfaction and learn so much from them….this last part, is a whole other post!

Quick update

I have a stack of posts I’ve been writing but not finishing – it’s been a busy few weeks with the end of race season, work getting crazy busy and my birthday just passing, so my apologies and I will work more on the “Always looking over your shoulder” but for now here are some photos of my Mum and I (she is often the one thing that keeps me going).


Mum and I standing out the front of the old Australian War Memorial cafe that was recently rebuilt.

Mum and I standing out the front of the old Australian War Memorial cafe that was recently rebuilt. I think this was taken in 1989.

Family friends had bought Mum a paragliding experience for her 40th. I was fascinated and climbed all over one of the other planes, so my parents paid for me to go up too. I was too small to sit in the passenger seat in the front, so they propped me up with the pillows from the front seat so I could see out the windows - I would've just turned 6 then. My parents encouraged us to do/try everything.

Family friends had bought Mum a paragliding experience for her 40th. I was fascinated and climbed all over one of the other planes, so my parents paid for me to go up too. I was too small to sit in the passenger seat in the front, so they propped me up with the pillows from the front seat so I could see out the windows – I would’ve just turned 6 then. My parents encouraged us to do/try everything.

 I think this is one of my favourite pictures of Mum because it catches her character so well. She was funny, spontaneous, cheeky, silly but most of all very loving. I took this picture when I was about 16.

I think this is one of my favourite pictures of Mum because it catches her character so well. She was funny, spontaneous, cheeky, silly but most of all very loving. I took this picture when I was about 16.


This is the last photo I have of my Mum and I. It was the day after my 20th, the day after my CDF parade day, the day I collapsed in the main hall at the 1st year Church Service. In this picture, although we didn't know it for me, we both had cancer. By this stage, I weighed 42kg and was all skin and bone.

This is the last photo I have of my Mum and I. It was the day after my 20th, the day after my CDF parade day, the day I collapsed in the main hall at the 1st year Church Service. In this picture, although we didn’t know it for me, we both had cancer. By this stage, I weighed 42kg and was all skin and bone.