Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Climbing Mountains……

Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend in Melbourne usually means the opening of ski season and football over 4 days.  In the past it would also have meant a few days on the turps, lazing about the house not doing much and possibly watching a lot of crap television.  This year was partially different to those in the past.
I had originally planned a very busy weekend exercise wise with a couple of runs, usual Saturday garage session with my training buddies and a bike ride down Beach Rd with my Melbourne Vision Crusaders buddies.  This was to be topped off with a trip out to the 1000 steps in Ferntree Gully so Julie and a few other ladies we train with could complete this for a mini milestone challenge they had set themselves.

Well it went almost to plan.  There was a reshuffle of the runs, which meant my long run was on Saturday morning and I was not going to do my initial run with my half marathon buddies, the amazing Western Warrior ladies.  They ran 4 laps of the Tan yesterday in an awesome effort.  Well done Warriors.  So I went out with my training buddy and new Half Marathon entrant Greg.  I convinced him to take on the challenge after he told me he had entered the 10km event.  We ran 14km on Saturday morning and he decided then that he wanted to have a crack.  Following on from our run we had a short 30 minute boxing session with some new moves, which hurt at the time, but thankfully for Kerry, no DOMS today.

My bike ride was amazing.  My new bike and I went for our first ever ride down Beach Road.  For those not in Melbourne, this is THE cyclists road to ride in Melbourne.  I never knew why, but it is such a beautiful ride.  All the way to the turn around you have the coast line, really good surface and some nice hills as well.  I managed to cover off 52kms for the day and will be going back there at some point in the future for sure.  So after 2 days I have managed to burn over 2500 calories.  Not bad at all.

Yesterday saw us up early in the morning for our 50 minute drive out to Ferntree Gully.  Julie had packed food for the kids, got out their warm clothes, which they would need being in the Dandenongs and off we went just after 7am.  Now I will admit that I was not the happiest of campers about facing the prospect of climbing the steps with a 4 year old, 6 year old and a 10 year old.  My daughter is probably the fittest in the house due to her doing 6-7 hours per week of ballet, but take her out of a tutu and she is normally lazy and whiny.  Not going to be fun at all.  The little ones were already expecting to be piggy backed up the stairs at some point.  Julie had never been there before so she had no idea what to expect either.  I had not done the steps for 7 years, back when I was training for the Kokoda Trail, but still remembered how hard it was and how much I disliked the first part of the walk up to the base of the steps.

The kids were excited that they were going to be embarking on this challenge, climbing a mountain, as we had told the little ones, pardon me for not sharing their exuberance.  We parked the car at the bottom of the car park, which was already nearly full at 8.20am and headed off up the hill to the top of the car park.  We found the start of the path and I explained to them that there was a little walk to the bottom of the steps.  The walk up the path was approx. 300 metres and it is steep.  I find this section harder than the actual steps.  This is where some of the complaining started from the little ones.   This was not what I wanted to hear.  We had not even started the steps and they were complaining.  Cue big grumpy bear with 3 little grumpy bears and this set mumma bear off a bit telling me off.  Going to be a long walk I thought.  Well it was longer than it should have been, but that is expected with 2 little men walking up some big steps.  We stopped a couple of times for breathers and thankfully there were a few seats along the way.  My youngest wanted a piggy back, but I told him that he had to walk the entire way so he could say he did it and tell his big brother when we got home.  He wasn’t happy, as you can see in the picture below, but he managed to walk the entire way up the 1000 steps and soon forgot the sore legs when he got there.  There were so many people commenting on how the boys managed to make it up and both Julie and I were so proud of them. 

The walk down was done via the path/fire trail which has been done up since I was last there to include blue stone steps on the steeper parts.  We decided on this route as it was less crowded and wider and we could take our time.  The boys and Paige loved it and were more excited about walking over the little bridges on the way down.

We made it to the bottom and had a look at the new monuments (well new since I was last there) and had a photo.  Just a pity my oldest wasn’t there to experience it also.  We then headed to the café to meet up with the others that had done the steps.  Finished off with a snack at the car before heading home again.

I look back at this outing and realise that I need to look at these things a little differently.  Julie is such a  good mum and wants to include the kids in all of this stuff for the experience.  I on the other hand tend to go at these physical pursuits in a solo fashion using them for just smashing out calories or times and setting personal bests or ticking things off the achievements/bucket list.  This is fine for some things but others are meant to be just activities and outings and I need to learn to accept that and just enjoy the experience for what it is.  Yes this one had some physical activity as a component, but for me it should have been about sharing the moment with my kids.  This was a huge achievement for them and me being grumpy during it could well have soured the moment.  Thankfully looking back I can see what a great morning it was and the kids had a good time.  As far as they were concerned they climbed a mountain (who am I to tell them otherwise) and are learning to get out and about and do things rather than sit on their butts and get fat.

Lucky for them they have a mother that is thinking of this and it isn’t left up to me.  I am starting to get it, but still a work in progress on this one.  Perhaps some bush walking for the little ones is what is needed.  Who knows what mountains they will climb in the future, and how many more lessons they can teach their dad along the way.


  1. Love this post, and love you my grumpy bear xx

    Start planning the bushwalking!!!

  2. Leitchy you had an ephiphanie there. Time just goes by so fast, and there's plenty of opportunities for smashing out calories, but these are the days that your kids will look back on, because we don't know what tomorrow will bring ... "remember the time mum and dad took us to the 1000 steps" that's what they'll be saying, and they will think that you are the coolest parents ever because you did that, and they'll remember things you saw and things you all said and laughed at, and even the grumpy bits. And the ancillary cals you burn, well think of it as a bonus.

    Yeah yeah, I'm all sentimental about memory keeping, spoken like a true scrapbooker huh? ;-)