Author Archives: Sara

About Sara

I'm a first time mum muddling through each day - making the rules up as I go along.

What’s a girl without a vice?

May 13th, 2013 | Posted by Sara in Being a mum | Life - (10 Comments)

What’s a woman without her vices?

I have many vices, some people might suggest that our individual vices make us the person we are. Personally I think that without some sharp edges I would be a little boring.

My biggest vice is alcohol…. I’m known to have 2-3 glasses of wine 2 or 3 nights per week. It’s my favourite beverage. The ritual of getting home, making dinner whilst sipping on a glass of red is relaxing. The warmth of the wine, the feel of the glass in my hand, the anticipation of the tannin’s tingling along my throat…… even typing that makes me feel good.

A few weeks ago I participated in Bupa Australia’s #HealthyChat on twitter. The subject was alcohol and it was one I was extremely interested in. I thought I knew enough about this vice to keep my daughter & I safe, however after the chat I realized that I didn’t know that much at all!

I thought I would share some tips that I learned in the chat. Most of these tips came from Registered Dietitian Rosalyn D’Angelo.

  • Recent evidence suggests that any potential health benefits from drinking alcohol probably have been overestimated
  • Alcohol is carcinogenic and is related to cancers of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, liver, colorectum & female breast
  • Low levels of alcohol intake can reduce stress, tension, anxiety, self-consciousness & increase feelings of happiness – although it is not recommended to start drinking in order to get these benefits

Standard Drinks:

  • Measure out what a standard drink looks like.. 100ml of wine in a big glass looks like less than in a small glass! A large wine glass can sometimes hold up to 4 standard drinks
  • Usually 100ml wine = 1 standard drink- typically you may be served about 150ml at a restaurant… =1.5 standard drinks
  • Can spirits (approx 5% alcohol) = 1.2 to 1.7 standard drink
  • 30ml nip spirits = 1 standard drink



I’m not a resolution maker, I hate when people say “I’m giving up alcohol” or “I’m on a diet” or even “Coffee is bad, so I’m quitting” all these statements are rather final and in my mind set the statement maker up to fail. The all or nothing approach rarely works for me.  I tend to feel pressured and rebellious in these situations. So events such as “Dry July” or “Feb Fast” don’t work for me.

But I took something from that chat. I think it was the catalyst for me to realise that I was on a slippery slope, towards drinking a bottle of wine a night again (like I did in my pre-worm days)

In the days preceding the chat & I think even that night, I was faced with an upset toddler who wasn’t happy to settle without some mama milk. I have ALWAYS calculated my drinks around her needs, however on these 2 or 3 occasions, I stuffed up. I had drunk 2-3 glasses of wine, and Worm needed my milk. I offered cows milk, I offered water but nothing would be the substitute – I had to feed her.

As I fed my child my tears started falling, we’d gone this far with our breastfeeding relationship. Nearly 2 years without me attempting to ‘pickle her brain’ and here I was now giving her milk that nearly certainly had alcohol in it. Now if this had happened once I might not have been too worried…. but this was 2 or 3 occasions in very quick succession, each evening my guilt was growing, each evening I imagined my beautiful intelligent daughter losing brain cells through no fault of her own.

So I stopped drinking……

Initially it started as my normal no drinking before an event routine. As I prefer to have a few alcohol free nights before racing, to enhance hydration, and to avoid any nasty race-day hangovers.

As the days have passed though, I’m not sure what to do.  I’m not sure what I want to do really.

When this post gets published I will have been alcohol free for 13 days. Not long I know, but for me this is HUGE…. I struggle with 1 alcohol free day per week, let alone 13 of them all in a row.

To be honest I have thought about having a glass of wine & so many times during the writing of this I have wandered down the hall & stared at the wine rack, but each time I have had an enormous weight of guilt press down on me, and I have returned to the computer with a bottle of water in my hand. I’ve even made it through Mothers Day without the obligatory glass of bubbles.

I don’t know how long I will abstain from alcohol for, maybe until I stop thinking of it? Right now my biggest tests are when I walk in the door from a hard days work, it’s a ritual to start cooking dinner, select a wine and pour a glass….. a habit I suspect.

It also sounds & feels a little like an addiction…. so for now I drink my water….

water wine



Race Report – Hervey Bay Triathlon

May 10th, 2013 | Posted by Sara in Iron Mum Training - (8 Comments)

The decision to enter Hervey Bay Triathlon was discussed when the Farmer, Worm and I were enduring the 8 hour drive back from Mooloolaba Triathlon. We were chatting about how I really needed another Olympic distance event before my big 70.3 in Yeppoon in August.

Hervey Bay was quickly chosen due to it’s relatively close location (only 5 hours drive) and the fact that it has a reputation for being a fun event. We also considered Cairns, but the cost of airfares etc made it a little excessive.

As the race day approached and I received the numerous race information emails my nerves started to get the better of me. I saw in one of the first race briefings that the swim cut off for the 1500m was supposed to be 40 minutes. WOW I was terrified by this – my previous open water PB was 44mins and I don’t think I had EVER swam 1500m in 40 minutes before – my swim training leading up to this event was certainly lacking, I mentioned here that my swim is the first to go in a busy week. So I was certainly lacking confidence in this leg.

After reading the briefing I actually rang The Farmer almost in tears – I couldn’t believe that I had spent all that money, and all the hours training to not even be allowed to finish the first leg. Thankfully The Farmer calmed me down, and reminded me that I was only ever competing against myself, and even if I wasn’t allowed an official finishing time I would still race my own race and do my best.

The night before my event I got a beautiful perfectly worded text from my coach Jen.

Exactly what I needed to focus on, and having heard it from Jen & the Farmer made me believe it.




I woke at 5am race day, to a lovely cool morning. My bad foot had swollen up and was VERY tender, so I quickly sat on the hotel loo and taped it up, trying my best not to wake the rest of the family. Worm work at 5.20am for her milk feed – perfect timing and this fitted in with my schedule nicely (not like at Mooloolaba, where I nearly missed the transition closing time).

I jogged down to transition and got there in plenty of time to pump my tyres, dry my bike from the dew that had set the night before, and generally set out my area. Around this time I was told that it was a wetsuit optional swim for Age groupers – the water was 22.9 degrees.

The next 30 mins were all about getting a coffee, eating my bananas, discussing the pros & cons of wearing a wetsuit. I eventually decided to go wetsuit free & I was so pleased I did.

My swim went really well, I need to work on my sighting more, as my Garmin thinks I swam 1700m instead of the 1500m of the course, I looked up numerous times & I think I was actually swimming out to New Zealand at one point!

As I passed the final turn around buoy I was about 50m off course, I saw people around me were WALKING! I put my feet down, and sure enough I could touch the bottom, so I quickly jogged back closer to the course, and re-commenced my swim.

My official swim time was 35min – however I think there was an issue with the starting times, as my Garmin had me at 37mins.

As I entered the cycle leg I was shaking all over, I struggled to get my leg over the bike, and to clip my feet in, I’m not sure how much time I lost, but it felt like forever, I felt like I was going to throw up and all I could focus on was getting my leg over the bike, and getting away from all the people on the sidelines before I stacked it! I was soon off and riding though.

I really enjoyed my ride, I dropped the first Endura Gel that I tried to take for energy and nutrition, but I didn’t allow this to panic me, and I simply had my spare one within the first 5km (exactly per my race plan). The cycle course at Hervey Bay is beautiful, very scenic with views of the ocean at most points. My aero bars felt really comfortable, and I was able to go up and down from them without careering off the road. This was a huge confidence booster, and allowed me to relax my shoulders and enjoy the ride.

I made a conscious effort to keep my cadence steady, and I think I managed this with an average of around 90rpm across the course. I was so pleased I had been given the heads up on the one hill on the course – a short 30 meter incline, at around 20% grading…. it felt like I was riding almost vertically I saw a lady stuff up her gears and fall over in front of me, thankfully I managed to avoid her and keep riding – yelling out ‘are you ok’ as I went passed – I head the ‘yep’ as I reached the top (which was good as I really didn’t want to head back down to help her).

The 40km course went so fast, I think I enjoyed it, hard to say really. My Garmin time had me finishing in 1:28mins so I was thrilled that I had come in under my Mooloolaba time for the same distance.

As I set off in the wrong direction through transition for the run leg, I laughed out loud at myself – the officials yelled out to me and I quickly turned around to head out the run entry sign (even though the 2 times before the race when I was in transition I made sure to double check the entry & exit points numerous times!)

My legs didn’t have that shaky horrid I just rode a bike for 90 minutes feeling – I think its because for the last 2km coming into the transition I had deliberately reduced my resistance on the bike & tried to spin a little faster to get the blood running better.

As I started at the run, I easily fell into a comfortable pacing, I remembered that I hadn’t had my 2nd gel in the bike leg, so I took it within the first 2km. I was able to overtake a few people, and walked through each of the drink stations, to allow myself time to drink the water, and let my heart rate drop a little. I took my 2nd gel as I rounded the half way mark. At Km 7 I started some really positive self talk, I knew I was running well and I was comfortable, but looking at my data Km 7 – 8 was my worst of the race. It was like as soon as I started to tell myself how good I was going everything started to hurt! Thankfully a quick look at the watch made me realise that there was a chance I would beat my previous 10km PB so I but a wiggle on and ran ran ran. As I rounded the last corner and started to hear the spectators I tried to stride out some more, I was certain that the PB was mine! My run leg came in at 1:03 – 3 minutes under my previous best 10km run route (which wasn’t preceded by a 1500m swim & 40km ride)

Overall my ‘official finishing time’ of 3:10:39 is 30 minutes faster than my Mooloolaba time, I had SMASHED the internal goal of 3:15 that I had set myself (but not told anyone!)

OD REsults

Hubby thought my recovery ‘outfit’ was very sexy!


So that’s my last triathlon of the season. My next big triathlon challenge will be the 70.3 in August. But before then I’ve got Rocky River Half Marathon (2nd June) and the Rockhampton Bike4Life 100km cycle (29th June). I’m looking forward to both of these events to test myself over the longer distances. Hopefully my body cooperates & my ugly runners feet improve by then!

sorry for the lack of race photos, hopefully they are available soon!


PANDA – Million Mums in May

May 8th, 2013 | Posted by Sara in Being a mum | Little Human | Milestones - (6 Comments)

Over the past few years the birthrate in Australia has boomed and as a result there has been a surge in the number of new parents struggling with PND. I found it VERY hard to talk about my PND, and I wasn’t diagnosed until Worm was nearly 11 months old.

I’ve told my story before, but here it is again, I was a girl who had lived a very busy corporate existence, focusing solely on myself, my hubby and my work.

I was developing into a leader of my organisation, and I relished this role. When I found out I was pregnant I was equal parts elated and shit scared. Worm was certainly planned, and the timing was perfect from a career point of view, I had it all mapped out.

The reality was a little different. The day after I started my maternity leave the Farmer was offered a ‘dream role’ 600kms away, so with a 3 week old baby (who had spent most of that time in the NICU) we packed our home, our life and our dogs to relocate.

All of a sudden I was in a new area, with no family support. The Farmers job quickly turned from the ‘dream role’ that we imagined into a nightmare with him working 16 hour days and all of us struggling into our new roles.

Fast forward 10months, I now had a child who was bottle resistant, she still wasn’t sleeping well, the Farmer had lost his job (and I had given up my pre-maternity leave role just 2 weeks before) it all got too much. I remember one specific occasion driving in the car with Worm speaking to my mother on the phone (hands free of course) when I decided I needed help.

Within a matter of 30 minutes though I had convinced myself that I couldn’t admit a problem as ‘THEY’ would take my child away (yes I realise that this is very irrational thoughts, but that’s what PND and any form of depression really does – I’m actually holding back tears writing this)

If I had been aware of PANDA I could have made a simple phone call to their helpline (1300 726 306). The lovely people there would have been able to tell me that there was no way that ‘THEY” would take my daughter away, but they would have also told me the options and supported me to make the decision to seek support earlier.


The “Million Mums in May” campaign is launching today. We are calling for all Mums to visit where you will be able to simply and easily send an e-postcard to their local member of government. The e-postcards will allow your local member to see that PANDA needs additional funding, and Australia families need support.   In addition, if you wish, you will be able to make a one time $1 donation to the work of PANDA. PANDA is the only dedicated national helpline that supports women with post and antenatal depression and in the past 2 years calls to the helpline have increased by 70%.

My situation is not an isolated event, many many new mums are struggling. It doesn’t take all the world to crumble down around you to make you feel like it is actually happening. The funding raised via the Million Mums in May will enable PANDA to extend the helpline to a 24/7 service. This is an exciting goal and a huge need for our community with currently 93 out of 100 struggling mums missing out on vital support.

Please have a look at the infographic below, and head over to to show your support. There are badges, which we encourage you to display on your twitter, instagram and facebook pages. Show your support of struggling mums.


p.s I did eventually seek help, when we went to sleep school with Worm I couldn’t hide it any further. The Farmer and I had spoken and we used the opportunity of sleep school to seek help. Yes my world had literally fallen down around me, and no amount of people acknowledging this & supporting me was going to help – I wanted to keep the smiley confident facade that people know me for. It took me a long time to be able to share my story, and it is still very raw (actually if I had realised how raw I might not have written this today) Please ask yourself “Am I ok?” “Is this normal” and also “Should this be normal” and also ask your friends.

I have been on a very low dose of medication for the past 10 months, and have recently weaned myself off them. I’m doing well now, because I talk about my feelings rather than just going for a run or bottling them inside.


I’ve often been told that ‘You’re only as good as your last session’. That session might be in training or it might be a race. I think the premise is that you can’t call yourself a ‘winner’ unless each & every session results in a pb or other measurable win.
I strongly strongly disagree with this concept. Yes each & every session counts but there is any measure of things that can impact on your performance during that session.

Did you sleep well last night?

Have you given your body enough nutritious fuel?

Are you drinking enough water?

What about mentally? Are you engaged with the session or just faffing through?

Do you have any injuries? Twinges? Pains? Itches?

Is your workout structured or are you making it up as you go?

All these factors (& many more) contribute to a successful session.

I think by saying that ‘you’re only as god as your last session’ you’re completely negating all the other good work you’ve contributed so far.
I’m the first to admit that I rarely find my sessions easy, I can’t remember the last time I read my training history & thought oh yay a perfect week. In my life they don’t happen. Between the Farmer travelling, me working full time & of course the very active very gorgeous Worm I struggle. (As I type this I am laying on the floor of Worms room next to her cot. She’s struggling herself tonight with a nasty cough, so it looks like this chair cushion & the carpet will be my bed)

I can list any number of excuses why this session didn’t work or why I totally skipped that session. To make it worse the sessions I skip or slack out on are often the hardest & most important. Take my swim sessions for example. Ideally I should be in the water 2-3 times per week so that I can see measurable improvements. In reality I’m lucky to swim once. I know this frustrates my coach, but it is always the first session that gets dropped. Swimming laps isn’t something that I can do whilst solo parenting.
So if I say I’m only as good as my last session the day after a horrible swim, am I saying that I’m not working hard enough? What about the 3 awesome rides or 2 fabulous runs (one of which was a 5km PB) do these sessions count for nothing?

I suppose what I’m trying to say in many many words is that I need to be a littler gentle on myself. Swimming isn’t a strong point, and every session I miss would be hurting that further, but all that means is that I need to really mall my bike & run legs to offset my lack of focus in the swim.

So I’m going to try to be more gentle on myself ok?

Do you believe in the ‘only as good as’ thought?

It’s a Beautiful Day

April 30th, 2013 | Posted by Sara in Being a mum | Iron Mum Training | Little Human - (3 Comments)

We have been blessed this month with loads of visitors from the South. Firstly my parents and now the Farmers sister & family are staying.

One of the best things about having visitors is getting to play tourist in your own city- this was our weekend.
All 6 of us jumped on the ferry over to Great Keppel Island, it’s quite expensive to get over there, so the Farmer & I had never been before.
Worm loved the ferry ride- it was quite rough heading out & she giggled the whole way!


The Farmer & Worm looking out at the islands as we approached.


We had the most perfect weather possible, it was sunny, very little wind & the island was relaxed. Perfect for a family day out.


We all enjoyed smoking over the coral & the Farmer saw some pretty cool fish life, Worm figured out how the snorkel works pretty quickly (although obviously I didn’t let her try it in water!)

One more photo to share. As I’m often the one behind the camera I don’t have many nice photos of Worm & I. I was thrilled to scroll through my camera roll and discover this precious shot.


What did you do this weekend? Pop over to Jenn’s blog & join the party.