On the weekend I completed the Spartan Trifecta in Bright, Victoria. If you are not familiar with Spartan races they are an obstacle race. You need to complete a set distance running while tackling obstacles along the way. You have one shot at the obstacle and if you fail it is 30 burpees before you can move on.

To attain the Spartan trifecta I needed to complete the 14km race at 6.30am Saturday, then the 7km race at 10.00am Saturday and then the 21km race at 6.30am Sunday.

I have run all those distances before in a Spartan race, but never back to back like that. I had a great training program and took away half my house with me so I could eat well while away. I did everything I could to allow maximum recovery between Saturday and Sunday's races, but didn't know for certain if I would be able to run the 21km on the Sunday after running a combined 21km on the Saturday.

I did recover well, so started the race feeling good. This race was by far the hardest event I have ever done, with two insane hill claims and two even more insane descents. Running downhill scares me - a lot! At one point I thought I might cry I was so scared and I knew I still had ages to go down the decline.

Mindset is so crucial, so I snapped myself out of my scaredy pants mindset, made myself smile and focused on what an amazing achievement it would be when I completed it. This didn't make it any easier on the legs, but it made me feel better mentally as I made my way slowly and steadily down the hills.

(If you look closely at the photo below you will see a clearing at the top of the hill - that was what we had to run/walk up once on Saturday in the 14km and twice in the 21km race.)

Sometimes I think we really do need to challenge ourselves. As much as I love planning and routine, to keep growing we do need to try new things, do things that scare us and do things that we aren't even sure we can complete.

Challenging ourselves doesn't have to be something as demanding as a Spartan trifecta. But as a fellow runner said to me "when was the last time you did something for the first time?".

For me last weekend was the first time I had run a Spartan trifecta. Before that it had been a while since I had undertaken an activity of significance for the first time.

So my challenge to you this week is to challenge yourself. Have a new first. Do something you haven't done before. It doesn't have to be big, it could be:
  • Getting off the train three stops earlier and walking to work from there
  • Doing an online yoga tutorial (this one is highly recommend)
  • Meditating for the first time (see the health benefits of meditation here)
  • Taking a cold shower for 5 minutes (see health benefits of cold showers here)
  • Volunteering at your local soup kitchen

If you do undertake a new first please let me know I would love to hear about it.


PS. I had a fantastic response to my question to you about your 3 lessons from 2016 last week and I apologise if I have not personally responded to you yet. I am collating them for a post to be published on the blog next week.

PWK Annual Survey

Thanks so very much to those of you who already completed the PWK Annual Survey. If you had trouble with the survey asking you to log in to a Google Account, I apologise. I had ticked a wrong box which was making people have to log in. I have fixed this issue now and I would very much love it if you would have another try and complete the survey which can be found here .

I created the PWK Slow cooker recipe e-book just for this survey to say thanks for completing the survey, but thought not everyone might own a slow cooker, so I have decided to have links to two previous survey free downloads as well in case they are of more interest to you – the choice is yours about which ones you choose to download. You can see the table of contents for each of them below and you will get a link at the end of the survey where you can download one, two or all three of them.

The survey really helps me work out what is working and what isn’t on the blog. I would love it very much if you could take 5 minutes between now and Sunday Dec 18 to complete the survey.

There is a section where you can leave a question for me to answer on the blog. I try to answer as many as possible and you see can some of my answers to the questions I received last year here.

Here are just some of the questions I have received so far that I am scheduling to write about next year:

Your oldest has finished school, how would you handle it if he wants to leave home or move overseas?

How on earth do you cope with helping 5 children with their homework? How do you keep them motivated? Do you give any rewards? We get lots of homework every night.

Are you as calm as you seem? Despite me being pretty organised, it still feels chaotic at times in our household and I don't get that feeling from reading your blog that your household is.

1. What change/habit/routine has made the most difference to your life in the last 9 years?
2. How do you make sure you keep to the plan you set for yourself for the day/week/month? i.e. do you get distracted at all and if yes how do you get back on track (or is it all ingrained habits by now)? Has this changed in the last 9 years?
3. What has changed the most for you in the last 9 years?

What is your one essential fall back strategy/prompt to stop yourself when you feel out of control, particularly around unproductive interaction with your kids when tired/over it/fill in the blank? (:

I look forward to reading yours! The link to the survey again is here.

Sent to:


Nicole Avery, Planning with Kids, Surrey Hills Victoria 3127, Australia
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