Back in 2006, I completed my first and what I assumed would be my last triathlon. I don’t like swimming, running or cycling, so it clearly wasn’t something I did of my own free will; it was something I had to do in order to graduate from university and complete my Bachelor of Exercise Science. While I am a competent swimmer and bike rider, I don’t enjoy either of them, particularly not in a competitive setting like a triathlon. I also have a tendency to struggle with heat exhaustion; my triathlon was held on a 36°C Melbourne summer day. I had met my now husband a few years earlier, towards the start of our time at uni together (we studied the same degree), and will be forever thankful to him for getting me through that. He grew up in the water and is a better than good swimmer, so he helped me through the half-kilometer ocean swim leg. I was fine on my own for the 20km bike ride (I didn’t enjoy it, but it was at least pretty easy for me). By the time I got to the 5km run, I was spent. The heat was ridiculous, and I was in a world of pain. Dad was the only family or friend either of us had there to cheer us on and meet us at the finish line; he later told me that he met husband at the finish line and husband’s first question was “have you seen Jess?” Nope, not finished yet, answered Dad. Husband back-tracked a few kilometres to find me in a hallucinatory state, poking his chest and asking if he was real, and walked the few kilometres back with me to the finish line. That was when Dad decided he was a keeper and part of the family.
Anyway, despite how proud I am of myself for finally finishing, it was a shitty experience and one I never intend on repeating. So you can imagine my husband’s face when I told him I’d entered myself into a triathlon this weekend. Not just any triathlon though; the Wanderlust 108. The “kind” and “mindful” triathlon.
Wanderlust is a global lifestyle group that focuses on keeping both the mind and body fit and healthy, and they’re running a triathlon unlike any other in cities all around the world. What they’re all about, as they write on their website is…
Wanderlust’s core mission is to create community around mindful living.
Mindful living is a conscious, value-based approach to leading a sane & healthy life. At Wanderlust, we focus on a few simple principles:
Practicing yoga helps clear the mind, tone the body, and heal the spirit. Wanderlust is committed to creating inspiring places to practice with a broad array of the world’s most accomplished teachers.
We are what we eat, and at Wanderlust — and in our personal lives — we support local farms and purchase organic, sustainably grown products whenever possible.
It is our solemn responsibility to be good stewards of the earth. Wanderlust is committed to sustainable practices, including waste reduction, recycling, composting, the utilization of renewable energy sources and carbon offsetting. Sustainability is a moving target, and we also pledge to improve year after year.
Wanderlust is a purpose driven company, and we build partnerships with like-minded companies who value social good as well as the bottom line. Some of our greatest power lies in what we do, what we purchase and who we associate with.
Many of the great challenges facing us today, from environmental damage to food shortages to disease to political upheaval, can be improved or solved through mass action. But mass action requires awareness, so wherever possible, we will use the Wanderlust platform to highlight — and with luck, resolve — the most important issues of our time.
Wanderlust is a place where creative expression is both valued and open. We treasure our community of artists and are honored to provide a canvas for their work.
You can find out more on their website, but basically, the event looks something like this:
- 5km-running course
- 90-minute yoga class
- live music
- inspiring lecture by One Giant Mind’s Jonni Pollard
- lawn activities such as acroyoga
- delicious locally sourced organic food
They run these events all around the world, and I was pretty excited to find out they were hosting one in Melbourne! I found out about it exactly four weeks before it was scheduled; I entered myself online, immediately downloaded the Couch To 5K running app to my phone and instructed husband to drag me along to the gym with him when he went three mornings each week, so I could complete the program on the treadmills there. Let me emphasis what a big deal this is; I have always hated/completely sucked at running. I’ve never been good at it, I’ve never enjoyed it, I’ve never understood the “fun” concept of a “fun run.” But at this stage, I was just beginning to take my depression/anxiety/disordered eating recovery seriously and thought this was the perfect opportunity for a fresh start, and a great way to train my body to achieve something other than losing weight. So I did. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 5.30am and every Sunday around 7.30am for the four weeks leading up to it, I got up, put on my workout gear, and hit the gym. I kept up my own yoga practice, a few sessions per week, leading up to it too.
So, how was the day itself? Pretty amazing! Despite the event running a little late to start, it was a fun day! I surprised myself with how well I did on the run and couldn’t have been happier when I crossed the finish line :) The 90 minute yoga class was good fun with great tunes from Aroha, led by the incredibly motivating “flying nomad” Simon Park – seeing 1500 people practising their downward facing dog in the park on the beach overlooking the sea is one hell of an experience!
I also got a lot out of listening to Swisse ambassador, the gorgeous Bianca Chatfield, captain of the Melbourne Vixens netball squad, superstar athlete, founder of The Ignition Project and all around lovely lady :) Hearing her speak about not only the importance of working hard, but the importance of resting and taking time out to look after yourself, too, was EXACTLY what I needed to hear.
A big thank you to the team at the Lulu Lemon hub as well – how they kept up on the bag check front (the best ever complimentary service that could have possibly been on offer), as well as selling their gear, I will never know. But they did, and they made everyone’s lives a lot easier because of it! Oh, and the food was hella good, too – I hit up the team at Mastic twice – firstly for the black rice risogalo after the run and before the yoga (black rice and coconut milk/yoghurt pudding deliciousness, topped with toasted coconut and pomegranate), and then went back for one of the phenomenal quinoa falafel souvas after the yoga class, by which point I was famished!
Wanderlust108 Melbourne was an awesome experience, and I think something that most of us would benefit from; taking the time to slow down and make time for ourselves, to both challenge ourselves physically and mentally, as well as nurture ourselves, and to be around other people wanting the same things, is a truly uplifting and inspiring experience, and I’m super thankful for the opportunity to have been part of it all! Was anyone else there on the weekend, or done any of the others in other cities around the world??