This morning I watched a short 12-minute segment on the story of Kerry Suter and Ali Pottinger, two people whom I feel blessed to know and have worked alongside in a past not forgotten (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1R93IqdaXQ). I am ashamed to say that in my email inbox I still have an email from them which I am yet to respond to, weeks after it was sent. In truth, I have been lost for the right words… what do you say to two people so full of life who have had it so changed?
Kerry recently crashed his mountain bike and has been hugely limited in his physical capabilities. The diagnosis is likely tetraplegia. Ali is his partner in life, his best friend, and so much more. In a beautiful twist of tough fate, after 6 years of IVF Ali is pregnant… 18.5 weeks at the time of the documentary piece!
Watching this film, laughing and crying along with them, it so forcibly reaffirmed how precious the gift of life is… How in one beautiful moment you can find out that you are bringing a new life into the world, and yet as Kerry’s accident showed, how quickly life can change too.
I was slow to parenthood as I always felt this strong sense of concern for what the planet would be like for our children, or child, as they grew and then thrived & weathered the storms of adulthood. I look back on my 35 years and see how much has changed. I was one of the lucky kids where the internet was not a thing for my early years of childhood. Nor were mobile phones. Or social media. In fact, in our home was a telephone with the big round dial, and letters always were sent with a stamp. Postcards too! So, in 25 years, wow, so much has changed and this ‘progress’ is speeding up. What does this mean for my son, Nikolas, now 14 months old, when he reaches my age?
On the days when I feel stretched by being a responsible adult, I feel pessimistic and flattened by this thought. But on the days when I feel empowered and in my greatest shoes, I feel optimistic and like I want to tackle the challenge head on. The question I keep finding myself trying to answer is, ‘But how!?’
Knowing that Ali and Kerry are about to welcome their own son or daughter into this world, knowing how much of a challenge they already face as they continue to come to terms with Kerry’s tetraplegia, knowing how many gifts Ali and Kerry’s coaching has given others already, I know that my role now in life, my calling, is to empower others to find their feet. I wish to help us all to walk in our ‘best shoes’, our ‘dancing shoes’, as my father would call them, so that we can each utilize this empowered energy to leave a positive mark on the planet. We cannot expect change and creativity, two things the world needs more than ever before, if we are not upbeat and energized. I find that our most creative ideas come when we are outdoors, living in alignment with our values and breathing in the natural world around us. Sitting at a desk, forcing such creativity and contribution to come usually results in hitting-a-wall of poor motivation and brain fog, although I recognize that there is also a time and place for such quiet contemplation, such as when learning and absorbing new ideas and knowledge, meeting others & listening to their thoughts, putting pen to paper, or words into the microphone.
So, it is from this mindset that The Find Your Feet Podcast is reborn. I feel a calling to share the wisdom, stories, inspirations and reflections of the world’s greatest minds, hearts and spirits. To empower you, the listener, so that you can go out into the world and live with excitement, energy and conscious intent. Thus, in doing so, you can help me, help us, to ensure that we leave Planet Earth thriving for our children, for Nikolas, and for Ali & Kerry’s son or daughter.
I had the idea of returning to the podcast some time ago but I kept finding it hard to describe the motivation. What was tying the themes and guests together? What was inspiring each conversation so that they are rich, authentic and something that you willingly share your time with to listen to? Today, Kerry and Ali gave me their gift by sharing their story of love, tragedy, loss and now rebuilding. I hope to have them on the podcast soon to delve deeper into what it takes to overcome challenges, lean back into life and continue upwards.
As I now set out on this journey of podcasting once again, I also realize that my purpose, that of doing my bit to empower us to leave Planet Earth thriving for our children, for Nikolas, is a greater ambition than just the podcast. It is my life’s work & the tone behind my playfulness too. Therefore, as I step forward into this known unknown, please reach out and share your ideas too. Let me know what you need to hear, to learn, to listen to and to discover to feel energized and enriched. I am listening! As a full-time mother I will do my utmost best to bring the ideas, stories and wisdom that we need to hear into the world.
So, on this note, thank you so much for rejoining me on the Find Your Feet Podcast soon. I look forward to where the journey leads. Keep an eye out for Season 2’s Episode 1. It isn’t far away!
Watch Ali & Kerry's story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1R93IqdaXQ
By Rob Shaw
Rob Shaw is a famous Tasmanian Sports Journalist, The Examiner Newspaper sports reporter, and author. It was a joy to sit with Rob and chat about my book, deep love of Tasmania and the reason why I wanted to share my story.
"Admitting 34 is a bit young to be writing an autobiography, Allston said: "I always envisaged writing a memoir when I was grey and old but I had been burning to get the story out."
I just tripped over a root. The trail is at that annoyingly can-see can’t-see phase, where darkness meets dawn and dawn meets day. Under my head torch, the definition of the trail’s lumps and bumps cannot be identified. Damn it! I run around the trail’s bends, my thoughts curving one way and then another. Work to relationships. Niggling hamstring to the chill blains on my feet. Work again. Hammy again. What to have for breakfast? Dinner? Work yet again. Round and round and round I go. Running brings me so much calmness!?
Joining Lincoln Quilliam on the Hobart Trail Runners Facebook Page, we informally chatted about writing my new memoir called Finding My Feet: My Story, and wilder adventures. In this conversation, we also discussed my 19-day French Pyrenees Traverse, the South-Coast Track in Tasmania, Federation Peak FKT, and then the Western Arthurs solo trail running mission. I also highlight the journey I have been on since leaving competitive running, and how I have found my feet in my trail running by falling in love with wilder missions. We discuss the importance of harmonising all this with recuperation and calmness, and how I have been dabbling in yoga, meditation and writing to really find myself. This was a joyful conversation that I hope you will enjoy as must as I enjoyed hosting it!
This blog is a transcription from Episode #13 of my Find Your Feet Podcast with Tasmanian Tiger guru and Thylacine believer, Col Bailey, was produced by Chris Rehberg. Chris is the Author behind Where Light Meets Dark.
I am running along a wild trail in Japan, entering into the Zen state that occurs soon after the ‘I am getting a little tired’ point, and shortly before the second-wind gusts you back onto your feet. In this internal bubble, time loses all meaning, and thoughts come and go like the breeze that hits me each time I crest onto another jagged ridgeline. Sweat is dripping down my forehead, seeping down my neck, before finally making it into my undies. Moving along this trail, far from the wandering crowds, and well beyond reach of emails, phones and all that ‘life’ stuff, I think I am in heaven. And, from the depths of this meditative state, I feel completely connected to my rawest self.
Lee walks softly through the sliding doors into my living room, a converted 1960s garage which we rent from generous friends who live above. For three years we lived humbly since we sold our home in Canberra and thrown everything into our Find Your Feet adventure business here in Tasmania. Lee meets my outstretched hand with a quiet confidence and yet boyish nervousness. I feel like I am looking in a mirror. ‘Well this should be interesting!’ he remarks with a husky smoothness laced with an accent I cannot place.
As featured in Travel. Play. Live Magazine, Autumn 2018
Mud between my toes. Mud etched into the lines of my hands. Mud spots on my cheeks, both facial and I am sure, other. Mud masking the scratches across my legs, the downside of this dense south-west Tasmanian scrub. I have pain in my lower back, jarred from all the ducking beneath and leaping over the maze of toppled trees, their lifespan shortened by the roaring forties that rip through here. If I am not buried in this confusion of fallen limbs, I am vaulting from button grass to mud bank, trying to avoid the deepest holes. I can hear Dale behind me. Deep breaths expired, the squelch of his shoes and the occasional humorous remark at our predicament as he flings himself across, and sometimes into, each muddy void.
Written by: Joonas Pääkkönen.
Reading Osho’s When the Shoe Fits, while having breakfast felt like a nice way to start my day off at a hotel in Tampere, Finland last July. It was time for the Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC), a busy week filled with competitions. Later that day, though, I only had one meeting scheduled on my calendar: an interview with Australian JWOC team manager Hanny Allston.
I have been fascinated by the mental aspects of endurance sports all my life, alongside with the Eastern traditions of inner work, including various forms of meditation. Interestingly, my conversation with Hanny turned out to cover many such topics.
Look backwards to where we have come. We are anonymous. No one knows our pathway more than they know our future. A sodden trail leading upwards, substituting the sparse understory of the lower forest for a non-existent canopy. Frozen, white fingers mimicking the silent stags guarding the history of this forest. Tarkine. Our Tarkine.
This article was featured in the latest edition of Travel Play Live
Dawn was breaching through the darkness as I pulled on my running tights, thermal, beanie and gloves. From my lounge room window I could see Mt Wellington and my beloved trails covered in a thick blanket of snow. Winter has arrived!
Winter training poses many challenges to all of us. Increased darkness and cooler temperatures disturb our homeostasis and require alterations to our exercising habits. Developing an understanding of the physiological changes your body goes through during winter will assist you to maintain healthy, safe & sustainable exercise routines this year.
Darkness hides our fears; at least I hope I am not alone in this apprehension. Head torch beams bounce through the awakening dawn. Car headlights sweep into the Waldheim car park. A slip of light filters from under the toilet door. The runner’s pack in front of me is constantly adjusted – tightened, loosened, shifted – its owner awaiting the beginning of the role call. It is race day. And the bright dawn has snuck up on us whilst we fuss.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.