Nutrition & Health
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Author: Rachel Hickey (interviewer) Date Posted: 30 April 2022
This Mother's Day, we're doing a series of blogs which shine the light on the wonderful women out there who raise children and somehow find the time, energy and passion to participate in sport and exercise. Today, you'll meet Jalna and Carly.
First up, Carly Antonello: @carly_runs_around
What is your sport/exercise of choice?
My favourite exercise is definitely running! For many years I have suffered from anxiety and in 2015 I decided I needed to do something to try and manage it better. I am not a very coordinated person so I thought running was something that didn't take much coordination - afterall it really is just one foot in front of the other on repeat. At the time I could barely jog 100 metres without feeling like my lungs were going to explode, but after a while I managed to run further and within a few months I ventured off to my local parkrun. This is where I met a lot of amazing people who inspired and encouraged me to embrace my running ability.
Not only does running make me feel good, especially when I tick off goals I have set for myself, it has also introduced me to some of my closest friends.
How many children do you have?
I have 2 beautiful boys aged 10 and 8 years.
What challenges have you faced as a mother in regards to your fitness/exercise?
One of the challenges that I have faced as a mother is feeling guilty for taking time to exercise and wondering if it is having an impact on my children.
It can be challenging juggling parenthood, work and exercise, especially as my children get older and there is an increase in after school commitments, but I feel that it is important that my children see my dedication to my training, know that I too need some 'me-time' and understand that if you want something and work hard enough you can achieve what you set out to do.
How have you overcome this challenge?
To ensure that I am not missing out on time with my children I fit my runs in between finishing work and school pick up, whilst my boys have their after school sports or early in the morning. This has reduced my feeling of guilt but at the same time my children still know that I am dedicated to my exercise and I am there for them when they need me.
What has been your greatest achievement in your sport/exercise?
Last year I was fortunate enough to complete my first Ultra Marathon, running 50kms through the Blue Mountains. It took plenty of commitment, early morning training and a lot of support from my family. When I started my running journey I never imagined I would one day run an ultra marathon.
How do you incorporate exercise into your daily/weekly routine?
I like to exercise everyday - whether it be a run, walk or strength training. If the weather is good we walk home from school, when the boys have football training I walk laps around the oval whilst I watch them train, or I exercise when they are asleep. In fact, my youngest son actually asks me each night at bedtime if I have done my exercise for the day and if I say I haven't he tells me to get on the treadmill!
Do your children have any involvement in your exercise/sport?
Luckily for me my children are very supportive of my running. They always ask me how my run was and love looking at my medals from events I have participated in.
My children also like to participate in fun runs with me if there is a suitable distance for them to enter and my older son enjoys running at Parkrun together.
Do you have any future goals?
I would one day love to participate in a 100km ultra marathon. The physical and mental challenge involved in completing 100km’s is not for everyone but I would love to see if I could achieve it.
What advice would you give to any mothers wanting more physical activity but may be unsure as to where to start?
I would say start small. Think of something you enjoy doing and work out how you can incorporate it into your routine. Try going for a walk around the block. Join a local sporting group. Set a step goal for each day. Any increase in movement can be so beneficial both physically and mentally, and once you find a routine it will just become part of your life.
Anything you would like to add?
The most important thing for mums to remember when we choose to be active is that we can have a balance between looking after ourselves and being the best mum we can be, and sometimes we may even struggle to do one without the other. Be kind to yourself.
Next we spoke with Jalna @jalna_runs
I actually enjoy a bit of everything - from trail running, to hiking and climbing, and getting lost in the forest.
I've just recently gotten into open water swimming and swam my first 21km a couple of weeks back in Enoggera Reservoir and I am planning to add a few OW swim races into my calendar over the next 12 months. Best to take this cross-training stuff seriously.
I have 3 children aged 15, 14 and 10
It is always a juggling act, which isn't helped by being a single parent.
I've struggled with finding time - and also the guilt that comes with the long training sessions and time away from my children. But I do feel that children benefit from seeing their parents go after their own personal goals, and they learn a lot from all of our failures as much as our achievements on these pursuits.
For me, this means I often have to do 3am starts in order to get the training done before my children have to be up ready for school. I also let them know my schedule and they help me plan when it's best to do the long run.
This is a tough one....
Sure I've done okay in some races, but the run I am most proud of is the FKT (Fastest Known time) attempt completely unsupported on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. I was having a bit of a tough period, and when an event was cancelled a friend suggested this. I had less than 3 days to plan (and mentally prepare) for 100 miles solo, through the night with no crew, no support, out in pretty much the middle of nowhere. There were so many ups and downs during that long night, and I finished under 20 hours to find the warm faces of some great friends at the end.
Proudest moment because it made me aware of how far I had come.
I try to do 5 mornings a week. Right now with a fractured foot I'm still off running, but swimming 2-3 times a week and using my bike on the indoor trainer.
I like to drag my 3 out for hikes and camping, but none are too keen after our search for a plane wreck up at Mount Superbus. It took a lot of chocolate for them to talk to me again.
I’m trying to get them involved with the long swimming sessions, so I have bought a little kayak that we are going to use on the reservoir. I'm certain that someone dangling a packet of Twisties from the kayak will surely make me a faster swimmer.
And we get bonding time too :-)
Absolutely. I'm still aiming for 2 x 100 milers at the end of this year, and need to fit in a 10km qualifying swim in order to be able to swim the Rottnest Channel next Feb (20km swim). I'll also submit my application for Badwater135 in Jan - fingers crossed (and toes).
Start small and never focus on the distance - it's too overwhelming.
Instead focus on time. You'll be surprised how quickly a 20 minute run will turn into a 30 minute run - and you'll be doing 10km before you know it.
Try to not compare yourself to others. We all have different goals and obstacles that we are dealing with. Do the best you can and try to have fun whilst doing so.
What are some of your biggest bloopers?
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve fallen off my bike, or fallen into bushes on a single trail from laughing at my own jokes. Belly laughs are dangerous
Big thanks to Carly and Jalna for sharing their stories with us. Join us in Part 2 for more interviews with inspiring mums!