Joanne Colja, a perioperative nurse who works in theatres at Murwillumbah Hospital, enjoys a range of sporting activities. They also keep her fit and help her to cope with a busy lifestyle and workload.
I love my job, but at times the busy schedule and long hours are tiring. I think what keeps me going is my involvement in sport. It gives me a level of fitness that helps me cope with my workload.
I have been involved in different types of sports for a long time now; some might say I am a fitness fanatic and as I sit here and write about it I realise they could be right. My plan is to be fit for life, but I am not one to just go out and exercise – I need goals to aim for, therefore I will find an event, enter and start a training plan. I am also lucky enough to have a husband who has a degree in sports science, and he helps me with my training plan.
I like to enter local events such as fun runs and triathlons and I am a member of the Twin Towns Triathlon club. The hardest event I have ever competed in was the Anaconda Adventure race on the Gold Coast. This event involved a 2km ocean swim, 16km ocean and creek ski paddle, 14km cross country run, 18km mountain bike ride (the toughest ride I have ever done) and a 2km beach run. The sense of achievement when you complete an event like that stays with you for a long time.
One of the most important things about being involved in sport and staying fit is the friendships you make. About 10 years ago my son was involved in nippers, so I decided to do the bronze medallion after joining a local surf club.
This for me has been one the best thing I have ever done as I have become part of a group who likes to stay fit and have fun as well. Once a week I try to go out with a group of ladies for a board paddle. There is nothing better than sitting out in the ocean on your board and letting all the stress from work leave your body. The coffee you have afterwards with the girls helps as well.
The surf club I am a member of at present is Cudgen Headland and we recently held the NSW State championship at our beach. I was lucky enough to win a gold medal in the 2km beach run 45-49yrs (with a bit of hard training as well) but my efforts seem mediocre compared to my fellow clubmate, Jan Gielis who won numerous gold medals. What makes this so special is that Jan is 64. Last year she competed in the world Surf Life Saving championships in Egypt and won 11 medals. She is a role model and if there were more people like her, our health system would have less business.
Recently I purchased a new bike and have set myself a new goal. On 20 and 21 August I am taking part in a two-day bike ride around the Queensland countryside in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. In the lead up to this ride I have a few smaller goals: the Byron Bay swim, the Byron Bay Triathlon and the Gold Coast 10km run. I am up to run number six and hope to complete 10 runs of 10km in 10 years. With all this activity it’s a wonder I am able to fit work in!
In the Ride to Conquer Cancer (www.conquercancer.org.au) I am part of the Cummingswest Team and aim to raise $2,500.
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