Life & Lycra is officially here!

Amanda Thompson

Amanda Thompson

Award-Winning Financial Advisor, Keynote Speaker, Ironman, World Championship Qualified Triathlete.

Hello there!

Did you know hippos can run and swim faster than humans? This means the bike is your only chance of beating a hippo in a triathlon.

I share that anecdote because (you could say) the hippo represents parts of me.

Throughout my life, I have locked away experiences and emotions and when I started training for my first Ironman, I couldn’t outrun or outswim parts of myself or my past.

While wearing Lycra, I learned a lot about myself and life. Now through this newsletter, I hope to share those lessons with you.

So come along for the ride (and the swim and the run). Please share your thoughts, experiences, and ask any questions or suggest what you would like to hear more of from me.

I’m looking forward to sharing more of my journey with you!

“When you have to come to the edge of all the light you have..

...and you must take a step into the darkness of the unknown...

..Believe that one of two things will happen to you...

Either you will find something solid to stand on..

..or you'll be taught to fly .”

Life lesson of the month - Learn to ride the waves of life

If life has taught me anything, it’s that you have to live it with a lot of grit, determination, and passion. Don’t give up because of setbacks and challenges. Take on life’s waves and keep working toward the finish line.

It’s hard in life to be brave and bold but we should never choose to be anything less.

Most of the swim courses in a triathlon are shaped like a box. You have to swim straight out through the waves. Then you swim across the waves, and then when you reach the final buoy, you swim back to the shore.

For many, the swim is the most daunting part of the race. You have to take on two opponents — the voice inside your head and mother nature. As we know all too well, sometimes mother nature is the most ferocious opponent of all. Often you are trying to swim out against the waves, sometimes you take one stroke forward and the wave pushes you ten strokes back. It can be tiring and quite disheartening. But, unless you want to quit, you’ve got no choice but to take on the waves.

Slowly you make ground and eventually you reach that first buoy and turn to start swimming across the waves.
This part of the race can be equally as hard. Now the waves are smashing against you every which way. You mightn’t even know what direction you should be swimming. You have to pop your head up above the water to see the buoy off in the distance and make sure you’re on track. Sometimes you might catch a glimpse, but other times the waves will come too thick and fast and all you can do is take a breath, duck under the wave and wait for the next opportunity.

The waves in the ocean are like the challenges we face in life. They stand between us and success — or us and the finish line. In life it can feel like we face challenge after challenge. If at any time during the swim it becomes too much there’s a boat out there. You can put your hand on the boat and in an instant it can all be over.

No more waves. No more setbacks. No more challenges. But that also means no more race. You won’t be crossing that finish line. I think the road to success is often like that.

The challenges we face are hard and giving up is easy. But if you give up, you’ll never achieve the things you want to achieve in life. And you know what? Maybe your next wave break is just around the corner.

If you hold on, if you keep persevering to that final buoy out in the ocean, then the waves that have been your worst enemy become your best friend because you ride them into shore.

You must take chances and give everything your all. To achieve what you want to achieve in life you have to be prepared to take on the challenges and never give up.

What is happening in the land of Lycra

It has been a bittersweet few weeks in Lycra. November should have seen me travelling to the 2020 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Taupo, New Zealand. The pandemic brought that (as well as many luxuries like training with friends) to an abrupt halt. The good news is that my glass is way more than half full right now. Training is seeing a return and I have confirmed a few races for 2021, with the hope of a World Championship start in Utah, St George in September 2021.

Outdoor pools are open again – although it has been tough securing a spot due to the limited number of people permitted each 45 minute timeslot. The other day I was “just swimming” and during my 2km swim the Melbourne weather lived up to its name. The sun tried its hardest to shine and then in an instant, the heavens opened and it was pouring. It’s the simple things like swimming in the rain that put a smile on my face right now.

We have also recommenced (socially distanced) group rides and our first one saw nine of us out in the hills of Melbourne. It was quite simply the BEST. I was out with my coach, who was in his element with his crew out. He couldn’t keep the smile off his face, which is definitely contagious. This ride reminded me of two things – the anti-discriminatory nature of our sport. There were four women on the ride, one junior and the remainder were the boys (haha). We were all in Lycra and doing what we do as a group. The second reminder came in the conversations we had along the way, varied and not all riding related. We talked about the justice system, underprivileged children, the health effects of Covid-19 and about our children and partners. I have missed “my” people so much during the last 7 months. Where I am not Amanda the Financial Advisor, I am just “me” and I laughed (and nearly cried) through these conversations that truly warmed my heart.

Back to life with heels on and dry hair

Yes, I always wear heels if I am not exercising but those who know me know I only dry my hair if I have been in the car going to an appointment. I do own a hairdryer but can’t remember the last time I used it. My friends often giggle at the quirk of me drying my hair with the air conditioner of my car.

It is not a coincidence that my first newsletter launches today – the same day my eldest daughter Bella commences her Year 12 exams. The past few weeks in our house have been spent in a whirlwind of 18th Birthday celebrations, newfound independence with her licence, and the waves of emotions attached to finishing her secondary school education and fears attached to the looming exams and where to next.

Livvy, my youngest daughter has been embracing life as she returns to school (finally) and watches on as her sister transforms into an adult. It has been a time where I have been tremendously proud of both of my girls. It’s unusual for me to stop long enough to sit back and reflect on the years spent parenting them and taking the win of feeling so proud to be their mother. I plan to reflect more often.

As I wrap up this first newsletter I wanted to share the smallest piece of background and introduction to my grandfather, Pap (you will hear much more about him in newsletters to come!) Pap was fully blind from the age of 6 and was a successful barrister until he passed away in 1991 (aged 63). He was the “go-to” for absolutely everything for everyone in our family.

Although we didn’t know it until recently, 26 years ago my mum started a new family tradition. Prior to me commencing my Year 12 exams, my mum presented me with a small pewter owl and a handwritten note. The note said:

“I call him Pap. For two reasons – he is very wise and he can see in the dark. Hold him close and share your worries and concerns. Sleep on them and in the morning you will see clearly again.”

The owl has sat next to my bed, always, since the day she gave it to me, until yesterday when I passed on “Pap” the owl with a handwritten note from me, of the same words to my eldest daughter Bella. I will miss Pap but have grown enough emotionally to know that he is always with me and looking out for me.

Now is the time for Bella to have him by her side.



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