Tough Girl Podcast

The Tough Girl Podcast is all about inspiring and motivating YOU! I will be interviewing inspirational women from around the world, who’ve faced and overcome difficult challenges and situations, they will share their story, their knowledge and provide advice and essential tips for you to overcome your own personal challenges. Please check out the Tough Girl Challenges website - and follow on twitter @_TOUGH_GIRL
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Now displaying: December, 2019
Dec 31, 2019

Yolanda Holder is a professional Ultra Marathon Walker.

In 2019 at the Six Days in the Dome in Milwaukee she set a World & American Age Group Record 413 Miles (60-64).  Also, in 2019, Yolanda is the first African American Woman and second African American to earn a US Race Walk Centurion #94 and the oldest person (61 years young) to race walk 100 miles in under 24 hours (23:52:17).  

Yolanda’s a 2-time Guinness World Record holder for “Most Marathons Completed in a Calendar Year”, finishing a staggering 106 marathons/ultras in 2010 and breaking her own record in 2012 finishing 120 marathons/ultras.  Yolanda is the first American Woman and African American to Run or Walk over 100 marathons in a calendar year and the first woman in the world to ever do it twice.

Yolanda’s accomplishments are amazing, at the 2017 Sri Chinmony Self Transcendence 3100 Mile Race she set a World Record first Pedestrian (walker) finishing in 51 Days, 17 hours and 13 seconds and at the 2014 Ultra Marathon USA & World Championship in Anchorage Alaska met her goal of power walking 400 miles in the Six Day event placing 3rd female and 10th overall. Yolanda is a finisher of six, Six Day Races podium on all six and the American Woman Record holder 10 Day Race with 622 Miles. She has power walker over 540 lifetime marathons/ultras. 

Yolanda is a Masters/Senior Athlete at her athletic peak setting and breaking World and American records with no plans on stopping. 

Yolanda is also a wife, mother of two grown children, inspirational speaker and author.  

Show notes

  • Yolander introduces herself
  • Running her first marathon at 40 in 1998
  • New challenges at 50 - 50 marathons in 50 weeks…
  • Growing up doing dancing but never being an athlete 
  • Over 540 marathon ultras!
  • Dealing with the backlash of being a walker in a runners world 
  • Getting her first Guinness World Record in 2010 
  • Getting depressed in 2011 from the negative feedback
  • How she got the name - the walking Diva 
  • The Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race
  • The logistics of the race
  • The reasons why she wanted to do this one of a kind race
  • Crossing the finish line and transitioning back to normal life 
  • Getting the nutrition right
  • Top tips and advice for you
  • Quick Fire Questions
  • Final words of advice to motivate and inspire you 

Social Media

Website -  

Twitter- @WalkingDiva365  

Instagram - @yolandaholder 

Facebook  -  @yolanda.holder  

The Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race is the world's longest certified footrace. In 1996 Sri Chinmoy created this event as a 2,700-mile race. At the award ceremony that year he declared that the 1997 edition would be extended to 3,100 miles.

Dec 26, 2019

On 1st July 2019 Shona left the comfort and safety of her life in the UK to fly to Seattle. After a busy couple of days sorting out food supplies, Shona started her Pacific Crest Trail hike on the 4th of July.

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650 mile long distance walking trail in the U.S.A. Shona hiked south bound, starting at the Canadian Border – walking through the States of Washington, Oregon and California – until she reached the Mexican Border.

Shona carried all of her kit and camping gear, she passed through towns about once a week to pick up a food resupply, shower, charge her phone etc. It took Shona just under 5 months to completed and she finished in late November 2019.

Why this challenge? 

Four years ago, Shona approached her 40th birthday, and admitted to herself that she wasn’t living the life she wanted and she wasn’t doing the adventures she’d dreamed off. She’d been waiting for her circumstances to change but changing they were not.

Shona decided it was time to stop putting her life on hold and take action. Shona hiked the PCT knowing it would be hard. So hard that she’d want to quit many times. But she also knew that she’d love it and be changed by it.

During this podcast episode Shona shares more about her PCT journey and answers questions from the Tough Girl Tribe. Shona also provides top tips and advice to help you make sure you are living the life of your dreams.

Show notes

  • Catching up with Shona
  • Brief introduction 
  • Heading out to America to start the trail
  • Getting food boxes sorted at the start
  • Heading out to the monument 
  • Starting the trail on the 4th July 2019
  • How easy was it to do the food boxes in advance
  • Having a plan for the start 
  • The first night….
  • Walking 30 miles to reach the start line!
  • Why it was so busy SOBO 
  • What it was like….and why it was a relief 
  • Being nervous at the start and wanting to make big miles
  • Being worries about not being fast enough
  • Dealing with the wet and cold 
  • The time pressure of going SOBO
  • The first 500 miles of Washington State
  • Having rules on the trail
  • Intentionally walking alone and being present 
  • The challenging moments on the trail 
  • Documenting the journey 
  • Thinking the journey was going to be over 
  • Asking for help when it was needed
  • Learning that you don’t have to do everything on your own 
  • Understanding why people do quit the trail 
  • Trail name - My Sherona….
  • The Sierra Mountains and the fear of the snow
  • Hating the cold 
  • Trail Family 
  • River crossings…
  • Getting to the finish
  • Being 20 miles from the border 
  • Human kindness 
  • Shoes…. 
  • Funding for a thru hike
  • Raising funds for charity - Mikey’s Line 
  • Is there going to be a book??
  • Life changing? 
  • Advice and tips for you to achieve your own personal dreams 

Listen to the first episode with Shona - Taking on new challenges at 40 & her preparation for thru hiking the Pacific Crest Trail - SOBO in 2019!

July 9, 2019 - 

Social Media 

Website -

Facebook -  @shonamacphersoncoaching   

Instagram - @walkwildcoach

Dec 24, 2019

London-based management consultant who likes to ride her bike far and fast. Previously mostly focused on speed and results, now in search of more adventurous challenges.

Flatlander who loves a good headwind battle, not afraid of a bit of rain, but struggles in the heat, scared of gravel and goes backwards on hills. But… what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, so embarked on a number of very hilly cycling challenges in summer 2019, clocking up more elevation in a month than she previously did in a year.

Winner of various TT titles, including Best British All-Rounder (2014), National 12hr TT champion (2015) and both National and World 24hr TT champion (2017). Multiple 24 hour solo circuit wins: Le Mans (2013), Revolve (2017) and Zandvoort (2017) where she also placed in the top 3 overall. 

Zwift distance record breaker (2017). Two failed LEJOG record attempts. 

Audax UK member since 2015 with Super Randonneur awards (200km, 300km, 400km and 600km) 4 years in a row. First female finisher and top 10 overall London-Edinburgh-London (2017). Third fastest female at Paris-Brest-Paris (2019). First woman and top 10 overall at the 1000km BikingMan Oman unsupported race (2019). 

Unfinished business with 1890km Race Around the Netherlands (so returning in 2020). 

Also eyeing up some off-road cycling fun and a longer unsupported race for 2020... Currently enjoying giving back to cycling, women’s cycling in particular, by helping others with skills and fitness based training sessions and guiding rides.

Show notes

  • Who is Jasmijn
  • Her main passion and love for cycling
  • Cycling in the Netherlands…
  • Moving over to London in 2007
  • Growing up on a farm in the Netherlands
  • Trying to decide between dance and sports
  • Losing her passion for dance
  • Deciding to go travelling for 5 months….
  • Working as a Scuba Diving Instructor 
  • Having to make a decision about university at 25
  • Doing a Masters degree in the UK
  • Getting into rowing
  • Her first 100 mile cycle ride and how it came about 
  • Starting to do more Sportive events 
  • Joining a local cycling club…
  • Being born with built in endurance
  • Doing her first 24hr race
  • Deciding to see how far she could push it physically on the bike
  • Starting to work with a coach in 2014
  • Winning Best British All Rounder (BBAR) in time trials 
  • Having an intense year of riding in 2015
  • How her body copes with the challenges of riding
  • The Challenge of riding the length of Great Britain from Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG)
  • Dealing with Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) in 2016
  • Her history with the record for LEJOG
  • Riding on the A roads in GB
  • Working a full time job while training and preparing for the LEJOG record
  • Picking the right date to start
  • Dealing with illness and sickness and not being able to continue
  • How her big dream of breaking the record for LEJOG changed to becoming a burden
  • Fixing her nutrition, taking time off work for the 2018 LEJOG record attempt
  • How the UK weather impacted on the 2018 LEJOG record attempt
  • Dealing with a speed wobble
  • Dealing with the emotional aftermath of letting go of the LEJOG record
  • Having some time out from cycling
  • Being a peace with her decision
  • Saddle sores….
  • Podcast from the - on saddle sores “flipping flash mash” The Wheel Suckers Podcast
  • Having fun in 2019!
  • Selling all her cycling gear
  • Wanting to do more unsupported challenges
  • Spending time with family
  • Learning new skills and facing her fear of hills!
  • Joining a women only cycling club
  • Quick Fire Questions

Social Media

Website   -

Dec 19, 2019

Melissa has completed the Epic 5 in Hawaii, 3 Ultraman triathlons, and is now the 1st female to have ever completed the UberMan, which she did in October - she also broke the swim record and smashed the previous course record by approximately 31 hours!

During this episode we learn more about the details from the challenge, the high points, the low points, the support of crew members, what the finish was like and how she is getting back to ‘normal life’. 

We have been following Melissa’s journey since February 2019, when Melissa did a Facebook Live for the Tough Girl Tribe - this was then turned into a Tough Girl Podcast EXTRA episode. 

More about UberMan….

UberMan is the world's most challenging Ultra Triathlon.  The 556 mile course goes from the Mists of Avalon to the Snows of Mount Whitney.  Starting on Catalina Island, participants swim 21 miles in the open Pacific Ocean to the shores of Palos Verdes. The 400 mile bike route leaves the city of Angels and climbs 20,000 vertical feet before descending to Badwater basin, at 200 feet below sea level, the lowest point in North America. From Badwater, athletes run 135 miles  through Death Valley before ascending 13,000 feet to the trailhead @ Mt Whitney, the highest peak in the Continental United States.

Show notes

  • Back in Australia
  • Who is Melissa
  • More information about her background
  • What Uberman is and why she wanted to do it
  • Wanting to be the first female to complete the race
  • Wanting  a different challenge
  • 8 months to train
  • Wanting to focus on running 
  • Doing 5, 50K runs
  • Doing a 60K run and a 100k run in training
  • Overloading on one discipline a week
  • Building fatigue 
  • Why this training was so hard mentally 
  • Needing to take a break 
  • Dealing with the fatigue and starting to get sick
  • The lead up to the race 
  • The work that goes on behind the scenes
  • The start line…
  • Never thinking about the event as one big thing
  • Swimming at night for the first time
  • Starting to feel the cold
  • Being sick during the swim and not being able to pee
  • The hardest part of the swim
  • The importance of having a good support team
  • Splitting the support team into a day shift and a night shift 
  • The first transition from the swim to the bike
  • Riding on the roads and the Pacific Coast Highway!!
  • Feeling angry and being aware of her emotions
  • Sleeping for 2 hours was the sweet spot
  • Planning on 5/6 days for the event
  • Running through Death Valley
  • Trying to figure out the approach for running over 200K
  • Having your muscles seize up 
  • Mount Whitney!
  • Wanting to finish during the day!
  • Having a few emotional moments towards the end
  • Reaching the finish!
  • Not being able to process the achievement!
  • The documentary! 
  • Adventure blues and transitioning back to normal life
  • Post race recovery time
  • What Melissa has learned over the years 
  • A book?!!!
  • The recovery 
  • Final words of advice and top tips 


Social Media

Website - 

Instagram @rangamel 

Facebook Melissa Urie 

Twitter @rangamel 

Read the race report here - RACE REPORT 



Dec 17, 2019

Emily is a writer, adventurer, climber, and comfort zone smasher. Put on her first international flight at 3 weeks old, she's been addicted to adventure ever since. From wandering the forests of Sweden alone at age nine, to solo trekking in the Himalayas of India, to joining the circus as a professional aerialist, Emily is a big fan of the "just get out there and do it" mentality. She loves inspiring others to go outside, travel, and get curious about everything. As John Muir so aptly put it, "going out is really going in.”

Emily works as a freelance journalist based out of Los Angeles and has written for Outside Magazine, Backpacker Magazine, Mountain Life Magazine, Outdoor Project, Modern Hiker, Territory Supply, The Outbound, Women Who Explore, and many others.

Some of her notable outdoor accomplishments include: hiking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, backpacking the High Sierra Trail in California and finishing atop Mt. Whitney, trekking the Laugavegur Trail in Iceland, summiting Illiniza Norte in Ecuador, summiting Vinicunca in Peru, hiking the Inca Trail with her mom, solo-trekking the Backbone Trail, climbing Cactus to Clouds in the winter, trail running Yosemite Rim to Rim, and dozens of other high-altitude peaks in the Sierra Nevada and California.

Show notes

  • Her alter ego when hiking
  • Where the Brazen backpacker idea came from
  • Being brazen and wild
  • Moving to LA at 17
  • Being inspired by her mother
  • Leaving Texas behind
  • How the outdoors became part of her life
  • The mental barrier to access to the outdoors
  • Her first backpacking trip at 28
  • The challenges of altitude
  • Her hiking journey 
  • Her passions for getting more women out hiking
  • Her relationship with her mum
  • Hiking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal
  • Dealing with periods and tiredness on the trail
  • The basics of backpacking
  • Steep and Cheap - ONLY in the US - for Europe - 
  • The magic of face wipes
  • The best problem to have!
  • Heading to Iceland for adventure
  • Quick Fire Questions
  • I am loving awareness 

Social Media 

Find out more about Emily’s writing and photography here:

and follow on Instagram @brazenbackpacker  


Dec 12, 2019

Sarah Outen is an adventurer by land and sea, bestselling author and motivational speaker. Keen to encourage people outside and enable young people to access adventure, she is a proud ambassador and patron of a number of charities. 

Candid about her own mental health struggles and journey, Sarah is keen to encourage others to seek help and share their vulnerabilities. 

In November 2015 Sarah completed her London2London:Via the World expedition, a mammoth attempt to row, cycle and kayak 25, 000 miles around the Northern Hemisphere. The journey took 4.5 years and was all the richer for not turning out exactly as planned.

'Home', the feature film of that journey releases across the UK in October 2019.


*Please be aware that during this podcast we discuss, grief, trauma, and going to dark places.  Before you listen to this episode please just make sure that you are in a good space.

Show notes

  • Who is Sarah
  • Starting on big expeditions after university
  • Rowing across the Indian Ocean 
  • Loving the outdoors 
  • What we covered in the first episode 
  • What happened in 2016 
  • Why it’s been a messy few years
  • Coming back from solitude 
  • Agreeing to write a book in 3 months….
  • Having a breakdown in 2016
  • Getting married to Lucy
  • Why it’s taken a long time to feel at home 
  • How Sarah got through 2016
  • Losing confidence in herself 
  • Coming back with huge amounts of debt
  • Having dark thoughts 
  • Dealing with un-resolved trauma 
  • Finding the right therapies and support 
  • Being reunited with her boat after many years
  • Becoming paranoid and not able to trust many people 
  • EMDR Therapy 
  • Working with her body and releasing it from her body
  • Taking care of herself and leaning to rest 
  • Why the movie is called ‘Home’
  • Having clear boundaries about what she talks about 
  • Why she no longer watches her film
  • Making the film
  • Filming the challenge
  • Wanting to find the right film maker for the project
  • Wanting to create a brave film 
  • Connecting with Jen Randall 
  • The sheer volume of footage!!!
  • Raising money via a Kickstarter campaign! 
  • Spending £90K on the film
  • 18 months spend on the film and why it was a difficult process
  • Winning award for the film!
  • The creative process of making a film 
  • Money and making money!
  • Training as a child psychotherapist part time in London
  • Wanting to write children books
  • Doing smaller challenges and having balance in her life
  • Quick Fire Questions 

Social Media

Book - Dare to Do: Taking on the planet by bike and boat 

Website -

Film - 

Instagram @sarah_outen_home  

Facebook  @sarahoutenhome 

Twitter @SarahOuten  


Dec 10, 2019

Rachel, a 49 year old full time gypsy adventurer, a citizen of the world, meditator, cyclist, trekker, chef, scuba diver, yogi, mother, blogger and vlogger.

Her passion is the journey to self discovery through meditation and adventure. Three years ago she gave away nearly all of her belongings (except a bicycle and two small boxes) to live a nomadic lifestyle.

Rachel has just finished the first part of a world bicycle tour that originated in Bangkok, going through Myanmar, southern Thailand, and onto Malaysia and Indonesia. Currently Rachel is cycling through Indonesia.

Three times a year Rachel goes travelling with her 12 year old son—Wexler, they have been on a reforestation project in Haiti, cycling in Denmark, learnt Spanish in Guatemala and gone scuba diving in the British Virgin Islands. In June 2019 Wexler and Rachel hiked the entire Oregon Coast Trail, 400 miles.

Rachel is now a full time adventurer with no address or home. Through blogs, vlogs, and public speaking, Rachel hope to motivate, inspire, and possibly assist others to pursue their own adventures.

Show notes

  • Who is Rachel
  • Where she is at the moment
  • Being all about the journey and getting off the beaten path
  • Growing up in a typical suburban household in the 1970’s
  • Heading to Israel at age 20 for a year out studying during university
  • Meeting her future husband
  • The desire to go on longer adventures
  • Deciding to walk the Camino de Santiago
  • Taking 5 weeks to get clarity in her professional life
  • Meeting the people who changed her life
  • Having a lot of different careers
  • Needed to go on an adventure
  • Heading off solo 
  • What happened on the Camino and making big changes
  • Making the hard decisions
  • Looking for something new
  • The practicalities of making a change
  • The Danish Man 
  • Wanting to be a traveller 
  • Falling in love
  • Making the unpopular decision 
  • 3 years of being on the road
  • The route - station in Bangkok
  • The daily routine while out on the road
  • Blogging and vlogging while on the road
  • Being inspired while being on the move
  • Final words of advice 

Social Media

Dec 5, 2019

Paula in her own words…

Combining business, adventure and positive psychology expertise - and being the world’s first Adventure Psychologist - I’ve created a tried-and-tested model to develop the wisdom, resilience and growth you need to thrive in these uncertain times.

I am a trainer, facilitator and coach as well as a speaker, author and adventurer. Perhaps best described as a “Performance Catalyst”, my best self at work is when I am empowering and inspiring others – from primary school children to blue-chip leadership teams. In the non-organisational world, I have been described as “a female Bear Grylls only smoother”. 

I have done 116 things on my ‘Living Life to the Full’ list and counting, including sailing around the world and skiing to the South Pole. I have written four books and speak internationally at conferences, schools and for charities.

With 20+ years’ experience as a leader, consultant and coach, I believe in humanising business; making work enjoyable, energising and engaging for all involved. Having completed a Master’s Degree (MSc) in Positive Psychology and Coaching, I understand first-hand the power of a positive approach to life.

We are all more capable than we think and more amazing than we realise.

My passion in life is surfacing this in all of us.


  • Skied full distance from Messner to South Pole: One of only 13 women in the world to do this
  • Paddled 300 miles in dugout canoe: Srepok & Mekong rivers, Cambodia
  • Sailed around the world: 35000 miles, the wrong way
  • Cycled length of UK, Poland, Malta, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania

Show notes

  • Paula introduces herself
  • Her living life to the full list
  • Reflecting back on the past few years
  • Getting married and going back to University
  • New challenge - 50 Good Turns
  • Part time - Applied MSc - Positive Psychology and Coaching
  • Supporting her husband’s around the world sailing challenge
  • 12 countries done so far
  • The challenges of doing a good turn 
  • Having people come and join her on the way
  • Unique Cycling Buddies (UCBs)
  • Why its been a challenging 2019
  • Supporting her partner Alex with his round the world challenge
  • Dealing with stress and worry 
  • Her coping strategy of just getting on with it
  • Changing her view on adventures
  • Doing her Masters!
  • Getting her dissertation published in an academic journal
  • Working while studying and trying to get headspace to think
  • Starting a new business - The Adventure Psychologist
  • Why adventure psychology should exist alongside sports psychology
  • What adventure means…
  • Practical advice 
  • The concept of curiosity
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Having an active body and active mind
  • Different forms of meditation 
  • What else has been going on in 2019
  • Living with each decision for as long as possible
  • Quick Fire Questions!
  • Adventure Mind Conference
  • Getting access to the Journal Article - Exploring the psychology of extended-period expeditionary adventurers: Going knowingly into the unknown


Social Media

Website  -

Twitter @ThePaulaReid  

Instagram @ThePaulaReid 



Article title: Exploring the psychology of extended-period expeditionary adventurers: Going knowingly into the unknown

Article reference: PSYSPO_101608

Journal title: Psychology of Sport & Exercise

Article Number: 101608

Corresponding author: Mrs. Paula Reid

First author: Mrs Paula Reid

First published version available online: 22-OCT-2019



Dec 3, 2019

Véronique is a French-Canadian ultra-runner living in Singapore. Since her debut in ultra-running races, Véronique love to keep on pushing herself to go farther and beyond what she thinks is possible.

In the summer 2015, she ran 3,010km in 72 days, self-supported across Japan. This is the equivalent of 1 full marathon a day for 72 days! Véronique has raced in Japan (Sakura Michi, 250km), UAE (Salomon Wadi Bih Run, 72 Km ) and in Germany (100 Meilen Berlin).

In November 2017, Véronique came first overall at the 'Melaka Ultra 100' mile race in Malaysia in a time of 21h 24 mins!

Her next big goal is to run the Africa continent from North to South. Approximately 14,000km in 1 year 3 months. Véronique is registered for the "Guinness World Record” and by completing this goal, this will make her the first female to accomplish it!

Show notes

  • Growing up in Canada
  • Coming from a single parent family and being bullied when she was younger
  • Doing marital arts from 12 years old
  • Having a bad experience at 14 years old
  • Thinking about death
  • Her first big lesson in life and quitting 
  • Being grateful for the challenging experiences
  • Having an out of body experience at a young age
  • Getting rid of her fear of water
  • Getting into running
  • Getting a treadmill in the house
  • Not feeling confident to run outside
  • Buying her first pair of running shoes
  • Following a running program to run a marathon 
  • Deciding to run across Japan! Where the idea came from 
  • The difference between the plan and the reality 
  • The kindness of strangers
  • How her body coped with the demands of the run
  • The mental side of the challenge
  • The relationship with her daughter 
  • Completing the challenge and dealing with the adventure blues
  • Deciding to run the length of Africa and how it came about 
  • Heading out to run the length of South Korea for training
  • Dealing with the challenges of the heat
  • Finishing the adventure by bike instead of running
  • Advice and tips for women who want to get into running

Social Media 

Website  -

Instagram - @veroniquerun  

Facebook - @veroniquerun  

Youtube - Veronique Run