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: January, 2020
Jan 28, 2020

Chris is a wife, mother, and business owner who loves to get her hands dirty and feet wet. Her adventurous spirit shines through in her work as a writer, speaker, trainer, and consultant. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, teenage son, and two labs, Winston and Kiya.

Chris and her husband Marty became the first American married couple to ski without guide, resupply or other assistance to the South Pole and became Guinness World Record holders.

When not outdoors playing in the wild, you’ll find Chris leading creative discussions in corporate conference rooms and at off-site locations around the country.

Show notes

  • Chris introduces herself
  • Working full time and doing adventures
  • Not coming from an adventurous family
  • Growing up with 4 siblings
  • Enjoying spending time outside
  • Not having access to the mountains
  • Leaving college and taking her first professional job
  • Starting to feel as though she didn’t below
  • Taking a 4 month leave of absence 
  • Deciding to travel solo 
  • Going back to work….
  • Wanting to build a different type of life
  • Starting her own consulting business
  • Building a life which had more flexibility
  • The steps taken to get into challenges 
  • Developing skills in mountaineering 
  • Climbing Mount Denali the highest mountain peak in North America
  • Meeting her husband Marty on the Mountain!
  • Switching from mountains to trail running
  • Being all in on ultra running for 13 years
  • Fitting family, work and adventure into life
  • Taking it one day at a time
  • Why you can’t do it all 
  • Deciding on the next challenge - The South Pole
  • Was it possible to do it on their own… 
  • Do they have the skills?
  • The planning and preparation needed to do this challenge
  • Leaving their 12 year old son behind
  • Balancing the risks of living a life of adventure while being a parent
  • The 3 year journey to the start line
  • Defining roles in the partnership 
  • Working as part of a team
  • Dealing with the fears of the unknown 
  • How knowledge helped to calm fears
  • Getting onto the ice for the start of the adventure!
  • Keep moving forward with the goal of 15 miles per day
  • 40 days….. 45 days worth of food…
  • Running out of food…
  • The reality of the situation and enjoying the journey?
  • Dealing with the low points 
  • The attraction of the challenge
  • Can I do it
  • Enjoying the journey…
  • Writing a book about the challenge
  • Quick Fire Questions

Social Media

Website - 

Instagram @chriscfagan 

Twitter @chriscfagan  

Facebook @chriscfagan  

Youtube  @3belowzeroexpedition  

Book - The Expedition: Two Parents Risk Life and Family in an Extraordinary Quest to the South Pole (She Writes Press, September 3, 2019)

Jan 23, 2020

Nienke in her own words…

I am an equine veterinarian and have travelled the world pursuing my career. 

Although I have always been an active person I found the love for sports later in life and ended up reasonably good at it! I dreamt of becoming a professional athlete on the mountain bike and as an adventure/multi-sport racer and with the belief of my coaches I starting racing elite in 2013. I was however still working full time as a veterinarian and I ended up overtrained with a serious back injury which put a halt to my sporting aspirations in 2016. 

I couldn’t really let go of what I was so passionate about and although running was not an option with the persistent pain I was feeling in my legs, I started to focus on mountain bike adventures. 

This led to the dream of traversing the Great Himalaya Trail by mountain bike through Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bhutan. 

The first leg was Nepal which I completed in December 2019 achieving a world first by mountain biking the Great Himalaya trail from Hilsa in the West to Phaplu in the east covering 1700kms, 85000m ascend and around 15 passes between 3500m-5000m with two passes over 5000m high.

Show notes

  • Who is Nienke 
  • Getting into mountain biking and adventure racing 
  • Being sporty as a child and growing up around Europe
  • Getting into running while at university
  • Moving over to New Zealand
  • Being very shy
  • Wanting to improve in the sport
  • Meeting a guy…
  • Qualifying for the World Championships
  • Making huge improvements
  • Having the right people around 
  • Working full time while competing at an elite level
  • Paying the price with over training
  • Breaking her back
  • Needing to slow down
  • 6 weeks to recover
  • Not understating what was going on 
  • Pushing though pain…
  • Chronic Pain or Chronic Injury
  • How she coped 
  • Not being able to be the athlete she once was
  • Learning to love her body
  • The dream of mountain biking in Nepal
  • Being goal driven 
  • The first step in making the dream a reality 
  • What Nepal is like
  • Going solo for the first time
  • The plans for Stage 2
  • Doing the research
  • The learning’s from this experience 
  • Needing to have a positive mind
  • Being grateful for everything she’s been through
  • The adventure blues…
  • Making some changes in her life
  • Feeling really positive
  • Advice for other women who want to make changes in their life

Social Media

Challenge Website - 

Personal Blog - 




Jan 21, 2020

Fenella shares more about her journey to becoming a professional triathlete. We learn more about her childhood and growing up, her loves of sports and competition. Fenella, also shares more about what day to day life is like, we go into training, recovery, nutrition, dealing with injury and the pressure to perform. 

“Triathlon is achieving the unbelievable and pushing yourself beyond limits, to find inner power in the drive for success”

Show notes

  • Who Fenella is 
  • Where she grew up 
  • Falling in love with sport an physical education 
  • Wanting sports to be a part of her future 
  • Making money from triathlon 
  • Life as a professional triathlete 
  • The pressure to perform 
  • Meeting her coach & partner
  • The decision to go professional 
  • The start of her triathlon journey 
  • Making the leap to longer triathlons 
  • Why the training is the most challenging part 
  • Wanting to be World Champion 
  • Mental Preparation - PPPPPP (Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance)
  • Dealing with injury and staying positive 
  • What off season is like 
  • The most memorable race 
  • Making the right decisions at the right time 
  • What goes through her head during training and racing 
  • Being committed to the decisions she’s made 
  • Race recovery 
  • Quick Fire Questions 


Social Media


Instagram @fenella.alicia  

Facebook @Fenella-Langridge-Triathlon  

Twitter @Fenella_Alicia  

Jan 16, 2020

Kathryn Bertine is an author, athlete, activist and documentary filmmaker. During her pro career in cycling, she was a three-time Caribbean Champion, six-time national champion of St. Kitts and Nevis (SKN) and raced five years on pro circuit  with four UCI domestic and World Tour teams Colavita, Wiggle-Honda, BMW and Cylance Pro Cycling. Now retired from professional racing, Bertine serves as Trek’s Ambassador for Equality in Cycling.

Off the bike, she is a filmmaker, activist, journalist and author of three nonfiction books, All the Sundays Yet to ComeAs Good As Gold, and The Road Less Taken. From 2006 through 2012, Bertine was a columnist, author and senior editor for ESPN. When she pitched a documentary film on women’s pro cycling to ESPN in 2012, they rejected the proposal. So Bertine decided she would make it herself. After a two-year labor of love and crowdsourcing adventures, in 2014, HALF THE ROAD: The passion, pitfalls and power of women’s professional cycling was released. It won five film festivals, debuted in 16 nations, scored international distribution and successfully brought the hammer down on the corruption and sexism in sports. Half the Road is now available on iTunes, Vimeo, Amazon Prime and DVD. Five years later, she continues to receive royalties on a film ESPN said no one would watch. 

As an advocate for equality in women’s sports, Bertine then started the social activism movement Le Tour Entier in an effort to bring parity to women’s professional road cycling, starting with the Tour de France. She and her team succeeded, and women’s field was included in 2014 with the addition of La Course by Tour de France. In 2017, she founded and serves as CEO for Homestretch Foundation, which provides free housing to female professional athletes struggling with the gender pay gap. Bertine was featured on the cover of Bicycling Magazine and profiled in Outside Magazine for her platforms of implementing change in the world.

 As an activist, Bertine continues to serve as a public speaker/lecturer on equality and advocacy. She shares her journey and her message—that through passion, disruption, opportunity and focus, anything is possible and we’re all capable of effecting change—with corporations, universities and other professional outlets. She is currently at work on her fourth book.

Show notes

  • Kathryn introduces herself 
  • Being an activist and athlete 
  • Going back to the start of 2016
  • Why endurance athletes get better with age
  • Deciding that 2016 would be her last year of racing professionally
  • The big crash in April 2016 
  • TBI - Traumatic Brain Injury 
  • Recovery 
  • Doing one final race
  • Fear of getting back on the bike?
  • How her body remembered what had happened 
  • Friends and family’s fears 
  • Preparing to transition out of the sport
  • Opening a non profit foundation
  • What’s happening in women’s cycling 
  • Thoughts on the Tour de France
  • Getting angry…
  • Increasing awareness 
  • How Kathryn is making change happen 
  • Being a voice in her sport 
  • Pro contracts that stop women talking about inequality 
  • Being exhausted 
  • Why anyone can create change 
  • New book and the challenges of publishing 
  • To self publish or not?
  • Funding her lifestyle 
  • Big shout out to TREK BIKES 
  • Am I worthy
  • The need to keep proving yourself 
  • How we can support Kathryn with her work 
  • Quick Fire Questions 

Social Media

CEO, Homestretch Foundation:

Author/Activist/Pro Cyclist: 

Documentary Filmmaker:












Jan 14, 2020

Kristina shares more about her journey into running and how she ended up becoming the World Record holder for  - 48 hour treadmill running! Kristina is an introvert by nature, but she asked herself the question; “What can I do with this ability to run?”.  

In 2015, Kristina took it upon herself to challenge her own  personal fears and prejudices. Kristina made the decision to run alone across Iran, a distance of 1,840 kilometres. 

In the process, Kristina, became the first women to have run across Iran. She was running an average of 37 kilometres per day. She started in Bazargan by the Turkish border and finished in Bajgiran on the north-eastern border, the run took her 59 days to complete. 

Kristina filmed the journey and created a film called:  Alone Through Iran - 1144 Miles of Trust.

During this podcast, we will learn more about Kristina, her life, the challenges she has faced, how she has overcome failure, how she set a world record for treadmill running, as well as life on the road while running across Iran. We also talk about kindness, learning how to say no and why you have to be yourself. 

Show notes 

  • Some of the challenges Kristina has done
  • Her early years growing up and being shy 
  • Taking the first steps of adventure 
  • Having her life turned upside down
  • Losing everything that she thought was important at 32
  • Being afraid of failure 
  • Travelling around China and SE Asia
  • Starting to run more and more 
  • Deciding to set a world record for running on a treadmill
  • “What can I do with this ability to run?”
  • Deciding to run through Iran
  • Planning the run
  • Dealing with all of the What If’s
  • Writing down her fears (22 in total)
  • What can I do to prevent the fears?
  • Creating a network in Iran 
  • The kindness of strangers offering support
  • The fear of never being left along
  • Being introverted 
  • What life was like on the road while running through Iran
  • Miscommunication and cultural confusion 
  • Being an introvert on the road 
  • Needing to be alone
  • Having to be careful about what she wrote in her blog
  • Writing a book about her run, 2 years later
  • Needing time to digest everything that happened 
  • How the run impacted her life going forward
  • Having a great belief in human kindness 
  • Quitting her job to do the run and coming back unemployed 
  • Making a documentary about the run
  • Dealing with the huge amount of publicity after the run
  • How the run has changed her life
  • Contributing to reforms in Iran 
  • Introducing a 10K run in Iran in 2018
  • Courage and why it’s good to be a woman 
  • Why feelings are just feelings 
  • Why it’s ok to be scared 
  • Why you have to focus on what you want to create
  • How to handle fear 
  • Staying focused on your goal 
  • The motivation to carry on when things are tough 
  • Focusing on the - ‘Right Now’  
  • Let it go
  • Not being able to say no 
  • Needing her own space
  • Why being kind to ourselves can be the hardest thing to do 
  • Quick Fire Questions 
  • Be Yourself 


Social Media 

Personal Website - 

Website Alone through Iran -

Facebook @kristina.palten 

Instagram @kristina_palten 

Jan 9, 2020

Emily is an ocean advocate, skipper, international public speaker and advisor on issues relating to our ocean, her goals are around shifting mindsets and making changes for our future society. 

Emily is on a mission to inspire and facilitate a community of change makers through her organisation eXXpedition. This will be done by training athletes and celebrities to be impactful advocates on ocean issues. 

Emily believes in developing upstream solutions to the ocean plastic issue by working with corporate partners, scientists and government bodies. During this podcast we talk more about eXXpedition, its formation, plans and goals. 

Emily has previously been on the Tough Girl Podcast (July 12th 2016), where she shared more about her early life and career.  

Show notes

  • Working on projects to combat plastic pollution
  • Brief overview of her career
  • The idea behind eXXpedition and how it came about
  • Micro plastics in her blood
  • The power of bringing women together
  • Getting blood tests done
  • The changes in plastics over the past 12 years
  • XX - why and how it has evolved
  • Scaling the project up and funding
  • The run up to launch day….
  • 300 women joining the journey
  • Kicking off with a 4 day event in London
  • Solving problems with diversity of solutions
  • Deciding on the women 
  • The power of transformative journeys
  • Feelings of overwhelm when dealing with the plastic pollution 
  • Why you have to break the problem down.
  • Keeping things in perspective 
  • Why every action counts
  • Why there is not one solution
  • Superpowers  - what makes us brilliant 
  • What’s been going on….. 2016 and 2017
  • Working with Sky
  • Sailing….
  • Going on the first leg of the voyage 
  • How the sailing works on the boat
  • Getting the thinking time to think about the problem 
  • What is the dream, what is the ambition
  • The 3 overall aims
  • Why the following up is so important
  • Mission Leaders, scientists, & sailors
  • The concept of SHIFT
  • Quick Fire Questions
  • How you can make a change in your life


Social Media

Website  - 

Instagram - @missemilypenn 

Twitter: @emilypenn 

eXXpedition - All women's voyages to make the unseen seen, from the #toxics in our bodies to the #plastics in our seas.  

eXXpedition is a Community Interest Company and not-for-profit organisation that runs pioneering all-female sailing research expeditions to investigate the causes of and solutions to ocean plastic pollution.

Founded in 2014, they have run expeditions all over the world. Previous scientific research has highlighted the endemic nature of micro plastics within our ocean environments globally. 

Their focus now is to advance a better understanding of the plastics issue as a whole and to work with industry to pinpoint solutions and policy at a global level by addressing knowledge-gaps and delivering evidence to inform effective solutions.

Website - 

Twitter - @eXXpedition  

Instagram - @exxpedition_   

Facebook - @eXXpeditionCIC  

Youtube - eXXpedition 

Jan 7, 2020

On January 1, 2020, walking therapist Carmen Rendell will leave her childhood home in Weston-super-Mare, and head south to follow the coastal path around the entire British Isles. Her goal is to raise awareness of the huge mental health benefits of walking in nature. Local communities and individuals across the nation will have the chance to join her along the way.

Throughout her journey, Carmen will be hosting regular ‘Soulwalks’ – simple, short, group walks in nature for anyone to join. Her message is simple: families, individuals, schools, businesses can come together to walk for three kilometres. For no other reason than to be in nature and talk to each other. 

People can also pledge to support an individual ‘Sole2Soul Walk’ with Carmen – where they, someone they nominate, or a stranger, can join her to walk and talk. As a trained integrative therapist, with experience as a private practitioner, Carmen will use this time to give individuals the opportunity for therapy, whilst walking in nature. 

A Loughborough University Alumni, national league hockey player, sailor on the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and Camino de Santiago walker, Carmen is familiar with the benefits of exercise, sport and walking for mind, body and spirit balance.

Commenting on her ambitious goal, Carmen says: “Walking therapy benefits us in many ways. Science has proven that walking in nature can improve our mental wellbeing, by quietening our nervous system, reducing inflammation, repairing our brain and lowering our blood pressure.”

Reinforcing these benefits, neuroscientist Shane O’Mara says: “The experience of walking can allow you to escape yourself and this non-ego focus is healthy. We should spend more time not thinking of ourselves.”

Carmen’s route will primarily follow the coastal path, and she will let people know the calendar of events on the Soulhub website – Soulwalks can be organised in towns, villages or cities along the route and people can contact Carmen to organise one on her behalf that she can join. 

Carmen will be interviewing people along the way for her ‘SoulCast’ podcast. From local fisherman to business owners, teachers and artists, her goal will be to understand the true state of the nation and establish how people feel in the current social, economic and political environment. Carmen will also be hosting ‘SoulTalks’ in schools and communities and is keen to hear from anyone who would like her to come and talk about mental health and walking in nature. 

Show notes

  • Who is Carmen
  • The life she leads now
  • The different adventures she’s been on
  • The School of Wizards  
  • Discovering her passion 
  • Setting up Soul Hub
  • Her dream of walking around the British Isles 
  • Being drawn to the sea
  • Her love for nature and how it evolved
  • Getting to know herself better 
  • Struggling to know what she wanted from life
  • Doing the Camino gradually 
  • Sailing on the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
  • Why the experience was so intense 
  • The inner journey 
  • Being curious about life and trying new things
  • Life is fun
  • Listening to feelings of what feels good
  • The planning and preparation for the walk around the British Isles 
  • Being clear with her own intentions
  • Wanting to bring people together 
  • Book - The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life's Perfection 
  • Why it’s not about the end goal but rather the journey 
  • Fears and concerns about the challenge 
  • Paying for the challenge and budgeting during the challenge
  • Quick Fire Questions 
  • Trust your own wisdom 
  • Advice for women who want to spend more time in nature 
  • Visualising the end of the challenge

Social Media

Insta: @soul_hub  

Facebook: @soulhubstories