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: May, 2020
May 26, 2020
In 2011, at the age of 31, Ursula was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and later spent 17 months walking around Wales raising money and awareness of ovarian cancer. Since the walk, Ursula went on to write a book about her experience “One Woman Walks Wales”.
During this podcast we learn more about Ursula’s early life, when she discovered that she did have stamina, leaving school after doing her GCSEs and spending time with her sister in Spain, as well as her kayaking journey down the river Danube with no experience.
Ursula shares more about the challenges she has faced and overcome, what she has learned on the way and how she has struggle with self confidence and belief, but also why she knows she is a work in progress. 
After living in a van and working for a number of years to save money, Ursula at 39 was finally ready to head back out to the Ukraine to start her walk home across Europe.
*Due to the Corona virus Ursula is now in lockdown in France. Ursula will continue her journey when it is safe to do so.
Show notes
  • Childhood memories
  • Finding out that she did have stamina
  • Counselling
  • Deciding to go travelling at 29
  • Dreaming of travelling around East Europe
  • Going to live with her sister in Spain
  • Kayaking down the Danube River with no kayaking experience
  • Let’s just see what happens
  • Being diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer  (Stage 1 A) - December 2011
  • Having no support and no shelter
  • Staying on friends sofa’s
  • Needing to have checks up’s post treatment
  • Deciding to walk to hospital appointments
  • Finding out she was still capable
  • Deciding to raise awareness (in 2012) about Ovarian Cancer and its symptoms
  • Dealing with uncertainty
  • 13 months on the road walking 3,700 miles
  • Dropping out of school after GCSEs
  • Never thinking she was capable of writing 
  • Struggling with self confidence 
  • Getting in contact with Honno Publishing
  • Why writing a book is similar to an endurance challenge
  • Being a work in progress
  • Deciding to walk across Europe and where the idea came from
  • Planning the adventure 
  • “If I was going to do this, what would I need?”
  • How to prepare for a challenge without getting overwhelmed by the idea of the challenge
  • Leaving for Ukraine in August 2018
  • Not being able to write the book and save for adventure at the same time
  • Living in a van for 3 years and doing house sitting to save money
  • Not being focused on luxuries
  • Being determined to achieve her goals and being able to save up enough money
  • Being terrible at planning
  • Not picking a specific route….
  • Just walking as far as she can each day - there is no judgement on distance 
  • Hitchhiking 3 days to the start line in Kiev in the Ukraine 
  • Reasons for hitchhiking
  • Having one day off a week
  • Starting walking as early as possible
  • The route
  • The impact of corona virus 
  • Being in full lockdown in France
  • Asking for help in France and finding a place to stay
  • Isolation and loneliness 
  • Adjusting to the new normal
  • Living on the generosity of others
  • The mindset on having enough
  • Making the journey with a book in mind
  • Trying to stay off her phone
  • Writing to photos
  • Keeping a healthy and happy mind and body
  • How you can follow along and support Ursula
  • Final words of advice
  • Whatever you are is enough - whatever you can do is enough
Social Media
Support Ursula via Patreon 
Instagram  @onewomanwalks
May 21, 2020
We first spoke with Janey in November 2018 when Janey shared more about her early life, the challenges she has faced and overcome; from breaking her back in a horse riding accident to losing her purpose and way. We also discuss her solo 630-mile trek on the South West Coast Path.
During this podcast we catch up with Janey and find out what she’s been up to since November 2018, she discusses conflict, the loss of her father, the challenges of leading a team. As well as sharing more about filming and writing a book about the expedition and her plans for the future. 
Show notes
  • Who is Janey
  • How she would describe herself
  • Doing what makes her happy
  • Wanting to cross the Empty Quarter
  • How things have changed
  • Dealing with weaknesses and insecurities
  • Having no where to run when in the desert
  • How the team evolved
  • Funding the challenge (savings, compensation, sponsorship and debt)
  • Having Land Rover support the expedition with vehicles
  • Doing something new for the first time
  • Figuring out problems as she went on
  • Getting to the start line!
  • Feeling unfulfilled and not knowing what do to with her life
  • Going thru a grieving process for the life she wanted
  • Exploring relationships and conflict
  • Why it’s ok to think differently
  • Why you can’t make everyone happy
  • “We don’t have to be friends to be a team”
  • Being filmed while out in the desert
  • Creating a documentary
  • Writing a book about the experience and the challenges involved…
  • Spending time with her dad at the end of his life
  • Forgiveness?
  • Figuring out purpose constantly 
  • Choosing not to have children
  • Racing Heroes 
  • Future dreams
  • Quick Fire Questions
Social Media
Website - 
Instagram @janey.mcgill 
Facebook @janeymcgillexplorer
Watch the short film on Youtube
May 19, 2020
Jo is known by her twitter and Instagram handle @HappyHealthy50 which is where I first discovered her. 
Jo is 53 years young and lives on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Jo is a single mum, after getting divorced in her early 40s and has two sons aged 21 and 17. 
In May 2014, after the loss of her mum, Jo decided to row a million metres and marathon for Macmillan Cancer Support. For eight months Jo would head down to her local gyn and hop on the rowing machine. She would then row 10,000 metres. She would do this every other night after work - through her dedication and hard work, Jo raised £10,000 for charity.
During this podcast Jo also shared more about her experiences with menopause and peri menopause and how exercise helped her both physically and mentally and how she began to incorporate more of it into her life. 
In September 2016 Jo picked up a paddle board for the first time and she had no idea where it would lead! Since that moment, Jo has gone on to become the first women to stand up paddle board (SUP) 162 miles /260km from coast to coast (Liverpool to Goole) across Great Britain. 
Jo talks more about self confidence, dealing with grief, living her dreams, joy and learning to be proud of herself.
Show notes
  • Who is Jo
  • More about her family
  • Her greatest joy at the moment
  • Learning more about her childhood
  • Growing up in North Yorkshire
  • Her love of the sea
  • What life was like in her forties
  • Going through a divorce
  • “I can’t do this anymore” - “I just want to sleep”
  • Getting through the tough times
  • Getting an old indoor rowing machine
  • Starting to be able to sleep
  • Fitting in the exercise
  • Taking the first step 
  • Having no expectations
  • Why fitness wasn’t a priority 
  • Raising money in memory of her mum
  • Deciding to row 1 million metres and a marathon!!!
  • Rowing 10,000 every over night for 8 months (200 days)!!
  • Dealing with her grief and needing to get it out of her body
  • What is was like turning 50
  • Jo’s experience of menopause and peri menopause 
  • Having to put herself on the priority list
  • The power of exercise 
  • Doing stuff (exercise) that she love
  • Learning how to say no to stuff
  • Joy!
  • Jo’s paddle boarding journey
  • Rain or Shine 30 - getting outside for 30 mins everyday
  • Paddle board the North - 162 miles coast to coast in Great Britain
  • Putting her dream away
  • Needing to have a big dream to pull her into the future
  • To trust in the timing of your life
  • The planning and preparation for the coast to coast challenge
  • Getting the time off work
  • Working backwards from the start date
  • Facts make dreams possible 
  • Why it didn’t feel hard
  • The physical challenges of the expedition
  • Living her dream
  • Picking up litter on the journey
  • Having people question her ability while on the water
  • The positive impact on self confidence and believe
  • Being proud of starting the challenge
  • Trusting in herself more
  • Creating a short 1 min film
  • Final words of advice for women around being brave
Social Media
Instagram @healthyhappy50
Twitter @healthyhappy50
May 14, 2020
We first spoke with Arita on February 8th 2016. Since then Arita has continued to follow her passions. She has recently returned from her 2nd expedition to the rainforest in Papua New Guinea. 
While in Papua’s New Guinea, Arita has been focusing on life in the forest. This has involved taking sound recordings of ambient sounds, birds, etc. with the goal of producing a podcast in which the forest is the main character. There has also been a focus on the birds and how they communicate with each other and the local people.
For the past two years Arita has also initiated a landscape project in the Netherlands to rewild Dutch minds and to innovate mainstream cartographic maps. Arita also shares more about starting the - Dictionary for the Future.
Arita in her own words,
“Thirty years of exploration in wild places taught me that the separation between man and nature is an idea that exists in the western mind only. Nature is not ‘out there’, we are part of it. During my travels I was struck by the intimate way herders and nomadic people relate to the natural environment. Land in those regions has agency, intelligence and spirit. Closer to home, in the Netherlands, nature is considered a resource or at best a pleasant decor. We are stuck with an outdated model of reality. Let’s explore new narratives and in doing so create the world we want to live in!”
This is a fascinating podcast which will get you to explore more of your mind and the different way of explaining the world.
Show notes
  • Welcoming Arita
  • Who is Arita
  • What is her background?
  • Exploring difficult ways of explaining the world
  • Different realities at the same time
  • Starting a project in Holland
  • Nature spirits
  • A new way of mapping
  • Mapping subjective experiences
  • Deep mapping
  • The impact of the virus on our lives
  • How everyone and everything is connected
  • Needing to explore new places
  • Heading out to Papa New Guinea in 2016
  • The challenges of the jungle
  • Communication with the birds in the jungle
  • Studying bird language
  • Making a podcast with the sounds
  • Doing pioneering research 
  • What it was like on expedition
  • Making sure there were women in the team
  • What is ecological intelligence?
  • Not being spiritual or religious
  • Believing in nature spirits
  • Funding the expeditions
  • The power of setting a deadline
  • Money is important - but - Believe in your own mission
  • Trust in yourself
  • Getting all the information she needed 
  • The next steps after the expedition
  • Needing discipline in order to get the work done
  • Working on the podcast 
  • Dealing with loneliness 
  • The dictionary for the future
  • Special words
  • Quick Fire Questions
  • Final words of advice
Social Media
Facebook - Arita Baaijens
Twitter - @aritabaaijens
May 12, 2020
Louise is a Dundee based person trainer and endurance athlete. She has spent her career focusing on improving the mental and physical health of women, utilising her expansive knowledge to adapt recommendations to allow each individual to strive for an improvement in their health.
Louise has struggled with depression throughout her life. This in turn has been the driving motivation for the fundraising Louise has undertaken over several years. To give an example of the extent of her running ability, one of the races she ran in 2016 was the Marathon des Sables, raising over £5,000 for Dundee Association for Mental Health, covering 154 miles over 6 days in gruelling conditions. 
Louise describes herself as a ‘middle to back of the pack’ runner, loving to chat with fellow runners along the way, to hear their stories and what has brought them to take on their current challenge.
Louise is passionate about raising the profile of mental health, holding talks in schools and businesses as well as the general public. 2017 saw the launch of Dundee mental health awareness week – Heart Tay Heart, started by Louise herself.
2020 will see Louise take on her biggest challenge to date #2020RunNorthSea it involves 7 countries, 2 feet and over 3,000 miles in approximately 100 days.
Show notes
  • Who is Louise and what she does
  • Her passion for rugby and running
  • Deciding to become a personal trainer
  • Sports and self esteem
  • Sharing more about her journey of mental health
  • Managing her own mental health
  • Taking photos while out running
  • Having alternatives to manage your mental health apart from exercise
  • Needed to get out of her own head
  • Continuing to learn about herself and what works
  • Having a gratitude journal - A positivity journal
  • The 100 Day Run in the Cotswolds 
  • Having her eyes opened to a whole new world of people and challenges
  • Starting to do fundraising
  • Running the Marathon des Sables in 2016
  • Going back to university while working full time
  • The MDS - “Being brilliant and awful in equal measures”
  • Having too much time in her own head
  • Rolling her ankle on the first day of MDS 
  • The horrific sandstorm on the 1st day
  • Having a good cry and letting it all out
  • Growing into the challenge
  • Wanting to go back and do the challenge again
  • 2017 - The West Highland Way Race - 95 miles in 35 hrs
  • Dealing with some of the worst weather in Scotland
  • How having a 20 min power sleep made all the difference
  • Finishing the race in 30 hrs with thanks to her support crew
  • Key lessons learned from extreme endurance events
  • Having physical fitness and being able to go to the next level mentally 
  • 2017 - Launching Dundee mental health awareness week – Heart Tay Heart
  • Focusing on the services that are being provided to help support mental health
  • #2020RunNorthSea
  • Starting the run from her home town in Dundee
  • Aiming to do 100 days - approx 40 miles per day - with a rest day every 7 days
  • Key aims and objectives from doing this challenge
  • Hopping that people will come and join her on the route
  • Getting support from so many people in the local community
  • Deciding to do this challenge…
  • Doing the challenge solo
  • Dealing with other peoples fears and concerns
  • Don’t let other people limit you and your dreams
  • How to fund and pay for the challenge - Feed Me Days - £25
  • The challenge of female hormones on training and day to day life
  • Working with your monthly cycle
  • Follow Louise on Social Media
  • Final words of advice
Social Media
Instagram @silverfoxm3h
Facebook @louisejohnstoneOCR
May 7, 2020
Carolin Botterill is a 54 year old mom of 3 grown daughters. She lives with her husband and dog in Calgary, Canada. 
Carolin loves taking herself on ultra-running and backpacking adventures to far-flung corners of the globe, and she is passionate about shining the light on mental illness as a member of the Bigger Than the Trail team. 
During this podcast episode we catch up with Carolin, who we first spoke to in November 27th 2018.  Since then Carolin has gone on to her first 100 mile race a dream she has been working towards for over 8 years! Carolin shares more about that experience, what she did differently and how positivity helped her during the race. 
Carolin also shares more about dealing with her first DNF (Did Not Finish) at the start of January 2019 during the Spine Race in the UK, plus camping solo in the back country and what it was like running the Jungle Ultra with a friend. 
Show notes
  • Who is Carolin
  • Her achievements in 2019
  • Smashing a 100 miles (her 5th attempt)
  • How she trained differently
  • Having a goal for 8 years and continuing to work towards it
  • Getting over the mental block in doing a 100 mile race
  • The power of staying positive during the race
  • The Spine Race - January 2019
  • Dealing with a DNF
  • Bouncing back from failure blog post
  • Doing the canal walk from Liverpool to Leeds
  • Respecting the race
  • The British Weather…
  • Getting back out to running pretty quickly
  • Preparing for the next challenge the Jungle Ultra in Peru
  • The benefits and challenges of doing a race with a friend.
  • Wanting to be brave and have courage
  • Going camping in the back country solo
  • Why being out in nature by yourself is very empowering
  • Being alone with your own thoughts
  • The start of 2020 
  • Escape from the Jungle
  • Wanting to take her races to the next level
  • Doing the challenge solo 
  • 14 competitors with 2 women
  • What the survival training was like
  • Feeling unprepared before the start…
  • What the race was like
  • Getting outside her comfort zone with a 200ft waterfall
  • Not enjoying the experience
  • Managing fears while being out in the jungle
  • Quick Fire Questions
Social Media
Website/Blog - 

Facebook: @accidentalultrarunner

Instagram: @carolinbotterill

May 5, 2020
Rosie, 25, a fell runner, climber, wild swimmer and all-round mountain lover from the Lake District in the UK is currently running to Mongolia! While running, she’s searching for stories about new ways of living and working while meeting our needs in a time of climate crisis.
"I will also cross as many mountain ranges and areas of wilderness, remoteness and natural beauty as I can”
Rosie started her solo and self supported run on the 17th August 2019. Along the way, Rosie will be meeting with people from projects who are creating a new, and a more sustainable way of living, and who are dedicated to tackling the climate crisis and its related issues. Rosie will share these stories through her website.
"By exploring the climate crisis and it’s solutions through a story of adventure, I aim to explore these issues in a fresh and personal way."
Show notes
  • Who is Rosie
  • Starting on the 17th August
  • Being stuck in Kosovo 
  • Where the idea for the run came from 
  • Looking for a job after university
  • Keeping the plan very vague and loose
  • Moving the start date from October to August
  • The planning and preparation
  • Trying to be flexible with the route
  • Creating her own website 
  • Contacting brands for sponsorship
  • Trying to get local media interested
  • Planning the first couple of weeks of the route
  • Paying for the challenge
  • Deciding to set up a Go Fund Me account
  • Having a budget of £50 per week…
  • Problems with sticking to the budget
  • Only planning to run for 1 year….
  • Why she decided to finish her run in Mongolia
  • The route so far
  • The physicality of the challenge
  • Having a running buggy for parts of the challenge
  • Meeting people and seeing a different range of projects
  • What it’s like wild camping
  • The biggest challenge while out on the run
  • How to cope with the tough days
  • Food and music
  • Daily routines
  • Being stuck in Kosovo due to the Corona Virus
  • Final words of advice for other women 
Social Media
Website  - 
Go Fund Me Page - 
Instagram @RosieWats
Facebook @RosieWatson:TheNewStoryRun. 
Twitter @r_birdshouts