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: June, 2022
Jun 28, 2022
Kelda started her sporting career playing netball at a national level as a teenager. Sport very quickly became the thing that defined who she was and the person she wanted to be. Her real passion lay with horses and her ultimate goal was to ride for her country and represent Great Britain at the Olympics. 

Unfortunately, after a serious leg injury in 2002, Kelda’s hopes of competing at an international level seemed to have disappeared. The leg injury had a huge impact on her life, leaving her no longer able to run or play many of the sports that meant so much to her. This had a huge impact on her confidence and self-belief, and she spent nearly 10years fighting to accept who she was. 

In 2002 she decided to climb Kilimanjaro, and this proved to be the start of a new direction in life. She returned and began retraining as an outdoor instructor. As a result of the dramatic effect the outdoors had on her own mental and physical recovery, Kelda decided she wanted to help others facing similar challenges to herself, and this led her to set up the charity Climbing Out.
Kelda went on to represent Great Britain in Paracanoe and competed at the 2015 World Cup and the 2016 World Championships. The ultimate goal was the Rio Paralympics.
Unfortunately she just missed out on selection for Rio, but she went on to join an Adaptive Team attempting to climb Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America at 7,000m. 
On the 19th January 2017 she became the first recorded adaptive female to summit the mountain.
In summiting, Kelda found many of the answers she’d been searching for since her injury and this inspired her to attempt a solo row of the Atlantic. After 76 days unsupported at sea, Kelda became the first adaptive person to ever solo row any ocean.
But the challenges didn’t stop there. 12 months ago Kelda was diagnosed with breast cancer. She decided to set herself the goal of completing a triathlon as motivation to push through her recovery. 
She completed her first triathlon just 4 months post mastectomy and went on to complete 2 further triathlons last year, including the Snowman Triathlon, known for being the toughest triathlon in the country. She now has her sights set on completing a half ironman in 2022.
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Show Notes
  • Who is Kelda
  • Being based in Shropshire 
  • Her 4 legged family
  • Her early years and her passions for sports 
  • Playing netball at a national level
  • Her dream of wanting to ride at the Olympics
  • Hanging around the local stables
  • Getting her first horse at 16
  • The riders who inspired her
  • Being in an accident with her horse
  • Dealing with the trauma after the accident
  • The start of her resilience journey at 21
  • Losing her confidence and going back to riding too soon
  • Moving away from horse and going travelling to Australia 
  • Getting into eventing and gaining her confidence
  • The accident that changed her life completely
  • Trying to be the person she was before the injury
  • Feeling like a failure
  • Learning acceptance 
  • Deciding to climb Kilimanjaro and why that was the start of her recovery
  • Not being able to get the mental health support that was needed
  • Table legs…. 
  • Video resources to help with resilience
  • Being dumped…
  • Lessons from climbing Kilimanjaro
  • Needing to change her attitude and focus more on what she could do
  • Deciding to retrain as an outdoor instructor
  • Figuring out how to get sport back in her life
  • Aiming for the para-olympics for 2016 
  • Meeting Martin Hewitt - Adaptive Grand Slam 
  • “It’s not about saying I can’t, it’s about saying how can I”
  • How can I make it possible to climb Aconcagua?
  • Figuring out the how
  • Advice for people who are feeling like a failure
  • The importance of being honest with yourself
  • Being brave enough to try
  • Being judged by people and why it doesn’t matter
  • Deciding to solo row the Atlantic
  • Finding peace on the mountain
  • Fundraising for Climbing Out and wanting to raise £50K
  • Advice regarding sponsorship
  • Being super clear on her WHY
  • 3 questions about the row
  • The challenge of the solitude while out on the row
  • The challenges of 2020/2021
  • Being diagnosed with cancer and having a single mastectomy
  • Wanting to get back to normal and feel like herself again
  • Getting back into exercise and following a routine again
  • Why you have to try
  • Training for 4 triathlons in 2022
  • Challenging the belief that she had that she couldn’t run
  • Swimming after a mastectomy
  • Doing an half Ironman in June 2022
  • Connect with Kelda
  • Final words of advice - Keep Moving
Social Media

Website: Climbing Out

Instagram: @kelda_wood

Facebook: @ClimbingOutCharity


Twitter: @ClimbingOut_


Jun 21, 2022
Mary-Ann is a broadcaster, anthropologist and lover of the outdoors. She mostly makes TV shows about archaeology and anthropology, and her work has taken her from yak herders' camps on the Tibetan plateau to the slums of Dhaka in Bangladesh, the deserts of Australia and crofters' cottages on the Scottish islands. 
She's currently pinned in one place (give or take) by two small children, and is working out ways to live an adventurous life with kids and a mortgage. 
Mary-Ann is also passionate about helping people from diverse backgrounds find outdoor adventures, and challenging the systems that mean access isn't equal for all. She's a hillwalking ambassador for the British Mountaineering Council, and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
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Show Notes
  • Who is Mary-Ann in her own words
  • Growing up in Cheshire loving outdoors
  • Learning and working with adults as a kid
  • Wanting to be a vet back then
  • How she got into Anthropology
  • Her first research as an Anthropologist
  • Challenges getting on adventures as a mum of two kids
  • Joining a 40-day expedition in the Simpson Desert in Australia
  • Making positive choices rather than missing out
  • Her role as the British Mountaineering Council's hillwalking ambassador
  • 'Finding Our Way' Podcast and what this is about
  • Celebrating people who are making a difference
  • Seeing Sarah Williams as a role model
  • Being inspired by Izzy Lynch and Tessa Treadway of Motherload
  • Getting into more detail about her role as a Royal Geographical Society fellow
  • Future challenges she would like to take on
  • Wanting to hike the Cape Wrath Trail
  • Her goal of travelling more in the east and west of Africa
  • Wishing to go on a long journey with horses
  • Spending time with the yak herders
  • Having deep connections with animals and landscapes
  • Biggest challenges she faced in her 20's
  • Budget and travel with confidence
  • Gender and safety
  • Final words or advice
Social Media
Instagram: @Maryannochota 
Twitter: @MaryAnnOchota 
Jun 14, 2022
Lael Wilcox is an ultra-endurance bike packer from Alaska. In racing, she’s excited to compete against the whole field and sometimes wins overall. She’s extremely motivated to encourage more women & girls to try bike packing. 
She organizes a girls cycling mentorship program, women’s adventure scholarships & bikepacking challenges.
Lael started bicycling in 2008 at age 20, when she and her partner decided to tour the world. Working stints to collect money, the two set out on a bicycle tour of over thirty countries. They started in North America, then traveled in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, logging over 100,000 miles.
Lael entered the Holyland Challenge, a 1000-mile unsupported race across Israel. She was both the youngest rider and the only woman. She led the race by 25 miles the first day, and although she did not win the race, she became hooked on endurance racing. 
In 2016, Lael participated in the 4,400 mile Trans Am Bike Race that crosses the United States from west to east. Lael averaged 235 miles per day for 18 days, averaging less than 5 hours of sleep per night and ending up winning the race outright.
In 2018, Lael became only the second female to complete Switzerland's Navad 1000 bikepacking race, finishing in second place. The race features 627 miles distance and 99,770 feet of climbing. Lael's race was commemorated in the film I'm Not Stopping produced by Rugile Kaladyte (who is now her wife!)
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
To support the tough girl mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Please sign up as a patron Thank you.
Show notes
  • Who is Lael in her own words
  • What was it like to grow up in Alaska
  • Being obsessed with sports
  • Starting to cycle at 20
  • How her passion for bikes started
  • Her travel and biking journey in the Middle East
  • Talking about her first race
  • Getting a job as a bicycle taxi driver
  • Working in a restaurant
  • Saving up money and getting back on her bike
  • Not expecting bicycling as her lifestyle
  • Riding in the US, traveling to Europe, Africa, Middle East, etc.
  • Seeing more remote places and meeting interesting people
  • Expecting to go to medical school and become a doctor
  • Working hard organising girls scholarships and mentorship programs while doing another job
  • Feeling stressed out for about 3 years
  • Getting worried about not having enough time to do everything to live a healthy and happy life
  • Getting support from people within the industry
  • Talking about the 1400 km bike race in Israel
  • Taking on the challenge as a woman
  • Utilising only the equipment she has to win the race
  • "I didn't know I'd love it until I did it."
  • Why does she love bike packing
  • Riding the Tour Divide in 2015
  • Her breathing experience in the Tour Divide race
  • "I don't have to quit; the race will keep going, but I can just rest and see how I'm doing."
  • Becoming sick and being diagnosed with asthma while on the race
  • Finishing the race and breaking the women's record
  • Experiencing tough situations and how she deals with it
  • Recovering from exhaustion physically and mentally
  • What is Trans Am and its history
  • Road racing is not as easy as it seems
  • Sleeping in a sleeping pad or sleeping bag
  • Averaging 183 miles per day for the Tour Divide and 237 miles per day for 18 days for the Trans Am
  • Eating while on the race
  • Talking more about her bikes
  • Getting into detail about the film I'm Not Stopping
  • Meeting her wife Rugile Kaladyte
  • How Rue asked to marry her in 2020
  • Her wedding and how it felt
  • How she encourages girls to get into bike packing
  • Starting a program in Tucson in 2022
  • Hosting 2 women's bike packing challenges with Komoot
  • Hosting 3 women's scholarships
  • Final words of advice
  • "It doesn't have to be the biggest goal or the biggest achievement but start doing some part of it."
Social Media
Instagram: @laelwilcox
Jun 7, 2022
After leaving her entire life behind to escape an abusive relationship, Jillian found herself living in a tent in the woods. 
Confused, depressed and feeling a lack of control over emotions and herself, she learned of her diagnosis of PTSD. 
Refusing medication, she shifted PTSD to fuel her drive to connecting back to fitness, health, nature, adventure and herself. 
She is now particularly known for her niche of integrating her imagery and story telling in powerful presentations, offering healing and connection for others. 
She has also reframed her definition of PTSD  to  - Perseverance - Trust - Strength - Determination
In the past few years Jillian has pushed herself to achieve a world first: Paddling a tandem sea kayak down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and becoming the first Canadian to paddle across America; a journey of  over 6,500km completed in 150 days. This involved going through 16 states with 23 portages (carrying the kayak), including 675kms over the Great Divide, which she did on a broken foot.
“Nothing is placed in front of us, that we don’t have the strength to overcome. It’s just believing in ourselves enough.”
* Content Warning - Abusive relationships are discussed as well as PTSD - we don’t go into specific but it is mentioned and talked about. 
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
You can support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media by signing up as patron Visit Thank you.
Show notes
  • Who is Jillian
  • What does she do
  • Growing up and spending half of her life in Winnipeg
  • How did her love for the outdoors and nature start
  • Growing up in an island with her entire family
  • Discovering and finding their own hobbies and activities in the woods
  • Wanting to be a naturalist and being creative as a kid
  • Taking photos and having camera in hand since 10 years old
  • Making plans of going to specific school or university to study photography
  • Struggling in university studying fine arts
  • Getting into Prairieview School of Photography
  • Feeling stuck again after finishing the program
  • Returning to the island in northwestern Ontario to reconnect with nature
  • Falling inlove with the mountains and oceans
  • Packing up and driving to the west coast with her dog
  • Landing a photography job
  • Becoming a live-in nanny
  • Getting fitness while doing photography
  • Having a musher partner and friends
  • Starting their own team and a dog sledding company
  • Having an abusive relationship and leaving everything behind
  • Living in a tent in the woods with her dog for seven months
  • Living in the best home she could ever have that moment
  • Dealing with trauma
  • Becoming concerned about her negative thoughts
  • Meeting a counselor and being diagnosed with PTSD
  • Believing a counselor is not for her
  • Discovering her own healing tool out in nature
  • Having a supportive family
  • Doing  a solo roadtrip across Canada
  • Wanting to reconnect with her passions and family
  • Not opening up about her abusive relationship to her family
  • Writing an article published in the Canadian Women's Foundation
  • Talking about her solo travel experience
  • Having others inspired by her article and her story
  • Shifting her mindset around PTSD
  • "I've been able to basically utilise that kind of diagnosis and what we affiliate as a negative to be my fuel to accomplish goals and allow me to accept saying yes to things, new experiences, and push myself. I believe wholeheartedly that nothing is placed in front of us that we don't have the strength to overcome."
  • Perseverance, Trust, Strength, and Determination
  • Being a CEO and lead guide of a camp
  • Being able to share all of her knowledge to help others get through life's challenges
  • Becoming the first Canadian to paddle across America
  • How she started the journey with Jaime Sharp @jaimesharp_adventures
  • Her journey on paddling a tandem sea kayak through the Grand Canyon
  • Getting into more detail about paddling across America
  • Ending up paddling up solo on a trip
  • Needing a break...
  • Being mentally broken back then
  • Getting support from people and her sponsors
  • Why she decided to keep going
  • Sharing more experiences about her journey
  • Getting injured and how she recovered
  • Most valuable lessons she learned on her journey
  • Doing a 75-day expedition flipping a 400lbs. tire up to mountains with 60 lbs. of steel chains in 2021 to raise awareness to PTSD
  • Being stationed as Ecoguardian at Race Rocks
  • Final words of advice
Social Media