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Sparta Chicks Radio: Mindset | Confidence | Sport | Women

Jen Brown - Running and Triathlon Coach, Author and Mindset Coach for Women SpartaChicks Radio brings inspiring stories coupled with practical, tried-and-tested-in-the-real-world advice from successful women in sport, business and life. Jen Brown from Sparta Chicks Radio is a Running and Triathlon Coach and Writer. The goal of Sparta Chicks Radio is to share inspiring stories coupled with practical, tried-and-tested-in-the-real-world advice from successful women in all walks of life about the realities of fear, self-doubt, courage, bravery, success and living life on your terms. From world class athletes, brilliant business minds to everyday women undertaking epic adventures, Sparta Chicks Radio will help you tap into your inner strength, courage, bravery and determination so you can chase your dreams and live a more fulfilling life on your terms. Find out more at www.spartachicks.com
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Sparta Chicks Radio: Mindset | Confidence | Sport | Women
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Aug 25, 2019

A 2x Ironman finisher, Ashley Wiles’ struggles with mental health and body image over the years inspired her to launch Sole Girls, an innovative empowerment program that shares, with girls aged 5 to 12, the tools they need for a confident, happy and healthy life.

And she joins me on Sparta Chicks Radio this week.

In this conversation, we dive into Ashley’s story including:

- the ‘kilometre club’ at her elementary / primary school that laid the foundation for her love of being running,

- how she manages her mental state if she can’t run due to injury,

- how she discovered triathlons (and more recently, boxing and parkour), and

- why she says running saved her life.

Plus we dive into broader issues, including:

- the importance of role models,

- the impact a lack of role models has on the number of girls who drop out of sport,

- the role of sports as “playtime” for kids and adults alike,

- why running (and the body awareness it creates) is fantastic for dealing with anxiety or an overactive brain (how do you get out of your head?), and

- why her focus is now on finding her ‘happy pace’.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Ashley on Instagram: instagram.com/evaruns

Aug 18, 2019

Nicole Bradley joined the Australian Army at 20 and served for 22 years. And admits she ‘lost’ herself in the process.

However after leaving the Army, and at the age of 42, Nicole discovered the sport of powerlifting - and life hasn’t been the same since.

Nicole progressed quickly and set her 1st Australian Masters Record for the bench press (she now has 3 records) in her first competition!

Injuries acquired during her service in the Army meant Nicole was eligible to compete (and was selected) to represent Australia at the Warrior Games in the United States and in the 2018 Invictus Games held in Sydney.

And the honour didn’t stop there; much to her surprise, Nicole was appointed the co-captain of the 2018 Australian Invictus Games team! 

In this conversation, Nicole and I discuss:

- why children need to see adults participating in sport,

- why she turned down the first invitation she received to attend an Invictus Games training and selection camp,

- the challenge associated with shifting identity from ‘Army Officer’ to ‘civilian’,

- what prompted her to take up powerlifting at 42,

- how the application process for the Invictus Games caused her to doubt whether her service was significant enough, her injuries were “bad enough” or if she was the right ‘fit’ for the team,

- the lack of appreciation for non-visible injuries,

- the importance of being happy with doing your best on the day, even if it’s not your best performance of all time.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Aug 11, 2019

Meredith Quinlan and Jess Baker are two of Australia’s best ultramarathon runners with a string of victories and records to their name.

In recent years, they have begun exploring what lies beyond organised races.

In 2018, their love of travel and running took them to Iceland where they ran the length of Iceland - from the northern tip to the southern tip - and set a Fastest Known Time (FKT) in the process.

The ‘Iceland Traverse’ was a self-supported journey of around 580km which took them 7 days and 13 hours to complete.

In this (laughter-filled) conversation, we discuss:

- how they each discovered running,

- whether there was any sense of rivalry between them,

- why Meredith doesn’t fear failure,

- Jess’ experience with the Imposter Complex and why she says it can be helpful at times,

- where the idea to traverse Iceland came from,

- how Iceland’s rich history of strong women inspired them, and

- the logistics involved in a self-supported crossing of Iceland, which included being powered by chocolate biscuits and slabs of chocolate for a 100km stretch and a 300km section where there were no resupply options,

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Aug 4, 2019

An elite athlete in two sports and with a PhD in athlete wellbeing, Dr Hannah MacDougall has a unique perspective on emotional, mental and physical performance and wellbeing - so I knew she’d be the perfect guest for Sparta Chicks Radio.

Hannah was 9 when she set the goal to become a Paralympian.

She’s now a dual Paralympian, having competed in swimming at the 2004 Athens and the 2008 Beijng Paralympics.

Unfortunately, Hannah suffered from burnout, fell out of love with swimming and eventually quit the sport.

And that’s when she discovered cycling!

Since then, she’s won multiple medals including Gold at both the Australian Para Cycling Championships and, more recently, World Cup events in Europe.

She was also the first female amputee to compete in the “able bodied” women’s time trial race at the Cycling Australia National Championships.

And her next goal is to represent Australia at her 3rd Paralympics in Tokyo in 2020, this time in cycling.

On top of all that, she has a PhD in Athlete Well-Being and has studied, amongst other things, the use of meditation and mindfulness, in sport and life.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Hannah on Instagram: instagram.com/hanmacdougall06

Jul 28, 2019

“93% Harry Potter and 7% Bear Grylls”. That’s how Paul Watkins’ website describes him.

There are lots of other labels that could be applied too; Pharmacist, mountaineer, full-time dad, ultramarathon runner, motivational speaker and property developer.

However, the one label that doesn’t sit comfortably with Paul is “athlete”, which is difficult to appreciate when you consider his list of achievements.

Paul has climbed major peaks on all 7 continents and competed in some of toughest ultramarathon runners in Australia and the world.

Most recently, Paul competed in the 6633 Arctic Ultra; a 614km/380mi self-supported race in the Arctic Circle in temperatures ranging from -20˚ to -40˚ celsius (-4˚ to -4˚F) with an 80% drop-out rate.

And not only did he finish the race, he won!

There’s an interesting theme reoccurring through much of Paul’s story; he’s often “failed” on the first go.

He ‘failed’ on his first attempt to summit Denali (the highest mountain in North America).

I first met Paul in Argentina when we were on the same expedition to climb Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America - and also his second attempt to do so.

And his victorious race at the 6633 Arctic Ultra in 2019 was his second attempt after he DNF’d 250km into this first attempt in 2017.

And we discuss how on earth a self-confessed nerd won one of the toughest, longest, windiest and coldest ultramarathons in the world.

Paul is a great storyteller and someone who has thought deeply about what it takes to bring the best out of yourself, and others.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 
Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 
Follow Paul on Instagram: @_paulwatkins

Jul 21, 2019

Tils’ (as she is generally known) grew up in country New South Wales chasing 3 older brothers around the paddock. So it’s hardly surprising her first foray into sport was on the rugby league field.

Sadly, she had to give up the sport in her early teens because once girls reached a certain age, they were no longer allowed to play against boys - and, of course - there was no girl’s league at the time.

Fast forward a few years and Tils discovered triathlons. And just 4 years later, she made the jump to the professional ranks - which, in hindsight, she now admits was too early.

These days, Tils is an “amateur professional” cyclist who rides at a National level here in Australia with the #1 ranked women’s cycling team in Australia - Specialised Women’s Racing - including at the Tour Down Under in January, 2019.

In this conversation, she shares:

- growing up with male athletes as her role models (because there weren’t any women with a profile in the sport),

- why she says she became a professional triathlete too quickly,

- how she 'hated' swimming yet deliberately set out to change her mindset,

- her struggle with body image, burnout and the Imposter Complex in her triathlon career,

- how she navigates her own "internal bullshit" these days,

- her experience of 'Everesting' on the road to Everest Base Camp in Tibet as well as riding parts of the Silk Road through Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, and

- whether she's always been the type to 'say yes and figure it out later' (or whether that confidence has developed over time).

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Tils on Instagram: instagram.com/matildaraynolds

Jul 14, 2019

Shelly Horton’s High School career guidance counsellor told her she was too opinionated and warned her to tone it down. Instead, she ignored him and turned it into a career!

Shelly is a journalist, TV presenter and producer and her opinions can be heard multiple times each week on Channel 9 in Australia.

Shelly is also not afraid of open and honest conversations about difficult topics. So I knew she’d be the perfect guest for Sparta Chicks Radio.

In this conversation, Shelly and I discuss:

- the early days of her career (which started in radio) including the very personal reason she didn’t explore a career in TV,

- the “soul-destroying” conversation with her boss about her weight that destroyed Shelly’s confidence and derailed her TV career for almost 2 years,

- the goal-setting course (and the exercise she learnt at that course) that fundamentally changed her life,

- the biggest myths around confidence,

- her experience with the Imposter Complex,

- how she deals with online trolling and public criticism, and

- her experience with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and how she manages it

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Shelly on Instagram: instagram.com/shellyhorton1

Jul 7, 2019

In 2007, Bonnie Tu was the CFO of Giant Bicycles and decided to join the former Chairman who was riding the Tour of Taiwan, a 900km ride that circumnavigates Taiwan.

At the time Bonnie was in her late 50s and had not ridden a bicycle since High School (and never a bike with gears!).

But when Bonnie walked into a Giant Bicycles retail outlet, she was shocked to realise she couldn’t find a bike or any apparel to suit her needs.

The ride proved to be a "very painful experience". 

And 12 months later, Liv Cycling - the first comprehensive cycling brand dedicated to female cyclists - was born.

Fast forward to 2019 and Bonnie is now the Chairperson of Giant Bicycles and is still incredibly driven to ensure women are empowered to participate in the sport of cycling, via everything from cutting edge components on Liv bikes through to exploring cycling clothes for Muslim women.

Bonnie is a joyous, passionate woman and I am excited to welcome her to Sparta Chicks Radio this week to discuss:

- her childhood growing up in Taiwan,

- her earliest memory of learning to ride a bike,

- how she became involved in the cycling industry in the 70s, yet only got back on the bike for herself in her late 50s (and learning to shift gears in the process),

- the origins of Liv Cycling and it’s commitment to build bicycles “for and by” women, and

- her first triathlon at the age of 68.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Liv Cycling Australia on Instagram: instagram.com/livcycling_aus/

Jun 30, 2019

The Body Image Movement can only be described as a revolution.

And it began in 2013 when Taryn Brumfitt posted a ‘non-traditional’ Before + After photo one night on Facebook.

On the left, the ‘before’ photo showed ‘ripped’ Taryn on stage at a bodybuilding competition.

On the right, the ‘after’ photo showed a ‘softer’ Taryn with visible rolls around her tummy looking content and happy.

The switching of the photos (not to mention Taryn’s obviously content and happy nature in the ‘after’ photo) clearly resonated.

Overnight the image went viral and within 12 months, it had been viewed by 100 million people!

That led Taryn to produce the ‘Embrace’ documentary which explored why so many people (and women in particular) hate their bodies.

She’s also founded the Body Image Movement (BMI) which is on a mission to help people love and embrace their body, regardless of shape, size, ethnicity or ability.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Taryn on Instagram: instagram.com/bodyimagemovement/

Jun 23, 2019

Muay Thai may, on the surface, appear to have nothing in common with endurance sports, but you might be surprised…

I was certainly was when I spoke with Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu for this week’s episode of Sparta Chicks Radio.

Sylvie is an American born woman living in Thailand who currently holds the record for the most number of Muay Thai fights by any Westerner - male or female - which (at the time of writing) stands at 242.

And, much to my surprise, she’s been a long-time listener of Sparta Chicks Radio too!

Since taking up what she describes as a “beautiful sport” in New York, Sylvie and Kevin have since moved to Thailand so Sylvie can pursue the sport on a full-time basis, and chase her next goal; the World Record for the most number of professional fights. This record of 471 fights has stood since the 1920s!

In the conversation, we discuss:

- what she gains from listening to the podcast (given she doesn't participate in any of the sports we traditionally cover),

- why she thinks Muay Thai and endurance sports have more in common than you might think,

- how she discovered Muay Thai and why she describes it as a 'beautiful sport’,

- why she (as a woman and feminist) struggles with some of the traditions of the sport (eg, men may enter the ring by climbing over the top rope, but women must go under the bottom rope),

- why it's important to "reduce the space" you give your self-doubt and focus instead on the process,

- how to reframe competition (even in the context of sport) as a collaboration that brings out the best in everyone and an opportunity to practice in gratitude, and

- the biggest life lesson she's learnt from her sport.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Sylvie on Instagram: instagram.com/sylviemuay

Jun 16, 2019

Karen Barrett has a remarkable story which reinforces for me of the power of choice and the power of self-belief.

A talented runner as a child, Karen had an offer to train at the Australian Institute of Sport. But was forced to turn it down due to her difficult family circumstances.

Fast forward a few years and she had become “virtually homeless” and had developed a 2-pack-a day (and more on the weekends) smoking habit.

Then in her early 40s, she decided it was time to quit. She started walking her dogs daily and built up to running 5km - in her steel capped work boots no less - before she discovered and bought her first pair of running shoes as an adult.

That transformation started in 2009, and she hasn’t looked back.

Since then she’s gone onto win and set the women’s course record for the Buffalo Stampede Grand Slam (a series of races in the Victorian Alps over 3 days) and this year, in 2019 she became the first woman ever to finish the Down Under 135, a 135mi/217km race described as Australia’s “gnarliest” foot race.

Oh and I should mention - she was 3rd overall too!

In this conversation Karen shares why trail running is so important to her, why she sets out to win any race she enters (and where that confidence comes from), the extensive mental preparation she puts into her races, and how much sleep she got during the 49 hours it took her to finish the Down Under 135 (you’ll be amazed!)

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Karen on Instagram: instagram.com/karen_barrett_tail.runner/

Jun 9, 2019

Settle in and buckle up; this is a fun, deep, long and laughter filled episode of Sparta Chicks Radio.

Tiffany Winchester is an ultra-endurance cyclist, with a love of doughnuts, who is currently preparing to ride the Paris-Brest-Paris; an iconic 1,200km endurance cycling event in France later this year.

Tiff finished her first bike race as a child and then took a “25 year rest week” from almost all forms of exercise.

It wasn’t until her 30s that she started walking and “procrasta-hiking” (as she calls it) as a way to clear her head and clarify her thoughts while working on her PhD.

After a brief (yet deep) love affair with trail running, Tiff was introduced to the world of cycling 3 years ago - and hated it at first!

Ultimately, she has since found her ‘happy place’ in the incredibly gruelling world of ultra-endurance cycling.

In this conversation, Tiff and I discuss:

- why she had to stop racing for mental health reasons,

- why she didn’t consider herself a ‘cyclist’ until after her first 1,200km ride, and

- the impact social media had on her perception of herself as a cyclist and how it fed her sense of feeling like an Imposter.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Tiff on Instagram: Instagram.com/tiffo012

Jun 2, 2019

I could fill a page just listing Samantha Gash’s achievements.

In 2010, and in her first ultramarathon, Sam became the first female and youngest person to complete the Racing the Planet 4 Deserts Grand Slam, running 4 ultra marathons across the driest, windiest, hottest and coldest deserts on Earth.

That was followed in 2011 by a 222km non-stop race through the Indian Himalayas.

It was during that run across the Himalayas that Sam decided to use her running for a greater purpose.

Since then, she’s run 379km solo, non-stop across the Simpson Desert in Australia as well as the length of South Africa’s Freedom Trail (almost 2,000km) to raise funds and awareness for the work of Save the Children.

Then in 2016, as an ambassador for World Vision, Sam set out on her most ambitious project to date; running across India.

Over 76 days, she ran 3,253km from the west to the east of India and, in the process, raised close to $200,000 to fund 6 programs to improve access to education for children in India.

In this conversation, Sam and I discuss:

- the tipping point when Sam transitioned from running for herself to running for others,

- what inspired the ‘Run India’ project as well as the impact it had on her,

- why she cringes at the word 'inspiration’,

- her experience with the Imposter Complex,

- the power of (and what it means to be) truly committed to a goal.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Sam on Instagram: instagram.com/samanthagash/

May 26, 2019

Sarah Anne Evans and Pippa Lyon who are both members of the Veloroos; an Australian non-professional women’s cycling team.

This is Sarah Anne’s second time on the podcast. She joined me with her Veloroos teammate Julie Ann Hazlett in July 2017 to talk about winning their category at the 5,000km Race Across American in 2015 (you can find that conversation here).

In 2019, Sarah Anne and Julie Anne, together with a third team member, Pippa Lyon (who you’ll meet today on the podcast for the first time) are about to tackle their hardest challenge to date.

The ladies have joined an international women’s cycling team called the InternationElles for an ambitious project.

Together with a female women’s cycling team, the InternationElles will ride every stage of the 2019 Tour de France, one day ahead of the men’s professional race.

So basically, yes, they are riding the Tour de France!

It’s a journey of 3,640km over 21 stages, which works out at roughly 1200km of cycling per week - for 3 weeks!

And, if that’s not hard enough, the route chosen for this year’s Tour de France has been described as the mountainous in the 106 year history of the race!

The reason: to raise the profile of women in cycling and to fight for equality in the sport. The biggest cycling race in the world has no female representation. The InternationElles are hoping to be part of the push to change that!

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow the InternationElles on Instagram: instagram.com/lucy_bartholomew 

May 19, 2019

How does ocean surf ski paddling figure into one woman’s version of a mid-life crisis?

We ask Quona Ross Atkinson on Sparta Chicks Radio this week!

Quona grew up on a cattle station in North Queensland and started competing in rodeos, camp drafting and show riding from the time she was 3.

An extensive career in barrel racing followed before she took up adventure racing in her 40s.

Fast forward to 2019 and after just 5 years in the sport of ocean surf ski paddling, she’s about to compete in the famous 52km Molokai Challenge (considered the hardest ski paddle race in the world) as well representing Australia for the first time at the age of 51 at the Ocean Racing World Championships.

What’s incredible about Quona’s story is that she is a FIFO worker (‘fly in, fly out’), so for 2 weeks every month, she works 800km from the ocean!

Plus with 2 sons and a husband who is deployed overseas for 6 months at a time, she somehow manages to find the time to chase her extraordinary goals.

The secret: being truly committed to them!

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

May 5, 2019

Kelli Jackson was in her 40s and an “unassuming middle-aged overweight accountant who smoked” when, at a retreat in Bali, she blurted out that she wanted to ride a unicycle around the world.

That was in 2010, but it wasn’t until she “survived” 2015 that Kelli started pursuing her goal - which included:

  • learning to ride a unicycle (she didn’t know how when she set the goal!), and
  • getting a large tattoo of a unicycle and the date she planned to start her adventure.

Talk about being committed to your goals!

Since then, Kelli has ridden her unicycle the length of Taiwan (430km) and later this month will set out to ride the length of South Korea (635km) and hopefully become the first Westerner to unicycle inside North Korea!

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Kelli on Instagram: instagram.com/1wheelonly

Apr 28, 2019

With a background in social work and after losing her beloved Dad tragically to bowel cancer, it’s hardly surprising Annie Crawford decided she wanted to “make a difference” rather than returning to the paid workforce when she returned to Australia after living in the US for several years.

And she’s made a profound difference in the lives of thousands of Australians ever since.

Annie founded Can Too in 2005, a charity with the goal of creating a healthier and fitter community while also funding innovative cancer research.

To be honest, I always thought of Can Too as a cancer fundraising organisation first and foremost.

But as Annie points out in this conversation, Can Too is dedicated to promoting health and wellbeing and encouraging people to step out of their comfort zone, by committing to an event - perhaps their first 7km, first marathon or first ocean swim - with the support of like-minded people and professional coaches, while raising funds for cancer research.

If you’re in Australia, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the ubiquitous orange singlets worn by runners at most events around the country these days.

Over the last 14 years, over 15,000 people have participated in Can Too programs and raised over $21m for cancer research.

While I was familiar with the work and programs run by Can Too, I wanted to know more about the woman with the vision behind the scenes, so I asked :)

We discuss:

* what inspired Annie to establish Can Too,

* the role running has played in managing her mental health,

* why you need to remember that you can’t die of fear (my new favourite quote!),

* her experience with the Imposter Complex,

And more.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Can Too on Facebook: facebook.com/CanTooRunSwim

Apr 21, 2019

Emily Duggan’s story is a perfect example of why it’s important to share the stories of women in sport.

When Emily was a little girl, she was watching TV one weekend and came across the Supercar motor racing series here in Australia and was instantly hooked.

However Emily, in that moment, also realised there were no women racing and thought it was a “boy’s sport” and put it to the back of her mind (as the saying goes, “you can’t be what you can’t see”).

Thankfully the voice that whispered to Emily that day never disappeared and as soon as she started working, she began saving for her first racing car - and hasn’t looked back since.

In 2016, Emily became the 1st female driver to race in the V8 Touring Car Series here in Australia and now in 2019 is racing in the Super3 series (which is the 3rd tier in the Supercar series here).

And sometime soon, I know we’ll see Emily line up on the start of the iconic Bathurst 1000 race (a race I’ve promised to watch, for the first time ever, when she does!).

Emily shares her story with me on Sparta Chicks Radio this week.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Emily on Instagram: instagram.com/emilyduggan1

Apr 14, 2019

In November 2013, Renee Kiley joined friends to watch the Noosa Triathlon. And life hasn’t been the same since.

At the time Renee was an overweight, unhealthy, pack-a-day smoker.

Yet the race reignited Renee’s childhood love of competitive sport. And despite not having ridden a bike or swum laps since she was a kid, Renee set a goal to compete in the Noosa Triathlon the following year.

She did that, and more.

In March 2014, Renee lined up at the start of her very first triathlon; a Sprint distance triathlon.

And less than 3 1/2 years later, Renee raced for the first time as a professional triathlete. 

Many people involved in endurance sports have undergone dramatic transformations; from losing weight, quitting smoking and overcoming major health issues.

But I was curious how Renee was able to take her performance and achievements to the next level and became a professional athlete in a sport she didn’t know even existed only a few years ago.

So I asked :)

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks

Follow Renee on Instagram: instagram.com/reneekiley_/

Apr 7, 2019

If there is one woman who has had an up-close-and-personal relationship with fear, it’s Kristen Ulmer.

At 20, Kristen was skiing for the love of it and in jeans.

By 23, she was on the US moguls ski team, starred in the first of 20 extreme skiing movies and was named the ski media as best woman big mountain extreme skier in the world (a ‘title’ she held for 12 years).

This is a woman who came face to face with fear, in life-and-death situations, regularly and she developed a very intimate relationship with it.

However it was only towards the end of her career, as injuries, illness and PTSD took their toll, she began to realise her relationship with fear wasn’t healthy and that it has caused or contributed to many of these problems.

And so she began an in-depth study and obsession with fear.

Fast forward to now and she’s the author of a book called 'The Art of Fear: Why Conquering Fear Won’t Work and What To Do Instead'.

The premise behind it is that conquering, mastering, and trying to overcome fear doesn’t work and instead, we need to learn to embrace our fear and listen to it (rather than trying to ignore it or quieten it down).

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Kristen on Instagram: instagram.com/kristen.ulmer/

Mar 31, 2019

I first spoke with Michelle Lee back in July, 2017 when she shared her goal to complete the world’s toughest nautical challenge; the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

A 5,300km / 2900 nautical mile solo, unassisted and self-supported ocean rowing event across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain all the way to Antigua in the Caribbean.

(You can find that conversation here).

In February 2019, Michelle achieved her goal and, in the process, became the first Australian woman to row across an ocean.

Now there’s one key piece of information you need to know; Michelle did not come from a rowing background.

At the time she set the goal, she had never pulled an oar through the water.

In fact, when Michelle pulled out of the dock at the start of the race, she had never rowed in the open ocean (all her training had been confined to inside Sydney Heads). Wow!

So in this week’s episode of Sparta Chicks Radio, Michelle rejoins me to share what’s happened in the last 18 months since we first spoke, as well as how this incredible race unfolded for her.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Michelle on Facebook: facebook.com/FirstAustralianFemale/

Mar 24, 2019

Dr Stacy Sims is an environmental exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist at the University of Waikato in NZ.

She’s an incredible athlete in her own right too, having competed at the Hawaii Ironman in Kona as well as the Xterra (Off-Road Triathlon) World Championships in Maui.

And she’s the author of an important book called Roar. It is a profound book that will challenge everything you thought you knew about training, nutrition, racing and recovery.

At the core of Stacy’s work is the concept that women are not small men.

It seems obvious, I know!

However the majority of sports science research - and a result, the majority of what we understand about the best way to train, eat, drink, race and recover - has been done on men.

Even the common training program structure of 3 weeks of training followed by 1 week of recovery is - you guessed it! - based on research done on men, without any regard for the hormonal changes experienced by women each and every month.

Yet given that every system in our body changes across the month (not just our hormones), it’s hard and frustrating to believe this “shrink it and pink it” approach has also been applied to sports science.

But unfortunately, it has! We’ve been taught to train, eat, drink, race and recover the same way as men!

Stacy and I bust some common myths about how women should train, race, eat and recover in this in-depth conversation.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Stacy on Instagram: instagram.com/drstacysims

Mar 17, 2019

3 months after finishing High School at the age of 18, Jess Fox qualified for the 2012 London Olympics.

She left those Games with a Silver medal and, in hindsight, admits she felt the need to prove herself and to show that her result in London wasn’t a fluke.

Of course, it wasn’t a fluke - in fact, it was just the start of an incredible career!

A 2 x Olympic medalist (Jess won Bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics), Jess has also won 7 World Titles (and counting!) making her the most successful canoe slalom paddler - male or female - in the history of the sport.

And she’s on Sparta Chicks Radio this week!

We discuss:

- how Jess got into the sport (given she initially thought it was “uncool”)

- the power of writing down your goals and seeing them on a daily basis,

- why you should welcome conditions that aren’t ideal in training, and

- her experience with the Imposter Complex, especially after the London Olympics

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Jess on Instagram: instagram.com/jessfox94

Mar 10, 2019

Lucy Gossage finished last in a cross country race when she was 13 or 14.

And while she didn’t realise it at the time, she now recognises that a fear of failure held her back from participating in any competitive sport until she was talked into doing her 1st triathlon at the age of 26.

Fast forward a few years, she’s now an oncology doctor and former professional triathlete who won 13 x Ironman Championships throughout her career.

Lucy has now returned to working as an oncology doctor part-time while using her available time to chase new experiences outside her comfort zone (like her recent race at Patagonman) while using her platform to drive exercise-related initiatives for cancer patients and thrivers.

In this conversation, we discuss the fear of failure, how suffering is a choice for athletes and the Imposter Complex.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Lucy on Instagram: instagram.com/lucygossage/

Mar 3, 2019

Mel joined me on the podcast way back in episode 14 to share her experience of becoming only the 2nd woman ever to complete the Epic 5 - a race consisting of 5 Ironman-distance triathlons on 5 Hawaiian islands over 5 days (you can find that conversation here).

This week, Mel returns to the podcast to share her experience of competing at the Ultraman World Championships on the Big Island of Hawaii in 2018.

Ultraman is a 3 day triathlon, consisting of a 10km swim, 420km riding and an 84km run.

#spoileralert Mel missed the cut-off on Day 2 by 8 minutes (after 12 hours of racing).

Some in the same situation might describe this DNF as a ‘failure’. However, Mel views it as a battle she lost, rather than a ‘failure’.

In this fun conversation, we discuss:

- what her experience at the Epic 5 means to her now (almost 2 years down the track) and how it’s changed how she sees herself,

- her advice to women who struggle with their athletic identity and naming and claiming who and what they are,

- how she found her way through an intense period of experiencing the Imposter Complex in the lead-up to the World Championships,

- how the race at the Ultraman World Championships unfolded including the point at which she realised she may not make the cut-off on day 2,

- why she describes the race as a battle she lost (as opposed to a ‘failure’)

- the incredible event she’s decided to tackle next, and

- her experience of being on the Rich Roll podcast and whether her pesky Imposter showed up too.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Mel on Instagram: instagram.com/rangamel/

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