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Part 2 - 7 Women - 7 Challenges 2017 - Show notes!

We continue on our journey following the stories of 7 women from the Tough Girl Tribe, who are all undertaking new challenges in 2017. We are tracking their progress, and learning what they are going through, the challenges they are facing and having to deal with in real time. We are with them for the high points and the low points.

You can listen to Part 1 of 7 Women - 7 Challenges here.

You can listen to Part 2 of 7 Women - 7 Challenges now!

Order & Timings

Jo Jo Rogers - 5 mins

Georgie Akin-Smith - 45 mins

Rae Red - 1 hr 06

Gemma Smith - 1 hr 53

Rachel Wise - 2 hr 34

Laura Try - 3 hr 21

Jen Dykxhoorn - 3 hr 57

Jo Jo Rogers

@ 5 mins

  • Having a fabulous time training

  • Balancing high mileage and speed work to get the best out of her training without getting hurt

  • Her rule about dropping her pace

  • Beating the mental game on the treadmill, and how to make the best of an indoor workout

  • Getting excited about the planning part of the adventure

  • Having a packed race schedule and reassessing her adventure goals

  • Prioritising races – choosing between her snowshoe races and 50k ultra races

  • Deciding not to sacrifice big goals because of an overly short time between races, and realizing she can’t do everything

  • Explaining how snowshoeing works for us non-snowy country Brits!

  • Running on snow – hard work but great fun!

  • How ultra runners and snowshoe runners are surprisingly similar

  • Competing in the snowshoeing national championships despite not having any snow in her home area, and having some amazing surprises along the way

  • Being inspired by Nikki Kimble as an athlete and a human being

  • Having her name called out for the Masters team!!

  • How snow and sand are very similar to run on, and hurt your muscles in surprisingly different ways to when you run

  • Adapting her timescales in order to not short change herself on her big goals, and using 2017 as her gear-up year for making it onto the 50k team

  • Being honest about her snowshoe training and the lack of snow going into championships

  • Choosing races far enough apart and making sure they’re sanctioned and official

  • Eating non stop!

  • Loading up her diet with fruits and vegetables, and being careful to make sure she gets everything she needs to train so hard.

  • Footstrike hemolysis and low iron issues, and how she had to listen to her body to ensure she’s getting iron for how much she’s running

  • Going to bed at 8pm and the importance of getting enough sleep!

  • Deciding how badly you want something and breaking it all down into its component parts to decide what is most important

  • Being helped by connecting with other women through social media to stay inspired and motivated, even if she doesn’t always have time to post!

  • Her next upcoming challenge at the snowshoe championships at the end of February, her final weeks of preparations and her plan to recover and get back into training afterwards

  • Mental preparation for and getting through the race

  • The importance of talking to other women during races to keep each other motivated, and how sometimes people aren’t always happy to chat!

  • Taking the pressure off herself for race day, and refocusing for 2018

Update Jo Jo!

Jo Jo has written more and provided us with a February Update.

Georgie Akin-Smith

@ 45 mins

  • Training with a coach to get her plans organized prepare for her challenges, and how it’s been helpful to prioritise

  • Struggling with doing too much, and being able to factor in rest

  • Getting a professional to take the guesswork and pressure out of the plan; breaking down the process into its component bits but also taking it with a pinch of salt when she needs more rest

  • Fitting in her training first thing in the morning, and the challenges of getting up early!

  • Find out the biggest challenge in the preparation process!

  • Being teased about how much she’s eating, and making sure she fuels properly so her body isn’t deprived of anything it needs

  • Going to bed super early to get enough sleep so she can train

  • The challenges of being able to see her friends around training; remembering it’s meant to be fun

  • First challenge around the corner!! (Windsor Duathlon 14th Feb)

  • Setting mini challenges to break down tough training sessions into manageable chunks

  • Mini mantras – “I am strong, I am powerful, I am unstoppable”

  • Multi-sport events and the “third discipline”… transition! How to make them smooth and minimize fuss.

  • Organising her adventures herself and planning all the logistics of them

  • Breaking down the challenges by time period to make them manageable

  • Prioritising what kit she has needed to get for her challenges, deciding what is absolutely necessary and what is nice to have, what to buy and what to rent

Georgie is blogging about all her challenges at

Rae Red

@ 1.06

  • Starting to train with moving house and getting past injuries

  • Using rowing as a way of training without flaring up her past injury issues; having her husband training for an ultra with her

  • Having a super stressful house move, and having only a weekend to move house! Prioritising to deal with the stress and tiredness

  • Running as therapy, and to have “our space” with her husband and using it as a way of de-stressing and spending time doing something together

  • Deciding how to get enough running in; how she’s increasing her mileage slowly and building cross training into daily life

  • Using unexpected changes in holiday plans to mix up training

  • Going out running in some horrid wet conditions but having a blast all the same!

  • Finding the motivation to go out in the rain; deciding that a bit of wet wouldn’t kill her, having the right kit and “if you want to do something, you will go and do it; if you don’t then you’ll find an excuse”

  • “Just put your gear on”, and building from there to motivate herself

  • Her one and only “bad run” and how she got past it; changing how she looks at what she classes as an achievement, keeping the perspective

  • Keeping a spreadsheet to track her progress and keep the consistency; adjusting her habits to fit in the training, finding the mental trick to not put off a training session

  • How she’s feeling the benefits of hill training in her fitness and in her confidence

  • Feeling anxious about race day atmosphere and volunteering at races to help build her confidence up; entering shorter distance races locally to practice in that environment

  • Being motivated by medals and virtual races, including maybe one on her birthday!

  • Dealing with negative thought patterns and self-doubt; reconciling “what I should be able to do” and “what that person can do” with where you’re at

  • Getting advice from the Tough Girl Tribe; using mantras to stay focused on that particular run at that time. Concentrating on how far she’s come, celebrating the mini achievements and stopping comparing herself to other people.

  • Staying positive on long runs – planning meals, taking photos, chatting to her husband and random people they pass!

  • Feeing good after a breakthrough run and looking ahead to August; accepting that it will feel impossible at first but persevering through, making progress and learning

  • Planning routes and making the most of what’s available where she’s living, and using it to build mental resilience

  • Tackling Muklow’s Hill and having that interim goal in her mind’s eye

  • Learning to take care of her body (especially her feet!) without spending loads of money on kit.

  • Doubt and the blogging process; documenting the training. To publish or not to publish?

  • Tackling anxiety and doubt one step and one achievement at a time.

  • Essential pieces of kit; game changing waterproofs and how there’s now no excuse to avoid running because of discomfort resulting from the wrong kit.

  • How she’s dealing with potentially having hereditary Type 2 diabetes and how that’s affecting her running

  • How a glass of milk has changed her recovery for the better; fueling her muscles and how running has changed her relationship with food and her body.

  • The importance of healthy snacks!

Gemma Smith


  • Heading off to climb Kilimanjaro & why it wasn’t what she expected

  • Flying off to Tanzania on Boxing Day 2016

  • Having to deal with rain constantly!

  • Being in a large group and why if you’re on your own you should still go on these trips!

  • What it was like being day to day while climbing - getting up early, walking at a steady pace, stopping for a hot lunch and arriving at camp in the evening and heading to bed around 8 in the evening

  • Taking Diamox & the side effects!

  • Being very British on the mountain

  • Having a wobble before heading off & how she gets over the wobble

  • Why she has to take care not to overtrain

  • Trying to sort out nutrition for the mountains and struggling to know what to eat and when.

  • Reaching the summit on New Years Day

  • Having to queue on the Mountain why it created a weird atmosphere

  • Why reaching the summit was a bit weird

  • The sign! (wooden V metal)

  • Getting in her own head and being in her own space

  • Struggling with the cold & having to deal with Reynard’s which impacts her hands and feet

  • What she wore and what she wished she’d taken

  • Visiting Chamonix to get some skiing in and also some training

  • Working with a personal trainer and having to undertake the challenge of sprint training!

“I want to try hard, I want to succeed and I want to do well, and you don’t get that without putting in the effort”

  • What a normal week look like with training & why she tries to mix it up and keep it as varied as possible.

  • Why she gets up at 5 - 5.30am

  • Her focus for the next 6 weeks and why she’s going to be spending time on Youtube

  • Why she is feeling calm and chilled

  • Why she will be booking her accommodation soon!

Gemma is on Instagram @GemLaurenSmith & also on Twitter @GemlaurenSmith

Rachel Wise

@ 2.34

  • The challenges of sorting out her daughters’ education on the road, and finding another teacher who has done something similar

  • Starting the website and getting to grips with building their online presence – somewhere they can have their blogs etc… But is getting built!

  • Handing in the lease notice on their house and setting deadlines

  • Deciding on how to document their adventures

  • Announcing their plans to people at large and how that relates to committing to the adventure – how handing in the notice on the house and work etc makes it real.

  • Keeping safety nets and contingency plans in place; beating the fear about the logistics of what they’re doing

  • Feeling doubt and fear over abandoning everything in case it doesn’t work out, wondering if it would be better not to take the risk

  • Deciding that if they do it, then do it properly – pros and cons of a shorter trip vs a longer one

  • Balancing Christmas travelling with their plans for saving for the trip; keeping the momentum and motivation going for preparing for their trip

  • Keeping the balance between getting everything done; being pulled between different priorities and commitments

  • Being frustrated sometimes with the sacrifices that go with the planning and adventure

  • Keeping the focus; being ruthless about getting rid of things they don’t need before they leave

  • Making the final tweaks

  • House-sitting as an interesting option for accommodation

  • Holding on until everything is paid for, signed off and booked before feeling excited!

  • Wanting to talk to others about the trip and having that support network

  • Dealing with feelings of being overwhelmed between getting everything done

  • Celebrating the small steps that have been achieved

  • Deciding to take on the Geneva Marathon with her husband this year!

  • How fear and nervousness can be a good thing

  • Deciding what to share and what would be helpful for others wanting to do something similar

You can read about Rachel’s family’s adventures at!

Laura Try


  • How she coped with training over Christmas and January

  • Why she has been focusing on fundraising and sponsorship

  • Realising that she can’t do it all and why she has decided to stop her training for a while

  • She needed £21K for the GB row and she has raised £5k.

  • Creating a brochure and sending it out to targeted companies to get sponsorship

  • Why being focused and structured is really helping her

  • Picking the companies she wants to work with and treating her fundraising like a business

  • Why she decided to create a business plan for her rowing campaign

  • The importance of going back to basics

  • Finding a mentor

  • Creating a wish book!

  • The power of writing things down

  • Connecting with her charity - Centre Point

  • Why she finds it best to throw herself into the deep end

  • Not getting enough sleep and how it impacts on her mental health

  • Her next fundraising day, row a marathon day!

  • Her biggest issue at the moment - time management!

  • Dealing with anxiety

  • Getting better at focusing on one thing at a time and how using a structure is helping her

  • Doing the Original Tough Guy in Wolverhampton on 31st January on 3 hours notice

  • Being inspired by audiobooks and how this has helped her keep the faith and drive forward with her challenge

You can sponsor Laura at

Jen Dyxhoorn


  • Solo bike touring in Portugal!!

  • How she coped with some unexpected challenges along the way, like going analogue!

  • Changing her perception of ‘difficult’; deciding to make 2017 the ‘Year of the Mighty Thigh’!

  • Touring as training for touring; being able to build her confidence

  • Her top tips for planning a bike touring trip abroad; drawing her plan

  • The importance of a bike that’s properly fitted to your body

  • Treating cycling as a moving meditation and unplugging from work

  • Having fun with mantras to keep herself motivated

  • What a typical touring day looks like when biking long distances

  • Planning enough time in for side trips for viewpoints, beaches and historic sites

  • Having trouble with wild camping and balancing the risks

  • Deciding to find official accommodation and learning to be flexible with her expectations

  • Dealing with the mental challenges of wild camping

  • How she fuels when travelling and balances her dietary needs

  • Being super excited about gas station coffee!

  • Her perfect bike touring moments on the road

  • Taking the next steps in training for LEJOG; mixing it up with different kinds of training

  • ‘Everyday magic' goals and ‘Champagne goals’!

You can follow Jen’s adventures at, or on Twitter @jendykxhoorn and Instagram @lovelyoutlier

Schedule of future episodes

Part 1 - 1st January LIVE

Part 2 - 12th February LIVE

Part 3 - 2nd April

Part 4 - 28th May

Part 5 - 1st October

Part 6 - 19th November

Part 7 - 31st December

***Thank you to Leah Atherton for her

help with the show notes***


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