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Sunny Stroeer: Completing the Iditarod Trail Invitational 1,000-Mile Race on Skis, Becoming the First Woman to Do So.

Renata Chlumska  - Adventure athlete who became the first Swedish and Czech woman to climb Mount Everest and in 2005 did a circumnavigate of the lower 48 States of the United States by her own power.

Sunny is a professional adventure athlete, guide service owner and story teller based in Kanab, Utah.

After obtaining an MBA from Harvard Business School and pursuing a career as a management consultant in her twenties, Sunny decided to leave behind the business world in order to focus full-time on mountains, climbing and VLDs (very long distances).

Today, she is a professional athlete and owner of two guiding businesses - AWExpeditions and Dreamland Safari Tours.

She is also the founder of the AWE Summit Scholarship Foundation that breaks down barriers for women+ to access mountaineering and the backcountry -- in the form of tens of thousands of dollars in expedition scholarships.

Sunny first came on the Tough Girl Podcast on Jun 23, 2020. Sharing her story about being the first woman to circumnavigate and summit Aconcagua in a single push.

You can listen to that episode Here

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Show notes

  • Who is Sunny 

  • Working as a professional adventure athlete and running her own travel companies 

  • Sunny first came on the Tough Girl Podcast on Jun 23, 2020. First woman to circumnavigate and summit Aconcagua in a single push.

  • What happened in 2020 

  • Deciding to buy a tour company/guide service business

  • Using her MBA from Harvard

  • Thriving with the challenge and the uncertainty 

  • Pursuing her own adventures and being her own boss

  • Getting involved in running Fastest Known Times (FKTs)

  • Starting to focus on adventuring in Alaska

  • 350 mile race on cross country skis - Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI), held in Alaska during Winter (2021)

  • Planning to head to the South Pole in the future 

  • More info about the ITI and how its structured, and what you can expect. 

  • The short version - 350 miles. The long version 1000 miles. You need to do the short version of the race before you can attempt to race the longer version.

  • The different modes of travel: Fat bike, dogs, skies, walking

  • The lessons learned from the recce before the bigger race

  • No mandatory gear list

  • Being able to connect with folks who had done the race before to get advice and tips

  • Leaving her comfort zone behind and moving into the stretch zone

  • Dealing with uncomfortable feelings

  • Reflection back on her first ITI in 2021 

  • Dealing with overflow

  • Not having a background in cross country skiing

  • Knowing that she able to keep herself safe in these extreme conditions

  • Dealing with broken bindings and having to hike the final 150 miles

  • Having a 10 day deadline to cover the 350 miles

  • Being pushed to her limits both physically and emotionally 

  • Going back in 2022 to ski the 350 mile distance again - gaining more experience and knowledge

  • Fat biking the race in 2023 with her husband

  • Feeling ready to commit to the 1000 miles race in 2024

  • Race strategy and plan (both adhoc and thought through)

  • Needing to complete the 1000 miles (approx 930 - 960 miles) in 30 days

  • Dealing with a stress fracture on her shin in the December and only having 5 weeks to train

  • Using both a backpack and a pulk/sled to transport gear. 

  • Dealing with the cold and trying to avoid getting wet in -30/-40 degrees

  • Aiming to travel slowly, keeping her heart rate low in an aim to keep from sweating

  • Dealing with wet and damp gloves and getting a little bit of frost bite on her fingers. 

  • Dealing with numb heels and maybe a little bit of nerve damage after the race

  • Highlights and magical moment from life on the trail

  • Being in her own thoughts for 14hrs or more a day

  • Food and nutrition on the trail

  • Feeling the pressure to reach the finish line before the cut off point

  • Making it across the sea ice before it flooded or melted

  • Being 200 miles from the finish on the North Shore

  • Becoming the first women to ski the ITI 1000

  • Recovery after the race (doughnuts & wine!)

  • How to connect with Sunny and to follow along with her adventures

  • Final words of advice and and wisdom to inspire and motivate women and girls 

  • Why you need to continually be pushing your comfort zone 


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