Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Shanda Hill: Redefining Limits

in 2003 Shanda Hill was riding her bike home when was struck by a truck, flew 30 feet in the air, and suffered a traumatic brain injury. After clawing her way back from the depths of hell she started putting one foot in front of the other and the rest is history. Tune in to find out how she became an ultra marathon runner and a Deca Ironman World Champion (that's the same as 10 Ironmans!!!).

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Check out this episode!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Finding Inspiration and starting a new project!!!

Inspiration - what has been inspiring you lately? Does anyone else constantly delete and re-download Instagram from their phones? Over the last several months I was having a love hate relationship with social media. I was wasting so much time just scrolling and watching story after story. So I took a break. I deleted IG and FB off my iPhone. I kept FB on my iPad and would check in from time to time but getting it off my phone significantly reduced the amount of time I spent on it. I'd find myself reaching for my phone to check IG, out of habit, only to realize that I had deleted it and then id put the phone down and figure out another way to fill the time/silence.

It's interesting nowadays how tied we are to our devices. Why sit there and do nothing when we could be scrolling IG. We live in a day where we can be stimulated and entertained at all times - while we cook, in grocery line-ups, going to the bathroom, elevator, waiting rooms etc etc etc. 

I decided to delete the apps because I was having a hard time coming up with my own inspiration. It's interesting you know, I didn't miss it. Not one bit. It was actually really fun not knowing what everyone was up to all the time. It was nice going out for runs or skiing and not bringing my phone with me. If I did, I wasn't with the sole purpose of posting it to IG. 

In this time I discovered podcasts. I became obsessed with podcasts. I love listening to interviews. I find people so incredibly fascinating. The journeys that people take to becoming who they are is such a fun tangled web of experience. Every experience breaths life into the next one - paths take twists and turns on the journey to becoming who we are today. The cool thing is that the journey isn't over and where we are today may be very different from where we are tomorrow.

A few of my favs: Arm chair expert, Rich Roll, any of the ultra running ones, and girls gotta eat (thanks Tory). 

At some point I got this idea that it might be fun to start a podcast. I used to interview people for a newsletter I used to write for North Shore Athletics and some for my blog. The last one was an interview I did with Pam Smith - before she won the 2013 western states 100. I had a feeling she would win and because iRunFar hadn't interview her, I figured I would! This one with Ellie Greenwood is entertaining too (pre-100 milers)! Of course, I am notorious for coming up with ideas and never implementing them. Usually I go out for a run, get so amped on an idea, and come back and tell Peter about another thing I'd like to do. Then the high fades and it gets added to the imaginary list of things I don't actually do. Anyone else get grandiose ideas while running? 

Six weeks ago I was sitting in the waiting room of my Chiro appointment. I had my phone but I had deleted the social media apps so I had nothing to keep me distracted while I sat there patiently. I looked over to the magazine rack and noticed a program calendar for courses at the local College. I opened it up and was so surprised at all the continuing education courses they offered. You could literally learn about anything...EVEN PODCASTING! I couldn't believe it. Needless to say I sneakily ripped the page out of the magazine and signed up for the 2 night course. I felt a lot of excitement being in school again, especially because I was learning something totally unrelated to my work - a passion project if you will. The course gave a very basic intro into how to start a low cost podcast. I really enjoyed it but I soon realized there was a lot still to learn. 

Never in my life (outside of actual school) have I spent so much time researching how to do something. I literally started from scratch. I have no tech background, so I had to teach it all to myself. I wanted to throw in the towel at one point because it seemed silly to invest a lot of money into something I didn't even know if I would enjoy and something I wasn't deriving any revenue from. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I didn't want this to be another idea that just gets washed down the cascading waterfall of forgotten one's. So I went out and invested in some gear.

My podcast is called Journey to Ultra. It's about people's journeys to becoming the incredible humans they are today and what led them to ultra running. As my interest is running, the podcast will be mainly about ultra runners, however really it can be anyone doing ultra incredible things. I'm inspired by all kinds of people these days and I'm excited to connect and share stories.

I chose Peter Watson (my partner) to be my first guest. Firstly, because I had easy access to him (no pun intended) and it was fun to test out my gear and fail a few times before getting it right.

Click here to check out the podcast 

Follow @journeytoultrapodcast on Instagram!

If you know of anyone you think would make a great guest or any topics you think would be interesting for the show please email

I hope you enjoy it!


Peter Watson: turning loss into a life of adventure

Peter grew up living on the North Shore and has been adventuring/mis-adventuring in the mountains from a very young age. After losing his best friend in an avalanche at 18 years old, Peter finds himself a little lost. In 2002 he finds himself working at the local running shop and gains an entry into his first ultra marathon with only 2.5 weeks notice. Catching the bug, Peter sets his sights on the Western States 100. Tune in to find out how it all played out.

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Happy trails,

Nicola Gildersleeve