What an incredible year it has been for many of us!
Sparta Chicks Radio will celebrate its 4th birthday in the next few months and it has been downloaded over 100,000 times in 2020 alone!
So thank YOU.
Whether you’ve listened to one episode or all 153, thank you for being part of it - for your support, for sharing the podcast with your friends, for leaving such heartfelt reviews, for your messages and emails and SMS, for letting me know how the podcast has helped you.
That support of this project means more than you can ever know.
So thank you for coming along for this wild ride with me!
To celebrate an incredible year of stories and strength, I thought it was the perfect time to countdown the 5 most popular episodes of the year.
So let’s not wait any longer ~
The 5 most popular episodes of Sparta Chicks Radio in 2020 are ~
5. Melissa Browne on Budgets, Bravery & Owning Your Story
‘I don’t need to prove…myself anymore’
[CN/TW: sexual assault and rape]
Melissa Browne is an author, financial advisor, speaker and financial wellness advocate who first joined me on the podcast way back in episode 18 in early 2017.
And now she’s back with a vulnerable new book and for a very personal and brave conversation.
Mel has just published a new book - her fourth book - called “Budgets Don’t Work (But This Does)”.
What makes this book so powerful is Mel’s vulnerability around her history and her story and how it has shaped her financial decision making over the years.
From the outside looking in, Mel appeared to have it all.
Yet as she reveals in this conversation, for years Mel was stuck in a ‘sabotage loop’ in her business and that she carried a story that she wasn’t “good enough” that caused her to work so hard she ultimately experienced burnout and a breakdown in 2017.
So she initially started working with a coach to help her navigate her ’sabotage loop’ in her business and quickly realised she would also need to unpack the trauma she’s experienced and the way it and the stories she’s carried with her have shaped her personal life as well.
4. Lisa Blair on Imagination, Fear & Solo Sailing
I firmly believe this: we grow into our goals. So if your goal is a massive thing, you will grow into the skill set you require to hit that goal, if you’re focused and determined to get to that goal.
Lisa Blair is an adventurer, sailor, climate change activist and World Record holder.
Lisa was 22 when she discovered a passion for sailing.
Just 6 years later, she completed her first circumnavigation of the world as part of the Clipper Round the World Yacht race.
Since then she’s gone onto sail solo to New Zealand twice, to skipper the first all-female team in 16 years to race the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht race and set not one but two World Records in the process of becoming the first woman to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around Australia.
In the midst of that, in 2017 Lisa set out on her most ambitious project to date; to become the first woman to sail solo unassisted and non-stop around Antarctica and to break the men’s World Record in the process.
As you’ll hear in this conversation, that expedition did not go to plan.
And on a stormy night 72 days into her trip and 1,000 nautical miles from shore, her boat lost its mast and Lisa had to fight for 4 hours to save her boat -- and her life.
Lisa is an incredible storyteller and don’t be surprised if you get goosebumps (or even a few tears) listening to her tell the story of fighting to save her boat that night.
You can also find her new book here.
3. Hanny Allston on Finding Her Feet
We shouldn’t be guilty for chasing our dreams
[CN/TW: anorexia and suicide]
In 2006, Hanny Allston won the Junior and Senior World Orienteering titles.
In doing so, she became the first non-European to win an Orienteering World Championship and the first person, male or female, to hold both the Senior and Junior title in the same year.
In the years since, she’s achieved a long list of victories, records and placings in the worlds of mountain and trail running, ultramarathon running and sky running.
She’s also the co-founder of my favourite retail and online store - Find Your Feet - based in Tasmania with her husband Graham.
We covered all of that, and more, in our first conversation (which you can find here).
But this conversation was very different.
Earlier this year, she released her first memoir called ‘Finding My Feet’. It's Hanny's incredible story (so far) that is brave and vulnerable and heartbreaking and awe-inspiring.
Hanny has made a career from helping others find their feet. This is Hanny’s story of finding her feet.
2. Tiffany Winchester on Paris-Brest-Paris; the Race & the Aftermath
“I needed to reclaim myself. I had lost me somewhere in France and I didn’t know where I was”
Tiffany Winchester is an ultra-endurance cyclist who rides the kind of distances most of us hate driving!
She was first on the podcast June, 2019 (which also turned out to be the 5th most popular episode of that year).
At the time we recorded that conversation, Tiff was 3 months out from competing in the iconic Paris-Brest-Paris race, a 1,200km cycling event that’s only held every 4 years and is effectively the Olympics of the ultra-endurance cycling world.
And so she returned in 2020 to share how it unfolded.
Now Tiff is an incredible storyteller, which is why she and I were on the phone for close to 3 hours in total (now you’ll be pleased to know - not all of that was recorded!).
So when I first published it, I divided it into 2 parts, the race and the aftermath.
For the sake of the countdown, I’ve combined them into one long, very vulnerable and, at times, hysterical conversation.
In this conversation Tiff shares everything from her training and the lead-up to the event, the race itself (including why she had to apply white wine vinegar to her “lady parts”) as well as the aftermath - the trauma the race inflicted on her (and/or she inflicted on herself), the physical, mental and emotional toll it took on her, the depression that followed and how she was able to recover from it and get back on her bike.
1. Katee Pedicini on Vulnerability, Shame & Mental Health
In so many moments of despair, I felt like no-one got it, no-one understands, I was the only one, I was alone. And that’s why these conversations are so important to be open about.
[CN/TW: Suicide, suicidal ideation]
Katee Pedicini has become a regular on Sparta Chicks Radio over the years.
Yet this is a very different conversation from our previous episodes.
This time, Katee shares the story of her mental health journey over the last 20 years.
In her 20s, Katee was (finally) diagnosed with a condition called Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (or PMDD) which effects between 3-8% of menstruating woman.
To describe it as, or compare it to, PMS doesn’t do it justice. And in fact, it would do a disservice to those who suffer from it.
Katee describes it in this conversation as extreme PMS “wrapped up with anxiety, depression, sometimes psychosis and suicidality or suicidal tendencies”
We begin this conversation with Katee’s story. Her experience of the symptoms of PMDD, including suicidal ideation.
Then we transition into a broader conversation about suicide and mental health. And finally, we step back and discuss the intersection between mental health and endurance sports.
This was an extremely difficult conversation, for both of us. I’m in awe of Katee’s bravery and vulnerability. And it was, by far, the hardest conversation I’ve recorded.
But lifting the shame around suicide and mental health requires brave and uncomfortable conversations and we both agreed that if this conversation saved one life, then it’s been worth it.
If you or someone you know needs help, in Australia you can contact: Lifeline 24 hours per day on 13 11 14. Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 or the Black Dog Institute.