Kim grew up on a working farm in Scotland and this was the start of a lifelong love for the outdoors. She talks to Sundried about her amazing adventures and overcoming adversity to achieve some incredible things.
Have you always been into sport?
I have always loved the outdoors having been brought up on a working farm in Scotland. I was very self conscious and lacked confidence, which affected how I enjoyed sport, usually being picked last for teams, leading to not feeling good enough. From my mid to late teens I found running and horse riding, which I loved; the freedom of running, exploring and the partnership with an animal.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon and running?
I rode horses competitively for many years, including riding for owners and representing Scotland for the U21 Three Day Eventing Team. I founded my business, Energised Performance, in 2004 to help people unlock their full potential, overcome fear and be their fittest in mind and body.
I soon realised that running a business, riding full time, and funding it all was going to be tricky. Something had to give. So I made the very tough decision to give up riding professionally to focus on establishing my business, with the aim of one day competing again.
I swapped riding horses for riding a bike and this led me to triathlon. The first one I did, I got off the bike, thinking I had a puncture, alas no! Just not bike fit. Over several years I represented Team GB Age Group at the World Champs in Hawaii and Europeans in Denmark and Spain.
After contracting Weil's disease in 2013, I had to seriously adapt and relearn what was possible. I currently focus on remote adventure runs around the world, combined with raising money for charity, plus I love local 10ks, the odd aquathlon and plenty of strength gym training. Adapting to what is possible is key.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
I'd have to say The Transylvanian Bear Race mini Ultra for the complete wild and remote route (and sleeping in the bottom of a wardrobe in the bottom drawer below the family cow!)
Also the Sierra Leone Street Child Marathon which was my first event back from Weil's (with secondary neurological problems that I still manage), I was last and it took hours, but I did it.
Finally, Brean Down 10km local to me, run by Aspire Events. They are so welcoming and supportive to everyone. It was also the first and possibly only time I have ever placed top 3 in a running race!
And your proudest achievement?
Completing the Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race in India in Nov 2018, which was ridiculously tough yet incredibly beautiful. The final 1km on the last day took me over an hour, walking ten steps and stopping to breathe for 10 and repeat, my brain felt like it may explode from the altitude. Then on day 3, marathon day, I have literally no idea how I finished, as the descent from near 4,000m to 2,000m challenged my balance and brain, leading to hallucinations of check points, monks and snakes... but I did it, and would recommend to anyone.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
I think there will always be tough races but two stand out for me. One was racing in Hawaii at the Ironman Age Group World Champs. I had been really sick on the plane, couldn’t keep anything down and didn’t leave my bed until literally 30 minutes before the race. I felt I must give it a go, as who knows when you will race in Hawaii again! I was totally covered in stings from the jelly fish and so slow in the swim they almost removed my bike.... but I managed to nick it back, and finish the whole race, slowly catching people through the bike and run.
The other was a local half marathon, it was super wet and muddy, and it’s the only race my body just wasn’t feeling it and I was exhausted. But I didn’t realise this until halfway through. I made it, but reminded myself of the importance of quality recovery as well as training.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I’m lucky in one sense as my training in NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), hypnotherapy and sports psychology is part of the tools and services I offer to my clients and 100% practise with myself. I really recommend and practise monthly pre/post race mind-mapping and journaling – what went well, how did I feel, what is limiting me and how can I actively overcome and change these thoughts, habits or technical areas.
Setbacks I believe are part of life, it doesn’t mean they are not annoying, disappointing or frustrating, but after a period of time I always aim to come up with a progression plan. Something is always possible, if not everything. I have learned this massively with my medical journey and embracing what you can do allows enjoyment. Of course, you will have moments of 'I wish I could', but I try not to let this limit what I actually can wish into action.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
Don’t overthink it – sometimes you just have to give something a go and see what happens. You will always then have a benchmark to learn from. Waiting for perfect is an illusion.
What are your goals for 2019?
To continue helping as many people make their wish and goal happen, as I truly see people’s potential and want to help them take that leap of faith.
Professionally, I will be advancing my NLP skills to offer a greater depth to my clients. I always have huge list of ideas... and having just completed the Himalayan 100 mile race, I am in strength and recovery mode.
These are not confirmed but ideas include.... Palestine Marathon, Wild Run Namibia Crossing (I’ve just been sent this and it looks insane and would require a lot of planning for my conditions), Uganda Marathon, Man v Horse, Turkey Cappadocia Marathon, Lewa Marathon, climb some more mountains, Coal Sack English Champs, Chicago and Tokyo Marathons (these really challenge my brain with the busy crowds), some local 10ks, aquathlons and continuing my strength & handstand training!
I think this is more like a 2-3 year plan of everything. I also love hearing about what adventures other people are doing.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
Clients, athletes, family, coaches I work with, friends, books, adventures, travel, people, places......so many things. I find you can find inspiration every day in someone if you are looking for it. The core value to make a difference for others, to keep learning, growing and challenging myself to do things which make me super scared yet with courage are so worth it.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
I love the ethos, positive messaging around fitness, the outdoors, their values around the environment, giving back (I’ve raised nearly £85k for charity through my business so it’s important to me), and their positive presence online.
Of course, Sundried's clothing is stylish, functional and fit for purpose, which ultimately is key for performance and confidence. The Ruinette capri leggings and Solaro ribbed gym leggings are great for runs or yoga, the Grand Tournalin long sleeved training top are breathable with great colours, and can’t wait to test out the padded jacket. Plus the yoga mat and water bottles are both essentials for me.