anna brones

writer + artist + producer

Posts Tagged ‘running

Anna Frost

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“If I trip and fall, I want to be able to jump up, brush off the dust and set off to fly again.”

-Anna Frost

Throughout working on Women’s Wisdom Project, I have been reminded that wisdom is most often passed to us by the people we are closest to—a parent, a sibling, a teacher, a friend.

This profile is about just that.

A good friend of mine Sarah Menzies had recommended that I reach out to Anna Frost for a Women’s Wisdom Project Q&A. A professional runner originally hailing from New Zealand, Frost has built a life out of adventure and challenges. She has a long list of accomplishments in the trail running world that have earned her global respect. For Frost, running provides a sense of connection, to nature, to community, and to herself.

I was touched by the short film Frosty, which documents Frost as she approaches motherhood. That connection that she feels through running becomes the stage for passing the baton of wisdom. As she puts it in our Q&A, “I want to encourage her, as my mother encouraged me to spread my wings and fly.”

Her own connection to adventure, nature, and movement is one she seeks to pass along, not just to her own daughter, but others. She does so through her organization Sisu Girls, which works to encourage “sisu” in girls (and boys) through sport and adventure and by showcasing strong, healthy and positive role models. Sisu is a Finnish word, that Frost defines as “Determination and persistence in the face of adversity.” It’s a concept Frost believes strongly in, both as something she embraces herself, but also to cultivate in others. Check out her TEDx talk on raising adventurous children.

Thank you to Frost for taking time to answer a few questions related to wisdom, the sport she loves, and motherhood.

What does wisdom mean to you?

Something that you gain through experience, learning from your mistakes, falling and getting back up again time and time again.

Is there an influential woman in your life who passed along a piece of wisdom to you? Who and what?

My Mum. To have high expectations, to spread my wings and fly, to say yes to love and life.

When did you start running and when did you know that’s what you wanted to dedicate yourself to?

I was always active and in the outdoors. It is where I learned life lessons, where I find my energy, where I feel the most at ease. Running was just a natural progression of my passion to explore the outdoors.

What does running give you that you can’t get anywhere else?

It gives me a huge sense of freedom, clarity and calm.

Gender inequality impacts every profession. What inequalities have you experienced in the trail running world and how have you worked to change them?

The sport has been around for a long time and therefore has underlying inequalities. However, there are a lot of people doing a lot of work to demand equality in our sport. From race directors to athletes, I personally have stood up to organisations and demanded equal prizes for equal finishers.

How do you see the state of women’s sports right now? Why is it important to you that we support them?

It is awesome and so inspiring to see more and more women competing at all levels. It is important to support all runners – male and female. To encourage everyone to have a go. The beauty of running is that we all stand on the same start line together, we all run the same course and we all (try to) get to the same finish time. That is equality.

You recently became a mother. I want to ask you how that has changed your relationship to your body and your sport (which also is your profession), but I also want to acknowledge that this is a very gendered interview question. We so rarely see men being asked “how has being a father impacted your professional life?” There are physical reasons for that of course, but also cultural expectations that are put on mothers. So I guess what I really am asking is: what changes have you experienced becoming a mother, both in how you view yourself and your expectations, and the expectations of the outside world?

Being a mother has flipped my life upside down. It is the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done. I look back at my running career and it all now seems like a dream. I won’t lie – it has been really hard to not expect and want to be back where I was, running free, far, fast and light. But, it has also been a wonderful learning opportunity, everyday, to be reminded of the small wins, the simple gratitude of being a mother, of letting little Skylar teach me and show me a whole new world.

You’re an advocate of raising brave and adventurous children, and involved in the Sisu Girls Project. I love the line from your TedX talk that “we need to show our children that falling is not failing.” Why does the Finnish word “sisu” resonate with you and how are you hoping to share that with your daughter as she grows older?

Sisu = “Determination and persistence in the face of adversity.” This was something I grew up with. I was surrounded by role models such as my family, my teachers, my friends who were all inspired and empowered to succeed, to try and try again, to reach their potential. It was a way of living. This is something that I hope will be instilled in Skylar. I want to encourage her, as my mother encouraged me to spread my wings and fly. And if I trip and fall, I want to be able to jump up, brush off the dust and set off to fly again.

What wisdom would you share with your younger self?

Do as you did, make mistakes and learn from them, open doors of opportunity and jump through them, share compassion and kindness and explore all the world has to offer.

This papercut and profile are a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

Written by Anna Brones

March 5, 2020 at 11:44

Keep Running

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Yes, yes and yes.

Love this piece my friends at Duct Tape Then Beer did for Arc’teryx. What keeps you running?

Written by Anna Brones

July 8, 2014 at 19:40

1,000 Miles: Month 6

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“What’s in like to run in Paris?” friends sometimes ask.

Paris is one of those places that has a certain reputation. It has an identity that’s known around the world. But like with anything, there’s an identity that we see from the outside and the one we see from the inside.

When you live in a place you come to know that inner identity. You live the everyday things that no one ever talks about outside of that place, and that’s particularly true when it comes to Paris. Because who would be silly enough to criticize Paris?

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Written by Anna Brones

July 4, 2014 at 16:47

1,000 Miles: Month 5

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Hills and altitude.

If I had to sum up the fifth month of 1,000 Miles, that would be it. Hills and altitude. There were a lot of both of them.

During the last month I was home in the US, so running meant taking on the hills in Forest Park in Portland (a reunion run for the 1,000 Miles trio), a thigh-burn inducing uphill climb by my parents’ house in Washington, and making my best attempt at emulating a mountain goat on trails around Telluride, Colorado.

Realization: I have much more training to do before I become a mountain goat.

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Written by Anna Brones

June 4, 2014 at 15:09

1,000 Miles: Month 4

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Running takes time.

Any passion or project that we have requires time, but that time doesn’t appear out of thin air; we have to make that time. This is no news, but committing to running a certain number of miles a week means carving out space for a daily workout routine.

From the outside perspective this may seem tough. In fact, I have many friends that have said something along the lines of “man, that much take up so much of your time… I couldn’t do that” (note: yes, it does, and yes, yes you could). We’re all busy, and the thought of devoting at least an hour, sometimes two, almost every day is daunting to most. But the beauty of it is that eventually it becomes a habit. Skipping a run feels odd and disconcerting. It simply isn’t an option.

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Written by Anna Brones

May 8, 2014 at 18:16

1,000 Miles: Month 3

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Usually when I talk about running I get really excited. Depending on how good the last run was I may get that moderately crazy look in my eyes. And I get excited when I sit down to write about it (proof: Month 1 and Month 2 recaps).

But March didn’t really have any of that. In fact I’m hesitant to even write a recap of the month because it felt like I barely ran at all. Instead, the knees said “you need to take a break!”

Because I’m not training for a marathon, or an ultra trail run, or a triathlon, the potential of an injury hadn’t really crossed my mind. Sure, I was intent on running a little more than usual, but not that much. But then the knees started hurting. Not in a “I am about to break” kind of way, but in a “hi! you better pay attention to us or we will break” kind of way.

So I did what any runner would do: got out the foam roller. I also added in a routine of sun salutations every morning. And some squats. In other words, I started doing all of those things that I knew I should have been doing from the get-go, but just hadn’t got around to.

Which got me thinking: how often does this happen to us in life in general?

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Written by Anna Brones

April 9, 2014 at 15:33

1,000 Miles: Month 2

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It was yet another dark, gray, rainy morning. The alarm went off. I pressed snooze, and then snooze again. Finally I got into that window of “if you don’t get up at this very second your whole morning routine is going to be off” time and I dragged myself out of bed. The run was hard. Harder than I wanted to admit. I was tired and slow. But I kept the “remember how good you will feel afterwards” mantra. It was really all I could do to keep going.

If you think that running a lot makes running easier, it doesn’t. Well ok, it sort of does. But even when you run a lot, running is still hard.

Let me explain.

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Written by Anna Brones

March 3, 2014 at 15:24