Anna Frost: Why She Deserves to Be Every Little (and Big) Girl’s Role Model
If a child in your life (or you) fell in love with the Walt Disney movie Frozen, you could be weary of hearing the theme song that includes these inspiring lyrics:
It's funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can't get to me at all!
It's time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I'm free!
(© Walt Disney Music Company)
The lyricists responsible for Princess Anna's powerful words probably had no idea they would inspire and motivate kids around the world. It’s also unlikely that they knew about a real-life Princess Anna: mega-athlete Anna Frost of New Zealand. Both Annas are forces to be reckoned with, but only Anna Frost is the real deal, so we are delighted to introduce you to her!
RS: You have been running competitively for years. What made you start in the first place, and why?
Anna: I wanted to try something new. I was already a serious hockey player and I thought it would be fun to try another sport to test my fitness and endurance. I did my first mountain running race in Italy when I qualified for Worlds and that’s where I fell in love with running, the environment, and the people I met along the way.
RS: You grew up in New Zealand. What do you like and dislike most about your home country?
Anna: The weather in New Zealand can get cold and rainy, so that’s what I like least. But to be honest, if I hadn’t been forced to train in such adverse weather, I don’t think I’d be properly prepared to compete around the world; it’s made me very tough!
RS: You switched from a team-based sport—field hockey—to running which focuses on individual performance. Do you consider running to be a solitary sport?
Anna: Not at all. I never run for myself; I constantly have people supporting me from afar as well as my running mates. As a team, we understand and support each other. That support is essential to my performance and literally keeps me going.
RS: What was your most memorable and challenging race and why?
Anna: I agree with most runners when they say that every race is challenging and memorable, but if asked to name just one, I’d have to pick the Nepal Marathon. We had to walk for two weeks just to get to the start line at the 5,100 m elevation! Given my daunting experience, Nepal qualifies as both memorable and challenging.
RS: What keeps you going race after race?
Anna: If you ask writer/photographer Rickey Gates, who profiled me for TrailRunner magazine, he would probably say stubbornness! Here’s what he wrote about me: “She was breathing laboriously, sweating, red and visibly suffering and I suggested, maybe, you know, taking it easy for a little bit. Addressing the hill or the trail, Frosty swore something awful, bent to it and carried on.” I guess his words sum up my drive and persistence nicely!
RS: How do you decide which races you will run?
Anna: Well, I love new challenges, places, races and meeting new people, so you might say that these help me decide where I’ll go next. As I wrote on my website, racing around the world is amazing and something I would not change for even a day, despite having to make so many sacrifices.
RS: What are the sacrifices and problems you face?
Anna: Well, having a routine is impossible. I literally jet-set from one race to another, which means I see more of airports than I do of friends and family. Essentially, I live out of a 100 L duffel bag. I couldn’t do it if my family wasn’t supportive because I’m always coming and going.
RS: In addition to your running schedule, how do you make time to run your jewellery design business?
Anna: I compartmentalise. Everything has its place. And as a jewellery designer, I can bring my work with me no matter where I go.
RS: Do you follow a special diet that keeps you fit and healthy?
Anna: I eat a balanced diet, but I never deny myself treats like coffee and cake!
RS: How do you train for different events staged at so many diverse locations?
Anna: I do a 6-week block of high mileage activity that consists of 30 to 35 hours of running, walking, biking, swimming and yoga when training for a long race, so I get plenty of variety.
RS: Is there a certain type of running gear that you can’t live without?
Anna: You bet: Salomon everything! I can’t tell you how much I love that company; they do so much for me.
RS: Having set several course records, are you in favour of positive rivalries with opponents and team mates?
Anna: Because I usually compete with friends, it’s fun and there’s no rivalry. No one’s happier when my friends finish well than me!
RS: We understand that you went through a tough time in 2013. What happened?
Anna: All of the travel finally caught up with me and when I was injured, I didn’t give myself time to recover properly. I became depressed, dejected and mentally got down on myself.
RS: How were you able to regain your confidence and return to running?
Anna: I had to hit rock bottom to realise that running isn’t just a marathon, conquering a trail, or setting a new personal best; running doesn’t define who I am—I had to come to the realisation that it’s what I do, not who I am. With this new attitude, I was able to move forward.
RS: Having had this experience, what advice do you give to runners so they don’t burn out physically and mentally as you did?
Anna: Take rest time when needed and pursue other sports and activities so there’s balance in your life.
RS: Some say that behind every successful man is a woman; is there a special man behind every successful woman like you?
Anna: How about one of each? My Mum and Dad are both behind my success!
RS: We don’t have great mountains to conquer here in Singapore, so will we see you here?
Anna: You will. I’m coming to Singapore later this year to promote my Fearless Frosty book.
RS: We can’t imagine you being fearful; what's the theme your book conveys in a sentence?
Anna: My book is about empowerment—we must all reach for and achieve our potential.
RS: So are you saying that mountain running can be applied to other aspects of life?
Anna: There will always be ups and downs, easy days and hard days. But you can get through by putting one foot in front of the other; keep going. On my website I write: "I’ve been on a journey to find what suits me so I can reach my potential." There’s always something new to learn!
While reading Anna Frosty’s story, could you relate to her burnout struggle and her victory over it—a victory that’s left her even more passionate about conquering every obstacle she encounters? Have you had a similar experience? We would really like to hear about it.