Anna Frost has been at the top of trail and mountain running for more than a decade. But after being plagued with injuries and self doubt it's not so much about winning races or breaking records for the Kiwi anymore. We sat down with Frosty for an interview the day before Transvulcania - and talked about almost anything but running.
You know, I’ve been racing in this scene for 12 years and, like anything, it doesn’t necessarily get old, but you need new challenges. And I really do love the fastest known times, where it is a definite personal challenge that has a lot of meaning to yourself. It is self-directed, it’s self-motivated, it’s self-timed. So it’s really a project that you do for a simple, simple reason. A selfish reason, but also very simple. I will continue to do those. Hopefully the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim at some point. There’s also a couple of different crossings in Colorado and also in Utah. And I’ll hopefully go to Butan for [an FKT attempt] at the end of this year. So, yeah, I’m looking at definitely doing things that are not necessarily just an 8-hour sprint but a two week fast-pack. At the moment I’m kind of in that grey area where I’m like ‘Well, there’s that, and there’s that, and that.’ And I’m kind of excited to choose which one!
Yeah, but I’ve been spending a lot more time in Colorado because my boyfriend is there. But I’ve also found the mountains of the San Juans, it felt like home as soon as I got there. Obviously, Hardrock being in the air, once Hardrock gets into your blood, you’re very much stuck there. So that’s definitely somewhere that I’d like to spend more time in. And I’ll always be drawn back to New Zealand and maybe spend more time there. But it kind of depends which direction I take. If I decide to work as an international teacher in Switzerland, then I’ll be in Switzerland. It’s a really cool place right now of not knowing but having many options.
Absolutely. I would love to have a house and be able to say to friends that are travelling: „Come and stay!“ Because I’ve been so lucky that I’ve had that for the last twelve years where people are like „Come and stay, we’ll show you the trails!“ So I would love to have that. But I also know that while I can move and travel and be free, it’s a really good time to do that. I also do aim to – I know it sounds like not very much – but I’m here for a month, in one bed, one house, I love it. It feels like home and I unpack my bag. And then I move again. So for me, at the moment, having even at least that month is a little bit comforting.
Yeah, that’s the thing. I’m super, super content with my racing. Not just at Transvulcania, but in my twelve years. I’ve had big highs, I’ve had big lows. Of course, there are many, many other things I could do in running. And I feel, physically, that I could keep going. But I also feel like there’s a lot more things to life than just focusing on racing. I’d like to give back to the sport. I’d like to focus and children in sport. I’d like to focus on encouraging our society to be fit and healthy, whether that’s through schools, our through works.
So, yeah, there’s a lot more things that I want to do than just running. I’m racing Ultra Skymarathon Madeira and Hardrock 100 again, this year. So it’s still in my blood, it’s always there. But for sure, I’m more content and I can be like: OK, whatever happens, happens. I’m fit and healthy, I’m getting to the start line, and everything else is just an added bonus. And when I’ve been like that I’ve had a good race, whether I’ve won or come in 10th. I’ve still felt good, I’ve been healthy, and haven’t been injured.
Exactly. I’m not as focused on winning. I’m not as focused on getting the record. So my training therefore hasn’t been as focused. So when I’ve been like „Oh, I’m tired, I think I’ll go home.“ – I go home. Previously, I would’ve been like „You’re not going to win if you go home.“, so I would go for another hour.
Absolutely. I love doing that, it’s a passion. I’m not at all trained in jewelry or clothing. But it’s something that I love to do. So I’d hope that I can find something within in Salomon to work on bags or clothing or shoes, separately from what we already do with S-LAB, because we’re already doing that all the time, anyway. And with the jewelry, I’m definitely loving making my own. It’s just very much a hobby. But I would like to go on and do actual metal where I. And get a little studio somewhere and actually sit down and be like „I’m doing this.“
Yeah, and it’s one of the only things that I can sit down and do, and not move, and get my brain to [stop wandering]. Because you can tell me to try meditation and I’ll think about everything else in the world except meditating. But when I’m doing jewelry my brain is just so focused on that. So it’s a really good kind of Zen place for me to be in.
Exactly. Life becomes very narrow. And life is not narrow. Life should be full of exciting things every day. It is every day, we just don’t necessarily see it. Because we’re either not looking or too busy thinking about something else. I really want to keep a really broad spectrum of life and start thinking about different things and keeping it into my lifestyle.
Yeah. And I would hope that people learn from it. You know, we’ve seen it a lot since 2012 when ultra running kind of boomed, when skyrunning boomed, and all of a sudden, people where doing four or five or six ultra races in a year. And then it started being like three or four 100 milers in a year. And where have all those runners gone from this last four years? I mean, I went into a dark hole as well. And we’ve seen Geoff Roes go there, Mike Wolf, Mike Foote, Tony [Krupicka], Timmy [Olson]. Everyone talks about it, there’s articles everywhere about this overtraining syndrome. But is anyone actually responding to it? But is anyone actually paying attention to it and saying ‘Doing four 100 mile races, or doing that many 80k races in a row, is potentially not a good idea.“ or „Why don’t we try having a rest for a minute?“. And when I talk about having a rest it’s not going biking for a 100k every day. That’s not a rest. I just hope that people learn from it. Like, actually learn from it.
I think it’s many things. I fell onto it as well: „Who was I if I wasn’t getting liked on Facebook? Who was I if I wasn’t a runner?“ And you do forget that because you put such an identity into it. So it’s important to do things like jewelry making, or teaching, or having a life outside of running. Because otherweise it’s very easy to say: I’m a runner, and that’s who you are.
And there’s just not enough research yet on the adrenal system. You know, physically you can be tired, but you can still run. But adrenally, to fix it, you have to stop everything. Mentally, you have to stop. And that’s a really hard thing to do. It’s a hard thing to learn.
So it’s definitely many things. Sponsors are keen to get people doing more and more. But it’s up to us to really say ‘Hang on a minute!’
Exactly. And it’s just being honest. It’s being honest with yourself and saying: Yeah, I’m not running all the time. I don’t have to run all the time. I can be normal and a human, too.