Interview with endurance athlete and Weleda Arnica Ambassador, Laura Try
An endurance athlete and Weleda Arnica Ambassador, Laura Try competed in the world’s toughest row, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, rowing non-stop for 3,000 nautical miles through the most challenging of waters potentially facing sharks and 50 foot waves not just salt rash and sleep deprivation! Laura now keeps herself busy and active taking part in lots of mini adventures and activities living by her motto “less things, more experiences."
Laura, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello! I am 37 years old, and am an Adventurer and Content Creator - I always get excited saying that as it’s something I’ve been working towards for many years. I haven’t always done this job. Back in the day, I was a beauty salon owner. That was where my passion for skin and body care products came from, but as my values changed throughout the years I became educated about using natural and organic products, and that’s when I discovered Weleda. I love healthy food, exercise and being outdoors in the fresh air. As I get older, my focus around exercise and adventure is changing; I am not fussed about how fast I can run or doing bigger and better things, I just enjoy being outdoors, moving and getting involved in activities.
What inspired you to become an endurance athlete?
As I approached my thirtieth birthday, I started to panic. I had a house full of things and a bank full of money but my soul wasn’t fulfilled. I had a burning desire to be able to run through the countryside and up mountains. But the problem was I didn’t know how to do that. I wasn’t a runner. Having always been reasonably fit, I bought a pair of running trainers and had high hopes for my very first run. At the end of my road was a bridge; it was 0.7 miles away. But by the time I got to the bridge, I had to stop. My legs were burning and lungs were on fire! Each day I ran to the bridge and walked back and each day I got a little further home without stopping. Then one day I was able to run all the way to the bridge and back without stopping. That was 1.4 miles. From there I just kept running further and further until I was able to run a marathon. With each event I did, I developed a hunger for longer and tougher challenges, so I took part in multi-day adventure races, which then led me to row 1,800 miles around Great Britain, and then 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean! Who knew a run to the bridge and back would lead to that!
Have you always been sporty?
No, I haven’t always been sporty, not the outdoors type of sporty anyway. As a child I was a dancer, taking part in national dance competitions, but I didn't have an interest in sports at school. At the age of 16 I realised I couldn’t be a professional dancer, so to keep me fit I joined a gym and did all the usual fitness stuff. My fitness is better than average, but my desire to be outside and do adventure-type-things was non-existent then.
What would you say has been your biggest sporting achievement to date?
That would be taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge and rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. I’d wanted to do that for 3 years so finding a team and making it happen was a success in itself. Not only did my team and I complete the event but we were the first female team across the finish line. This was something we set out to do, so achieving that was incredible!
What adventures do you have in the pipeline?
I have a number of smaller challenges planned for the future including kayaking the Thames, some countryside hikes, several one-day adventures and I would love to cycle around Great Britain. Having rowed around the British coast in 2017 and experienced the beautiful coastline from the sea, I now want to see it from the land. I look forward to promoting adventure in this incredible country. I have spent the last 5 years training hard and doing big challenges. It was totally amazing doing it all, but I think it can take its toll on the body. The fundraising element is very taxing as well. As I get older I am learning to slow down and savour the smaller moments and enjoy what I have around me. My big adventures have shaped me and taught me lessons, but it’s time to slow down and start really enjoying all the moments.
Can you tell us a bit about your current training regime?
I currently train 6 days a week, mostly in the mornings before work. If I am feeling particularly spritely, I will throw in an afternoon session as well. I train to keep fit but also because I enjoy it and it keeps my brain healthy as well as my body. I do not train as hard as I used to. I now take it to a level where I know I will be ok the next day. I used to put a lot of pressure on myself but now just do it because I enjoy it. My training consists of a lot of bodyweight movements, injury prevention, running, cycling and yoga. My favourite is the type where you need little or no equipment. I exercise everyday, Monday to Saturday and rest on a Sunday. If I get extremely tired I listen to my body and take extra rest. That is something I have learnt to do over the last few years.
What is your recovery routine if your body feels fatigued?
I use the Arnica Massage Oil as body moisturiser and treatment each morning after my shower to take care of my skin and ease any aches and pains. At the end of the day, I stretch, mobilise and massage the Arnica Massage Balm into the tight areas of my body whilst sitting in the living with my housemates. Twice a week I have a warm bath with the Arnica Muscle Soak, which is my absolute favourite thing to do. I could lie in the bath for hours, letting all the goodness soak into my body. And that smell is a dream! I am able to train as frequently as I do because of these products.
Are you prone to any particular injuries? How do you try to prevent/treat this?
I have had a bit of a dodgy knee for many years. It flares up if I push too hard or don’t take care of myself with regards to mobilising and massage. I think it comes from an accident I had in my teens where I fell over and my knee swelled up. When it gets angry, I massage the Arnica Massage Balm, and I work it directly into the problem area. I spend quite a bit of time doing it and saying a positive affirmation about my knee being strong and healthy. The combination of the 2 works a treat, and it’s just a few days before I feel better again. I eat a whole food diet with no processed food, little meat and some oily fish. I avoid sugar where possible. I love eating like this because it makes me feel good and this is where I get my energy from. I think this is the reason I am able to function for long periods of time because my body is energised from the vitamins and minerals. I also get a lot of sleep - between 9-10 hours per night. I train a lot and work hard so by the end of the day I am tired, physically and mentally. Sleep is the best way for me to reset.
What keeps you going during endurance events?
I have an ability to switch off doing my endurance challenges and keep going. The thing that keeps me going is knowing that I have signed up for the event and want to do it. I also know it will not last forever and there is an end point. I have two sayings in my adventures and also I use them for life:
“Just get on with it” and “It will pass.”
What appeals to you about using natural and organic products?
I make an effort to eat a whole food diet everyday, fuelling my body in the best way possible. It makes sense for me to then use natural and organic products on my skin. With the skin being the largest organ of the body, I want natural products to be absorbed into it. Having owned a salon for over 9 years, I used to be a beauty junkie. When I closed it and started getting more connected to nature and myself, I ditched all the products and stripped back to very few natural products. My skin has never looked so good. I very rarely use medicine and always search for a natural alternative if I need it. Mother Nature gave us everything we need to thrive and be healthy, which is why I am so passionate about using natural and organic products. Our bodies are quite literally our temples.
When did you first discover Weleda?
I started using Weleda products in 2014 when I began obstacle course racing. I got so many bruises from crawling and jumping over obstacles that I started using the arnica massage oil to help. That’s when I discovered that it also aided my recovery and improved my performance. During my adventures I have limited space to carry things, so I take the Arnica Bumps & Bruises Salve, the Arnica Bumps & Bruises Spray, Calendula Cuts & Grazes Skin Salve and Skin Food. That’s usually everything I need to keep me healthy and happy : ) They are all small and lightweight and a little goes a long way.
What do you reach for after an endurance event?
As I train regularly and take part in a lots of adventures, my body can get quite achy and on occasions pick up little niggles. Massaging the Arnica Massage Balm into problem areas helps heal and repair my body with no need for drugs or expensive therapies.
Apart from the arnica products, do you have any other Weleda favourites?
I absolutely LOVE the Foot Balm. I get quite clammy hands and feet so I find regular hand and foot creams too rich. Weleda’s Foot Balm is so light and fresh that it makes my feet feel light as a feather after a long day. I also swopped from a regular high-street shampoo to Weleda’s Oat Replenishing Shampoo. I learnt that standard haircare products contain silicones that coat the hair - not good for the body but also not good for the environment! It took a few weeks for my hair to get used to it, but now there is no turning back and I am in love with the shampoo! I have gained such great results with using natural organic products on my face and body that I wanted to extend them to my hair. My whole face and body collection will soon be 100% Weleda!