Posted by Kate Oakley

At Liquido, we love to give awesome people a platform on which to share inspiration and information with all of our Liquido Ladies. So obviously, the Guest Blogger series is one of our favorites! This week we're introducing Samantha Gash--long distance runner extraordinaire, fundraising champion and avid adventurer. 
Samantha has a wealth of knowledge and inspiration to offer to you (you too can become a runner later in life), and she will be writing on several topics, ranging from a beginner's running guide to general well-being insights. For many of us still stuck in the winter doldrums, this is perfect timing. And personally, I could use a little running inspiration to get myself 'back on the horse', so to speak. 
So without further ado, allow Samantha to introduce herself further!
There is something special and sacred for me about being able to move my body without restriction. This form of expression has evolved and grown over the years – from being an enthusiastic but mediocre participant of many sports during school, a performing arts student at university (who was generally casted in distinctly unusual character roles), an endurance runner, and a lover of the practice of yoga.
If I were to be honest I would tell you that I am not a natural athlete….‘awkward’ would be a more appropriate word to describe my earlier attempts at free flowing movement. I wouldn’t be surprised if disbelief followed when people who used to know me at high school learned that I now spend much of the year racing in ultra marathon events or self-devised expeditions in Australia or overseas. 
If I flash back to my first ultramarathon in 2010, I signed up for a 250km race in the Atacama Desert in Chile. It was about as far away from Melbourne as I could get and I did that in part because I wanted an adventure, but also because I wanted to isolate myself from people I knew on the chance that I failed.
Through completing the enormity of that physical challenge I discovered that running comes down to the mental preparation you put into it. This applies to most things in life. I truly believe that if you want something enough, it doesn’t matter how little experience you have. That desire will enable you to work hard enough to get yourself adequately prepared (both mentally and physically). The time it takes to do something is of little interest or focus for me. What I am intrigued by, is the process and experiences you draw from doing that thing. 
Since that first run in Chile (only 5 years ago), I have run non-stop for 222kms in the highest ultra marathon on earth in the Himalayas, non-stop for 379kms across the Simpson Desert and 1968kms over 32 days across South Africa. The latter two running adventures were fundraising initiatives for Save the Children where I raised over $85,000 and funded a domestic and international program. I have to admit; I feel a greater connection when I run for a reason outside of myself. 
I guess I am often in disbelief that my body allows me to explore and run in some of the most incredible places around the world, often places that are rarely seen by people. Because I wasn’t always capable of doing this, because of my own imposed physical and mental restrictions, I now have a huge appreciation for this freedom.
I LOVE seeing people get out of their comfort zones and embark on their own journey to freedom. Which is why I can’t wait to collaborate with the beautiful, bright and bold Liquido to share some of my insights each month on:  
  • a beginner’s guide to running – how to get started and keep going
  • how to balance running with yoga
  • feeling good in your own pants
For now, think about your goals when it comes to moving your body. Think about why you have that goal and try to have more motivations than simply wanting to lose weight. Some of my motivations are: 1) discovering as many different trails as possible; 2) learning to stay calm when I am out of my comfort zone; 3) being outside even when I don’t know what Melbourne’s weather will through at me; and 4) using my time outdoors to socialize with friends – its free and far more fun in my opinion!