April 2018 Instructor of the Month: Lisa Pozzoni

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Tell us a little about you. Where you live, what your background is. What (if) you do in addition to being a Certified Instructor.

I was born in Pittsfield MA and live in Mesa AZ.  I am first generation Italian, lived in Italy for 4 years and did 5th-8th grade there.  I am grateful that my parents raised us bilingual as it helped me get my BA in Spanish at Arizona State University.  I worked in the corporate world (Chase) for 12 years and got laid off.  I had lost 40 pounds with a personal trainer so I decided to pursue that career.  I hated working for a gym so I started my own business and that is what I do now.  My business is The Running University. While I still do some personal training, I love teaching and coaching walkers and runners to reach goals they never thought possible.  I count my blessings every day that I get to do this for a living!

How did you start running?
I used to do the Breast Cancer 3Day walk and decided I wanted to do more than walking. I started dabbling into running and heard about The Pose Method.  I started using that method until……

When and how did ChiRunning come into your life? (The short story.)
A friend of one of my personal training clients heard I started running and she got me the ChiRunning book.  As a personal trainer, the body mechanics made a lot of sense to me so I decided to take the 4 hour workshop. At the time, Mark Wallis taught the class and he introduced himself as the only ChiRunning Instructor in Arizona…he was a guy and from Tucson so I figured, why not look into it?

In what ways has Chi changed your perception of and success in running?
Where to even begin?!  I remember thinking I would just run 5ks for fun and maybe do some half marathons.  Now I am an ultra runner! I can’t even believe that I am typing these words!  I’ve been able to cross finish lines I never thought possible!

What do you think is the biggest misconception of ChiRunning?
Because I am a back of the packer, I think people don’t think you can be fast with ChiRunning.  When you are moving your body in the most efficient way possible and learn to relax, speed will happen!  I also think people in general assume it’s a “new age” thing and don’t really understand it’s about body mechanics and physics.

What motivates you to run?
I just love to run. Especially trails!  Running has brought so much joy into my life.  It helps me burn calories (I love food and beer), I’ve made so many friends through running, it keeps me sane, I’ve been on so many adventures with friends because of running….Running is fun for me and I want to do it for the rest of my life, pain free!

What achievements are you most proud of?
This year I completed my first 100K!  Never ever would’ve thought I’d want to do this nonetheless finish it.  I’m also proud of the fact that while training for this 100K, I completed two marathons, three 50Ks, one 40 miler and the 100K all within four months with ZERO injuries! I’m also proud of the fact that I completed my first 50 miler 2 years ago and was dead last!  Cut off was 15 hours and I finished in 14:59:48….but I had the best time taking pictures and enjoying the lovely scenery at Antelope Canyon. I run for fun not speed!

What led you to become an instructor?
I was already a personal trainer so it was natural for me to want to become an instructor.  After Mark said he was the only instructor in AZ, I decided I wanted to pursue it. BEST DECISION of my life!

Why do you enjoy being an instructor, and how has it affected your life?
LOVE teaching it and helping people reach goals they never thought possible!  The look on peoples’ faces when they cross that line not thinking they could do it inspires me every day.  Knowing I can help people get back to doing what they love to do if they were injured or helping beginners learn to do it the right way the first time around keeps me going!  I used to be a personal trainer but I changed my business model and now spend more time coaching and training walkers and runners to do it for the rest of their lives!  I love it when my students say they can hear me in their head while running or getting emails from them sharing successes they never thought would be doable.

What does your average week look like, run-wise?
When I am ultra training, I run about 40-60 miles a week.  Now that I am not training for an ultra, I run about 30ish miles a week.  I usually run 5 days a week.  I love working on my technique when I run. One of my favorite runs is putting the ChiSchool audios on shuffle and working on my technique.  I love having Danny talking to me and I’ve had some great aha moments doing this…practice makes progress and I love aha moments.

What other forms of exercise do you practice to compliment ChiRunning?
I do strength training, stretch regularly and recently added Yin/Restorative yoga.  I love this practice as not only do I get to work on stretching/joint mobility but I am working on my body sensing skills which I use when ChiRunning.

Advice for people new to ChiRunning?
Baby steps!!  I always tell my students they have the rest of their life to work on it as it’s a practice and to be patient.  It will probably feel forced and a little strange at first because you are rewiring your body and mind to make the changes but those aha moments will happen…so long as you practice!

Short answer! Okay, GO.

Favorite race you’ve run and why: Tough answer. Monument Valley 50K because I am typically training other people and this was just my race.  Went on a road trip with my boyfriend and there is something so magical about that location for me that I can’t even explain.  We were in areas that you normally need guides to get to so truly a spiritual experience.

Most memorable race: Antelope Canyon 50 miler. Not just because it was my first 50 miler but the scenery was absolutely breathtaking!

Ideal weather for running:  70s with a light breeze

Focus that currently dominates your running:  I am usually working on my circular stride and ankle lift

Favorite place to run: anywhere on a trail!  I love our Arizona desert but love exploring new trails!

Go-to before race food:  Quinoa and eggs the night before. I don’t normally eat before race unless it’s an ultra in which case I love my peanut butter pretzels.

Celebratory food after: Burger and beer OR Mexican food and beer

Upcoming race/goal:  My 100K was my A race this year. I have two ladies training program that I am training for the Thelma and Louse Moab Half marathon on 6/2. On 6/23 I’ll be in Portland ME doing The Shipyard Half. Although I love trails, I love running in new locations that I’ve never been to.

Run with or without phone/music: Mostly without music.  When ultra training, I will go in between podcasts, audio books, ChiSchool and music to change things up.

Repeat on your playlist: Sandstorm from Darude

If I didn’t run I would be insane.

I can’t run without sunglasses.

My first race was …I can’t remember…I think it was the Iron Girl 5K and I loved it.

My current favorite shoe to run in is Altras!  I have 4 pair (2 for trail, 2 for road and a minimal pair and more cushiony pair for shorter vs longer distances)

My most difficult run ever was Capitol Reef 50K.  It ended being an adventure run. Gorgeous course but I had to do some bush wacking, climbing over logs/trees.  I had to hike most of it because it was so hard.

I’ve ran I think 8 marathons, 9 or 10 50Ks, one 40 miler, one 50 miler and one 100K. Many shorter races too.

The longest distance I’ve ran was 100K. Where? In Arizona, it was the Black Canyon Ultras. A point to point gorgeous trail in our beautiful desert.

Posted in Inside Chi

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