January 2015 Instructor of the Month: Cheryl Lloyd, Nevada

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Cheryl has been teaching ChiRunning and ChiWalking since 2011 and recently became a Master Instructor.

Cheryl says: “Since I started ChiRunning, I am uninjured, running mileage I haven’t achieved since my 30’s and maintaining a weight that I thought I would never see again. I regularly run ultradistance races of 50K and 50 Miles placing high in my age group and frequently running faster than people much younger than me simply due to my ChiRunning practice. It would be my pleasure to teach you the ChiRunning or ChiWalking techniques so you can experience everything it can offer you!

Read more about Cheryl below, and get more info on her upcoming workshops here

Get to Know Your Instructor of the Monthcheryl-l

Tell us a little about you. Where you live, what your background is. What (if applicable) you do in addition to being a Certified Instructor.
I have lived in Reno, Nevada since 1997, but grew up in California. I am a Registered Nurse with licenses in California and Nevada.  I have Bachelor Degrees in Nursing and Physical Education, as well as a Masters in Health Care Administration.

How did you start running?
I started running when I was very young and have done a lot of different sports throughout my life. I mostly used running to supplement my fitness for other sports, particularly snow skiing. I did two Ironman Triathlons in 1982 (Kona) placing fourth and tenth in both of them. They were my first marathons and I didn’t have a clue about running. Just youth, guts and a little talent got me to the finish! In my 30’s I ran several ultramarathons and a couple of road marathons with a 3:24 PR when I was 34 years old.

When and how did ChiRunning come into your life? (The short story.)
Three knee surgeries later (from snow skiing) and I found that running more than 3 miles hurt. I was 50 years old and just thought I was getting old. A girlfriend was reading the ChiRunning book. I checked it out and my first run after reading the first 100 pages left me with no knee pain and faster than I’d run in a long time.

In what ways has Chi changed your perception of and success in running?
I always thought running was hard work and could never be effortless especially with my non-runner body. To live running as a practice; something to be continually worked on and progress with and enjoy no matter how fast or slow, old or young, talented or not, is a gift and changed my perception permanently!

What do you think is the biggest misconception of ChiRunning?
It’s amazing to me how many people believe that ChiRunning is “just a mind thing”. Yes, ChiRunning is much more than running, but it all starts with efficient technique and training the mind to connect with what the body is doing. There is much transformation in being present. Danny said in a workshop once (I think it was at Omega in the summer of 2013), “The mind can be in the past, present or future. The body can only be in the present. When the mind focuses on what the body is doing your whole being is truly present.” I have found that running can bring me to this point of presence, and ultimately joy, better than any other sport.

What motivates you to run?
Running keeps me sane. My emotions are even. I love that I feel 35 years old in my 55 year old body. There’s nothing like a long run to focus my mind on the present – only the trail in front of me matters and that is a joy that I cannot match in any other sport. (Except maybe skiing deep powder or a perfect mogul run!) And drinking beer without guilt is a wonderful thing!

What achievements are you most proud of?
I am most proud that I was one of the first women to be an Ironman back in 1982 when less than 300 had finished that distance. More recently, I am proud of my Firetrails 50Mile race I ran this past October which was my fastest time for this course and good enough for third place in my age group. Two weeks later, I ran a fast 8.5 mile race finishing in the top 10% of all 350 women. A true testament to ChiRunning and my practice. I am especially proud that ChiLiving recently recognized me as a Master Instructor.

What led you to become an instructor?
I wanted to tell everyone I knew about ChiRunning! I also wanted a deeper understanding of the practice and knew that I would get that if I studied to be an instructor. The Instructor training was rigorous and I was proud to pass with the extraordinary mentoring of Master Instructor Mary Lindahl.

Why do you enjoy being an instructor, and how has it affected your life?
Teaching is such a joy and a privilege. People open themselves up to being coached and I get the delicate task of showing them how to run. Watching them “get it” is pure fun and satisfaction.

What does your average week look like, run-wise?
I race from March to November in half marathons to 50 mile events, all trails. When I am in a training cycle my high mileage weeks can be 60 to 70 miles. I average about 40 miles per week. December and January are “free” months where I focus on resting, partying, and skiing (if there’s snow!) and no attention to mileage.

What other forms of exercise do you practice to compliment ChiRunning?
Snow skiing, particularly mogul skiing. Starting in February, I will run and ski the same day two or three times per week as I start to build back into high running mileage. I also do yoga, basic leg and arm strengthening 3 to 4 times per week and once per week stationary cycling during the off season. Some water skiing during the summer.

Advice for people new to ChiRunning?
Practice, practice, practice and don’t give up! Reach out to your instructor for guidance and advice if you get frustrated or stuck. If you didn’t take a workshop, then get in one ASAP!

Favorite race you’ve run and why: Tahoe Rim Trail 50 Mile because all my friends are either racing or volunteering, and it’s home.
Most memorable race: Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Mile – DNF at 80 miles, but lessons learned and the support from my friends and family was overwhelming.
Ideal weather for running: 45 to 50 degrees, sunny, no wind, dry trails.
Focus that currently dominates your running: Lead with my dantien, land with feet straight, focus on activating obliques to prevent a lateral hip during landing phase.
Favorite place to run: Trails!!! Especially the Dry Pond Loop or Clear Creek Trails.
Celebratory food after a race: BEER!!! Microbrew preferably!
Run with or without phone/music: Love my iPod!! Didn’t use it initially when I was learning ChiRunning.
Repeat on your playlist: Shakira – Empire.  But my favorites change over a lot!

If I didn’t run I would would get fat and be a total b***h!
I can’t run without shoes. Barefoot is cool, but I like cush.
My first race was a long time ago so I don’t remember, but since I learned ChiRunning one of my first races was the “Rock ‘N River 50 Mile” and many of us got lost in the first 3 miles of the race. I finished anyway doing about 53 miles that day and was thrilled that I finished well under the cut off.
My current favorite shoe to run in is Brooks PureGrit 3 for long runs over 10 miles on trails, but I love my Altra Superiors, too. The Skechers Trail Bionics for shorter trail runs.
My most diffcult run ever was not finishing the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Mile race in July 2014. I finished 80 miles, but not comfortably.
I’ve ran 20 plus marathons/races marathons/races.
The longest distance I’ve ran 50 miles. Where? Mostly in California and Nevada.

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