Featured Motivator, Episode 1: Lisa Cherney

We all know people that inspire us, motivate us and just do awesome things!  We need to celebrate this people!  My goal is to introduce you to more of these people that I meet along this crazy journey we call life!

When I met Lisa several years ago at work, I could never imagined that either of us would be where we are today.  Several things have changed over the years (I changed jobs, she bought a house, our goals changed), but a few things have not… our mutual desire to constantly push ourselves to do things we once thought impossible and finding crazy adventures along the way to make life fun!

As I mentioned, Lisa and I worked together for a few years before we really got to know each other and became friends.  I knew that she was working out at one of the local gyms and was always looking for new challenges.  The gym that I was at was getting ready to start a summer fitness/weight loss challenge and it was pairing up current members with new members.  I invited Lisa to join me as my partner for the challenge.

Day 1 of the Summer Slim-down Challenge, May 2014

She said yes!  Team Tortoise and the Hare was born!

Little did I know, this was the start of an epic adventure!

Lisa cruised through those grueling summer workouts, we pushed each other , we laughed, we swore at each other, but we never gave up.  We held each other accountable for those workouts each and every week.  During this time, the gym also announced that it was going to do an end of summer 5k.   Lisa set a goal to run that 5k.  It was after she committed to the race that she found out that I was NOT going to be able to be there, as I already had a girls weekend planned to run in Chicago that same weekend.

To this day, she says I tricked her into starting to run.  I don’t recall this, but if that’s what happened, I guess it did!  LOL

Lisa started training and she finished that 5k in spectacular fashion.

Over the next year, Lisa started signing up for more 5k and 10k races.  We ran some pretty epic events together.

The Warrior Dash and Packers Training Camp 5k – on the SAME day!

The Flannel Face-off 5k obstacle race in Rhinelander… in -32 degree windchills!

Since then, Lisa has continued to push herself and challenge herself!  Just over a year after that 1st 5k, I had the honor of running Lisa’s first half marathon with her.  For any of you that know Lisa, she can’t do anything the easy way – where’s the fun in that?  She picked one of the toughest TRAIL half marathons to run for her firsts half!  The Great Turtle Race on Mackinac Island. It called to her… it was named after her.  She HAD to run it!  So she amp’d up the training.

It was a cold and rainy October day out of the trails but that never got us down!  We tromped through mud, dealt with pouring rain and gusty winds, but we finished!  Lisa was a half marathoner.  Within a week she was looking for her next one to sign up for.  She was hooked.  She was a runner.

She is a fierce competitor… with herself.  She is always pushing herself to be just a little better than she was yesterday!  She also keeps pushing me to be better!  When we started running together, she always kept apologizing for slowing me down.  I never looked at it this way.  I had a new running partner to join me on crazy adventures and the time we spent together running all those miles was some of the best hours spent.

The list of adventures continued.  We have run in 4 different states together, including an epic girls weekend in Lexington Kentucky where we conquered the hill of the Run the Bluegrass Half marathon and we also had the honor of meeting and having dinner with Ashley Freda (aka The Running Wife).   This was also the first race that she beat me.   And she didn’t just beat me by a few seconds… it was like 5 minutes! If it wasn’t for that darn port-a-potty stop for me just past the halfway point (where we are assuming she snuck ahead of me with me knowing…) we probably would have finished together!  The day I realized the turtle was no more.

Now here we are, just over 4 years later.  Lisa continues to push herself and I am so proud of the beast she has become!  Unfortunately, in the last year we have not been able to run together as often.  She is up before the sun almost every day and can be found either at the gym catching her favorite strength training class or running the streets of her neighborhood (looking like an glowing alien with her Noxgear running vest. In the evening, she’s enjoying some yoga or  who knows what else.  She is never sitting still!

Between her work schedule and different race goals, we have not been able to put in the miles together, but we still keep each other motivated.  She helps me to see both sides of the coin sometimes when I feel stuck.  We both keep finding races that we need to do together.

Last month, Lisa ran her 1st full marathon and CRUSHED it!  After months of hard work, cold snowy long runs during the winter that never wanted to end, hours of strength training and more miles that most people would care to count, she finish the Cellcom Marathon like a rockstar!  I couldn’t have been more proud of her!  I was able to catch her a few times out of the course and then was there when she crossed the finish line.  She finished in 4:28:26.  A marathon time so many (including myself) can only dream of achieving.

This morning, I had the chance to catch up with Lisa and run some miles with her on the track during the weekly meeting of the Before Breakfast Club.  This was the first time we really have had to catch up since that epic day.  When I asked her how recovery from the marathon went, her answer should not have surprised me

“It didn’t.  I just kept Running.”

Lisa kept her training going.  She still had bigger goals to achieve.  In 2 weeks, Lisa will tackle another huge challenge… the Titletown Ultra.  15.5 hours of running the trails to see how many miles she can get it.

Her goal?  50k and beyond?

“Nope, I think I have 5o miles in me!  Who knows what will happen, but we are going to give it the old college try”

Some things never change!  I love Lisa’s optimism and positive outlook!  She doesn’t know what will happen on June 30th,  but I can promise you, she is not going to give up.  She will keep going, as long as her body will let her!  No matter what she decides to do, I can guarantee that she is going to put her mind to it and make it happen!  This event will be no different!

So Lisa, thank you for being such an inspiration, motivation and one of the best running partners a girl could ask for!  I am so proud of what you have accomplished and where you are headed.  You might be running circles around me, but you better believe that I am going to do what I can to catch you again!  So, if you say I tricked you into running that first 5k,  I am glad that I did!  Because if it, we both have grown and I can’t wait to see where our next adventures take us!





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