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2021 Instructor of the Year: Cheryl Lloyd

Cheryl Lloyd ChiRunning & ChiWalking Certified Master Instructor

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’ve lived in Reno, Nevada for the last 25 years (near Lake Tahoe). I’m a native Californian who escaped! I’ve been a Registered Nurse currently licensed in California and Nevada since 1989. I have Bachelor’s degrees in Exercise Physiology and Nursing as well as a Master’s in Healthcare Administration.  I’ve been married to Dave since 2001. We don’t have any children, by choice, but we have lots of nieces and nephews. I still practice nursing occasionally, most recently doing COVID testing and vaccinations for our local County Health District. As a Master CRCW Instructor, I teach the online Instructor Certification Courses and teach privately. My days are spent running and mostly skiing in the winter. I love to cook (since COVID!), read murder mysteries, and watch epic skiing and climbing movies. I love the Yellowstone Series and yes, I’m an Outlander fan. Once I was a private pilot flying around in a little Cessna 172 out of Glenwood Springs, CO (near Aspen). I haven’t flown since 1996.

How did you start running? 

I’ve been running since 6th grade. Running was a way to train for getting in shape for ski racing in college. Then I blew out my left ACL (knee) and racing days were over. I swam to recover from surgery, met Dave Scott (The Man), the Triathlon legend, and did two Ironmans in 1982 placing in the top 5 women and then the top 10 women. Running was not very fun but being young and strong, I got through the struggle of a marathon during the Ironman. Later in my 30’s, I did some road marathons with a best of 3:24, but really didn’t enjoy it. My first ultramarathon on the trail was a 50K in mud and rain. I was around 33 years old. I loved it! I started running trails and have been in love ever since.

When and how did ChiRunning come into your life? (The short story)

My supervisor at work showed me the book and asked me to read it and teach it to her. I opened the ChiRunning book to a random page and Danny’s words just hit me in the perfectly right place. I bought the book, practiced the posture lesson, then applied directional alignment to my feet during a run. My knee pain disappeared (by then I’d had 3 knee surgeries), I got myself into a workshop and became an instructor a year later. A year after that I ran my first 50-mile trail race. I was 51 years old.

In what ways has Chi changed your perception of and success in running?

I never thought running could be so comfortable, so joyful, so peaceful, so easy. Injury doesn’t happen to me (except for when I fall on the trails!) I’m running long distances that few women my age would even consider. ChiRunning transformed my life, not just my running. I’m passionate about running. There is nothing like it on the planet. Except maybe skiing deep, bottomless powder.

What do you think is the biggest misconception of ChiRunning?

I sometimes think people think it is only about mental changes. They don’t understand that it’s a technique that keeps them injury-free and makes it easier to run. Also, many people don’t realize until they take a workshop that they must practice. Changes don’t happen overnight!

What motivates you to run?

Knowing how good it makes me feel. Knowing that I can be out there alone on the trails just being peaceful and floating along effortlessly. Knowing there’s a Hazy Little Thing waiting for me at the end of a hot 20 miler!

What achievements are you most proud of?

I’m proud to be a RN and the degrees I’ve earned in college. I’m proud to have learned how to fly and been a pilot. I’m proud to be a ChiRunning Master Instructor and now very proud to be an Instructor of the Year! I’m proud of the people who I’ve taught the Chi skills to and how it has made a difference in their lives.

What led you to become an instructor?

 I wanted to share it with other people. I wanted to be able to teach it to my friends. I wanted to understand it thoroughly so I could become a better runner.

Why do you enjoy being an instructor, and how has it affected your life?  

I love seeing how people “get” the CR skills. Their joy is such a gift. And to think I had something to do with that is something I will be forever grateful for. Being an instructor has given me access to learn from and run with Danny who is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met in my life. In my opinion, he is a genius to have figured out how to teach people how to run so that every ability level and age can enjoy running forever.

What does your average week look like, run-wise?

I run 40 to 60 miles per week depending on where I’m at in a cycle of recovery from rest, or building up to a race, or backpacking. That mileage goes down considerably during ski season. I run 90% on trails but will do short runs on pavement when appropriate.

What other forms of exercise do you practice to compliment ChiRunning?

Resort skiing, backcountry skiing, water skiing and backpacking. Yoga, light strength workouts and stretching.

Advice for people new to ChiRunning?

Practice! Be patient and allow yourself to enjoy the process of learning. Reach out to the Chi Community. Learn from an instructor. Use resources to support your lifelong journey such as the Chi App, ChiSchool, Chi classes, the metronome.

Short answer! Okay, GO.

Most memorable race: Tahoe Rim Trail 50 miles 2013.

Ideal weather for running: 60 degrees, sunny, no wind.

Focus that currently dominates your running: Lift from the crown of my head, ankles up, fall forward from my dantien.

Favorite place to run: Trails of Lake Tahoe region. Out my back door.

Go-to before race food: Eggs, cheese, avocado.

Celebratory food after a race: BEER!!!!!

Upcoming race/goal: Probably a 50K in the spring. Maybe Wild Wild West 50K in Lone Pine, CA.

Run with or without phone/music: I love my music but I put it away for the first 6 months of learning CR until I had the basic skills fairly automatic in my body.

Repeat on your playlist: anything Led Zepplin Van Halen, or Rolling Stones, or Cold Play

Fill in the blank. 

If I didn’t…  have ChiRunning I’m not sure what I’d do to stay sane!

I can’t run… without a bra. Used to be able to but can’t anymore.

My first race was …. I don’t remember

My current favorite shoe to run in isAltra Timp

My most difficult run ever was … attempting a 100-mile race and completing 80 miles of it.

I’ve run… lots of ultras.

The longest distance I’ve ran… well if you can call finishing 80 miles of a 100 a run.

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