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September 2021 Instructor of the Month: Henry Walker

Henry Walker Instructor of the Month

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

My name is Henry Walker and I’m originally from the Midwest. Conceived in Texas and born in Indiana, I spent my formative years on the shores of Lake Michigan with the balance of my life in Texas. I’m a long time martial arts practitioner with my studies beginning at the young age of 10. I’m also a former Marine. My career has been spent building and managing high performing call centers and developing leadership teams based on trust and teamwork and I think this combination of skills is what has allowed me to be an effective ChiRunning Instructor!

How did you start running? 

Like most, I started running in school, 55/110m hurdles, the old 220, and the 440 relay.  After, I found myself in the United States Marine Corps whom I later learned, RUN EVERYWHERE!

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

Boy meets girl online, girl likes to run, boy starts running, girl mentions half marathon and ChiRunning, boy and girl break up, boy takes ChiRunning class with Master Instructor Lisa Pozzoni, the rest is history!

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

It’s all about being present!  Running for me is now more of a moving meditation where I’m able to unfurl my thoughts sans judgement, open to epiphanies!

What do you think is the biggest misconception of ChiRunning?

 I think it’s more about having a running instructor in general.  People are often surprised and want to know why you would need someone to teach you that think you do instinctively when frightened or on Black Friday!  I’m borrowing this but, if you want to learn golf you find a golf instructor.  If you want to learn yoga you find a yoga instructor.  Ergo… 😉

What motivates you to run?

Such a big question!  Health, wellness, the search for what I am capable of, finding my limits.

What achievements are you most proud of?

As a single parent of twin girls?  Raising them to be strong, independent, and courageous.  As a runner and now instructor, knowing that there are a finite number of limitations, learning to remove those that are self-imposed, and helping others to discover the best in themselves…

What led you to become an instructor?

As a martial artist, the “practice” of running made sense to me.  I was so thankful for the results I achieved, and more importantly, the support I received from Lisa Pozzoni, that I became a ChiWalking advertisement (see what I did there?) for ChiRunning!  It wasn’t until Lisa asked if I had considered becoming an Instructor that I thought about it and realized it fell in line with my love of helping others.

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

Another tough question!  Contributing to the wellness of my human family and celebrating in their successes is hard to describe.  With every interaction, you are making a memory for someone and you get to decide what kind of memory it will be.  It’s an awesome responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly and I dutifully carry its weight.  As a result, I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by amazing people that cheerfully share their energy!

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

Finally, an easy one!  I run Tuesday through Thursday focused on speed work, fartleks, and hill training with Saturday and Sundays reserved for a long run followed by a slightly shorter run respectively.

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

Resistance training is critical!  I live by the words of Georges Hebert, “Etre fort pour etre utile” or, “Be strong to be useful!”  Weight training to develop strong muscle chains, calisthenics to ensure functional strength, and mobility work to ensure, well, mobility!

Advice for people new to ChiRunning?

Embrace the Practice, Apply the Principles, Trancend Your Run!!!

Short answer! Okay, GO.

Most memorable race: 2017 McDowell Mountain 50k

Ideal weather for running: Low 50’s with fog or a light mist!

Focus that currently dominates your running: Posture is key!

Favorite place to run: Trails!  Any of them!  All of them!

Go-to before race food: Whatever my body requires;)

Celebratory food after a race: The post-race energy of my peers!  (a Mexican Coke doesn’t hurt either…)

Upcoming race/goal: The Ultra Tour of Edinburgh and The McDowell Mountain 50k!

Run with or without phone/music: I generally don’t run with music as I prefer to listen to the rhythm of my heart.  Body sensing is key!

Repeat on your playlist: I am an omnivorous: music, philosophy, religion, lame jokes.

Fill in the blank.

If I didn’t… smile, remind me!

I can’t run without… freeing the spirit which untangles the mind!

My first race was… the Veterans 5k and I…took 2min 38secs off my best time simply with ChiRunning!

My current favorite shoe to run in is… Altra Torin for road and Altra Timp for trails!

My most difficult run ever was… in the middle of the summer training for the 50k where I Ubered off the mountain at mile 10!

I’ve run… a race in Scotland! Alba gu brath!

The longest distance I’ve ran…. 31.55 miles  Where?  McDowell Mountain Frenzy!

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