Author Archives: Cherie

About Cherie

Cherie Gruenfeld, Boingo's official butt-kicker, is an Ironman age group champion and world record holder. She is a grand masters triathlete — a sport in which she didn't even start competing in until her 40s — proving that top fitness is achievable at any age. She has raced in more than 25 Ironman triathlons, has 18 wins overall, and has won her age group at the Ironman World Championships a whopping 13 times. She's also an incredible fitness coach with great insights on goal setting and fitness on the road. Have a question for Cherie? Email her at askcherie@boingo.com. You can also learn more about her non-profit organization, Exceeding Expectations on Facebook.

Featured Article

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October is one of my favorite months with the Exceeding Expectations kids.  As you all know, our top priority for the kids is, and always will be, education. That said, every October we participate in two athletic events that I feel are significant in laying the groundwork necessary for them to be successful in the academic world and in their adult lives.  The first of these events is the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) triathlon, aptly called “The Best Day in Triathlon.” Here’s a brief overview from their website:  “In 1994, three friends started a triathlon fundraiser to help one man regain his independence after a tragic accident left him a quadriplegic. From one came many, and Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) took root in the belief that sports and an active lifestyle are a pathway to more in life. Since that fundraiser 25 years ago, CAF has been committed to breaking the financial barrier that individuals with physical challenges face to participate in sports and live a healthy and active lifestyle.”  Participating alongside challenged athletes in a very tough race gives our kids an additional perspective on their own lives. The racers on the course with them face obstacles that they

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Set & Achieve Your Goals: What Will You Do With 2013?

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It’s a New Year. The 2012 racing season is in the books and 2013 lies ahead.

It’s not unusual for triathletes to spend the first day of the new year hammering out a century ride to kick off the new season. Another option is a day of ball games on TV – the only carbs being consumed coming in the form of beer and chips. In either case, a lot of smack talk about the season ahead is usually part of the scenario. Continue reading

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Olympics Musings by Cherie

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I confess – I’m an Olympics junkie. I love everything about them. Whether we’re talking about a gold medal favorite or an athlete whose Olympic dream is simply to participate for his country, I believe the entire endeavor brings out the best in most everyone. Continue reading

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Wellness Traveling: Stay in Shape and Achieve Your Fitness Goals

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As would be expected, many folks try to maintain healthy habits while vacationing. Some do it to maintain a level of fitness, some to take advantage of the gift of free time and many simply want to avoid vacation weight gain. There are plenty of opportunities available to vacationers when it comes to healthy vacations. But there are other folks who have specific athletic goals (ie running a10K or a marathon; finishing a sprint triathlon or an Ironman). For these athletes, it takes a bit more planning to stay on-track while still enjoying a vacation. Continue reading

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Random Thoughts by Cherie

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Always walk tall. It will carry over into everything else you do. Continue reading

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Coming Back


After a major setback do you focus on the setback itself, or do you set your sights on the next milestone? Following a serious accident that cut her 2011 season short, Cherie Gruenfeld focused on the next milestone, which was getting ready for 2012 so she could qualify for the Ironman and Half-Ironman championships. Her first big qualifying race of 2012 added horrible conditions to the challenge. Continue reading

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Got 2012 New Year’s Goals? 4 Tips To Stay Tenacious and Turn Those Goals Into Reality


“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” -George Eliot, English novelist The holiday parties are over. We now find ourselves back in the office and back in the old routine. But remember when the clock struck midnight on the 31st? I’m guessing you raised a glass of the bubbly, made a toast to the new year, and declared something along the lines of, “May 2012 be the best ever!” Well, how’s that going for you so far? Making 2012 the best year ever won’t happen simply because you proclaimed it. It only becomes a reality when you define what will make 2012 “the best year” and then set the goals to make it happen. As you might have guessed, I have a few thoughts on how to accomplish your goals: 1. Write Down Your Goals Thinking about what you want to accomplish is far less effective than putting it in writing. There is plenty of evidence that the act of writing down goals and regularly looking at them result in a stronger commitment to the goals and serves to keep one on track towards meeting his goals. 2. Personalize Your Goals Goals have to be yours –

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When You Hit the *Can’t* Roadblock, Find the *Can* Routes

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It’s September, and the Ironman World Championship in Kona is four weeks away. Since 1992, my priority each August and September is final preparation for “The Big Show” in  Kona. I put in mega miles in the desert heat and build confidence in my ability to perform well in the treacherous Hawaiian conditions. This year is entirely different. My 2011 Kona dream was derailed with a bike crash in early July that resulted in a badly broken collar bone. Through surgery and the follow-on rehab, I maintained hope that I could get back to the IM Championships to defend my title. But that was not to be. I am recovering, but the smart move is to give it more time to fully heal. To do otherwise would jeopardize my long-term ability to perform well and I’m not ready to retire yet. I believe I still have some game. Let me share some thoughts on the last six weeks: Several days post-surgery I started feeling like my “old self” which means I put my bike on the indoor trainer and did some riding. I  felt like I was making progress. A week after surgery, I had my first post-op appointment and

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Healthy Traveling for Road Warriors — Tips

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The Wall Street Journal recently featured an article on a Columbia University public health study, which found that very frequent travel leads to higher incidences of obesity and other health risks. Although this is the first study of this issue that I’ve seen, its results are far from surprising. Whether traveling by plane, train or automobile, travel presents challenges of all sorts and the most life-threatening challenge is maintaining one’s good health. But with a commitment to the task and a willingness to put in some extra effort, there are certainly things that can help the uber-traveler maintain good health. Here are some tips: Traveling by car: Bring an ice chest with food and drinks that you can keep cool with ice blocks. When you get to the hotel, put the ice blocks in the mini-fridge in the room and you’re set to use them again the next day when you reload your ice chest. If you’re on a multi-day trip, pack a pallet of drinks. When you start to deplete the cold drinks in your ice chest, add more so you have an ongoing supply of cold fluid. Travel  by plane: Pack an empty plastic bottle. After passing through

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CAF Helps Disabled Athletes Get Back Into the Game

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Every once in awhile I hear a story that so touches me, I feel the need to share it. In 1985, Jim MacLaren, an all-American defensive tackle, lost a leg in a motorcycle accident. He reinvented himself into an endurance athlete and competed with able-bodied athletes in the Ironman World Championships in 1992, finishing in 10:42. Unfortunately, in 1993, tragedy struck again – a van veered onto the Orange Country Performing Arts triathlon course and struck Jim, who became a quadriplegic. A group of friends in San Diego rallied to raise money and provide emotional support to Jim, who needed to re-configure every aspect of his life to accommodate wheelchair-living. Flash forward to today. What started with a few good friends helping Jim MacLaren has now become the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). This non-profit organization, whose stated mission is “to provide opportunities and support to people with physical disabilities so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics,” has raised more than $11 million to help athletes get back into the game. CAF has changed thousands of lives over the years and recently, they took their show on the road. They went to Haiti, where over 2000

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Is Fitness in the Genes? It’s an Irrelevant Question

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The New York Times recently published an article which asked the question: Is fitness all in the genes? The article discusses a study which found that there are genes associated with people’s response to aerobic exercise. Although not mentioned in the piece, this study falls on the heels of another which found a gene that predisposes people to physical activity versus sedentary ones like sitting on the couch. Now, I’m all for science. We can learn wonderful things from research and sometimes there’s an immediate practical application. But there’s a case to be made for studies of this sort being kept under wraps. Here’s what I mean: It’s no secret that some of us like physical activity more than others. There are some of us who go nuts without it and there are some who will fight it to the death. And if there were a guarantee that we’d all turn into physical studs/studettes through exercise, more people would simply suck it up, do the work and wait for the results. But, again, it’s no secret – that may or may not happen. Everybody responds differently. So, a study that presents a reason for our lack of desire to exercise