Lisa Tiefenthaler Interview

The Lisa Tiefenthaler Interview with

Welcome to and a wonderful interview with my wife, Lisa Tiefenthaler. I met my wife when we both coached on the high school level. A year later we were married. She isn’t running competitively now, or coaching. Having three kids in the past 4 1/2 years can put a dent in the amount of time you can spend running. Click the play button and fast forward to thirty seconds for the start of the interview. Below is a summary of the questions and responses.

Here is a brief summary of Lisa’s running and coaching career. Before she was married to me, Lisa Schiach ran track and cross country at Waukesha South in high school. At South, she qualified for the state track meet all all four years in the 800. In college she was a was a scholarship athlete for the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and ran both track and cross country. She was an NAIA All-American for track. Lisa won’t give me any specific personal bests, but in track she consistently ran under 2:20 in the 800 meter run. In cross country, she ran the 5k under 19:00.

After she graduated, Lisa taught and coached cross country and track at Hartland Arrowhead High School in Wisconsin. As a coach, her girls cross country team finished in the top five at state all four years she was a part of the program. In track, numerous individuals placed in the top eight in the 800, 1600, and 3200. Also, she coached the 4×800 meter relay team to one state championship.

David Tiefenthaler – Hello Lisa Marie! I’m glad you agreed to this interview. Let’s start with when you began running. Can you describe how you made your mother crazy at home when you were little.

Lisa Tiefenthaler – My mom used to say no running in the house. Then, she finally because I would run everywhere, just gave up and said, run Lisa. She encouraged me then to run around.

DT – Your Grandpa, Bill Mitchell, also was very interested in your running. Tell me how he would get all his grandkids, you, your brother Danny and your sister Shauna to race.

LT – Yeah my Grandpa loved to run. So he would take us all to the park on the soccer field. He would line us up, stagger us. My brother was in the back because he was the oldest, then me, and then my sister. He’d try to make it even at the end. He’d try to get us running all the time.

DT – Did you win any of those races?

LT – I can’t remember. I’m sure I did. (laughs)

DT – (laughes) Grandpa Mitch also entered you into a lot of road races when you were younger. Do you remember your first one, and did you win any of those races in your age division?

LT – I don’t remember my first one, but I did a bunch in high school and college. I always got medals or awards when I ran in them.

DT – Did you ever train a lot before you reached high school, or did you just enter into races for fun?

LT – No, I just entered for fun. I just played basketball, so I was always doing something.

DT – Do you think it is important to avoid pushing kids too hard when they are only running for middle school or junior high?

LT – Yeah, I do. Running is hard enough without someone making you do it.

DT – In high school, you were very successful in not only track and cross country, but also basketball. Did the intensity of being in basketball help you when running races?

LT – I don’t know if that helped me running.

DT – In college, you could have played basketball, but you chose running. Why?

LT – Well, I talked to the basketball coach at Parkside, and I talked to the cross country coach. I liked the cross country coach, and the basketball coach pretty much stopped calling. I liked the idea of running instead of playing basketball in the winter when it’s cold.

DT – In high school and college you ran both Cross Country and Track. Which sport did you prefer?

LT – Oh, I liked Track. I even liked coaching Track better. I liked running track better in high school and in college. Cross Country was too hard and too long for me to focus on the race. I liked running the 800 much better.

DT – You always said, you didn’t run as hard as you could, but I imagine there were some races that you pushed yourself. Is there any race that really stands out as when you ran to the best of your ability in high school or college.

LT – I don’t know. There was some high school races where I finished and I would throw up. Sometimes my mom would say, “You didn’t run fast enough because you didn’t throw up.”

DT – I never believed that throwing up meant you ran really hard. I remember a story that you told me about going to watch your first cross country race with your Grandpa.

LT – I went to see Suzy Favor run, and after the race we kept walking round and there was all these girls bent over, and I said, “Oh Grandpa!”

DT – You were a scholarship runner at UW-Parkside. Do you think running with a scholarship adds extra pressure to someone compared to a Division three athlete who doesn’t have an athletic scholarship?

LT – I don’t know. I thought that was how it was going to be. I was kind of leary going in, but my coach was really laid back. We got to go home when we were off and still do our workouts by ourself. His personality helped. I did feel like it was my job to run. My mom even told me, “Don’t worry about work. Just go for a run.”

DT – What advice would you give someone who wants to run in college, but isn’t sure where to run, and if they should try to get a scholarship?

LT – I would tell them that they need to meet the coach, see the school. You have to see if you fit in. It is a big commitment, running in college, even when you’re not on a scholarship.

DT – After you graduated from college, you started teaching and coaching at the high school level. You were offered a basketball coaching position, and a coaching position for cross country and track. Why did you choose running over basketball again?

LT – One of the teachers, the math department chair, kind of convinced me. I thought I wanted to do basketball. I would get to run with the girls. For basketball it’s in the winter. It would be dark when I got to school, and dark when I left. For running there is different levels you can work with. For basketball, parents will complain about playing time but for running it is just based on your best time.

DT – Your teams were very successful when you coached on both the Varsity and JV level, yet it still was a relaxed atmosphere. Do you think some coaches make high school running a little too intense?

LT – I think you need to make it fun which is sometimes hard because running is a tough sport.

DT – Since we’ve had three children in the past four and a half years, you haven’t had the chance to run much at all. This summer, our youngest will be one. Do you plan on running again?

LT – I’m going to try when I’m done nursing. I know it’s going to be hard because I tried when I was done with Lily. We used to run to Pike Lake, but then we got pregnant again.

DT – What’s your approach to getting in shape?

LT – Well after I had Nicholas, and it was in between Nick and Lily (Our first two children) I tried to run and I got really mad at myself. It was difficult and so I stopped. The next time, between Lily and Joey (our second and third), I’d run and then I’d walk a little bit, then I’d run and walk a little bit. I knew it was hard. I didn’t realize running was so hard until I had stopped. I took it down a few notches because I knew it was hard.

DT – I never really enjoyed running as much as you did during my high school and college years. What is your favorite part about running, and what can you suggest to someone who doesn’t get as much enjoyment out of running as they should?

LT – I think running with someone helps a lot. You know pass the time, you can talk. I think you don’t need to be so competitive, David. Take your watch off. You can run for fun, like I used to. People don’t believe that, but it is a nice, relaxing thing to do.

DT – Thank you Lisa for the interview!

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