Friends, I’d like to introduce to you Lisa Gorlitsky, a Brooklyn mother, runner, and a friend of a friend, who has a job that I think it’s safe to say would cause most of us to turn a little green with envy. (But I’ll let her tell you about that!) She just ran her first marathon at the beginning of the month, and is a complete inspiration and example of someone who just won’t give up.
Thanks, Lisa, for letting us catch a glimpse of your life.
Tell us who you are.
My name is Lisa Gorlitsky. I have been married to my husband, Daniel Schlachet since 1995, and we have been together since 1993. We have two children; Gabriel is 13 and Isabella is 10. I am an actor and a model. I have been acting professionally since I was seven years old. I film many commercials, episodic television series, perform in plays, and movies.
I have been shoe modeling for nine years now. Shoe modeling consists of doing runway, showroom, and fit modeling. I go to various companies, tell them whether a shoe fits well or not, they send the notes to the factory, and send the shoes back until they fit! I have many different clients, and enjoy it very much! There are many shoe shows during the year, and I enjoy modeling the shoes in their showrooms or on a runway. Steady clients have been “Me Too”, Michael Kors, Hunter Boots, American Eagle, Sam Edelman, Banfi Zambrelli, Macy’s, Brown Shoe company, and others. I have recently entered the world of fitness modeling, and look forward to new opportunities there as well! I have been practicing yoga for about eight years very consistently, and have recently participated in photo shoots featuring various yoga poses.
I had never been a runner. I have debilitating allergies and asthma, and was never able to run very far without having an asthma attack. As a 40th birthday present to myself, I decided to see how far I could run. I was juggling my crazy schedule consisting of: my kids, being co-President of the PTA and putting together very large scale events/fundraisers, auditioning, working, and being a wife and a mother. I felt that running would be a good stress release if I could manage it! My co-President of the PTA, Mary Vines, had started to run pretty consistently, and we started to tackle it together at times. I started running in Prospect Park in intervals. I would run for 1/2 a mile, walk, run, walk, until I made it around a loop (3.32 miles). Gradually, I walked less and less. Soon, I was able to run two loops in the park and I found it exhilarating! Pairing my yoga practice and the running was a perfect match! I started to train for my first half marathon, and completed it one month before my 40th Birthday. I had never run that far, wasn’t even sure that I could, and felt so proud of the accomplishment! I was hooked… I did four half marathons, in ALL the boroughs I have lived in in this amazing city, (native New Yorker!) and Mary talked me into tossing my hat in the ring for the Marathon lottery. To my absolute shock… I got in! Oh boy… Now I had to actually do it. TERRIFYING. I trained all last year, and then the hurricane happened, so no race. This year was a do over, and I am THRILLED I was able to run the race. After so much training, for two years, it was a true realization of a dream. I had a bad injury this time around, and had to take all of August off of running. I was very nervous that I would not be able to make up for that time, and missed some important long runs, but I did it! I had to improvise with my training schedule, and re-adjust my goals, but I was determined to run. I FOUGHT for this one! Last year, I was completing 20 mile runs in under 9 minute miles. My predicted time would have been between a 4 and 4:10 hour marathon. I had to SLOW down after picking the training back up because of the injury, and ended up finishing in 4:18. I was THRILLED, as I wasn’t even sure I could do it after taking so much time off with training! It was a slow build back up on the training, tough on the stamina, but I stayed consistent through the entire 26.2, and feel proud of that accomplishment.
Can you walk us through your typical day?
My days tend to be nuts. I never know whether I am auditioning or working, as these things tend to come in very last minute. I could get a call at 7PM the night before that I have an audition or work at 9AM the next day. Its a LOT of juggling! When not working or auditioning, I volunteer at both my children’s school often, I run, I practice yoga and I treasure my friendships, so I make every effort to spend time with the people that mean so much to me as often as possible. And then there’s the kids, and homework, and dinner, and marriage… it’s a true juggle!
What is your perfect day?
A perfect day for me would be a cappuccino and omelette after sleeping in, yoga or a run, lunch with dear friends, finding out I booked work, spending time with my kids, having a great meal with my entire family, a glass of wine, some entertaining TV, and a good nights sleep.
What is one of your biggest challenges as a parent/person? How do you deal with it?
Enjoying things more in the moment without getting too ahead of myself. Yoga helps a lot with that, but I tend to be very goal oriented, so I can get way too ahead of myself with planning!
What is a story you always tell?
The time my parents came to visit me in college with my younger sister, and we decided to go to a movie. We arrived after the theater had gone dark and we couldn’t see anything in front of us. My Mom found a row, and we all shuffled in. We sat, and heard a scream! My father had sat right in the lap of a fellow movie goer. He apologized profusely, my sister and I were hysterically laughing, and we all moved over one. Then my father took off his raincoat, and the belt hit the woman in the head. She shouted, “OW! You HURT me!” My dad profusely apologized, while my sister and I tried hard to stifle our laughs. Then my sister, through tears at laughing so hard, was trying to get our attention. My Dad and I finally looked over, and my Mom was crouched in the corner of the row saying, “I HAVE NO SEAT! TELL YOUR FATHER, I HAVE NO SEAT!” WELL, that did it, we all lost it completely, and the couple my father had sat on, (and belted!) got up and left. We tell this story at every family get together, and we still can not get through it without crying from laughing so hard. Its our best family moment. My kids beg us to tell it to all their friends… I’m crying right now picturing my Mother crouched on the floor and all of us in hysterics at the whole scenario.
And here’s another good one: The morning of the [New York City] marathon, I had charged my GPS watch and my iPod overnight. I woke up, ate, checked off my long reminder list, and packed my iPod and put on my watch. About 10 mins before I was ready to leave for the Staten Island ferry, I looked at my watch, and it was frozen. Apparently, it had gotten stuck at daylight savings time, and drained the battery all night. It went dead. I freaked! I woke my husband up, we Googled it, and did a factory reset. It restarted, but was battery DEAD. I’ve never run without my watch! I freaked! (Anxiety got the best of me) I grabbed the watch, and the charger, and left for the car service to take me to the ferry. The car service never showed up. Called another one, that one never showed up. Flagged down a yellow cab, and got to the ferry within two minutes of it leaving. I found a rare working outlet on the ferry, and managed to charge the watch halfway. I had to run with that darn watch charger in my fuel belt until mile six when I could hand it over to my family, and the watch died AT the finish line! Flashing ” low battery” from mile 20 on. Had no idea what time I finished!
Do you like to run alone or in groups? Why?
I like both! If not training, I enjoy running with friends. When training on shorter runs, tuning out to my ipod is heaven. I get on pace, and listen to my music. Longer training runs are hard on your own! Last year I trained with a JackRabbit group for the marathon that never happened. This year, a running partner I had met in last years group would join for the long runs, until I was injured and had to slow down. The bulk of the long runs after that were on my own. It was good training for running alone at the [NYC] Marathon, but it is definitely helpful and encouraging to run with a partner on those epic runs! You inspire each other to keep going.
What is your best running moment?
Just being ABLE to run. I started so much later in life, have severe asthma, am about 5 feet tall, (so three steps for most everyones one!) and have never been a runner. I feel SO grateful that my lungs cooperate, and my body is moving in a way that I didn’t think I would ever be able to make it move. I am inspired every time I run. I think it is a privilege, and I will never take it for granted. My best running moment is every time I am able to run. GRATEFUL.
If you could do anything over, what would it be?
Anything?! Or you mean in running? Running: Take it slower in my training schedule this time around so I wouldn’t injure myself. Mixing shoe modeling in VERY high heels for six days in a row, and then running an 8 miler at an 8:20 pace to make up for it? Not so smart! Its a truly unique job hazard, wouldn’t ya say?
What is your favorite mantra? (or what would you put on a t-shirt?)
NEVER GIVE UP. (And my trainer called me Mighty Mouse, so that might be fun on there too!)
Do you have a power song? What is it and why does that motivate you?
Love to listen to top 40 when I run! Anything with a good beat to pace to…
What is your favorite book?
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
What’s for dinner tonight?
Chicken Cutlet Parmesan!
photos courtesy of Lisa Gorlitsky