The D10's Women Who Win series, brought you in collaboration with ADAY, spotlights some of the incredible female athletes who take to The D10's playing field each year.
Meet Jenny Cheung, vice president at CIBC.
How would you characterize your athletic background?
I grew up being more of a bookworm. I never did any sports and it wasn’t until college that I was introduced to the gym thanks to my roommate. At first I hated the treadmill, I hated running, but over time I got into it. Running eventually became a very therapeutic thing for me, where I could escape from the world. The training was for me; it was my time. From there, I got into endurance running and obstacle course racing, which allows me to be more goal-oriented. It proved to myself that with my inner strength and willingness, I could be much stronger, much more willing to go above and beyond and exceed expectations.
With The D10, I was a little bit insecure about going up against all these young competitors, who could be stronger, who could be more energetic...but, surprisingly, I could measure up. In September, for 9/11, I and many of members of The Training Lab are doing the “GoRuck” Challenge. It’s basically a military march with weighted rucksacks (aka backpack) where you perform tasks as one unit for a period of 6-42+ hours. The event is designed to challenge you more mentally than physically. Then in November, I will be running my very first New York City Marathon.
I try to set goals that I want to achieve each year, even if they seem almost impossible at the beginning.
Your D10 team - The Training Lab - finished a very strong second overall while raising $34,000 for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Your teammate Shelly described Training Lab owner Ruben Belliard as "the backbone" of the team. How do you see it?
Yes, I agree with Shelly. In the fitness industry, everyone's so competitive, and sometimes it can get ugly. At The Training Lab, you never see that. Ruben may yell, but it comes from a good place and he knows how to push and motivate you based on who you are. I have been living with a right shoulder injury since 2015. Training for The D10, I had to be very careful about my form and repetitions while doing Pull-Ups and Bench Press. Ruben was always very aware of that, and he would change things up for me, challenging my muscles and confusing them, so I was never in a complacent place. His guidance and expertise helped me perform on Game Day. He’s a big supporter and truly invested in making us into better versions of ourselves, mentally as well as athletically.
The Training Lab is a special place for me because they have a tough love approach. It's not for everybody. It's not a place where you go to hang out and wear nice workout clothes, and have nothing to show for it. This community is like no other.
They make you work, they make you sweat, and you do achieve results. Every time I go, I improve, and I discover how many others are inspired and motivated by my efforts and commitment.
Could you describe the bond you formed with your teammates?
My teammates and I were close before The D10, but we became closer after. We don't just train and leave the Lab to go on with our daily lives. We like to have dinner together, we planned sleepovers before training sessions, we coordinated so that we could commute together at times. Throughout the training and time spent together, we have become so symbiotic. In fact, you can see that connection demonstrated on Game Day.
We all know where our strengths lie, and we're always trying to make sure that we're there for each other. We know, as teammates, that we all need to perform together. We've all had our moments when we have a lot of self doubt, when we're at our darkest moments, but we have each other to bring light and always be uplifting.
I'm a firm believer that we're born into a family, but we get to choose our family, too. These girls are my family.
How would you assess your first experience competing in The D10?
I didn't know much about The D10 going in, but it really is an amazing event to participate in, because of the philanthropic side of it. I thought it was interesting that not a lot of fundraising goes to pediatric care, compared to other forms of cancer. During the event, you get paired with several teams who are all really cool and encouraging, even though we're competing against each other.
It was a great experience, and I would encourage any woman to pursue these kinds of athletic events, because it does change your life not only from preparing for the event but also from the satisfaction in completing it. I have female friends who aren’t very confident about their strengths, their ability to self-control. I think it just takes a little bit of encouragement and a reminder to say, Hey, you can do it. It doesn’t happen overnight. It happens over time.
And when that moment happens, you’re pleasantly surprised. You can say, I did more than I could two days ago. I did more than I could a year ago. With discipline and commitment, you realize that you are inspiring other people.