Lorraine Tobierre’s Tough Love Inspires Others
In 2019, we launched the Spartan Spirit Awards, celebrating the people who truly embody the key Spartan values: grit, determination, and perseverance. As a full-time mom with seven children between the ages of four and 18 (including two sets of twins), Lorraine Tobierre, 40, from Brooklyn, NY, conquers real-life obstacles at home every day.
It wasn’t until 2016, though, that she was able to use that “obstacle training” to tackle a Spartan course, when a friend convinced her to run her first Sprint in Tuxedo, NY. Spartan races became a way for Tobierre to carve some “me time” out in her schedule.
After Tobierre had her second set of twins, she realized how important fitness was as a way for her to stay connected to herself. That’s why her family rearranged their schedules to make sure that Tobierre had time to train and compete.
While they set up their lives to make things easier, it’s still a lot of work for Tobierre to take care of everyone else, and make time to train for her next Spartan race. But you won’t hear any excuses from her. She has completed a Trifecta and participates in a weekly community workout called Spartan Sunday. In fact, her friends say she’s the one who motivates them, calling her a force of nature.
It’s that approachable, unassuming, honest, caring nature that allows Tobierre to connect with everyone she meets. Not only is she raising seven resilient children, but she embodies every Spartan value in the most humble way. And she convinces everyone she meets that they can do more.
Read on for more from Tobierre on how Spartan maximizes her “me time” and why her outspoken approach towards telling it like it is inspires everyone around her.
SPARTAN RACE: What is it about your first Spartan Race in 2016 that got you hooked? LORRAINE TOBIERRE: My every day is filled with running around, rushing, doing things for other people. Everything is about making sure things are taken care of, the children are fed, everything is there that they need. Things that I have to do. But in doing the race, it was all about me. Me realizing how strong I was. Wanting to go the next mile for myself, to prove to myself that I could do it, even when I wanted to stop. Because I wanted to stop a couple of times, especially under the barbed wire crawl. I think there’s a picture of me [under the barbed wire] looking around, waiting for a hole to appear that I could crawl into. But every step of the way, you realize just how strong you are and how you need that time for yourself.
SR: How do you fit training in and why is it important? LT: It takes me two hours a day. With all that I do, I don’t think that’s being selfish. My children are used to it by now; it’s been over a year. I don’t think my children have any negative ideas attached to me not being home because their dad doesn’t present it that way. And they have a very positive idea of working out. I can do as many pushups as my sons and I think they like that. Sometimes I workout with them. I think it’s a good thing for them to see that their mother needs that so that they will recognize it when their wives need it and my daughter will know that she can take time for herself when she gets older.
It’s important to me because it’s time for me. I know how I can get if I don’t have that time—I get really frazzled and I feel as if I just can’t take it anymore. When you take the time to go work out and do something for yourself, you come back with more to give to others. It can feel like everybody’s pulling on you, draining you, but taking the time to go do it for me, it helps my children, it helps my marriage.
SR: What’s your favorite workout? LT: Tabata. Tabata is hard. I’ve been doing it for almost a year and it never gets easier. However, you do get really strong. It’s a very difficult workout. I never come out of the class and think that I killed it. It’s kind of like the Spartan Sprint.
SR: Your friends and family say they’re motivated by you. How does that make you feel? LT: I’m very encouraging. And I don’t believe in seeing something and not saying something. The people around me are very strong women, too, and sometimes they don’t see that. Sometimes all you need is someone to tell you.
It’s very easy to give them praise—it’s not even praise, it’s the truth. It's not that I empower them so much, I think that I just hold up a mirror for them to acknowledge things that they’re not seeing in themselves.
SR: So, you give them permission to see themselves clearly. What gives you that perspective? LT: It’s not how I feel now, but growing up I felt very unloved. I was different from my sister. I remember my mom saying that she wished she had two children like her and stuff like that. And the woman my father had children with was saying that I wasn’t his daughter and I couldn’t go there. So growing up like that, I created a little shell.
I didn’t feel like I was enough for anybody. So I recognize things when I see them in people. Certain ways they behave, I know what that is because I’ve done it. I know the lies we tell ourselves when we don’t want to feel something.
SR: Do you feel a responsibility to share the truth with your friends? LT: Yes, I feel that way. And I don’t think my friends appreciate it all the time. I think, just like me, they have a hard time accepting the truth sometimes, even when it’s said sweetly.
I understand why people sometimes don’t like hearing the truth. It’s hard, especially when people aren’t ready to hear it yet. When you tell yourself a lie over a long period of time, ‘I don’t need anybody, I’m fine all by myself’, and then somebody comes and tells you you’re lying, you’re like ‘what are you telling me that for? That’s not true. You’ve been saying that and you believe it’s true. How dare someone come and tell you it’s not.
SR: The word your friends and family use to describe you is authentic. Do you agree? LT: They know I mean well. I wasted a lot of time in my youth—I shouldn’t say wasted time, because trying to find yourself isn’t wasted time. But I wasn’t really living, just trying to figure it out. I don’t want my friends to waste their time, especially if I can tell them. So, I’m happy that they don’t see it as overstepping.
SR: They don’t see it as negative or judgmental but actually full of love. Does that surprise you? LT: Yeah, kind of, because I don’t necessarily come off as soft. But everything I do comes from a place of wanting for my brother what I want for myself. I want my friends and family to be happy and have the best life they can.
Think you know someone who deserves the Spartan Spirit Award? Any gender, any age, nominate them! And remember, each month, we’ll be spotlighting new honorees across Spartan.com and our social channels.