By Carrie Vittitoe

Laarni Russell is an informatics nurse for a local medical center. When she isn’t working, she tries to ensure she stays fit while raising two young daughters, Leila (8) and Lexie (3), with her husband, Doug. She says she lost about two pounds a month for nine months. Photos by Melissa Donald 

Winning in the Olympics of Life may be tough, but it can be done. These women share their tips for jumping over life’s hurdles — whether big or small.

Event: Fitness Fencing
Athlete: Laarni Russell

Best Tip: Laarni says consistency is incredibly important. “Just do it (exercise) every day and do it purposefully.” While exercising has been important, identifying portion sizes was also eye-opening. “What I thought were single portions were double or triple portions,” she says.

In 1987, Kelli Milligan opened Renaissance by Design which, offers interior design services. 
Renaissance also has a showroom of consigned, new and handmade furniture and accessories and a space where Kelli teaches classes.

Event: Synchronized Shopping
Athlete: Kelli Milligan

Best Tip: Kelli discourages her clients from buying furniture that matches or is a suite. She says, “If everything is matchy-matchy, you don’t want to split things up throughout a house,” which is a problem when clients are downsizing. Having a variety of styles, colors and textures allows clients to move furnishings around to meet their needs throughout the seasons of their lives.

Lacy Crosier is the CEO of C&R Construction, a company she founded with her father-in-law, Marvin Crosier in 2013. She and her husband Rusty have three children, Austin (11), Hadley (9) and Brayden (5).

Event: Parent-Work Parallel Bars
Athlete: Lacy Crosier

Best Tip: In order to keep her family life on track, she keeps a lot of lists which she revises as needed and packs everything up the night before so mornings run smoothly.

Coleen Muegge, a program manager of Consumer Analytics at GE, examines whether marketing campaigns are working by analyzing a variety of digital data. Keeping her household managed and chores in hand is sometimes the most challenging part of her week.

Event: Laundry Lacrosse
Athlete: Coleen Muegge

Best Tip: On her Fridays when she is off work, Coleen finds herself doing really big loads of laundry in her GE front load washer and dryer with steam assist. She really doesn’t like to iron, so the Steam De-wrinkle and Steam Refresh features on her dryer comes in handy.

Lisa Whyte patented a unique magnetic system that is now a highly successful business, Posh Ponytails and Poshibles, her line of magnetic ponytail wraps and jewelry.

Event: Personal Style Sailing
Athlete: Lisa Whyte

Best Tip: Lisa’s philosophy in terms of running her business is a great style philosophy, too: “Don’t be intimidated; you can’t be afraid.”

Kara Hand is a Senior Account Manager at BB&T Insurance. As a single mom to Alexa (14), Kara tries to ensure they eat healthy meals in the midst of busy work and school days and activity-packed evenings.

Event: Healthy Handball
Athlete: Kara Hand

Best Tip: She always keeps frozen broccoli and chicken breasts on hand and says, “I feel like there’s a lot you can do with these ingredients.” If there are occasions when she doesn’t end up using a vegetable or fruit, she cuts them up and puts them in a freezer bag so that she can use them in a recipe at another time.

Molley Ricketts launched her company, Incipio Workforce Solutions, in August 2015 after many years of recruiting experience. Molley handles multiple responsibilities for companies which include writing job descriptions, designing and monitoring the application process, and screening potential employees.

Event: Professional (Ladder) Lifting
Athlete: Molley Ricketts

Best Tip: Molley encourages women to “own what they are good at and be honest about what they’re not good at.”

Elizabeth Lewis, who is a life and dating coach, founded Singles Meet Singles, LLC.

Event: Amorous Archery
Athlete: Elizabeth Lewis

Best Tip: Elizabeth says it is important for anger or sadness related to past relationships to be gone, as well as any guilty feelings. It is also important that women have taken the time to rediscover who they are apart from a relationship.

Do you consider yourself a winner in life? What challenges have you tackled and how did you do it?