Selden Hills Warrior Training

Saturday Spotlight- Robyn Hiller McGee

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Name: Robyn Hiller McGee
Age: 40
Hometown: Shirley
Current Town: Patchogue
Marital Status: Married to Tom McGee
Children: Declan McGee, 4 ❤️
Pets: Molly McGee, our soon-to-be 8 year old black lab mix rescue from Kent Animal Shelter
Occupation: Mother, graduate student (Stony Brook School of Social Welfare), former mental health housing management

I’m not a bragger, so this may be a little tough. I’m more the self-deprecating type, so I’ll just soldier on…..

I was never really athletic at all. I did track and field briefly in junior high, but quit when something popped in my knee. No surgery was required and it was nothing serious, but I’ve always been paranoid about hurting! I regret it horribly now!

I had a perfectly normal and functional childhood with the perfectly normal and funny people in our little nuclear family. We spent our lives trying to make each other laugh. My father was the hardest worker I’ve ever seen and the funniest man I’ve ever known, but he lost a three year battle to cancer when he was 59. It was eye opening for a 28 year old maniac who was a heavy smoker and beer lover, but still didn’t make me change my ways.

Shortly thereafter, mom beat breast cancer, but I still couldn’t beat cigarettes. My job was pretty stressful and beer was still delicious, so I had perfect excuses for remaining unhealthy. Soon my mother battled arthritis, requiring three hip replacements (she’s not a circus freak — the first was recalled) and a new knee, and I finally took notice. I tried patches again, I tried cold turkey again, I hit the gym again, and then I didn’t have too much of a choice about getting healthy AND FAST, in a very good way.

My husband and I got pregnant with my angel on the first try in June of 2012. Cigarettes were over, beer was over, and life truly began. Quitting packed an additional 62 pounds on thanks to the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that replaced my cancer sticks, so something had to be done. As I waddled through Babies r Us registering for my boy, I gravitated toward the running strollers. The car seat clicked right in, and I would be able to take long walks WITH him instead of having to leave him to hit the gym.

When I met him when he arrived in the great blizzard of February 2013, I realized that none of the other trivial things in my life mattered. I have never felt such absolute love in my entire life. I realized that I need to last. My dad missed our weddings and his grandkids, just like his father before him. I downloaded the Couch to 5k app and never looked back. My best friend Christine Mascola Velia started running with me, because here’s a fun fact: being a parent is great, but freaking time consuming! So, now we have a lot of our time together on the roads and at races and at the Village Idiot for brunches afterward (like today)!

Another of my better decisions that i made for my Declan was deciding to finally go to college. I left the job that was thanklessly draining me and enrolled in SUNY Empire State College. Full-time momming, full-time studying, and running were my life. My husband supported every single thing that I decided to do, and I graduated with my BA last Saturday as a SUNY Chancellor Award winner at 40 with a 4 year old, a 4.0, and 4 half marathons — a goal I’d set for myself because I liked the way the numbers aligned (and every runner has a touch of the old OCD — am I right?!).

Marrying my husband, having Declan, adopting Molly at Kent, and going to school were the best decisions that I’d ever made — and then, in October of 2015, after months of trying to decide if I was enough of a runner to join, I walked into the Hoptron Brewtique to run with their club. I found another family. It’s when I discovered what a supportive community there is in running. We help each other improve, we comfort each other when we miss that PR that we thought was finally within reach, and we laugh. God, how we laugh!! Ed Paquette and John Leddy, Matt Sirotkin and Kenny Janosick, these are runners the likes of which I didn’t think I could keep up with for more than a mile, and now we have half hour chats over our three miles and speak almost daily. Ed and John are also two of my greatest friends, and I look forward to seeing them each week so much that there have been times where I tear up when we all finally arrive on Tuesdays. My husband laughs and says that he wants to be jealous and suspicious and hate them, but they are such a loving and lovable crew that they are simply trusted and revered family — and they make me challenge myself.

That’s where we come to these Hills. My grandma lived in Ronkonkoma, and if my sister and I were on our best behavior and asked super politely, my dad would take us over the Seven Sisters on our way home. I saw my first Selden Hills sticker at my first Murphy 4 Miler in 2014 and became obsessed with running my dad’s Hills. I finally did it last July with my bestie Christine and other bestie David Northridge, and spent the whole race with a Hoptron newcomer, Joseph James, who has quickly become one of my dearest friends. The Hills gave me a sense of accomplishment, another adventure in honor of my dad, and a great friend. Now I need a friggin sticker, Lou LaFleur!!!!!

I’ve been back a few times to challenge myself, but my crazy schedule doesn’t permit me to come too early and my Tuesdays at Hoptron are religion and can’t be missed. (Plus, as Dominick LoGiudice can attest, this plantar fasciitis can be agony when I don’t do what Dr. Kormylo says.) Those hills and I have history, and I love creating more. I’m looking forward to making memories with my fellow Hillers, as my maiden name just proves that I’m supposed to be there.

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