Saturday Spotlight- Adriel Torres

Name: Adriel Torres
Age: 32
Marital Status: Single
Hometown: Bay Shore, NY
Current Town: Selden, NY
Hobbies: Running, Martial Arts, Kickboxing, Bowling
Occupation: Parts Counter Sales at Malvese Equipment Co.

First I want to thank Lou Lafleur for considering me for the warrior of the week. I’ve only ran the hills a handful of times so it was an unexpected honor to receive this opportunity.

I was born in the Bronx and I’m an only child. When I wan eight years old my parents and I moved to Bay Shore.
As a little kid I remember my dad would find a nearby high school track to run at. He would bring me along and I’d roller blade off to the side or go off exploring into the bleachers. He would hold a stopwatch in his hand and time each lap. I’d watch him run in a circle for half an hour and wonder how he never got tired or bored.

When I was ten my parents started to enroll me in a lot of different sports, baseball being my favorite. I took it really seriously, and my Dad was always more than happy to help me practice. I remember my coach talking to us about middle school tryouts on our very last day of little league, and pulling me to the side and saying that he had zero worries about me making the team.

The next year I tried out for baseball, and everything in my body felt wrong. I had all my mechanics but just felt sluggish with everything I did. Finally they had us run laps around the field to test our speed & stamina. I made it halfway around the field and quickly became short of breath. I could tell that the kids who knew me were surprised at how hard I was struggling with everything. My Dad pulled up in his car to pick me up from tryouts and I got in quick with an overwhelmed look on my face. I told him I didn’t want to go back and couldn’t keep up with the other kids. He was shocked & I’m sure disappointed that I was giving up. Then I started breathing heavily without control & tears came down my face. I didn’t know what was happening and my dad explained to me that I was hyperventilating. He talked my through each breath until I could relax again.

After that day my parents tried to help me figure out what was going on. In the span of seven months I had become extremely out of shape from nowhere. After many misdiagnosis from specialists, my mother suggested that I may have a thyroid problem. She herself has thyroid disease and recognized the symptoms I had. The doctors were skeptical because they thought thyroid disease was rare in boys. But they ran many tests and found that she was indeed correct. Thyroid disease had given me a lot of joint pains and slowed down my growth. Once I started taking the proper medication I felt better and eventually caught up in height and my pains went away.

When I was 21 I was working full time and decided I wanted to search for a new sport or activity to enroll myself in. I decided that was martial arts & I did a trial class at LI Ninjitsu in East Islip. After several classes I fell in love with the art, but most of all sparring with students of different weights & sizes. My instructor was impressed with my improvement & dedication. He told me I should test my skills in the ring. I was scared but excited to train for my first kickboxing match. One of the most important parts to training for a fight was running or “road work”. It improved my cardio & stamina greatly, but I just enjoyed the peaceful solitude of running the streets to my favorite music while daydreaming. Eventually my favorite part of training were my long runs. My amateur fight career wasn’t long or successful, but I was proud to have competed and even give some seasoned fighters a tough time in the ring.

I continued with my martial arts training but no longer had to prep for fights, yet I still found myself running 3-4 times a week. I started running at the Bay Shore High School track where I had watched my Dad run many times as a kid. It was nostalgic but it also helped me get a better feel for my timing and speed each mile I ran. After about two years of consistently running I decided I wanted to test myself and signed up for the Great South Bay run. It wasn’t wise but I choose the half marathon for my first race. I took it seriously though, and I ended up finishing with a pace of 6:53 per mile. I’ve run the same race twice since then and have not come anywhere close to my first run time.

When I was 31 I moved out of my parents house and found a nice little coop in Selden. My realtor knew I ran and recommended to me that I check out the Selden Hills Warriors. I looked it up and shortly contacted Lou after that. I was nervous going on my first run since I rarely ran on elevated ground, let alone the epic hills that were awaiting me. But I kept up and finished quicker than I expected. I’ve run the hills several times since, but I definitely want to get out there more.

Again I want to thank Lou Lafeur for giving me this opportunity to share some of my experiences with the group. I hope to get to know more of you in the near future and participate in more events representing the Selden Hill Warriors!