Saturday Spotlight- Anita Distefano

Name: Anita Distefano
Hometown: Bayside, Queens
Current Town: Nesconset
Pets : Bean and Max
Occupation: Elementary Teacher
Favorite Song: Ripple/ Grateful Dead

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! I think today everyone is just a little bit Irish. Actually, according to I just found out that I am 9% Irish!

I’ve never considered myself an athlete. I don’t play sports and as a child, I hated gym class…….but here I am, 50 years old and I am a runner!

I’ve lived in my Nesconset home now for nearly 31 years with my husband. We have two children. My daughter just got engaged, so we are in full wedding planning mode! She’s graduating from Fordham University with a MSW in May. I’m incredibly proud of what a strong, intelligent, and compassionate person she is. My sweet Daniel is my angel. He would be turning 28 in April. He was ripped from us in 2007 because of an irresponsible driver.

I am passionate about running because running has saved my life (more than once). I began running about 6 years ago. It became therapeutic and necessary for me to cope with life after my Daniel. Sometimes I come back from a run and I don’t even realize until I stop that there are tears running down my face. Running gives me a release of anguish I need to survive. So I’ve learned that life is cruel, and hard, but also beautiful, depending on who you surround yourself with. Runners innately are the best! I’ve found that runners always have something to talk about even if you have just met. The people who I’ve encountered have been encouraging and sincere. (Even those who are super competitive!).

Last year I had a little set back. So what would you do if your spinal surgeon told you never to run again?? At first, devastation -for months. Then after a couple of injections I said #%^^* this! And now I’m registered for 2 marathons this fall (Wine Glass and NYC)! I might be a little slower (ok a lot slower), but if I keep good form while running, I’m hoping to ward off any injuries!

I’m one of the lucky ones who absolutely loves their job. I have been a teacher in the Kings Park Central School district since 1998! How many people get to go to work and be ten years old again everyday? My coworkers aren’t just colleagues, some of them are my best friends and running buddies!

So there’s no way I could write about myself and not include my fur babies. I have a finicky pug and an overweight-tea cup chihuahua who thinks he’s a German Shepherd. I also feel strongly about using cruelty fee products and I am slowly becoming a vegan too.

I don’t get to the hills as often as I would like to, but I’m going to try to run the Wednesday afternoon group. I’m not a morning person and some of you get running way too early for me! Hope to meet more of you soon!