Saturday Spotlight- Caroline Ward

Hi, I am Caroline Ward…I want to thank Lou for asking me to share in my running/fitness journey. I’ve been a Hillbilly a short time..March 2019 and have met so many of you….its been really wonderful.

Congratulations and much love and happiness to Kristen Martin on your wedding day and Good Luck to all Warriors in the Suffolk Half and Full on Sunday.

Married to Tom – 26 years. Tom is not a runner

Hobbies: Gardening, Cycling, Running, Crossfit

I am a summer person, even though I’m born in February…. I love the beach….I am happiest on my lounge chair in the sun. I am blessed to have 2 sun loving friends who go on a tropical vacation with me every February mostly to celebrate my birthday, and I’ve just returned from the trip of a lifetime to Italy with Tom — It was a dream come true.

Children – 2 fur babies — Sophie (13.5); Jax (3.5) — my angel and biggest fan Hank passed this year suddenly from a tumor on his heart he was only 9 — its hard going day to day without him. He was so much a part of my life it feels wrong to introduce myself without mentioning him. Sophie and Hank are pictured together, because they were inseparable. Jax is fitting in and Sophie is learning to love him. Jax had rough beginnings and we are thankful we can love him and care for him properly.

Occupation – Retired LIRR Budget Admin for 25 years, currently a Dog Groomer — one dog at a time shop, by appointment only, no cages – currently at my customer capacity.

I really am so happy to be a part of this all welcoming team – Ive never experienced that before.

Here goes – – my relationship with running had a bad break up about 35 years ago. I was on the track team in HS and I hated it. My “race” was the 1 mile and 2 mile; I was lapped often and just got slower and slower. Admittedly, I was much lazier back then and gave in to tiredness and was fine coming in last, until I eventually quit the track team. Its very funny to me now that at 54 I am faster than my 16 or 17 year old self.

My fitness regimen thru my 20’s and 30’s was bike riding and some ab stuff. then in my early 40’s, I broke my arm running across 34th street – kind of Jaywalking, but the NYPD officer who picked me up off the street didn’t give me a ticket. After the PT for the arm I realized I had no upper body strength, so I joined a gym offering 99 dollars a month unlimited bootcamp and I was hooked on strength training, but still did not run. Ive since moved on to Crossfit and love the challenge I get from that. I could not do 1 pushup when I started – – seems so funny to me now.

Fast forward to 2013, I signed on to to my first ever Mud Run – – Mudderrella in Englishtown NJ — (I have since gone on to do many other, more challenging mud runs – my favorite is Tough Mudder) I needed to be able to sustain a 3.1 mile run, so I hit the track and barely made it around 2x without needing to walk – got thru the Mud Run and then my amazing friend Anita DiStefano somehow in her sweet way convinced me to do a 5k Diva Run, no obstacles – straight running!!!!!! I was stressing and questioning, but I am not a quitter and when I commit, there is no turning back, so we ran AND I somehow placed in my age group, but I felt great and thought …….maybe I can do this running thing. My time was pretty slow even though I placed but Anita made me feel like I had done really well….shes sneaky like that. My time was very slow in the beginning and as I ran more I really wanted a 9 min mile. As its turned out I’ve been able to sustain 8.30 in a lot of races.

From there, runs trickled in and friends who knew my aversion to running would say, “so you are a runner now”….Id say nooooooo, I just do some small 5k stuff. BUT, since joining the Selden Hills Team in March 2019 and completing my first half marathon and subsequently participating in the summer run series and many LIRS runs, I can proudly say — I am a runner!!!!