Saturday Spotlight- Carolyn Hartmann VanWormer

Name | Carolyn Hartmann VanWormer
Nickname | Carebear
Age | 27
Marriage Status | Married
Occupation | Brand Marketing Campaign Manager
Hobbies | Tennis, Running, Sailing, and Traveling
Pet | Dexter (my handsome bulldog/beagle)
Hometown | Allentown, PA
Current Town | East Setauket, NY

First off – I would like to apologize for my late post. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be in a bridal party, and watch oldest brother Andrew marry his beautiful bride! I’m happy to report back that the wedding was a success. The food was good, the dancing was great, and the awkward family conversation was on point.

Anyhow, we aren’t here to talk about my brother’s wedding. We are here to talk about…well me. Let me make one thing clear – If there’s one thing I really hate talking about, its myself. I’m more of a listener than I am a talker. But let me give you some insight on my life…

Let’s go all the way back. I was born in Allentown, and grew up in Macungie, Pennsylvania. Yes, I know the Billy Joel song “Allentown”, and no, I am not Amish! I loved Pennsylvania. I grew up next to a cornfield and farms all around my neighborhood. There was plenty of room to play and grow. From kindergarten on to my young teenage years I went to a small catholic school, where my graduating class would have been about 25 students. I’m most certainly just a small-town girl!

Before I had the chance to graduate with my childhood friends, my father, who is a Pilot for American Airlines, was transferred to JFK. Which meant that me and my three siblings were now students of Sayville! Walking into my first day of class at Sayville made me feel like I was an alien. I had no friends, no alliances, and I completely missed the memo to wear Sperry topsiders and a North Face jacket. To say I didn’t fit in right away would be an understatement.

I knew pretty early on what I needed to do to make friends…I needed to join the damn tennis team. I kept to myself at school until tennis tryouts began. I’m sure I got a lot of “who the hell is this girl?” type of looks…until they saw me hit. I had played competitive tennis since I was a toddler. My parents put me in lesson after lesson after lesson after lesson. Coach after coach after coach after coach. At this point in time, my swings, strokes, footwork and match mindset were textbook. It only took 15 seconds of watching me play for the team to want me to belong to them. In a nutshell…that is how I made friends! I shared a common interest with these young ladies. They really loved and they needed me…to make it to states lol. Tennis was our happy place. When my friends and I wanted to hang out, we would go to the courts, bring a stereo, sing, dance and play tennis. When we wanted a low-key day to talk, we would play mini tennis for hours just so we could be close and talk the entire time. When we felt like getting a tan in the summer, we would bring towels to the tennis courts to lay out in between playing! I played competitive tennis in college and still play competitively till this day. I guess you could consider me a veteran now since I’ve been playing for close to 25 years.

I was lucky enough to represent the East Coast at the United States Nationals last month in Alabama. Training for Nationals was stressful to say the least. The 6PM – 12AM practices were getting to be a lot on me. Especially given that I work full-time and am currently in school finishing my MBA! At Nationals we were lucky enough to take home 8th in the nation. I feel truly blessed, honored and proud for making it that far doing something I whole-heartedly love.

My love for tennis brought out my love for running. Since tennis is a cardio heavy sport, it’s imperative to ensure that your endurance is topnotch. The most I would ever run up until 4 years ago though was 7 miles. I always had a really good relationship with running throughout my life though. I had always done track and cross country, but sadly never really enjoyed them. This was mostly due to the fact that I was just not good. It was always hard for me coming from tennis where I was a shining star, to running where I was mediocre. Even though I was never one of the best on the running teams, I always loved the feeling running gave me. The memory of this feeling always stuck with me.

So, when did I fall in love with running? It was about 4 years ago. I literally pulled a Forest Gump. I had a bad day…and went for a long ass run, and haven’t stopped since. Since then, I have completed dozens of half marathons, and hope to do my very first full marathon this upcoming year. I have found long distance running to be emotionally healing. People always ask me what I think about when I run. You want to know what I think about? Nothing. I think of absolutely nothing when I run…well sometimes food…but for the most part, nothing. Thinking about nothing has been nothing but healing to my restless mind. Between work, my masters, my anxiety, and tennis – I look forward to my runs. I consider it “me time”. It’s an opportunity for me to just relax, and think about the beautiful nothing. It’s like an athlete’s spa day!

But how did I have the honor of joining this wonderful group?! Funny story actually…

After getting married, my husband and I were ready to purchase our first home. We were hoping to find something in the Three Village district. After seeing home after home, we found a newly renovated house in East Setauket that was in our price range. The selling point for me? The Greenway trail runs through the neighborhood. SOLD!

One day last year, after moving into our home, I was roaming Facebook, and saw someone’s post asking for running group recommendations near Smithtown. I had always wondered about running groups, but just assumed it was a bunch of super competitive track stars. But, I thought to myself “why the hell not?”. I commented on her post saying “I just moved to East Setauket and am looking for a running group too!” Lo and behold…Lou replied to my comment! He messaged me telling me about the Selden Hills Running Group, and asked me to come down one night for a run on the hills. Below is the conversation I had with my husband before meeting Lou LaFleur up for the run:

“Babe, I am meeting someone up to go running with tonight.”
“His name is Lou.”
“What?! Where did you meet him?!”
“WHAT?! Have you ever met him before in person?”
“…well, no.”

We still crack up over that story. It’s funny how normal we find this as runners. It’s like a runners Tinder!

I am so grateful to be in this group though. Like I’ve said before, I’ve never been the fastest or strongest runner. But, the people I have met have pushed me, inspired me, entertained me, and made me form a 10x deeper connection and love for running. And for that I am eternally grateful to be a Warrior <3