Warrior of the Week:
Name: Chris Sacco
Hometown: Stony Brook, NY
Current Town: Holtsville, NY
Marital Status: Happily married for 21 years-Joanne
Children: Gina – 14 years old and Anthony – 9 years old
Occupation: Controller for TYR Sport, Inc. / Swimwear Anywhere
Favorite Kicks: Saucony
I will start with a thank you to Lou LaFleur for all that he does for the Selden Hills Warriors. I’m honored to be named the Warrior of the Week. I have been a Warrior since October 2017. Coincidentally, my first Selden Hills run took place on my 47th birthday.
I grew up in Stony Brook, NY. My dad was an elementary school teacher and my mom was a homemaker. I have a brother who is 4 years older than me. I was lucky enough to grow up in a loving, stable, nurturing family. Growing up I did well in school and was pretty involved with other extracurricular school activities, including playing the saxophone. Organized sports was predominately baseball, which I played in junior high and high school and local little league, travel ball, etc. through high school.
Other than baseball, my favorite thing to do as a kid was play sports with my friends. My mom still jokes about the fact that as soon as I learned how to ride a bike I was off playing with my friends on a daily basis. The only rule I had was to be home at 5:00 for dinner. As was typical for when I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, we had lots of freedom to do our own thing, which unfortunately has been lost in the current generation. As a youngster, playing sports year-round with my friends was my favorite thing to do as we played everything from baseball, football, hockey, and basketball.
Fast forward a few years as I went to college at Binghamton University and majored in accounting. I always liked math and numbers, starting at a very young age, so it seemed a logical choice for a career, which it turned out to be. After graduating I started working in NYC and within a couple of years earned my C.P.A. license. Several years later I went back to school part-time at nights to Baruch College to earn an M.B.A. in Finance. The 4 years of working full-time and going to school at nights in NYC were extremely tough, but ultimately rewarding once completed.
As I got older, I became less active as life and all of its responsibilities seemed to get in the way of much consistent physical activity. Most of my physical activity was relegated to yard work on the weekends, which I still enjoy doing.
Running came into my life in 2015. I was never really overweight, but as I got into my 30’s and 40’s, I was slowly gaining a few pounds. My doctor was concerned with this weight gain and my blood pressure had climbed to the point that he was about to give me medicine to lower it unless I made some life style changes. At 44 years old, I wasn’t ready to start taking prescription medication so I needed to do something. Also, in 2015, I changed jobs to the one I currently have. With my new job, I was able to cut my commuting time in half as I was previously commuting to Queens every day. With this extra time, I knew I needed to start doing something productive for my health.
In my new position, I have the opportunity to travel to California a few times a year. During these trips, I would get up early in the morning to enjoy the weather and walk along the Pacific Ocean where I would see lots of people walking, running, bike riding, surfing, and exercising on the beach. This is around the time that I thought, it’s time to get moving. Therefore, in August 2015, I started running. At 1st it was extremely hard. One mile then feels like 10 miles now, but little by little it got easier and I was able to run a little longer and walk for shorter periods. After a couple of months, I was just about able to run 3 miles without walking so in October 2015, I entered my 1st 5K race at Tanger Outlets in Deer Park. It was a fun and exhilarating experience. My family came out to support me and from that point I was hooked on this whole running thing.
After about a year or so, I lost the extra weight (15-20 pounds) and my blood pressure decreased so that medicine was not an issue any longer. These were my main goals that I was able to achieve from running.
Little by little my running times improved and I was able to increase distance. I was usually pretty content with running alone with some good rock music keeping me company. For fun and motivation, I would sign up for an organized race every month or so to measure my progress. For the most part, I didn’t know anyone at these races, so I ran the race, had some breakfast and off I went with a measure of satisfaction of just being able to compete with others. In May 2017, I ran my longest race up to that point, the Port Jeff Brewery 15K. At that point I was not familiar with running hills. I will talk about that race experience later in the week.
A special thank you goes out to the person that introduced me to Selden Hills, Dara Mayola. She was my son’s 2nd grade teacher in the 2016/2017 school year, as well as my daughter’s 2nd grade teacher, 6 years ago. Dara and I would chat about running when we would meet at school. Dara encouraged me to come on out and run the hills with her, which I finally agreed to do in October 2017. At the time I was already in training for my 1st Half Marathon, the Suffolk Half Marathon, which was a couple of weeks later. I survived my 1st Hills run and my 1st Half Marathon. I have since run a 2nd Half Marathon, the Long Island Half Marathon, and a 2nd PJ Brewery run, both in May 2018 with steady progress each time. I enjoy getting my Selden Hills mileage in on most Sunday mornings. I have enjoyed meeting my fellow Warriors and look forward to meeting more of you in the coming months.