Saturday Spotlight- Danielle Calcara

Name: Danielle
Current Town: Farmingville (So close to our beloved hills ♥️)
Age: 31
Occupation: HR Specialist
Family: Boyfriend of almost 5 years
Pets: Chleo & Chloe. 2 sister cats we adopted from Kent 🐈🐈
Hobbies: Triathlon stuff, hiking around Long Island and Upstate with Jess Ica ,cooking, reading, finding good coffee shops ☕.

Yikes where do I start? Thank you Lou LaFleur for inviting me to talk about myself for a whole week! This is nerve wracking for someone who doesn’t like being the center of attention but I’ll try my best, and I’m happy to share a bit of myself with you all!

I grew up with my mom, dad and brother in Mastic Beach, and moved to Manorville when I was 13. My mom was a teacher and my father worked as a lineman for Keyspan (Now PSEG). The Mastic Beach house was very special to my father as it was in the family for years and he had spent lots of time with his father and brothers renovating it from a beach bungalow to a family ready house. It was hard for him to let go of it, but we found a great a deal on a new development going up in Manorville so we took it. The new house took months to build, and the day we moved in we lost my father to a massive heart attack 💔. It was incredibly tough for the 3 of us to adjust to this new life without our rock, but he’s always in our hearts!

I was always an active kid growing up. I had swimming and dance lessons when I was a child, played soccer in elementary school, and eventually joined a newly formed tennis team in highschool. I played first singles from 9th-12th grade. I was good for a kid who had never played tennis before, but let me tell you I should NOT have been first singles 😂 😂. I didn’t win many games, but it was fun and really got me out of my shell.

Went to Suffolk Community college for my Associates, and finished my Bachelor’s in Business Administration at SUNY Polytechnic in Utica in 2009. Graduated just in time for the stock market to crash and look for a job in a recession. Yippee!

I worked in Finance for about 7 years (Dean Bruno was the best boss!) eventually settling on a career path in Human Resources at my current company. Spring forward to today, and I have finished my Master’s in HR Management from Stony Brook, and am studying for my SHRM-SCP because I’m a masochist.

While I have always been active, it wasn’t until 2014 that I decided to try running a bit more seriously. I’ve always hated running. I could never run the mile in school growing up, as hard as I’d try. It’s funny, I could sprint back and forth on a tennis course for hours, but get me to run a straight mile and my chest would nearly explode.

However, with the encouragement of a friend I did my first 5k, a color run! I remember so clearly how I felt and how tough it was for me, but it was also exciting to be trying something new. My second race was the 4 mile Jigsaw run with my cousin Mike Calcara. I still remember those breakfast burritos we got at the end and deciding at the time that THIS must be the reason people race. Because other than that, running just hurts and I feel like I’m dying.

Of course the next logical step was to pick a half marathon to train for and follow a training plan. It was on this newly found running journey that I signed up for a Zombie Run out in Calverton. You know, the kind where you pretend you’re in an apocalypse and do a bunch of unrealistic obstacles while people dressed as zombies lunge at you trying to take a flag off your belt. Well as fate would have it, I met my boyfriend here. He was a fellow runner, not a zombie, although that would have been a cooler story I suppose. We met on May 3rd, 2014 and have been inseparable since. By the way, I made it to the end of the race with a flag, but a little girl zombie cheated and took it! #stillsaltyaboutit

Boyfriend had also recently got into triathlons, and I went to cheer him on at the Deep Pond Sprint Tri in September, 2014. Triathlons are SO COOL. It’s such a rush. I’ve been participating in tris myself since 2015, and have completed my first 70.3 in Atlantic City in 2018. Going for my second in Maine this year.

I think Lou had contacted me in 2017 to see if I wanted to join the Selden Hills. I had been aware of the group for years but always thought it would be too challenging for me as running is my weakness. In 2017 I was dealing with a bunch of health issues due to gastritis and couldn’t run, or exercise much at all. I did eventually get to the hills in June of 2018, where I officially became a hillbilly. Here’s a fun fact. I ran the hills in 1:15 in 2018 and have barely improved my time since then, lol! 🤷‍♀️

Even though I’m not a fast runner, it’s something I can now say I truly enjoy doing. It’s helped that I’ve met so so many wonderful people at the hills. I really cherish the friendships I’ve made and hope to meet many more of you! Thanks again to Lou for fostering such an awesome, friendly and inclusive running group!