In 1972 I was at Driftwood Day Camp and they had a race for the 100 or so kids in the camp. I came in second and got a trophy. I didn’t run again for 38 years. Over time I graduated Stony Brook, got married and had two great kids. I also put on a lot of weight and didn’t exercise at all unless you count pointing the remote at the TV as exercise. I put on 30 pounds and my waist size was 36 relaxed fit which as my one of my friends pointed out is 37 denial. I then started running about 4 years ago.
My older son Justin who is in the boy scouts asked me to run a half a mile as a fitness requirement. I said no problem and we ran the half mile. I was hunched over and out of breath when we finished. I remember thinking this is really pathetic. I have to get my act together. At that time my goal was to run a mile without feeling like I needed a visit to the ER. We then started running on a regular basis and I was hooked and after about 4 months we did our first 5K the Hot Choc run. We then moved on to a 4 mile race, having no clue on how to dress I wore cotton sweat pants and went to do the spring fun run in Long Beach. It was raining lightly when we left the house but by the time we got to Long Beach it was pouring. I suggested to Justin we blow it off but he said let’s do it. Within the first mile my legs felt like concrete since the sweats were soaked. I also did not know about the whole nipple friction deal. I remember seeing Rick for the first time running through the cold pouring rain and having a great time. I said to myself this guy is crazy. Now that he is a good friend I can say my initial impression was correct. After the race I ran into an old friend of mine Dan Girardi who I had worked with me way back when at Potters Pub in East Meadow. He suggested I join GLIRC which I did and was great advice since the club and its members have been so supportive to me from the start. After the race I took the most painful shower of my life. We kept running and in 2011 we did our first half marathon together in Philadelphia, nothing better than running a race with one of your kids.
I had lost my mom 4 years earlier from pancreatic cancer. My parents had divorced when I was 9 and my mom had put my brother, my two sisters and I through College working 14 days straight with two days off. We were really close. She had always said to me you run well and should run but I never did. I was a coach potato. During the race at the minute or so I was thinking of her and thinking I wish she had lived to see this I looked to my left and there was a woman holding a sign that said your mom is proud of you. It was a very powerful and emotional moment for me. In all the races I have done I have never seen that sign before or after that race.
I then had the good luck to meet Lou and Coach Ed who have since become good friends of mine They have both helped me a great deal. Between the hills and the speed work I became a better runner and more importantly become friends with runners from both groups the hills and the track workouts which was really nice since in my job as an adjuster I always work alone. I was also asked to join the GLIRC racing team which I consider an honor. I remember when I first started running the Hills the people there at the time Lou, Maryann, KC, Rick, Joe D, Sue. Joanne Jean and Lance and Michelle made Justin and I feel so welcome. This has not changed at all as the newer members have the same mindset where we all support and inspire each other and are all crazy. When I met my fellow runners I felt this group of people is more like me than any other group I have ever met. I felt like I was home. It’s also been nice that my son Ethan has run races even though he is primarily a baseball player. My wife Ivy while not a runner has always supported me in my journey. When I started I was 218 pounds and am now 188. I was on my way to a heart attack and now my blood work is excellent. My waist now is 33. I was also able to do my first marathon running it with my good friend and fellow hillbilly Maryann. Running has been such a positive force in my life and I look forward to my future runs with my running buds.
2 thoughts on “Saturday Spotlight- Dave Rockitter”
You are Awesome! What a inspiring & motivating person you are. Your greatness draws the great people in your life. Keep embracing life & family on you incredible journey. You are one of the kindest and most welcoming people I know . Very blessed to know you .
Kevin, thank you so much for your kind words, it is an honor to call you my friend and you always are so supportive of all of us. You really inspire me as a runner and as a person as well. you should you be very proud of what you have accomplished.