Saturday Spotlight- Debbie Woloschin

Name: Debbie Woloschin
Age: 57
Hometown: Bellmore
Current Town: Remsenburg
Married: 33 years to Steve
Children: Corey – 26, Jake – 29, Ian – 31
Dog: Sadie – 3
Occupation: Kindergarten teacher
Lou, thanks for asking me to share this week. Whereas most warriors start out by saying they were always active as a child that is not my story. My family – mom, dad, & 2 younger sisters would occasionally bike the path to Jones Beach but that is the sum total of my childhood athletic abilities. I was a shy, tiny, scrawny, uncoordinated kid who was picked last for everything.

So, you’re probably wondering what turned this girl into a warrior. Well….. Backtrack many years ago and I was happily married to my husband Steve with 3 beautiful little boys and we had just moved from Woodstock to Smithtown. From the day my children were born, part of me worried that I didn’t want them to be un-athletic like me. So I made sure the boys had swimming lessons and we always hiked and biked as a family.

I decided I needed to exercise too so I made a New Year’s resolution to run. I have never ever kept a resolution but I figure there’s always a first time. I start out from zero and move up to 3 miles and feel like a rock star! I tell my coworker at Wild by Nature, (I was a pastry chef at the time) and he says let’s apply for the New York City marathon. I think, (having no clue whatsoever) that this sounds like a fantastic idea. What do I know?

Amazingly we both get into the 1998 NYC marathon and the training starts. I know I need to participate in races so I sign up for my first race near my house. Please don’t fall out of your chair laughing, but it was the Kings Park 15K, probably the hilliest race on all of Long Island. Like I told you I did not have a clue! As you can tell from my 1998 marathon picture, you can see I didn’t know anything about running clothes either as I ran NYC in a big oversized cotton tee shirt with a picture of my three sons on it. Yes, I was wearing shorts underneath!

But seriously, that marathon in 1998 on my birthday changed my life. I finished and for someone who grew up athletically challenged, this was a turning point for me. I was now a real runner and I could run 26.2 miles! I felt like I was on top of the world and could accomplish anything I set my mind to. It made me think, “What else did I want to accomplish?” I had always wanted to be a teacher so I figured if I can run a marathon at 38, why not go back to school and become a teacher? Along with becoming a teacher, I ran two more marathons and hundreds of other races. I will be running my 50th half marathon in a few weeks on the trails in Florida! I wound up meeting the most wonderful running partners and friends I could ever ask for and each one of them has enriched my life in so many ways.

But, getting back to the three boys I so worried about. Well, what happened was that they grew up thinking all moms have their friends over at 5:00 AM, yes Tracey Epstein, to have coffee before they run in the dark before work, and all moms go to bed early on weekends because they get up early for their long runs!

So the boys today: our eldest commutes by bike with his baby to drop her off at daycare on his way to work in Cambridge. He is also a part- time CrossFit trainer. Our middle son has left his job to bike around the world for a year. He’s currently in New Zealand and recently came home to accompany me and Steve on a century ride. Our youngest called me a few months ago and said, “Mom, remember when you said you would come out of marathon retirement if any one of us wanted to run a marathon? Well I’m 26 and I want to run 26 miles”. So yes, I trained and this grandma just ran her 4th marathon – Philly, and beat her previous marathon time from 18 years ago!
And guess what, my boys turned out just like me …..….athletic!

P.S. Just got a text from my son “Look at Strava.” I know, my family’s not normal, we even communicate on Strava! I look and he just ran the Rocky 50K Fat Ass with his Philly running group friends!

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