Saturday Spotlight- Debra Franchi

Name: Debra Lee Miccio-Franchi
Age: 49 (January I will enter a new age bracket!)
Occupation: Dental Assistant for over 20 years.
Husband: Matt
Children: Matthew-14

I have to say that when Lou asked me to be Warrior of the week I said “Oh my God!”
But I was warned a few months back by Michael DiBartolo to at least have something put together because he said “eventually he will ask you, you might as well be prepared.” Well, I didn’t take his advice. First I went into a panic. What do I write? My life isn’t that interesting. I can’t write. I had to take a few deep breaths. Then told myself that I CAN and WILL do this. Just another hill to get over. lol.
No I haven’t always run, loved exercise but not running. I loved step classes, aerobics and the last few years hot yoga.

I grew up in Center Moriches and am the eldest of three siblings(2 sisters and 1 brother). I was raised by a single mother who was not into sports, and didn’t push me to try out for any either. I was on my own with that. I did play volleyball and was a cheerleader all through High School. Oh did I mention I started smoking at 16!(not on a regular basis until I was in my 20’s) I know gross, disgusting, smelly, NOT cool (although I thought it was)clothes smell, etc….I could list 100 more adjectives to describe smoking. My husband says I am the worst hypocrite now. I suppose I am.

My Dad who lives in California is a runner. I remember being there one summer I was about twenty something and went to one of his races, all I kept thinking was why do these people want to run? They don’t look happy and they’re exhausted when they come over the finish line. It just didn’t look like anyone was having fun. He then showed me all his t-shirts that he had gotten from previous races and I said “that’s nice Dad” in my head I was like that’s nuts running for a stupid t-shirt. lol. (If I don’t get a shirt now I get mad!)

So fast forward a little bit. I meet my boyfriend (husband)he was very athletic. He played soccer on a men’s league and ran a little to stay in shape. So he had asked me a few times to run with him and I always said no. I reluctantly went one day and go out way too fast, stop immediately because I couldn’t breathe (from those darn cigarettes) and I almost threw up. I went right home and told him I will never run again! (Ha! Never say Never!!)

1998: Get married

March 1999: quit smoking the minute I find out I am pregnant with my first child. My son is born in November, I go back to smoking 6 months later. Now you would think that smoking 5-6 cigarettes a day would be an easy quit. I did want to quit. I think for me it was the daily routine and that had to be changed. I was embarrassed, most people didn’t know I smoked. Every day I smoked I said to myself I will quit these dam things one day. 2002 I quit again when I became pregnant with my daughter only to go back days after she was born. I became very disappointed with myself over and over for not quitting. I was constantly thinking about it but not doing anything about it.

My goal was to get healthy for my 40th birthday. That never happened. While at a wake of a very close friend of mine, in walks her Aunt pulling an oxygen tank. That freaked me out. I couldn’t stop looking at her. I thought to myself, that will NOT be me.

2009: Go to Disneyworld with my sons soccer team for a tournament. I come home with what I thought was a cold, turns out to be bronchitis. Because I wasn’t feeling good and was on antibiotics for the bronchitis I had not smoked in 2 weeks. I finally finish a second round of antibiotics and am feeling a lot better and still not smoking. Ok, I said the worst part is probably over. Let me take this day by day to see if I can finally quit these stupid things. (I really didn’t want to be unhealthy anymore) I was constantly researching the benefits of quitting from 2 wks to 5 years and so on. I was determined to not only be healthy for my family but for myself. In the mean time a friend asked me to join a local women’s soccer team called the Margaritas. I had never played before but decided to give it a try. It was going to be fun and get exercise at the same time. Everyone thought I was crazy to start playing soccer at 44. Me included. Well, to play soccer you must run. I hated running remember. Ha, Ha, well 10 minutes into my 1st game I couldn’t breathe. My husband who was on the sidelines, said if you need a sub put up your hand. OMG I couldn’t even speak let alone raise my hand! I knew at that moment that I had to run during the week to get in shape for soccer. So I started running a little on the treadmill. It helped a lot with soccer. I began to like the running thing a little more. Then I signed up for my first 5k. I ran and walked it. Didn’t care much about the time. I just wanted to finish and I did, which lead me to join another soccer team. I started do more races too.

2012: Trained for my first 1/2 (The Diva) mostly on the treadmill. I know boring but I don’t like running alone. I ran the whole 13.1 miles!! I ran the whole 13.1 miles! I did it!! I couldn’t believe it. I remember crossing the finish line and crying because I never thought in a million years I could or would ever want to run that far.

2013: Diva 1/2 expo: I meet Lea Gjodesen through a mutual friend. I see her again (she was wearing her SHW sweatshirt) at the Santa Toy Run in Patchogue. I ask her what the Selden Hills Warriors were, and she said they were a group of people that ran these hills in Selden, and that I should come down to run with her. We exchange numbers, I told her I would call her the next weekend. I never called her. The holidays came and went and I remembered I told Lea I would call her. I finally call her and we agree to meet up at the thrift shop parking lot in Selden early Sunday morning. That morning it was freezing and I was nervous because I had never run any kind of hills ever. What if I can’t keep up, what if I get lost?? All these things are going through my head. Well everyone was so nice and reassured me that I wouldn’t get lost. I completed my first Selden Hill run on January 19, 2014. I was so proud of myself for finishing and I didn’t get lost! And I went back the very next day to do it again! I have made these hills a part of my life now (more like an addiction) and get real cranky if I am away too long.

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