Saturday Spotlight- Kim Polito

Name: Kim Polito

Age: 44

Marital Status: Previously divorced and now eternally engaged (although you’ll typically here me refer to my fiancé as my “husband” because it just flows easier than “baby daddy” or “forever fiancé”)

Children: Three, Cole – 15, Kara – 9 and Cooper – 6; and two dogs, Roscoe who is a 9-year-old yellow lab, and Kiki who is a 3-year-old black lab/chow mix as well as my typical running partner

Occupation: Lead Paralegal, Litigation and Intellectual Property, at Zebra Technologies

Hobbies: Running and 3 kids (and the non-stop travel that goes on for their sporting events), leaves little time for much else, but I do enjoy reading, doing things around my house, like decorating for the change of seasons and holidays (probably my only Pinterest-y side), binging Netflix and sleeping in late whenever possible

Hometown: Babylon Village

Current: Sayville (which I’ve heard referred to as Babylon Village East)

Thanks to Lou who reached out to me back in August and asked if I’d consider being WOTW. At the time I was injured and on something like my 12th week of zero running, so I asked if I could take a rain check until such date that I might feel like a runner again. He graciously obliged and so here we are!

As he reminded me yesterday, and a few days before that 😉 Seriously, all that Lou does for this group is really quite amazing!
I’d also like to add that it’s going to be difficult to follow that whippersnapper, Jay Kim! But on the upside, you shouldn’t need the Urban Dictionary this week to look up any acronyms and/or definitions.
I always like when people share how they found their way to running in general, so that’s how I’m going to start my week, and I’ll make my way to how I ended up as a part of this great group later in the week.
Growing up in Babylon, I was always active. I had an older brother who I admired immensely and wanted to emulate. So not surprisingly, I was one of the first girls to play Babylon Little League, and I was the very first girl to play West Babylon Street Hockey. These sports followed me up through junior high and high school where I played both softball and field hockey. We had to run A LOT for field hockey. I hated the track, but we also ran around Argyle Lake quite frequently and that I loved. Not surprisingly, my first race ever was Babylon’s Dirty Sock 10k (not around the same lake, but the same general idea). Unfortunately, my high school career was short lived. In 10th grade I took a line drive from a field hockey ball to the nose (think lacrosse ball if you’re not familiar). This was back in the day of cute skirts and zero equipment except for a mouthpiece. Although I didn’t break my nose, I did have a shift of the cartilage and ended up with a deviated septum. I needed surgery to repair it, and it was the worst surgery ever – so painful and it made me so incredibly sick! After that, I was deathly afraid of the ball, and so I turned my sights to just studying all the time. I definitely became the ultimate nerd. I got good grades and off to college I went.
I went to UMass at Amherst for two years, but the 2nd year there, I moved into my sorority house, and that was a big mistake. So I transferred home to Hofstra, where I received my BA in History and Secondary Education, as well as my first (and last) husband. Had I met him in class, it may have been okay, but no, he just frequented the local bars (probably should have been my first clue). But he was fun, and I was happy, and shortly after I graduated in 1997, he proposed and we got married (much to my parents’ dismay). He was in the tile layers union in NYC, I was teaching in Brooklyn at the time, and we lived in a small apartment in Babylon. He was such a loser! Like the kind of guy that would go to work at 6am and then not come home again until 4am the next day without a call home, explanation or apology. I probably should have left him right away, but I wanted to try to make things work, and life was kind of fun because I lived around all of my friends and still didn’t have much in the way of responsibility. But then 9/11 hit, and that made me (and plenty of other people) really take stock in what they were doing and where they were going. My husband decided then and there that it was time for him to be a better man, and so we instantaneously grew up. We bought a house out in Center Moriches, spent a couple of years fixing it up and then turned our attention to having our first child (the only one we would have together). Things were good for a while, until the partying started again, but now it was different because I was home with a baby and trying to maintain a house, while this guy was out living it up and telling me he didn’t have money to give me to help pay the bills. Yeah no, that wasn’t going to work for me. I mean, if I’m going to do it all on my own anyway, then I’m going to do it all on my own!
At this point I had been a paralegal working for a small law firm in East Hampton. But in 2006, I started a job search and found my first position as a corporate paralegal, which included a really nice bump in pay. And with that raise I started a “rainy day” fund and put “Operation Single Kim” in motion. But aside from saving up the money I would need to leave, I had another big issue to resolve. We had two dogs at the time, Sammy, a Boxer, and Lulu, a Border Collie (read super hyperactive dog breed that needs a “job” in order to be happy and not destructive). Just as I was responsible for everything else that the two of us had/owned/created, I knew I’d have to take responsibility for the dogs as well when it finally came time to move out. But clearly I’d be moving into an apartment, and Lulu needed a backyard. So what do you do to make a yard-less border collie happy? Well, you start running with her of course! And so in 2006, in order to prepare her for what would be coming (and also to get the hell out of that miserable house!), Lulu and I started going out running every single night. We continued our nightly runs until March 2008, at which time I told my then husband that I was leaving. And that’s exactly what I did. With the help of my parents and some friends, I packed up my 3-year-old son, my dogs, some clothes and moved to my very own apartment in Bellport. And it was glorious. I was never happier. And from thereon in, Lulu and I just kept running, we never stopped. Eventually Lulu got too old to run, and running changed for me from being about sheer peace of mind and preservation to being about racing and training, but I have no doubt that it gave me the courage I needed to stand up for myself almost 14 years ago, and that it continues to provide me with that same strength and self-confidence today.