Saturday Spotlight- Kristy Longman

Name: Kristy Longman
Age: 27
Marital status: In a relationship and living with my #1 supporter, Alan.
Occupation: Service Coordinator at an IT company (but actively looking elsewhere) and part-time Brand Ambassador at Blue Point Brewery.
At first I was a bit reluctant to agree to be WOTW because I feel like not a ton of warriors know me. I just had my 1-year hillaversary last month and I always tell Lou that I’m not a morning person, so I seldom make it down to early morning runs. Those of you who go to the track will almost always see me there. I love speed – everything I do in my life is fast-paced. I’m high energy, always on the go, doing a bunch of things at once, am a fast talker, and always am pushing the pace on runs. I guess this is why I became a middle-distance runner, but more on that later.

So, where to begin? I grew up in Sayville which most of you know is a small and quiet town – home to Sayville Running Company. My dad owned his own roofing business and my mother was a stay at home mom. I was second oldest of four children, three girls and one boy. My father owning his own business was a blessing because he could create his own hours and was always able to be at any sport or school related function. I honestly don’t think he ever missed a track meet. I know we have inspiration Thursday which I am going to highlight some other important people in my life, but my dad’s work ethic truly is inspiring. He has been through so many hardships and continues to persevere. My sisters and I have adopted his work ethic; we can all be perfectionists and each us are known to have multiple jobs at once. When it came to racing, my dad didn’t care how I performed, as long as I tried my hardest. Even now my dad is still always adding another project for the house and never spends a nice weekend not working on the backyard. He is a visionary and made our woodsy backyard growing up into a place that my friends jokingly called “Longman Land.” Now that I’m older I don’t know how my parents handled all of this and four busy children, not to mention that my brother is special needs and required a lot of hands-on assistance. I am very fortunate for my childhood and had a very close knit and supportive extended family, as well.
Now how I got into running…my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Mac, was the high school track coach. One day during lunch he took out some hurdles and let me and my classmates give them a whirl. I was a natural. He had a summer program for youths which I did over the next two summers. He decided to bring me up to the high school team during my 8th grade year. My older sister, who was a sophomore on the track team, advised me to join cross-country to get into shape in preparation for varsity. After what was an undefeated season (if my memory serves me correct) we found out I was not destined to be a hurdler, but a distance runner. So, I switched to training for distance and got the amazing opportunity to be brought up to the high school team. Honestly, I have to say that running on this team made me the person I am today. It provided me with lifelong friends, taught me about discipline, structure and introduced me to one of the ultimate passions in my life…running! I had a very successful high school career and found my niche to be in middle distances, mainly the 800m and mile. Despite my speed, I never seemed to be able to win a kick if it came down to a foot battle over the last few meters. I found out the only way to win a competitive race was to make it a blistering pace. If someone was going to beat me, I was going to make it super painful to do so. I was New York state champion in both the 800m and cross-country, and All-American indoors in the mile. This gave me the opportunity to accept a full-ride to the University of North Carolina.
I went to UNC with so much determination. I ran on a very low-mileage team in high school, maybe doing 25 miles a week and UNC immediately started me at 50mpw – DOUBLE! I developed very severe anemia and got a stress fracture in less than 2 months. It was a struggle and I continued to get injured over the next 2 years, accumulating another 5 or 6 stress fractures in that short time period. During High School I solely identified myself as a “runner.” Without running being my identity, I was confused and discouraged. It just always seemed like an uphill battle with injuries and never able to get proper base training and preparation. I would always enter races unconfident in my fitness and wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure and give up; it was demoralizing.
During my freshman year, my parents announced that they were getting a divorce. Between losing my family structure and running, I didn’t know up from down. I had trouble sleeping, struggled to do class work, and was very depressed. My parents had a very tumultuous divorce and my mother did not try to leave the children out of the fighting. I somehow made it through UNC with a degree, but not without parting ways from the track and cross-country teams my junior year…after one last injury. Despite my struggles at UNC, I am a die-hard fan and passionate alumni. I am a fanatic during basketball season. UNC honestly was honestly the best and worst 4 years of my life at the same time. From the point of my last injury/leaving the team on 6 years would pass before I could run again. I became a gym rat, but it would never provide the same fulfilment as running. I would attempt to run every now and again, but my calves would be incredibly tight and sore for days; therefore I would lose motivation to keep trying. A fellow warrior, one of my best friends/high school teammate, Jacqueline Kaste, noticed that my symptoms sounded like one of her college teammate’s, who had something called Compartment Syndrome. What did I have to lose by getting tested?….besides being prodded with 8 inch needles to measure the pressure in each of the compartments of my calf muscles, haha. Well, all thanks to Jackie’s insight I found out what had been wrong with my legs since I had been 18. I ended up getting a compartmental release in my calves at Stonybrook Hospital. Compartment syndrome isn’t the type of thing that ever 100% goes away. I still have a lot of calf issues and extreme tightness. If you’ve run with me before I have to stop at least one point during my run to stretch my calves (and usually for a bathroom break, lol). Well, it wasn’t a steady transition back into running for a while, but I will touch on that later this week. It took me a year before I was able to really give it a shot again. I am just so thankful that I now have the ability to run. I have my ups and downs, some days are painful and some days feel effortless. But, I am so relieved to be able to do what I am passionate about and share it with such an encouraging bunch! Thank you to all of your for sharing your enthusiasm, your time and your stories. As always, a special shout-out to Lou for all that you do and the constant reinforcement. Hope everyone has a GREAT week and looking forward to sharing more with you all! See everyone at the Selden Hills party tonight!! 🙂

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