Saturday Spotlight- Larissa Zuclich

Name: Larissa Zuclich
Nickname: Lala
Age: 32
From: Goiania, Brazil
Live currently: Saint James
Occupation: Housewife
School: Stony Brook University
Married: Robert Zuclich
Children: Summer (3)
Stepchildren: Taylor (14)
Dog: mini golden doodle named (buddy)

I didn’t know I was going to be here on the spot lol.. I didn’t know I was going to be asked for my biography but here I am. Let’s starts, I grew up in a small town in Brazil and spent most of my childhood years moving around. I probably moved around about 7 times in 12 years. My parents worked in the bank and every year or two they took a commission or a applied for a new position, so we had to move to a new city every couple of years. As for me, I didn’t know any better because all I remember was moving to a new house or a bigger city . I got used to it. When I was 12 the bank my parents work went from public to private. It laid off all the workers. My parents with 20+ years of being bakers didn’t know what to do and decided to risk a life in USA to provide a better education for us. When we first got here it was the year of 2000. I was 12, my younger brother 11 and my older brother 20. We arrived in Austin, Texas where a friend of my mom received us. It was definitely a big change, the biggest I ever experienced but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Let’s start back to where running was introduced in my life. The earlier I can remember, it was when my other brother who was 20 asked me to run with him so I just went. I remember thinking “Wow this is challenging! “ but he kept pushing me, telling me to keep going and to NOT stop. I love the feeling it made me feel alive. I didn’t stop until we completed our run. I was so proud of myself I kept up with the pace of my 20 year old brother and I was only 12.. After that, I was hooked into the world of running. Then realizing that I could run, I signed up for cross country in high school in my freshmen year and ran all the way until my senior year. Then running became a part of my life that I couldn’t live without. As a became an adult I kept showing up to events that evolved running and always participated. No matter what I was going through in my life I never missed my runs.

A few years after I had divorced at 24 my first marriage, my best friend at the time introduce me to her brother in law and told me he was interested in me, as for him he was also divorced and single. I thought it was never going to work out because he was all the way in NY and I was all the way in TX, but I thought why not give it a chance. We then started the long distance relationship then I transferred my schooling to NY where I graduated from Stony Brook with a Bachelors in Health Science and with a major in Administration & Management. My husband and I lived together for 3 years and we are married for 4 so we been together really for 7. In the beginning when we were living together we ran together but when I was home I didn’t even know of any running groups in Long Island that I could participate for my extra runs. In college I ran with a school running group but after that everyone graduated and worked it dissolved. Looking back now it’s funny that in the beginning I thought it would be almost impossible and laughed and thought what are the odds … but now I am happily ever married and have beautiful daughter. Funny how life works!

Prior to becoming pregnant, I worked at a non-profit Healthcare facility in Old Bethpage called Family Residence and Essential Enterprises Inc,. I decided to work for them because this non-profit organization helped individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, mental illness and traumatic brain injury reach their full potential. I worked and helped supervised the Respite program. This program was an after-school to school-aged children and adults with developmental disabilities providing them opportunities for recreation and socialization while receiving support and supervision. Most of the school children in the respite program was transported by bus from their schools, to our program. Most of the children that was in the respite program had some type of autism. This organization offered socialization and recreational activities for them. It was such a amazing experience for me to see all the kids from when I stared to such an amazing improvement being in the respite program. I was then also working, weekend and evening and long breaks. After I found out I was pregnant I decided to take a break from work and be a stay home mom. I really enjoyed being a mom and I have a passion for kids since I had always worked with them. My mom was always working as early as I remember. She hardly had any time for us and she was also so busy. . Since she didn’t have a choice and was the breadwinner. But since for me the roles were different I choose to stay home and be with child and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

After I had my daughter, I was running in my neighborhood and in gyms but in the back of my head I was in the search of a group or a club so I can be a part of. I was always passing the Smithtown running company on my drive home.. So one random day, I thought why not put it on a search Smithtown running club and so the seldom hills popped up. It was funny because one of my best friends said she was a part of it and she would come with me. So that made so more comfortable to show up for the very first time to run on the hills.. There I meet another Brazilian friend Leah and many other amazing women and made friendships along the way by just showing up for runs and participating the events. So for me since as long as I can I will continue to run and make beautiful friendships and have beautiful inspiring people I can look up to along the way.

For me running it’s not only a part of my life and routine it is something I will keep on doing as long as I live. It helps me physically mentally and keep me on track where I need to be. It also helps me focus and get closer to my friends and meeting inspiring people.. I love to be a part of this group and the best part is that I can keep challenging myself every time more and more.