Name: Linda Kuil (rhymes with fuel)
Married to Charles (Charlie) Kuil, not on Facebook and still lives cell phone-free
Children: Charlie Jr (20) and Chelsea (18) and Molly, our 10 ½ yr old Boxer/Great Dane
Thank you Lou for this opportunity to introduce myself to the crowd. I’m kind of an introvert and don’t really enjoy talking that much to anyone. 😉
On September 13th, 1971, I was born weighing 7 lbs 3 oz. That was probably the only day of my existence on God’s green earth in a normal weight range. I grew up in Mastic Beach, the 6th of 7 children, 2 boy bookends to 5 girls. Yes, my parents are Catholic. Why do you ask?
Even though I was always an overweight kid (being Italian/Puerto Rican FOOD=LOVE) I was always an active kid. We had a lot of kids on our block and we all hung out together, playing football and whiffle ball in the street and walking to King Kullen and McCrory’s. I always enjoyed participating in gym and wasn’t afraid to sweat. In high school if we beat Ms. F in badminton we got the semester off. I didn’t want out of gym, I just wanted the satisfaction of beating the old lady. She had a mean wrist flick and none of us managed to defeat her. My sophomore year I tried out for JV Tennis and played 2nd doubles. Yep, I was *that* good. 😉
I graduated WFHS in 1989 and headed off to Hamilton College. I was enjoying the college experience a lot, and then I decided to ask this friend of my b-i-l’s to be my “+1” for my sister’s wedding in March ‘91. I had known him since I was 14 and he always made me laugh while I was doing my homework at the kitchen table. So, Charlie came with me to the wedding and we became friends while I was away, writing letters and talking on the dorm hallway phone for an hour (after 11 pm, when the calling rates went down). After a while I just couldn’t stand to be away from him, so I came home. We were engaged on my 21st birthday in ‘92 and married 21 years ago *TODAY*. (Happy anniversary Hon!)
Jr. came August ‘96 and Chelsea was that “happy surprise” kid, arriving 22 months later, June ‘98. Being pregnant I was at my heaviest weight ever and I did not have easy pregnancies, *because* of my weight. I would yo-yo for many years, until I finally had my Oprah “AH HA!” moment in August ‘09. A panic attack in the middle of the night will do that to you. The thought of my 12 and 10 year old kids at my funeral really rattled me. I began making small changes, like not eating after 7 pm, when all of my horrific grazing would occur. I started walking. If I wasn’t pushing the kids I babysat in a double stroller through the neighborhood, I was doing ‘Walk at Home’ videos with Leslie Sansone.
Eventually, in March of 2010, I graduated to the HS track. After a conversation with my husband, (more on that on Thursday), I tried running half a lap. I would then have to walk to recover. After managing many half a laps, I attempted a full lap. Once I was comfortable with that, one lap became two and so on. I kept at that plan until I discovered the Couch to 5k plan and picked it up around week 4.
My first race was the LIMA 5k, June 5, 2010. It was hotter than the surface of the farging sun on the tarmac at Islip Airport and I was just SO completely misdressed. I had to run/walk it to cross that finish line in 42:42. (I imagine the satisfaction I got crossing that finish line would be a lot like smacking a shuttlecock into my gym teacher’s face.) I signed Charlie and I up for the Smith Point 5k on 9/11/10 and we ran the whole thing together in 34:40. I was getting faster and losing more weight.
By February 2011 I had lost 75 pounds and was running consistently and enjoying racing. A lot has transpired in the last 5 years. In 2012 I ran my 1st half marathon. In 2013 I ran as part of a Ragnar Relay team from Miami to Key West. I had knee surgery that took me out of the running game in 2014. In September ‘15, Laurie introduced me to the Selden Hills. I have run many 5ks, a couple 10ks, several halves and last year I crawled across the finish line of the NYC mo’ fo’ Marathon. I have gained some of the weight back and this struggle will continue until the day I die, but running and racing with all the great friends I have made has been my saving grace.