Saturday Spotlight- Lisa Llinares Wolf

Name: Lisa Llinares Wolf
Age: I hit 50 On November 4th! (How’d that happen?)
Kids: Mike, age 20 & Kevin, age 18(They are awesome young men) smile emoticon
Pets: Scruffy Little Dog: Diesel, Big, Beautiful Horse: Colby, (plus various creatures that I rescue in my travels).
Well how fun is this? I get to tell you guys all kinds of stuff about myself and my running. Trust that I will do my best to keep this week’s offerings as entertaining as possible.
Most of you may know me from the dance party nights I like to set up. But believe it or not, life isn’t just about dancing. I actually do get out there and run.

Like many here, I was not athletic as a kid, preferring to spend most of my time hunting for critters that I could show my mom at our front door. Things like: field mice, tadpoles, frogs, snakes, bugs of any kind, stray cats and wounded birds. Oh my mom was horrified by this, in fact she still is, because I still do these things. Of course I was also absolutely horse crazy for as long as I can remember, but athletics? Oh No, no, no. Despite my Mom’s best efforts to make me a DPYAL Football cheerleader, I resisted. In fact, I hated athletics so much, that in the first half of my senior year of High School, I flat out REFUSED to participate in gym, instead preferring to sit sullenly on the bleachers in protest, all the while earning myself zeroes, (which of course resulted in a failing grade, and the need to take gym EVERY DAY for the second half of the year, during 2nd period no less!) I guess I really showed them!

I rode horses as a young woman, then the usual…. College, jobs, marriage, kids…blah, blah, blah. I was lucky that I had time to push the stroller around the neighborhood back then, so I at least lost the baby weight. But formal exercise? No. I practiced the “I’d rather starve than sweat” method in order to stay thin. Stupid, I know.

Once I got divorced in my late thirties/early forties (yes, it took THAT long), I got back into horses and riding, eventually working out a way to own my own horse. It was and is a dream-come-true, and an experience that shaped me in so many ways. As great as it is, on its own not really enough to keep me “fit” in the true sense of the word (I did have pretty strong legs though!) But, I figured I looked “good enough.” Only, I really didn’t, and, I wasn’t doing anything for cardiovascular fitness either. Starving kind of sucked too, and even then, I really couldn’t eat any less and still survive…

So why did I start running? Well, same as some others here, the catalyst for the change came in the form of some emotional trauma, a spirit-crushing breakup, in fact. For the first time since I was a very young, I found myself truly laid low by heartbreak. Yes, the “relationship complacency weight” was dropping off (which was good, cause I was a bit over where I should be) but the depression and inability to sleep seemed unshakable. It was not like me at all not to rebound from a challenging life event. My sister and my neighbor Allison got after me to “JUST DO SOMETHING!” Move myself, do tapes, lift weights, walk…anything to help push me out of the persistent state of sadness I seemed to be in. Really I was a drag to be around. I really just got sick and tired of being sick and tired, and I knew I had to get my ass in gear.
So, in fall of 2012 I went over to Allison’s house and hit the exercise tapes, which I absolutely, positively HATED. Oh, the painful repetitions. The same crummy song playing over and over. The same overly happy people working out with huge, toothy grins in place. But there in the corner, sat the treadmill which was beckoning me to give it a go. And so I did. First at the walk, then at the run, until I could maintain 2 miles without stopping. At that point I thought “I’m ready to hit the trails in Connetquot Park!” and so I grabbed any old cruddy pair of sneakers I had lying around, and did just that. And, I loved it. Just loved running in my beloved woods. It was a balm to my bruised spirit, and helped me to think, and to heal. To this day I prefer to run trails to just about anything else, be it streets, hills or road races. Trails and nature…that’s my thing. Oh, and dancing. That’s also my thing, but…I digress.

Fast forward…tendonitis developing, which led me to look across Facebook running groups to get some advice and support, because clearly this running thing wasn’t just as easy as “toss on shoes and go!” like I had thought. I met Kenneth Nuss Jr, who still helps me stay healthy enough to run. I met some wonderful people and over time, solid friendships began. One of these friends, I think maybe Alicia, told me about the Selden Hills, so in winter of 2014 I gave them a try. And oh boy, they were hard to run then, and they are hard to run now. I think it will always be that way, at least for me. But that’s okay, because the PEOPLE that I have met through those hills make it so worth it to show up, even if it really ISN’T as often as Lou thinks it should be.

And so, through the last several years I’ve run my share of races, never with a chance of placing, but mostly because it’s fun to be around your friends, and certainly it’s worthwhile to support many of the fine charities that benefit from the races themselves. I think the running community really, really does more than any other group does in terms of supporting charities, and that to me is one of the best things about the sport. That, and of course, all of the wonderful friends I’ve made. The people that run these hills are absolutely among the finest I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Kind, generous, fun, caring and just all around good hearted.

Thank you all for reading my spotlight. I hope it didn’t take too much time out of your day! See you at the hills, or out dancing, whichever comes first.

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