Saturday Spotlight- Lisa Ospitale

Name: Lisa Ospitale
DOB: 5/29/76 (40 next year!)
Husband: Michael
Children: Isabella (11) and Brianna (6)
Married: 13 and half years (we were married 9/9/01 and never made it to Tahiti on our honeymoon because of 9/11, but that’s a whole other story.
Occupation: District Director of Marketing and Communications for Higher Education Dining Services and of course a wife and mom
WOW, I was honored and shocked to be asked to be Warrior of the Week, thanks Lou for asking. I have never considered myself an athlete and growing up I never was. My parents were born and raised in Italy and my sisters and I were brought up speaking Italian in the house with curfews of 11:00pm at the age of 18. My parents had no idea about putting us in sports, dance, music or anything else. When I was about 10 I asked if I could do dance and they agreed.
I did dance until 18 and the only sport I tried in high school was softball and I quit tryouts after day 2 never knowing if I would have made the team.
I started my college career at NYU, went there for 2 years and transferred to Stony Brook, due to my crazy ex-boyfriend who I broke up with after a year of being there together. About a month after the breakup I met Michael, my husband, and 2 years after meeting we were engaged and 2 years after that we were married, and I was still not running.
I am an extremely active person, never sitting down. I usually don’t get into bed to even relax until at least 10pm and many nights I am running until 10:30pm.
I always admired runners, I was amazed by them and I always had them on a pedestal, especially long distance runners. I always watched the NYC marathon and always would say, I would love to run it one day (meanwhile the only mile I ever ran was in high school gym). When Isabella was almost 3 years old I decided one day that I was going to start to run. I downloaded a couch to 10k podcast (yes a podcast with horrible music) and I began to walk run all by myself. I started in March (still cold and I had no REAL running clothes) and continued on. I finished the program early and purchased my first Nike chip for sneakers (remember those?). I thought I was so cool. I was running 7:30 minute miles and by July I was running 6 miles. I was awesome or at least I thought I was awesome until I realized that my Nike chip wasn’t calibrated properly and I wasn’t running 7:30 minute miles nor was I running 6 miles. But I did not get discouraged. I continued to run and I did get up to about 4 miles and every run was done by myself. Everyone around me thought I was crazy and no one could understand my joy of running. I ran until I was pregnant with Brianna and ran until about 6 months pregnant.
Once Brianna was born I tried to start running again and it didn’t happen. My job changed, I was traveling daily for work, I had 2 kids, a husband and whatever else life would throw my way. I would continue to try running and it never worked out, I think not having anyone to run with made it much harder for me.
Finally, about 2 and half years ago I started taking kickboxing classes with my sister and I realized I was out of shape and truly missed running. I started running again all by myself, but this time I had my smart phone and my Nike app that used GPS and gave me pretty accurate distanced and times. I was still only running no more than 4 miles.
Then in September 2013 my Uncle tragically passed away from cancer, literally a month after diagnosis, and I was determined to run a half marathon in his honor. I contacted Team In Training and got myself registered for the Long Island Half. Once I started training and fundraising, both became easier. I started running with others, which I loved. I initially met Ronald Lee and Paul Van Guilder (my mentor for TNT) and became even more obsessed and determined with my running. I was told I could easily finish a half in under 2 hours and definitely do a full. I ended up raising over $5,600 and switched to the Nike DC half (but more of that on another day) and met some amazing friends like Jennifer Mercurio, Anny Es, Jacqueline Sweet, Ronald, Paul and many more to say the least.
During one of my training runs at Sunken Meadow Ron kept saying these aren’t hills the hills in Selden are hills. So finally early last summer I got out to those hills, which are right around the corner and they were tough! I ran them all the time last summer on a regular basis with Jennifer Mercurio, Jerry Pace, Anny Es, Christine Dapolito and Staci Blanket only breaking an hour once and I ran them until I got hurt….
I pulled my groin muscle last July and had a long recovery, but I still ran Hamptons Half and then after that I had to really slow down and was running short miles for about 2 months and I definitely wasn’t running the hills. This past winter with all the snow and ice turned out to be a great running season for me. I trained through it all, never once getting on a treadmill and both my strength and pace increased. At the end of the winter I made my way back to the hills and quickly broke an hour thanks to Lou. I ran the Brooklyn Half in 1:54:27 (fast for me) and I have made my come back to the Selden hills. I even have joined the group of rock stars that call themselves the vamps. They are an amazing group welcoming me with open arms and I owe it to Michele Rizzo-Berg for pushing me over the last several weeks seeing PR’s of 55:47 and then 54:54 while running mile 6 at 7:50 and 7:43 pace. I have never broken 8 minutes until those 2 runs. I plan on joining those vamps on a regular basis and hopefully I will battle the cold and get out there at 5am in the winter as well. Thanks for reading and thanks for always making me feel at home in the hills.

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