Saturday Spotlight- Maria Basile-Farash

Name: Maria Basile-Farash

Age: 58

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

Current Town: West Babylon

Marital Status: Married (Paul)

Children: Shawn, age 26, Cammi, age 19

Pets: Zoe (cat)

Occupation: School Paraprofessional

Greetings, hillbillies!

I was born in 1959 in Brooklyn, New York. We lived in a co-op in Sheepshead Bay, and it was a wonderful place to grow up, as we had our own little playground that all the kids would meet/play in. Back then, there was no such thing as a “play date”. To socialize, all you needed to do was get yourself to the playground; someone was always there. It wasn’t until the later grades of elementary school, when our teacher allowed the children to choose teams during gym class (we didn’t even have a gym teacher!), that it dawned on me how athletic I WASN’T. I was always the last to be picked on a team, which always left me feeling humiliated. That made me hate gym and sports to no end. It didn’t get any better in high school. I was so disinterested in gym that during baseball or volleyball games, I would make no effort to catch the ball in the outfield or hit the ball over the volleyball net, preferring instead to let the ball sail over my head, drawing the ire of my classmates. In those days, it seemed there were only two kinds of people who exercised: those who wanted to lose weight, and those who were athletes competing in sports. I was neither, and, blessed genetically with a size 0 jeans size, exercise was the last thing on my mind.

After college, marriage, and the birth of my two children, I was now 40 years old, with a slower metabolism, and some weight gain, so I started exercising a bit. Never comfortable exercising in the company of others, my exercises were done at home, alone, in my living room. I bought some hand weights and a few exercise DVD’s, participated in some exercises on the On Demand channel, and it pretty much kept me honest and “weight-gain free”. I didn’t start running until 2011 (at the age of 52) and it was at the urging of my daughter, Cammi. She had heard of a 5K that some of her friends were participating in to benefit the John Thiessen Children’s Foundation, and she thought it would be a great idea if we trained for and ran it together. After I stopped laughing (run? me?), I thought about it and agreed to run the 5K with her. I even ventured out to this store somebody told me about called “Runner’s Edge”, where I told the worker I didn’t want to drop a ton of money on running shoes because I’m “only going to run this one race”. I think Cammi and I “trained” by running one or two laps around the local track. Once. That was it. When race day came, we were excited and nervous and, not knowing any better, we positioned ourselves right at the start line. The gun went off, and off we went, being passed by many people, many of whom were visibly not happy with us, and we had no idea why, since we knew nothing about race etiquette. Worse than that, we had only run half a mile, and we were totally out of gas! We ended up walking most of the race, but what was different from the awful gym classes of my youth was that total strangers were there along the route cheering us on. And at the finish line, slow as we were, we were made to feel like rock stars! So although we didn’t really like “the running part”, we really enjoyed crossing that finish line, and decided to sign up for “just one more race”, this time the Long Island MacArthur Airport 5k, and again, we were undertrained and ran an awful race, but still enjoyed it. While at that race, we came across the We Are Athletes booth, staffed by several of their team members. They talked to us about their team, and encouraged us to come down to their workouts. Cammi was very gung-ho, wanting to give it a try. I told my daughter she would never get me down to a workout, as (remember?) I don’t like to work out with people. Nevertheless, she persisted, and we went down one Tuesday night, which turned into 2 Tuesday nights, which turned into the rest of the summer, which turned into running a few races and joining the team. Eventually, I was able to run an entire 5K race without walking. My first 10K followed soon after, and soon I ran a few 15Ks, and several half marathons. I now enjoy running and training with so many different groups of people! I have made many new friends, and I enjoy meeting different runners for runs at all different times and places. My daughter, being the typical teenager, developed other interests, but I am still plugging away. I am still not very fast, but for someone who wasn’t even able to run from my house to the stop sign on my corner, I feel very accomplished in all that I have achieved so far. And I am always looking for new and different running experiences. Running has done wonders for my physical and mental health. And I have met the most wonderful people. The running community is the most supportive group of individuals I have ever met, and I am proud to be a part of it.

So how did I become a Selden Hills Warrior? You’ll have to wait until “What Was I Thinking” Tuesday, because, really, WHAT WAS I THINKING?