I apologize in advance for the long Spot light but for those of you who know me know its never a short story: Here goes.. live from Lake Placid I share my story with you:Saturday Night Spot Light
Name : Michele Guelfi
Married to: Ed Guelfi
Children : Jennifer, Edward, and Jillian
Grandchildren: Kayden, Ashlyn, and Trisha
I am a bit excited and nervous about being warrior of the week, let me start by thanking Rich Sallustro for mentioning my name to Lou.. who caught me one morning at the hills and after a nice conversation mentioned warrior of the week and Rich’s suggestion. How could I refuse? My past has been quite a story and I am sure one day there will be time to write the novel as I sit on my catamaran in the Caribbean, but for now the recap of a very complicated fast paced and yet now amazing life that I have been blessed to experience. I have always been a runner, not in the sense we at the hills are familiar with but one who ran from things in life… I had a pretty dysfunctional childhood, my parents were divorced when I was 7, I thought long and hard how to let you all know who I am but not yet relive some of the pain associated with that time period and all that came to me was don’t run from it, what’s past is past, keep it brief, and it’s amazing that I am here to talk about it. My mother was an alcoholic and on top of that had psychiatric issues which landed her in and out of hospitals with multiple suicide attempts, she moved in with a very abusive alcoholic who I lived in fear of most times police were a regular, and by the time I was 9 I was running from house to house either living with my mom, or living with my dad, or living with aunts, whoever I could was the norm, there were too many schools I believe 15 total that I was in, and the majority of time I would leave school and no one even knew. My father re-married also and to say that didn’t go well is an understatement. My father was diagnosed when he was 35 with cancer, I was just 11, he got the news and due to some other really crazy things he just packed up and ran I would have to if I could have… I ended up living with an aunt again, I didn’t know about the cancer or why he ran, but he eventually came back to town after 6 months or so and he began treatment and his fight with cancer was underway. To say we were poor is an understatement too, he lost everything his house was foreclosed, we ended up on welfare, and I can remember as a kid not having heat, hot water, clean towels, and relatives would bring us food. When I hit 12 I had run away from home at least 3 times, and then just started staying with friends, moms of friends were always good to me, and basically they felt bad for me. I started smoking, drinking and getting even more wild by the time 14 rolled around. I do remember joining the Islip jr High track team, thinking I wanted to try something different, I got caught smoking and kicked off the team, and suspended thus the end to my track career. At one house party I happened to meet a really skinny blonde cute guy… I was now almost 15… It was Ed, I was semi living at home with my sick dad and living with friends, having no rules, driving without a license and making every bad decision teen could make. I remember Eddie telling me he wanted to marry me, and take care of me, he would buy me shoes, and clothes he had a job at 16 and was always trying to take care of me. I on the other hand had a spirit that was really wild and definitely continued to run from all that was going on including a nice kid from a normal home. The story goes I broke his heart and broke up with him.. not too sure I agree but we are taking about a long time ago. I continued to run and then was stopped in my tracks, at 16 I discovered I was pregnant… lots of choices, and lots of decisions for a young girl who was now alone, I became an emancipated minor, I really was one all along. I went back to school full time for my senior year of high school, faced what I needed to determine to get my act together and prove everyone wrong… I didn’t destroy my life as I was hearing I just saved it… friends were losing their battles with crack, and heroin, I was now out of that circle for the first time, I moved in with that crazy mom of mine, who was now sober for a few years, and we worked at raising my daughter together, I graduated high school with plans of going to college but I was not on the right track again, until one night at the ol’ OBI… I ran into that cute blonde kid I dated for a few months when I was 14… Ed was back in the picture this time even more determined. I was living with friends again the mom thing only worked for so long, and the next thing I knew Ed and I were finding our own place and we have never been apart since, we married the following year when I still 18. My dad did get to walk me down the aisle and then he passed shortly after from the cancer. We then quickly finished off our family… some things never change… and the running truly began again,, I would take the kids down to the local track so I would not lose my mind now that I quite smoking and would run with them, and they would run with me… I signed up for my first race… the Long Island half marathon, like everything in my life I just jumped right in and started training. Those early years of marriage were filled with running, aerobic instructing, soccer coaching and anything else which I could burn off this energy that never stops. Ed and I moved to the west coast when we were in our early 20”s, Yep my idea, we took our clan, sold our house, and bought a small service station in a town of less than 5000. During those years I was a youth pastor even longer story, that I will skip, but I lead kids on missions trips half way around the world with an organization called YWAM, I also was a jr high track coach, veterinary tech, and then finally went to college and became an RN…I would also run out there just about every morning on the beach, we lived one block from the Pacific coast and it was beautiful… on days that I didn’t run, I would run my horse as fast as I could down that beach.. oh yeah I got into the horse and rodeo thing too… Barrel racing, quite another adventure even now sometimes when I run I think dam I wish I had my horse. When I would leave the house with my running shoes on you could see the horse smile knowing I was leaving him alone and he didn’t have to work… We retuned back to Long Island due a family need and we sold our farm and have been back now 9 years. I started running solo here a few years back and it has really helped me deal with all the new stresses life has brought, like two of my kids deployed at the same time to Afghanistan, working in a crazy emergency room.. and a variety of other challenges that life can throw at you. I happened to join the YMCA last year and that’s where this new adventure has begun, I wanted to start to cross train due to some nagging foot injuries and I met this guy named Todd Metro, and his friends Christina, Tabs they called her and Anne, Rich, and Kevin. I thought he was the triathlon coach… he invited me to run with him and some of his friends little did I know I would meet some of the most fantastic supportive people in my life in that class, they were all talking about the hills, and Todd would be wearing his sweat shirt, its just a hill get over it.. Finally after six month of talking about it I did it…yeah I had to walk some, but that’s ok their hard and I was in shock!!! Did I mention I am a slow runner.. that I do this for therapy. Now the hills are my training ground for Lake Placid.. Oh yeah my amazing new friends are just as crazy as me.. and I signed up right along with them it has been amazing the past year meeting my kind of people from the hills I feel finally at home..