Saturday Spotlight- Michele Xikis

Michele Xikis

Age: 39

Occupation: Nurse Practitioner

Town: Selden

So many times I’ve heard myself say to a patient “life doesn’t come prepackaged-” there is no printout of the play book that will give us the right choices to choose- we have to take the resources we are given, and decide the road we are going to take.

Most mornings I hit the ground running and take with me each new experience as a lesson learned, and an opportunity to improve.

I cannot say I started out loving to run. For me I started track in the 6th grade when a good friend of mine encouraged me to try out for the track team. At first I couldn’t believe they actually picked me- then I allowed my own fears to hold me back from ever really enjoying the team sport it was for this particular group. I stayed with it though through the year but then decided to give it up to continue playing in the band as first clarinet.

Some years later after I graduated high school I fell in love with someone a few years older – and began running with him as a plan to make me thin. I was never so unhappy and not only did the relationship end but so did the running plan.

Somehow I didn’t get my fathers long distance running genes!

It seemed like as the years moved on- I graduated nursing school got married – began working as a nurse on the night shift and started to dread having to wear anything other than scrubs.

At this point my husband and I decide to join golds gym. I fell into a pattern of weight training and running the treadmill and soon after began to love the results I was getting. That year as winter turned into spring my husband and I began hitting the streets in our town.

We were renting an apartment in smith town that bordered blydenburgh park – I could run the streets then get lost along the dirt trails. It became liberating to just set out and feel the stress melt away.

Before long we had decided to build a house and move to selden- and the time for running again halted, as priorities shifted.

My life seemed to be going as I had planned – job, marriage, home, family and eventual me time.
And suddenly the pages of the book were blank.

We tried for several years to conceive a child only to be hit with disappointment each month, and then with an eventual pregnancy that ended too soon. My heart was broken and I just felt there was no where to turn- I was not me when I looked in the mirror- I had gained 20 lbs and I just wanted to hit something.

No matter how many times I heard don’t worry next time – I felt like I had failed.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this- my husband began pushing us both to get into shape. We bought a treadmill, a weight set and an elliptical, and slowly began working towards a goal.

My saving grace came to me packaged as my sister in law Cathy. I don’t think she could ever know how running with her mentally and physically helped to pull me through a very difficult time.

My husband and I decided to begin IVF to help us conceive- the caveat I told him- no one was to know- looking back that may not have been the best decision but I couldn’t bear having everyone asking each month if we were successful. 3 cycles – 9 months of procedures and countless needles later, I was at my wits end.

Cathy and I started running around her neighborhood. She had just had her first son and was trying to get back into shape, 3 miles was our goal. She had been running since I knew her- so I tried hard to keep up and push through the tough spots. Each mile I gained momentum- each mile I felt stronger. Every time the doctor came back with a shake of the head and an I’m sorry I ran harder.

I signed up for my first 5 k the “cant means won’t” in November that year- I remember thinking ” what the hell did I get myself into” at the start. At the finish I was elated I felt like I could move mountains, and I was hooked!

When was I running again??

Time started to fly by- the weight came off a few more IVF cycles – and in august 2009 I found out I was a little pregnant.

With this news I vowed to do whatever I had to – to bring a child to our family.

I delivered my son Alexander 4/11/10 – the love of my life – and a few short months later was running again! I entered a race in April 2011 my number for that race was 411!

Life doesn’t come prepackaged- but there are signs that you cannot ignore!

Somewhere in the summer of 2013- Cathy asked me to run the hills with her. when she told me it was 6 miles I thought I was going to throw up- funny thing looking back – she also told me we could turn around at any point. We not only finished running the hills that day, but began running them once a week- sharing stories of the week and conversing while we cursed the hills on Berkshire.

I was not born to run- I grew to run. I found in running what I needed to move me through my own obstacles- And along the way I have had the honor of meeting some really great people.

Imagine my surprise last Mother’s Day to meet my nephews girlfriend and her mom- none other than Joanne Styles! We met at a brunch and soon after shared miles on the hills and countless stories together.
I had the honor of meeting Lou and KC officially the first time at cow harbor 2013,
And each week I shake the hand of a new acquaintance at the start or finish of a hills run.

I found a passion in running- it cannot always be explained- but it’s what has me up at dark thirty tying my shoes and tracking my miles.

And from a girl afraid to run a mile grew a women who tomorrow embarks on a journey to complete her first half marathon!

My story is far from over, I intend to keep it going and pass on to my son the lessons I have learned over the miles of running. For now I thank all of you for the inspiration you have given me, and for allowing me to share my story.

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