Saturday Spotlight- Rich Sallustro

Name: Rich Sallustro
Age:46
Occupation: CNG (Chief Networking Geek)
Married: Krissy (Avila) Sallustro
Fur kids: Felix and Cosmo

Well here I am, WOTW…..Lou finally caught up to me.

I want to start by thanking Lou for the opportunity to participate in the WOTW and apologize in advance for subjecting you to the long winded story.

My story starts off in the Bronx, NY. Growing up, we moved quite a lot. However, unlike many families roaming around the US, we took it international.

My mother is originally from Argentina and my father from Italy; they met in Buenos Aires and married here in the US; my brothers and I are first generation Americans.

Although born in the Bronx, we moved around like gypsies….we have called home not just Long Island but Argentina, Monte Carlo, Italy and finally settling in Mallorca (Majorca) , Spain by the time I was 8.

Growing up as a teenager on a tropical island certainly had its advantages….plenty of sun, beaches, windsurfing, nightlife, and of course a constant supply of Northern European tourist girls.

I attended a British boarding school in Barcelona and finished the last two years in another Anglo school in Mallorca. In school the only sport we played was fútbol (soccer for most of you). I wasn’t very fast or even athletic for that matter, so the coach put me in as the goalie. As it turned out, it was not such a bad idea, I was fearless in diving for the ball and tackling the opposing teams’ prima-donna offense. It was a badge of honor leaving the field with blood running down at least one of my limbs. Despite our horrible record, it was great fun.
I hated practice runs though, our coach would make us run at least a few 5Ks a week…some of my teammates and I walk most of the time…especially when he made us run on the beach.
By the time I was 16 going on 17, I had finished what was the equivalent of high school. I knew I would be attending college, but I took a few years off to run the new family restaurant…yes, at 17 I was “in-charge” of and fully responsible for a restaurant. My father was working back and forth from Italy and my mother was working in the other family business, a fresh Italian pasta factory.
It actually wasn’t too bad and I was forced to learn a lot about business and customer service. We didn’t open for lunch, and most of the locals didn’t really start walking in until 8 or 9pm for dinner. This allowed me to sleep-in most mornings, windsurf and hit the beach a good portion of the day. I would then head to the restaurant to prepare for the dinner rush by 6-6:30pm and work past midnight.
After work, I would meet up with my friends at around 2am and hit the bars and clubs until 6 or 7am. One thing about Spain is there’s no drinking age…if you could ask for it, it would be served…we partied hard.
By the time I was 20, I had moved back to Long Island with my brother to attend Stony Brook…..finished up a double major in Business Admin and Spanish Literature. That was followed closely by a masters from the school of engineering. During my grad studies, I met Krissy…after a few years of a long distance relationship back and forth to RI, she moved to LI and eventually we married.

Fast forward many years to 2010, we’re living in Bayport and apart from hitting the gym several times a week, I was pretty sedentary. It wasn’t until my trainer, June, kept asking me to run with her. I would recall those runs from soccer practice and said “no way”. I just couldn’t understand why people would go out and run “on purpose”. Finally after many hours of lobbying, I agreed to give it a shot.
I remember it being tough, heart was racing, calfs hurting…it was COLD out and I struggled to breath..it was torture; that was all I needed to abandon the idea of running.
Even though I was convinced that running was not for me, I did participate in a few 5Ks and TRIs in 2011 and 2012 but NEVER trained in-between…..my finishes were just ugly and I required the entire weekend to recuperate.
However, in March 2013 something happened….I decided to hit the treadmill at the gym to get some cardio. The gerbil wheel would time my 3.1 miles and despite the dismal times, I would come go back to try and do better. I would mount the beast 3 or 4 times a week and in a couple of weeks, I had shaved off 3-4 minutes…the progress was really encouraging.
I would read how many runners really disliked the treadmill and how running outside was far more enjoyable. I figured I may do better on the road. So I splurged on $15 Casio to keep track of time and used Google earth to map the runs and gauge the distances. Along with my Apple nano, the more I ran (and pushed myself) the times kept improving…ok, it’s really not SO bad and I was able to run a 5K without stopping…it was a major milestone b
Moving forward I would go out regularly during the week and run for the “fun” of it, including increasing the mileage….what the hell happened to me??? I was becoming one of those nut cases now!
That summer, June again mentioned running some “hills” in Selden…sure, I can run 6 miles on Middle Rd…I was certainly up for this so called “challenge”. So I ventured out and ran them for the first time in July of 2013…that “experience” will be the subject matter later on this week.
Although I throughly enjoy the sport, I still consider myself a novice runner. There’s just so much for me to learn and also find myself constantly underestimating what by body and mind are capable of.
For those people who say
“I don’t get you runners”… I can relate, I was there. The human body is capable of so much…it really doesn’t matter what condition you’re in, you just need to get out there and do it, I’m certainly proof it’s possible.

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