Saturday Spotlight – Robin Pinola (2/15/20)

Name: Robin Pinola

Age: 34

Marital status: married

Kids: 2 crazy boys: Nicky 5-1/2, Derek 2-1/2

Occupation: high school math teacher and former soccer and track coach

Hobbies: right now, trying to survive being a working mom! But also running (not as much as I would like), eating sushi, drinking red wine, reading when I can find time. Also have a secret passion for drawing that not many people know about

Hometown and current town: Miller place

College: undergrad: Cortland and St. Joes

Graduate: Stony Brook

Favorite race: cow harbor

Personal note: I was so flattered when Lou asked me to be warrior of the week, but I also told him he was crazy to ask me and that there were many other people who should do it; I told him I am not worthy! He gave me the same confidence as he did to get me to run the hills so here I am! Not much of a backstory to my life, but I will do my best to keep up with those who have posted before me.I have been into athletics my whole life. I played soccer and basketball and ran track. I wasn’t always good, but I enjoyed it and sports were always apart of my family life. I always cared about school and overly stressed about my grades. I am definitely someone who stresses, often unnecessarily, but I am realizing it is somewhat out of my control and I am trying to improve on that!I have the worst memory in the world so thinking about my past I often feel like there is block for some reason lol.

I don’t really remember how I got into running outside of school sports. My dad always ran, and I knew in high school it would keep me fit, so I would go for runs. I enjoyed it and it allowed me to eat what I wanted (I LOVE to eat). My parents divorced and it was a difficult time for me so as time progressed, I spent more and more time with my dad. We got super close and we would go for runs together. Long runs and sushi for dinner. It became our thing (more on that on Thursday!) He lived in nissequogue and we would run to Long Beach and short beach; I loved our runs. My best friend Michele (my neighbor growing up), friends from before we were born and maid of honor at my wedding, was and is my only childhood friend who liked running. So she and I started running together. She is good. Really good. (I will eventually get her to run the hills!) I could never keep up with her but we still ran “together”.

We would run together in high school around our neighborhood or go for “long runs” on 25A. When we were home from college we would try to squeeze a run in. I’m not sure how, but somehow we decided to run the cow harbor. It was my first ever race, and I didn’t even know the “hill” existed. I started out too fast and that hill was brutal. But man, I LOVED the atmosphere. The people cheering, the kids with their hands out, I felt like a celebrity and it was just FUN. That was the race that got me into races. Signed up for lots of 5ks and always looked forward to the annual cow harbor!I had a lot happen in my life from 2014 on. Not at all a pity party, and truly sorry to be Debbie downer, but it definitely has changed who I am as a person.

First off, motherhood has made me stress about things I didn’t know were possible. I worry all the time about my boys because I love them so much that I feel like I have developed a bit of anxiety from motherhood. BUT I wouldn’t change it for the world. I had postpartum depression after my second son was born and it was a really hard time. I talk very openly about it because people are ashamed and the more I spoke of it the more I found it is common and people just keep it inside. So if ANYONE needs to vent because of baby blues or some postpartum stuff, I am HERE to listen and it does get better. SO MUCH BETTER!

Anywho… My sister was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer (she won the battle and she and I are inseparable, so it was rough). My mom and I had a rocky relationship and she passed in 2016 and my dad lost his battle to prostate cancer last year. My dad was the healthiest person I know (besides the cancer) and after he passed I shut down completely. I started thinking that there was no point in being healthy because you could still die tomorrow (HORRIBLE mindset I know) but I have to share because I gave up running at that moment and started eating what I wanted. Then I woke up one day and asked myself what the hell was I doing?! So I went for a run. The hardest run of my life lol. I was slow and tired but I ran. AND I FELT MY DAD WITH ME. I am not spiritual by any means, but no joke, he was there. So I started running again. Further. Faster. I felt alive again and felt like we were on our runs together, only now he was in better shape and I couldn’t keep up with him instead of the other way around


SO I started looking around for a running group. I googled. I asked people. Someone mentioned the Selden hills. This was YEARS ago. Before all this happened. I was either pregnant or chickened out lol. But after all this, I finally messaged Lou that I wanted in. Then I made the mistake of driving the course first and I messaged Lou again saying, NOPE I’m out .


But that Lou is persistent!!! He basically convinced me to do it. I was scared for some reason. People couldn’t understand why I was nervous and scared for a run but I was. I don’t walk when I run and I knew I would have to because I don’t run hills! But I DID IT! I met Lou and he ran with me the whole time. Every time I hit play on my music, he would talk to me and I would have to shut it off lol. So I also learned that day that people run without music! I didn’t know that was a thing!

Then Lou messaged me about Rob’s run and I said no thank you, I don’t really run in the cold. He messaged me again saying he signed me up. I was ready to kill him!! BUT because of him I actually made some friends, which is what I wanted! Roslyn (not letting me tag) and I basically ran robs run together before her injury (hope to run with you again soon!) and Daniella Penzi and Karine Bordges and I have stayed in touch, and are actually running the Atlantic City half marathon and staying together! So I owe Lou big time for helping me create friendships and helping me find my love of running again.WOW, I guess once you open up it just pours out!! Thanks for reading and I look forward to the rest of the week!