Saturday Spotlight- Robyn Kenul

Robyn Kenul
31 years young
Multi-Distance Runner
Passionate plant-based eater
Live with my boyfriend in Nesconset
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Went to College at Johnson and Wales University in Denver, Colorado
Studied Culinary Arts and Culinary Nutrition
Dietetic Internship at Stony Brook University
Current Occupation: Registered Dietitian at ShopRite in Selden
Love listening to the Rich Roll Podcast when I run, or audio books about runners 

I just realized that this is starting to look like a resume. Totally not my intention. Hello everyone! My name is Robyn. I first heard of the Selden Hills from Chrissy Thorp who used to work with me at ShopRite. I decided to print out the map and run it on Christmas Eve 2017 with a couple of friends of mine. I am used to people exaggerating when it comes to inclines/hills so I actually wasn’t expecting the Selden hills to be that impressive (if I am being totally honest). I am from Colorado and we have mountains. Long island is at sea level so what kind of hills can it really have? But to my surprise, you guys were not kidding! Selden Hills is no joke and you have to see it to believe it! I was super impressed!! We ran the hills and finished strong. I decided to do it again on a Sunday with the group and that’s when I met Lou (and now I see Lou EVERYWHERE LOL). I picked the coldest day possible to run the hills. I couldn’t feel my fingers or my toes, but I thought that if 30 other people are out here braving the weather, then I can’t back down now! I love when I meet other people who are just as crazy as I am. Rain or shine or frostbite.

I didn’t grow up with a love for running, but I was always an athlete. I played every sport that I was able to but in the end I gave up everything else to focus on volleyball. That was my true love. I played throughout high school and college. I moved to Long Island back in 2013 and I instantly connected with the volleyball circuit out here. I started playing in some competitive indoor leagues in the winter and beach volleyball in the summer. My older sister lives out in Huntington which is why I made the move to Long Island. She is a runner and a volleyball player too. She did 5k’s,10k’s and half marathons. To be honest, I think I started running for vanity reasons. My sister is very tall and slender and I figured that the reason she looked so great was because she was a runner. I started running with my sister and the only race I entered back then was the Huntington Turkey Trot 4 mile run and I did pretty well. I have always been a person who gets a small taste and then wants to go to the extreme right away, so I knew the next race I was going to do would be the marathon. Since my sister never ran one yet, she was going to do it with me. My first marathon was the 2015 Long Island Marathon. At that point I didn’t know anything about running. I was a newbie. I didn’t know about pacing, hydrating, fueling, cadence, foot strike, tempo, recovery, etc. (all of those fancy running terms lol). I just knew that running requires you to put one foot in front of the other and to just keep going until you finish. I trained for it and I felt somewhat ready physically, but I felt 100% ready mentally. I ran a killer first half (I went out way too fast) and then I started fading on the second half but managed to finish it in 4 hours and 8 minutes. My legs hurt, i was exhausted, but I knew that it would not be my last marathon. I was hooked!

It was not my last marathon, but I ended up taking almost 2 years off. I moved back to Colorado and fell out of my good running habits. After spending almost a year there and not finding a job in my field of work I moved back to Long Island where I began working at ShopRite as a dietitian.

After a few months of being back on the Island, I started training for my second marathon: Providence. I had a goal this time of running a sub 4 hour marathon. Six weeks before the big race, I dislocated my big toe while drinking wine and doing crazy yoga moves at home. I couldn’t run for four weeks, but I still hoped that I would hit my goal. I ended up running a negative split marathon, but I missed my goal by 2 minutes. That is when I learned my lesson about not trusting running apps lol.

The next race was the Hamptons and that would be my redemption marathon. About five weeks before the Hamptons marathon I sprained my ankle badly by stepping on a black walnut in the street while I was running. I rested for about 10 days but then decided to tough out the rest of my training. I ran the marathon in 3 hours 59 minutes and 33 seconds!! I did it! Since my ankle was still swollen and tender, I finally went to the doctor to get it looked at. Turns out it was actually fractured the whole time. I took 8 weeks off from running and focused on weight lifting. Thankfully my best friend Gabrielle is a personal trainer and was able to give me workouts to keep me in shape without stressing my ankle injury. I was so lucky to have her support.

Time off really made me miss running and I couldn’t wait to start feeling good again. 2017 was coming to a close but 2018 has been the year that I finally feel like I became a runner. I don’t just run for exercise anymore, I am an athlete. Running isn’t something I do, but instead it’s something that I am. I still love volleyball but it fell to the backburner as running became my number one. Between working fulltime and training, something had to give and it was not going to be running.

After hours and hours of listening to audiobooks about great ultra runners, I really started to feel like I could do anything. I decided to explore my limits. My boyfriend finally made the move out to Long Island from Colorado and if it wasn’t for his support I wouldn’t have been able to run as many races as I did this year.

This year I ran three marathons: The Long Island Marathon, Sri Chinmoy at Rockland Lake State Park (and got a new PR 3:36:48!!), and The Suffolk County Marathon.

I finally ran my first ultra and I loved it so much I ran three more: the Greenbelt Trail 50k, 6-hour Solomon Outdoor Fest Ultra (completed 27 miles), SRT 50-Mile trail run/hike, and the Fred von Heydt 6-hour birthday run (I won 1st overall female with 37.44 miles completed).

I completed three 5k’s, three 4-milers, one 5-mile run, the Ocean to Sound relay, and the Paumanok 70k relay.

I also did both the Spring and the Fall Cedar Creek Duathlons.

Unfortunately, because of a nagging IT band injury I will not be running in the NYRR 60k race on November 17th that I had already signed up for. My distance running has come to a close for this year. It’s time to recover and to start training for the Paumanok 70k solo race in April.

And of course I plan on running in the Huntington Turkey Trot since that’s the race that started it all!

Lastly, I am super excited about joining the Elitefeats racing team. My coach Jen Dagan and my other teammates inspire me to be a better runner. I didn’t really expect that a solo sport could be a team sport too, but I am totally digging it! I am really looking forward to the 2019 running year!

I made it to the Selden Hills this morning to help my friend and teammate Ali train for her upcoming half. The Selden Hills are still super hard, but it’s nice to know the challenge is still there to show us what we’re made of!

I look forward to seeing you on the Hills!