Saturday Spotlight- Sarah Schaefer

Name: Sarah Schaefer
Age: 28
Hometown: Sayville
Current Town: Bohemia
Marital Status: In a relationship
Pets: My cat, Henry.
Occupation: Program Coordinator, Peconic Estuary Program
Most of you probably don’t know me at all! And that’s the great thing about this WOTW…at the end of this week you will know too much about me, or at the least just learn that I am older than I look! I grew up in Sayville with 2 younger sisters and 2 great parents and spent most of my time being weird and quiet. I am the oldest of three girls and to my father this meant that I was his right-hand son, being there to aid in the completion or attempt of all of his eccentric household, boat, car, etc. projects. I grew up loving animals of all kinds, nature, and hard-wired not to waste much and I am lucky to have been able to translate this interest in protecting the environment into a job. I have been running competitively ever since I was in 7th grade- that is about 15 years now-and I hope to be able to continue up until my future children send me to a nursing home. I started out on the swim team during the fall season the first year you can join a sports team at Sayville Middle School. That spring season I decided to try out another sport, Spring Track. I can’t remember the moment that I fell head over heals for running, but I am sure it was sometime between stressing out about why my crush hadn’t talked to me in social studies and worrying if I would be able to play the new song in band well enough to keep fooling everyone into thinking I could read music properly.

I was sold from then on, this was my sport. I liked it, I was decent at running, and I liked being a part of a team that you cold excel on your own and as a team.
I then went on to run Spring and Winter Track and XC every season up through the end of High School. Mostly sticking with 800, 1500, and 3,000 meter races and of course cursing up cardiac hill.

Running can satisfy something inside you that can’t be any other way. I am sure this is true for most of you warriors and for other runners you know. You have made unforgettable memories, and learned a lot about how far you can push yourself- in any part of your life. I can’t remember the first time I ran a competitive race for school sports; I am sure it sucked. But even though running sucks for the most part, when I think back to all the memories I have made over the years with the people who I have shared a run with, or pushed myself so hard to the point of puking with, all those memories just kind of blend together into a general sense of happiness.

Going into College I was in some of the best running shape I have ever been in, but once I started college many things started to change, including the training routine I was now told to follow. The training distances were a lot longer than I was used to and I ended up developing an Achilles injury that I ran far too long on and was forced to stop running competitively freshman year of college, my coach actually pulled me out of a race because I was hobbling so much. And as most people do in college, drinking, partying, eating in the dinning hall, and drinking went to excess and I lost most of my interest in running for about a year (and gained a few unwelcomed College pounds).

Since that time, I have recovered from my Achilles issues mostly, but the injury always seems to creep up every year or so. Throughout the rest of college and post-college I maintained a fairly regular running schedule. Training on my own and depending on it as a daily meditation. I would partake in a race a few times a year just to prove to myself that I was still competitive in my age group and dabbled in some sprint triathlons.

It was not until I finally reconnected with my old high school.

teammate Kristy Longman in the spring of 2016 that I finally started getting addicted again to pushing myself to see what I could really do. I started running with the Selden Hills for the track workouts on Thursdays and started to get to know some of you wonderful, welcoming, and supportive Selden Hills folk. It was surprisingly a confidence booster.

The first track workout I laughed the entire time at the fact that I was sprinting 400m repeats at will and “enjoyed” it. I had a pretty good year of racing and met some encouraging and very fun people.

Unfortunately, I came down with a case of plantar fasciitis in the beginning of 2017 and in March (in hindsight 3 months after I should have stopped running) stopped running for about 2 months and I am STILL nursing my foot back to health. I am only running a few times a week and not far and not racing. It truly drives me NUTS not to be able to run the way I want to. Hopefully I will back next year in full swing and get to meet more of you!

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