Saturday Spotlight- Staci Blanket

Name: Staci Blanket…
(YES…my maiden name is “Kushin”..and it IS funny:))

Born May 27, 1964

Two awesome kids Taylor (daughter) 20 and Sam (son) 15.

Occupation: Fitness Instructor..spin, Boxing, cross-training, kickboxing, core ,aqua, body sculpt,..Personal traininer..individuals and small groups. I also own my own small outdoor bootcamp company called Fit-ique

I worked at SONY Music full time for most of my NYC career years… and taught classes and did personal training morns eves and weekends too.

CURRENTLY training for Timberman HIM and just started to address my anxiety w/swimming in January! I am part of both Wildwood Warriors and South Shore Tri Coach team and have been so amazingly lucky to train with and play with some amazing athletes and friends:)

IT’s crazy how our minds have such control over our bodies…here’s my story….

Grew up in Wantagh..very typical, happy and active. Went to SUNY ALBANY…where the freedom to have as much pizza and beer as any freshman could want resulted in a those freshman 10… Along with my group of suite mates who faced the same issue….we were determined to
take it off and get it together. We cleaned up our food and started “aerobics” in the lounge area on campus. I took the control and ability to cause results a bit too far..Went home at end of semester 20 lbs lighter..and my family was stunned and highly concerned. If I wanted to return to Albany, I was encouraged to resume healthy eating. This is when I started to run a little..just a few miles to help balance my eating. All went well…
Graduated Albany..started working in the city and also got my fitness certifications to begin teaching fitness classes. I adored, from the first class..and do to this day, the idea that people choose to spend their recreation time for whatever their personal fitness reasons are..with me. I appreciate their efforts and always thank them for sharing themselves with me. It’s truly a gift to have been at their best..ready to work and sweat and share smiles and accomplishments!!!

About 5 years ago, I injured my back..herniated discs and bulging discs ready to go…I tried to work through it with the help of some intervention, but it got acutely horrendous. It ended me in the emergency room as my central nervous system was so affected I couldn’t hold food or fluids down. Then, I began pain management injections. They were golden..i felt great..until the last one at which time the Dr. Punctured a blood vessel instead of the nerve sac and the result was a 4-5 inch bleed down my spine…emergency neck surgery and partial right leg paralysis resulted. Details aside, P/T wasn’t getting me stronger…I needed to MOVE. We purchased a treadmill and began to be able to walk evenly and then picked it up until I was finally RUNNING> It hurt… I pushed.

One of my bootcamp students and a girl I call my little sister and running buddy Krista Calvanese West, encouraged me to pick a race..a goal! It was summer series time and I decided to go for it. I shockingly ended up placing in my AG in the first 2 5K’s I ran…I just pushed so hard..i assumed EVERYBODY ran that hard and that it hurt me so much because I was recovering from injury and at a disadvantage…I was not aware at all that my pace was slightly competitive. I just went till I wanted to drop. That’s how I started racing!!! Blindly running myself to empty!
I started racing longer distances all the way up to the NYC mararthon last fall. and did a few duathlons! LOVED the energy and the wonderful people all around me!

Last summer I met Jennifer Mercurio..and she took me to THE SELDEN HILLS!!!!! One year ago…she, I, Lisa Spitaleri-Ospitale and maybe one other…ran the hills.!!! It was beyond awesome!!! They shared with me that talking up any of these hills would be impossible…!!!!!! I thank these two girls with the biggest warmest hearts and fantastic running legs for bringing me to this wonderful group!!!! I spent most of this last year running the hills early every Thursday morning with my favorite strong bullet of an athlete (Ironman) and close close friend Mary Pisano Otto, my amazing rockstar friend and talented beyond athlete Craig Caperna and our fourth Thursday am. amazing player, Jerry Pace!! We sometimes get the pleasure of a guest appearance early Thursday mornings too!!!!

So, from not being able to stand on my own two feet for a few weeks, through a tough recovery and my discovering that a strong dedicated will to do what’s in one’s power …I am sooo happy to say that I am a member of the greatest group of runners who make their ways through the hills….and keep coming back or more!!!!!!!

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