Saturday Spotlight- Szilvia Vass

Name: Szilvia Vass
Age: 41
Child(ren): Liam (3)
Pet: Samantha (lab/mastiff mix) and 2 cats (baby girl and princess)
Current Town: Lindenhurst
Occupation: MRI/CT Technologist by trade, administrator by chance
First and foremost thank you Lou for choosing me as warrior of the week.
I was born in Budapest, Hungary. In the early eighties, my parents decided to take a giant leap of faith and leave their home in pursuit of the American dream. They packed all of their worldly goods into a few suitcases and with me in tow, headed off to Austria. It was here that we began the long process to immigrate to the United States. After some delays and minor setbacks they finally received the legal documents necessary to allow us to enter the United States legally. We arrived in Texas in the summer of 1984, minus a suitcase or two. After a short stay in Texas for a multitude of reasons, we headed up to NY. By August of 1984, we were settled into a 5 story walk up in Astoria.

I was never particularly active in sports as a child. While we had a gymnasium at school, there was no track or team sports in school to speak off. This was fine by me, as I could spend extra time in the library reading. My parents on the other were less than thrilled with this fact. After much discussion, we finally agreed I would try figure skating. As it happens, I was pretty decent at it and I liked it! Early morning practice sessions became the norm. Mom and I would be up and on the road to the rink by 5am. My coaches occasionally tried talking me into running around the skating rink as a warm up and to help improve my stamina. I wanted no part of that nonsense! I turned 16 and we decided that it would be much easier and more conducive to both my education and training if I moved to Lake Placid. What could go wrong with a 16 year old living on her own in small town USA? As it turns out, not much when said 16 year old girl is painfully shy. Unfortunately, my parents realized all too quickly that supporting two separate households on middle income salaries, was not feasible long term. We packed me up and moved me back to beautiful Flushing, Queens. This became a turning point in my skating career. My focus shifted from competitive figure skating to other extracurricular activities in school, still no running.

Throughout college, I taught ice skating as a means to help support myself and to stay active. Once I graduated college and officially entered the workforce my schedule became too erratic to teach skating or even continue to practice. To supplement my lack of physical activity, I became a gym rat. This eventually led me to participate in the Might North Fork Triathlon (twice), more on this in “What was I thinking Tuesday”. Running was my least favorite part of the challenge, but I did try my best. However, with my goal accomplished of finishing both triathlon’s that I entered, I once again became dormant with athletics.

Three years after my son was born, I found myself extremely unhappy with my weight and finally decided to do something about it. My friend and I were out at our semi-annual girls night for dinner, when she mentioned that she had started running. She persisted on trying to talk me into “how much fun it was” and “how relaxing a good run could be”. Being the gullible sort, I succumbed to peer pressure and started running, not happily mind you. At some point as I continued to lament about my lack of speed and progress, my trainer finally said “for someone who doesn’t like running you are awfully obsessed with it”. With my friends encouragement, I ran my very first race on 3/19/2016 and couldn’t wait to sign up for another. Somewhere along the way I met Neil Friedberg and we began talking about running. I mentioned to Neil, that living on the south shore isn’t conducive to doing well in races that have hills. To this Neil said “hills you want hills have I got some hills for you”. Several months later, all the stars aligned and Neil finally managed to get me out to Selden to run our beloved hills. I’m glad he only heard half of my mumblings, because I repeatedly questioned his sanity as well as my own. Despite all of that, I got bit by the hills bug and couldn’t stay away.
That is it for this edition. Thank you to everyone who took the time to read my insane rambling.

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