Saturday Spotlight- Tara Hofmayer

Name: Tara Hofmayer
Age: 41
From: Rockville Centre
Live currently: Merrick
Occupation: Speech Language Pathologist
Married: Steve Hofmayer
Children: Sarah (10), Molly (7), and Mackenzie (4)

When Lou asked me to be the warrior of the week I was so excited and nervous at the same time. Living in Merrick, I don’t get to the hills as often as I would like but enjoy seeing all the FB posts, meeting fellow members, and am constantly inspired by all of you! I would like to thank Karen Martella for bringing me to the hills for the first time. After my first brewery run I was intrigued by all the red “run for the hill of it” shirts and growing up on the south shore wondered where these “hills” were located.

It was interesting to look back and see how running has evolved in my life. I grew up in Rockville Centre and summered in Hampton Bays. My dad is a retired Judge and my mom is a retired school teacher. Growing up with 4 brothers and mostly male cousins and friends in the summer, I had no choice but to be a tomboy and participate in all their activities. My father was the commissioner of baseball and active in attending all our travel soccer games. My mom took us to all of our practices, activities, and games. She was very active and still is to this day. My mom played tennis, skied, golfed, and ran. I remember my mom running the Rockville Centre 10k, a Bud light race at Jones beach, Leggs race in the city, and the Seaford Hot Chocolate Run in the 80’s. The Bud Light race stands out because my mom won a trophy from the race that had a beer can on it that she proudly displayed in our basement for most of my childhood (not typically her style-she doesn’t even drink beer). I remember my siblings and I coming along and racing with her and I believe that encouraged all of us to follow her lead. Collectively, all 5 us have finished marathons, triathlons, various road races, and one of my brothers is a 2x Ironman.

I always played sports and ran throughout my childhood and high school. Consistently, I played team sports, but never officially ran track. I was a member of club soccer and lacrosse at Loyola College (now University) in MD, but was more interested in the party scene and not really taking great care of myself.

I met my husband in 1998 when he was studying to be a physical therapist. He took me bike riding on trails for one of our first dates. I was impressed by his choice of activity for our date. He had already met my brothers and later on while dating he tolerated a trip to Italy with my family. At this point I knew he was a keeper. He inspired me to go back to graduate school. I attended Southern CT State University in my mid 20’s and earned a Masters degree in Speech Pathology. It was then I started to care more about my health and mental well being.

Running has been a part of my life and taken me through various happy, challenging, and sad times in my life. Running helped me post pregnancies to get back into shape and help my overall mental well being.

When Sarah was 18 months old we suffered 2 back to back miscarriages which was very deflating and sad. We signed up for our first triathlon (more on that later) that summer to take the pressure off trying to have a second baby. We began training for the Huntington TRI and enjoyed our Sarah. Fortunately, after some time we were blessed with our Molly and Mackenzie. I know running helped me cope with this sadness at the time.

One of the most challenging years of my life was when my oldest Sarah was 6 and diagnosed with epilepsy. It was difficult to understand why our beautiful child had to deal with delays and mental difficulties from this disorder. She has handled it with grace and is always pushing herself to be stronger and better.

Another challenging time was in 2015 when we almost lost my beloved dad. It was also one of my most accomplished year to date being a triathlete and runner. My dad was hospitalized and attended a rehab for 7 months when he wasn’t expected to make it through the first week. For 3 months he was in the ICU battling breathing issues secondary to cellulitis and heart difficulties. He had received a tracheostomy and needed the support of a vent to breath. My mother, family, and I was bedside almost daily for 3 months while balancing a job, 3 small children, and training for the Boston Marathon (my first marathon). When I look back I can’t imagine how we juggled everything, but I believe running was the best distraction to cope with so much uncertainty and despair regarding my dad’s health. When I came home from Boston, I went right to the rehab to show him my medal. He was proud of my accomplishment. My younger brother Sean stayed with me the entire time (he could have left me in the dust but told me he would stay by my side and did for 26.2 wet and windy miles). That truly pleased my dad. I went on to complete 2 triathlons that year (one on my 40th bday) and the NYC marathon all with Steve or my siblings by my side. I believe my dad’s strength and determination to be weaned off the vent, eventually have the tracheostomy removed, and be discharged home inspired me to push through difficult situations and not give up. It also made me see how incredibly strong my mother was and continues to be.

Between raising 3 girls, working almost full time, trying to keep with daily household chores, homework and activities, running has helped me escape, and hopefully kept me sane over the last 10+ years. As much as I look to running to keep me physically stronger, most days it also helps me with mental clarity and stress. Running has brought my family closer together. Whether it be training, racing or spectating together. It has been a blessing in our immediate family and extended family as well.

We have traveled to Lake Placid as a family 2xs to cheer my brother Sean in the ironman. I am so excited to be road tripping with my family this summer to Maine for my first 1/2 ironman!

Running is a gift that keeps giving. It has come in and out of my life at times but has never left. My mantra in races is always….”I get to do this”….and I hope I never lose it! Thanks for reading…

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