Saturday Spotlight- Tracy DeHayes

Name-Tracy DeHayes
Age-33
Mom, Dad, 1 sister Tricia (29) I pet 4 year old Shih Tzu Shelby
Happy Saturday warriors! Hope everyone is enjoying the “cooler” weather. Perfect day to get out and run those hills! Thank you Lou for selecting me to be your warrior of the week this week. Also thank you to Marie Trav for taking me to the hills for the first time (more about this later on in the post) Being a member of this group has truly changed life. I look forward to sharing a little about myself with everyone this week. I might not say alot in person but I sure can type!
I was born in Bellmore, moved to Islip Terrace when I was 2. My sister was born 2 years later. I was always a very shy kid so pretty much she was my only friend until I started school. I was never athletic, I was overweight from the time I was 10 years old up until I was 25. In fact I was so lazy I used to ask my mom to write me a note just so I could get out of running the mile in gym class. I was teased alot throughout high school about my weight, my clothes, my looks, etc. You know the typical “mean girls” stuff. My senior year of high school, I met my boyfriend James in an AOL chat room of all places (remember those days before facebook existed). We remained together throughout college. On my 21st birthday he gave me a ring. I honestly thought he was the man I eventually was gonna marry. But that was pretty short lived. 5 months later on July 6th 2004 he committed suicide. I felt like a part of me died with him that day. I didn’t know how to deal with a huge loss like that at such a young age. I went through a period of depression myself after this. I gained even more weight at my heaviest I was just shy of 200 lbs. Everyday just felt like a constant struggle to get through the day
Most of the year 2007 I felt sick all the time. Almost like I constantly had the flu. My legs, arms, and head hurt and I constantly had what I thought was a stomach virus. After months and months of dr visits, tests, blood work they finally diagnosed me with an auto immune disease called celiac disease. I had no idea what that even was at the time. Basically my body was rejecting everything I was eating. During this time I was almost unrecognizable. I went from being 195 lbs in April to 111 lbs in December. I might have been the lightest I’d ever been in my life but because I had become so malnurished I was also the weakest. So this is where fitness finally came into my life.
I decided to join a gym to get myself stronger. First I did a 2 week trial at Golds Gym in Islip then I joined Planet Fitness with my friend Cherilynn. I loved the way working out made me feel. I was so much happier and I could feel myself getting stronger. By the summer of 2008 I was back up to a healthier weight of 130 lbs. I continued to go to the gym throughout 2008 and 2009 but I was starting to get bored with doing the same thing over and over again. The one thing I would never do was run on a treadmill. It frightened me. Was always afraid I was gonna fall. I started seeing people on facebook that I knew from high school talking about running 5ks and some even a half marathon. I messaged one of them and asked them how do you run that far how do you even get started? That I was looking for a new challenge in the new year. So she told me that a group of them do the Jigsaw 4 mile run for Autism every year that I should join them. 4 miles? Is she kidding? I don’t think I could even run 1 mile. But I said ok Ill try. So in January 2010 I started “training” I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I didn’t have running sneakers or “gear” I didn’t know what proper hydration really meant, didn’t know you could walk if you had to. I would just run everyday. I showed up to the race and finished it in 39 mins. It only took that one race, after that I was hooked! I signed up for the summer run series right after that which eventually lead to me being handed a pamphlet for the half marathon training group Team challenge. I ran my first half marathon with them in December 2010. It was the rock n roll Las Vegas half. I then had the crazy idea, hey a half marathon was pretty easy maybe I can do do a full marathon too? As of today I have completed 36 half marathons and 9 full Marathons. Not bad for someone who hated running with a passion right.
Despite all these races under my belt I still could never run up a hill. I just completely sucked at it. This is where the warriors come into my life. My mom would always tell me about this girl that she worked with who ran half marathons. And mentioned to her one day that I was gonna be running in the NYC Marathon, but that I didn’t really feel that prepared for it because of all the hills. Well that girl was Marie Trav. She gave my mom her phone number and said have your daughter give me a call she should go run the Selden hills. It took me a long time to finally say yes but I’m so glad I did. You all inspire and motivate me more than you’ll ever know. Im so happy to be a warrior
Enjoy your weekend everyone!

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