Name: Patricia (pronounce Patreesha)
Nickname: Treesh, Treesha, Tricia, Trish
Family: Married to Dan. Have a stepdaughter Katie, (13); Daughter, Eva Joan (6) and Son Jake (3)
Well hello there. It’s me, your honored and humbled WOTW. I’d like to come on here and say I am at a loss for words, but anyone who knows me…well, just knows better.
I am the youngest of three girls born into an Italian-Irish family. I like to think my parents knew to stop once they reached perfection. (There is no evidence to prove otherwise, so we go with it.) My mother was a stay at home mom while my father was a supervising linesman for New York Telephone Company (how bout that throwback) until he had to retire due to a massive heart attack at age 42. I was 7 years old. The doctors did not think he would make it the first night but he showed us his strength and pulled through, well for another 20 years at least. I’m not sure if this is the pivotal period that altered my path, but up until this point I was an average sized child.
Whether it be the stress of my father’s illness or my genetic birthright, I was obese at the age of 8 years old. I “played” club soccer in elementary school and then added basketball in junior high, but running was just not an option for me. I grew up in a small school district (there were about 120 kids in our graduating class) and was bullied about my weight incessantly. When I was in 10th grade some of the varsity football players would comment on how they needed me on their team (nice, huh?). I couldn’t walk the halls without dread. I vowed to show them. So for 8 months, I ate one bagel and drank one grapeade Snapple every day. That was all I ate. That is 245 bagels and 245 snapples in 245 days. I walked everywhere and even began to run as the weight came off. I would run 2 miles, do 1,000 crunches and ride 30 minutes on the stationary bike every day. I played on the basketball team in high school. (I sucked but I loved being part of a team.) I am 5’10 and dropped to 139 lbs. I thought I looked great. Then there were those football players who still poked at me. I’d pretend it wouldn’t bother me, but I would pray and pray and pray to one day just be normal. Anyway, all it took was one large bag of peanut M&Ms on NYE to get me eating again. (Have any of you ever succeeded in turning away those suckers?) After that point, I tried everything a person with an eating disorder would try. I failed at them all and returned to my morbidly obese life as the years passed on.
I thought I was doing well in law school. I would go to the gym and hit the elliptical. I would watch what I ate (albeit as I reflect, I mostly watched the pizza as it came near my mouth… Pizza and bagels, I’ll never escape my New York roots). My weight fluctuated in law school but I wasn’t ever able to get below 230 lbs. My boyfriend at the time was working hard to help me lose weight. In my second year, he collapsed on a treadmill at the gym while I was studying a semester in Ft Lauderdale. He died instantly. My world turned upside down, understandably so. I didnt care about myself anymore and the weight inched on.
In August 2005, at 336 lbs, looking for a permanent solution to my health, I opted for the gastric bypass surgery. I lost just over 120 lbs from the procedure. It was by no means an easy fix and I had to work hard to lose the weight but it did make it much easier for the weight to begin coming off. Nine months later, I met the man of my dreams… (10 years later… he really still is ;)) Life was wonderful and amazing but with making all those happy memories, I lost my motivation to work out everyday. Slowly, the weight began creeping on. In 2009, in denial that I was gaining weight, I thought it must be my excess skin, so I had 14 lbs of extra skin removed from my torso. (As you can see from any running pic of me… I did not have this procedure on my arms). That was a blast. It didn’t last and living life and two kids later I was back at 320 lbs. While I was able to lose weight with the surgery, it did not show me how to eat right and there was my pitfall. #ilovefood
I was meant to be large. It’s true. My father (God rest that great man’s soul) was morbidly obese and succumbed to diabetes in 2007 at 62 years young. My mother and my sisters are all morbidly obese. I had gastric bypass surgery and still was morbidly obese. I was a gastric bypass failure who was meant to be “livin large”… until… I wasn’t. In May 2014, I decided I was tired of being tired. I could not stand up without my legs hurting. I did not want my children to live a similar life as mine. I had to be an example…a good one. I started with small changes to my diet. I began eating healthy Monday through Friday lunch and ate whatever I wanted on the weekends. I started Shaun T’s T-25 dvd program. With the new diet (lifestyle change) and exercise combination, I shed 65 lbs. I was happy. I felt great. I felt like I could conquer the world, but, wait… I couldn’t . I had a lot more weight to lose and I needed something more to push me. I needed goals. Numbers on the scale did not matter most to me. I thrived off of the knowledge that I could actually do things that I never thought I could do.
Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to do a triathlon. I loved swimming, (you know except for the whole bathing suit part), biking didn’t seem impossible, but running… oh good Lord, who the hell volunteers to run without an ice cream truck in front of you or a zombie on your tail. (I get it now, all of you. ;))
I did some research and found a local beginner pool triathlon that included a 2 mile run. 2 miles. Running. On purpose. Did I really like swimming that much? Apparently I did and so the Power of a Woman was my new goal. I was doing it but I just didn’t know how. I heard about the Couch25k program from a friend so I gave it a whirl. Now, let me tell you a little something about me; (like all this hasn’t been enough) I am the girl who gets anxiety about my anxiety. Before every run I would have to coach and convince myself that I could run for 30 seconds, 90 seconds, 3 effin minutes…what!!!! It was an 8 week program and on my 36th birthday I ran my first 5K, the whole thing. Four weeks later I participated in the Power of a Woman. Then 2 fabulous friends Patti Shanley Desrochers and Christy Michelle decided we needed to do the Diva Run. Sure, I was up for another 5K… oh but why would they choose the 5K when there was a half marathon option? So I trained to be a one and done half marathon finisher. It was grueling for me but I did it.
Now what? I was down to 215 lbs and did not know how to motivate myself to keep going, especially through the winter. Never wanting to run another half marathon again, I decided to work on getting faster despite the fact that the fate of my speed must have been sealed upon my college commitment as I will forever be a Maryland Terrapin I posted on a few running groups and so many people recommended Selden Hills to increase my pace. Seriously? Was this the only way? I thought about it but wasn’t sold. Then an old friend from high school Jessica Reno-Ciardullo was hosting a Pt Jeff run from C’est Cheese. She assured me she’d help me through it so I figured I might as well climb out of my comfort zone. I was nervous and excited but I couldn’t back out once I committed. Until of course, I backed out. My son got sick and I couldn’t leave him. So now I had something to prove to myself, so off to Selden Hills I had to go. The fabulous Laurie Sarquis took me on my maiden voyage.
Finding this group has been amazing and has truly helped me find myself and encourage me to keep moving my goalposts. Watching those of you running the NYC Half and then the Boston Marathon this past year inspired me. Since joining this group I am down to 199 lbs, I have completed 2 more half marathons, another power of a woman tri, 2 sprint triathlons, and an Olympic triathlon. I am now focused on a 70.3 next season and I would not be able to do this had I not become part of this group.
I am a mother, a wife, an attorney, a runner and a triathlete. While I am not the best in any of these roles, I will never stop trying to be the best that I can be in them, so long as I get to be all of them.
Name: Patricia (pronounce Patreesha)