Saturday Spotlight- Wendy Suarez

Hi all and thanks for the opportunity to be your WOTW. My name is Wendy Suarez, age 56 (sometimes I feel like I’m still 25, others like I’m 75). I am fortunate enough to have a great job as a Program Manager for RedIron Technologies (Retail IT Solutions), that allows me to work from home. I get to tell other people to do stuff and then make sure they do it. Kinda cool! I am married to my best friend and dance partner, Oscar. On Valentine’s Day we will celebrate 14 years of marriage (that’s right – I picked that day to make it easy for Oscar to remember, so I would never need to get mad at him for forgetting our anniversary). We have two grown children (my step kids), that live in Houston TX, Oscar Jr., 31yo and Deyanira (aka Sugar), 29yo, who is married to Pablo. I also have beautiful granddaughter, Sophia, 5yo. Hubby and I have four furbabies, Lucky our 14yo mini Schnauzer, and Precious our 14yo cat. We have had both since they were babies. Newly added last year, we also have Mr. Pickles, a 3yo chi-beagle and a 10mo kitten, known as “the Kitty”, aka Paul/Murray/Shadow, because we can’t get a name to stick.

I was born and raised right here on Long Island, except for a brief stint where my family lived in Toronto, Canada for 2 years. I graduated from West Babylon HS and currently reside in Lake Ronkonkoma. My Mom and Dad had a strong, loving marriage and raised me and my brother and sisters (4 of us) as best they could. My parents were hardworking and instilled good values and work ethic, which I’m proud to say we all embraced. Unfortunately, I lost both my parents, my father in 1991, and my Mom in 2008. I loved them dearly and they are sorely missed. I am the baby of the family and was often told by my sibs that I was adopted. I might have believed them too, except we all look alike. Can’t fool me. Lol. My brother Gary, born in 1947, is the oldest. He is a Vietnam Veteran and was always an athlete. In high school and college he was a wrestler (All State Champion). He often used to practice his wrestling moves on his baby sis! A fond memory. He also earned a black belt in Karate. He was an avid biker and in perfect health all his life. In 2015, at the age of 67, he was planning a 650 mile biking adventure with his son (my nephew David). One day while he was out on the bike training for it, he suddenly and tragically died of massive heart attack. It came as a huge shock, but I take comfort in knowing he was doing something he loved at the time. My two sisters were always my best friends. My sister Valarie, sweet as pie, was closest to me in age (although we were 8 years apart). She was my childhood roommate and playmate. She was born with a very rare liver disease and not expected to live more than a few months. She was a fighter though, and lived 16 years on this earth and was loved by so many. I was 8 when she passed away and it was the worst day of my life, still is, and there have been some pretty bad days over the years. My sister Marianne, still my best friend and my rock, is now 68yo. She has a son, Jason 40yo. She and her husband John are retired and living the good life in Ocala, FL. She has had some health struggles this past year, but is doing well now and I’m planning a visit soon.

About me, hmmmm what to say. Guess I will talk about how the running thing came about….lol. I’ve never been much of an athlete. In high school and college I used to avoid any activities that caused me to break a sweat. As I got older and fatter, I started to realize that a sedentary life style was just not healthy (duh), so I started trying to be more active. I dabbled with ballroom dancing in the early 90’s, but had no partner at the time. Once I met Oscar though, dancing became a big part of our lives. We are avid dancers and will dance to just about anything. We do Ballroom and Latin, but our favorite is Country Line dancing. YeeHaw! (BTW, can’t wait to hit the dance floor at the SHW party next week). Anyway, although we get out there several days a week and dancing is great exercise, since there is such a social aspect to it, i.e. lots of eating and, of course, drinking adult beverages, it doesn’t really help with keeping my weight regulated. So, a few years ago, I started looking for something else. I kept seeing FB posts about running by friends from my country crew (Jaylee Jones and Craig Alan) and thought, that sounds like fun. So one day in 2015, I talked with Jaylee and told her how much I was inspired by all the races and things she was doing and wondered out loud if I could do that at my age. Being Jaylee, so sweet and positive, she said of course you can! She told me about the Selden Hills and we made a date to go. Now, I had never run a day in my life, and did not do so on that day, but it still inspired me to try. I have gotten better and now consider myself (at times) to be a runner, but I still have a long way to go (literally). Anyway, I got hooked into doing races and completed a slew of them in the last 2 years, including the Diva 1/2 Marathon in 2015 (my 1st of what I hope to be many 1/2’s). I’m still slower than molasses and always at the back of the pack, but it’s better than sitting on the couch. I signed up for the Run Smart training program this year, so I can work on getting stronger, going longer distances and hopefully getting a bit faster. Figured this would be better than winging it!

Well, that’s all for now. Thanks for reading.

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