Freshman year in high school I tried out for several sports teams with the hope of joining a team, learning a new skill and making some new friends. I was never involved in sports as a child, and I envied my friends who were always playing soccer or tennis on the weekends. Unskilled, uncoordinated but completely determined I tried out for field hockey, soccer, tennis, volleyball and the cross-country team. My friends were all on the other sports teams and had instantly qualified for the team freshman year from all of the other experience they had growing up. But not me, I tired my hardest and for about three weeks of tryouts I awaited to hear if I got on any team. But one after another I had nothing but rejections, I wasn’t surprised. I didn’t have the speed, coordination or even technical knowledge to actually be on a team. After being rejected from every other team I thought maybe sports just wouldn’t be my thing.
Until Coach Keith called me, he was the cross-country coach, and he said to me “I didn’t see you for practice today, I hope I will see you tomorrow.” I told him that I didn’t think I was fast enough to be a runner and that he was better off not having me on the team. And he simply said “Jennifer if you show up to practice every day then I want you on my team, but do yourself a favor, never start anything you don’t think you can finish.”
That was all it took, and from that day on I showed up to the cross-country practice every single day. Four years later I found myself an avid runner, someone who was so proud to be on a winning team and we even were champions for a couple of years. In fact you can find me in two team pictures that are still hanging in the halls of the high school. I was never the first to finish, but I did win medals, place in competitions and I did make a lot of wonderful friends.
My running career had only just begun. I continued to run in college, not on the team but now it was for myself. I found peace in the time I had alone running around campus early in the morning when my peers were asleep. When I moved to Ohio I ran in dozens of races including a couple of ten-mile races and even a half marathon!
This past year when I moved to Columbia I bought myself a runners watch to keep track of all the miles I would put in. My masters program was quite intensive and there were days when I would work the whole day in school come home eat one meal and work late into the evening. In order to keep a balance I would wake up extra early so I could run in the morning. It was my time to be away from technology, to enjoy fresh air and to have some time to reflect.
I can say since my birthday in August till today I have run over 700 miles! It’s my goal to run 1,000 miles before my next birthday. I feel great about making it happen, I feel amazing waking up every day before school and running four miles to begin my day. Each morning I am thankful for the journey I’ve had and I find myself always looking back at my coaches words because since that day I have never begun anything I didn’t think I could finish.
Connect with Jennifer November
Right now I am passionate about:
1. Staying healthy
2. Exercising daily