Growing up in the San Francisco East Bay, I was involved in just about every sport our little town of Orinda had to offer. Traveling soccer, horseback riding, volleyball, basketball, tennis, softball and swimming. The one sport that I did not participate in was running. I hated running with every inch of my body. Running for any other purpose besides chasing after a ball was simply ridiculous. I repeat, ridiculous.
After graduating high school, I headed to Corvallis, Oregon where I attended Oregon State University. I spent my first year of college in the dorm, partying, enjoying the endless supply of pizza and packing on my Freshman 15. One day as I complained about my tightly fitting Abercrombie and Fitch jeans, my neighbor Eric invited me to go running with him. Who was he kidding? Me, running, yeah right!
Eric gets an award for persistence, as he pestered me for weeks before I reluctantly agreed. I was very intimidated. Let’s be honest, Eric looked like Prefontaine’s twin brother:
As for me, I looked like I had drank an entire keg, myself:
Even though I dug my heels into the ground, Eric took me out for my first run. He didn’t do anything but run beside me, encourage me and talk to me the entire way. If I wanted to walk, we walked. If I wanted to run, we ran. He made this sport called running seem more enjoyable than a coach screaming in my ear to kick harder or sprint faster. He made running enjoyable. Did I really just say that?
From that day forward, I became Mrs. Forest Gump. Instead of walking to class, I ran. Run Jenn, run! I was obsessed but also confused. How could this sport that I thought for so many years was ridiculous be so enjoyable? What has happened to me?
My life changed forever.
As a Kappa Delta sorority member, I met two of my best friends, Heather and Aryn. We ran rain or shine. Finals week or rush week. 6am or midnight. Whenever we were able to fit in a run, we were pounding the pavement. We talked and talked and talked. It was our sense of escape from living with 50 other girls under one roof. Our escape from finals. Our time to laugh together. Our time to debate our biggest flaws. It was fun!
My love for running grew greater and greater. I was so passionate about the sport that I started making goals for myself. I wanted to run a marathon before the age of 25. Check! I wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Check! In 2002, I inspired my mother to start running at the age of 50. In 2009, my mom and I completed the Boston Marathon together. Who am I?
In high school, I never in a million years would have believed that I would complete the Boston Marathon within my lifetime. I had no idea what the Boston Marathon was.
I am a firm believer that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Your mind is powerful. Allow it to push you.
I am forever thankful for Eric, Heather and Aryn as they have been such an influential part of my life.
Who has been by your side and encouraged you to do something that seemed so daunting and ended up becoming most enjoyable?
Be well and take care mamas!