By Danny Jagoe
As a college athlete, one of my favorite things to hear on Saturday morning is the sound of my coach saying, “We get to compete today!” With the cancellation of outdoor track in Spring of 2020, and the difficult decision to defer a year of school due to COVID-19, it has been quite a while since I’ve had the pleasure of hearing that phrase.
When I finally decided to take the year off from my education, the hardest part of that decision was knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to compete with my teammates during that time. It was especially hard to think about how some of my teammates were graduating, and wouldn’t be coming back the next fall. Along with that, there were a lot of expectations riding on me when I came back.
With all of that, it was hard to find the motivation to get myself running, especially knowing how much time I had before I’d be able to compete with my friends again. One thing I knew was that I had a long time to go before I could even think about that, so I might as well make the most of it. The one thing that has been a constant in my life as long as I can remember was running, so I might as well take the time to enjoy the training, and not focus on the competitive piece of it.
I joined the RADAR community, and began running with my coworker, Jeremy. Jeremy was an old friend from high school, and with him, we were able to run our best times in the 5k, while working at the store.
We trained all of the Fall, running after work at night, and getting up before the sun for morning runs. While we knew we were looking forward to what would come in a year, we also had our own goals in mind, and pushed each other to do what we could in that moment.
It has been over a year since my last collegiate race. While that year has been tough, it has taught me how important patience truly is. It might seem like the hard times will last forever, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Even if that light seems far away, the tunnel isn’t always as dark as it seems. Through this year, I’ve been incredibly lucky to meet some wonderful people, and make some wonderful friends. I’ve even rekindled past friendships with old teammates. That’s the thing with the sport of running, it is all around us. Even though I am not with my official team, I found a new team here in Connecticut. In being patient, I have found a new sense of motivation and drive. My time will come to compete once again, but the wait has been made easier with what I’ve found along the way.
We’ve all had our setbacks throughout this year. That marathon you were looking forward to might have been cancelled, or your training came to a halt due to an injury. I know that feeling of not wanting to wait. This pandemic has changed us all. It has made us wait. In that waiting, we have grown as people, and learned from our experiences.