Saturday Spotlight- Jeanette Velsmid

Name: Jeanette Velsmid

Age: 30

Occupation: Public School Music Teacher

Location: Wantagh, NY

So often I get the question, “Have you been a runner your whole life? Did you run in high school? And my answer to them is, “Nope!” In school, I hated running and I hated sports.

When it was time to get tested on the mile run in gym class, I always latched on to a track star, but the mile run always seemed to last an eternity. FOUR loops around the track?? In school, I was more the music nerd that spent every free minute hanging out in the band and orchestra room. Now that I’m a teacher, I can only imagine how annoying I must have been to the music teachers in high school!

My running started in the summer of 2008. I was dating a guy I met back in college who happened to be a runner. He convinced me to do a little running and took me to the local track. I didn’t really like the track, but it was one of those things where I started doing it because my boyfriend liked it. I went out running with him a few more times and found out I really enjoyed running on the road much better than on the track (notice I still have yet to go to one of your track workouts). Fast forward a couple of months, and I was all signed up for my first 5k. The 5k I was prepared to run was the Rob’s Run 5k at Stillwell Woods in Syosset. I remember not being able to sleep the night before. I invited my parents to come and watch. For those of you who ran that race, you might not remember, but it was snowing and sleeting that morning. Well, I remember it well! I remember sitting in my car feeling anxious that I was going to run in this crazy weather for 3.1 miles in the muddy trails. What if I got lost?? Haha. I laugh about that now. Many runners went up to me that day and said “Wow, this is your first race? In this weather in the trails?? Every race after this will seem so easy!” Well, I finished that race and was on a natural high for at LEAST a couple of days!

January 2009, my running boyfriend and I broke up and I was pretty devastated. However, being it was January, a new year, I decided for my resolution, I wasn’t going to give up running. I was going to sign up for one race a month to keep me motivated. Well, later that year in November, I ran the NYC Marathon with several colleagues in honor of my colleague’s daughter who suffers from NF. We had several training runs and it really helped me connect with my co workers. Endless hours of running equated to lots of laughter, tears and honesty.

So you might be wondering how I got hooked up with the Selden Hills. I am a Nassau girl. I grew up in Bellmore and had an apartment in Seaford for two years. However, for a short time from 2012-2013, I was living in Selden at mile 6. Carl Lorenz told me a few years back that there is a group that meets on a corner and run hills each week. During my year out in Selden, I would see runners coming down my block and never knew who they were, where they started, etc. Well, at the finish of the Runner’s Edge Fun Run in Farmingdale, I saw a woman wearing a Team Selden Hills shirt sitting on the curb eating a bagel. I had to walk up to her and ask about the “team”. Sue Porter was so friendly and told me about where you guys meet and about the Facebook page. That following Wednesday in late February 2013, I finally had the courage to meet up with you guys. Lou was there and gave me the map. I fell in love with the group instantly. Everyone made me feel so welcome and I couldn’t stop talking about it for days! I couldn’t wait to run with the group again! Last year, I moved back to Nassau, but promised myself that I would run the Hills once a week. I try my hardest to make the trip out there because running with you guys is one of my favorite things to do!

Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you. You are all a great group of friends. I look forward to reading your story in the upcoming weeks!

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