My name is Jennifer Lichter, I am 17 years old, and am junior in high school. I am very outgoing and love meeting new people. I was born in South America and moved to the United states when I was 9 years old after being adopted by two amazing people;my mom and dad. When I first moved, I barely spoke any English; I probably knew how to say at least 6 words (yellow, blue, red, hi, goodbye, and bathroom). I have an older brother named Harold who likes to be called Hank, and a younger sister named Kimberly. Yes, I am the middle child. I love it and hate it at the same time mostly because I do get to do some “older” child things, but at the same time sometimes taking the “older Child” responsibilities when my brother is away can be kind of annoying and quite a chore. I’m not complaining though, for the most part I enjoy being the middle child.
I also am a runner. I enjoy participating in the sports Cross Country and Track and Field during the school year. It wasn’t always that way though! When I first began running around the age of 11 I could barely run 5 minutes without having to call it a day! At times it seemed pointless, but as I began to run more and more often I soon realized it really wasn’t all that bad. When I entered 7th grade my mom suggested that I try out for Cross Country….so I did. I remember hearing the description of the sport at the meeting that was held a couple of weeks before the actual season began and thinking to myself What in the world have I gotten myself into! . As the season progressed I soon fell in love with the sport. It became a huge part of my life. It made me feel like anything was possible. When I ran my very first Cross Country race and finished 8th out of about 100 girls I felt like I was on top of the world. Not all of my races had the same outcome and there were days when I would feel like giving up, but with the support of my parents and my team mates I knew that quitting was not going to solve anything-it would just make me feel even worse.
I am a junior now and am the number one runner on my varsity team. It took a lot of love and support from my parents and coach to get me up there. Freshman year had been the toughest. I went in fully prepared and ready to challenge myself by running with the seniors; one of them named Maddeline, who I looked up to the most. She was amazing to watch. She made running/racing look so effortless-I wanted to be just like her one day. She broke many of our school records and made appearances on our city tribune. She was unstoppable.
My first race as a freshmen went well. It was held in Verona and the weather was terrible. The course was wet from the rain and during the race there were times when I almost fell flat on my face. I ended up finishing 3rd on Varsity and in the top 40 out of about 140 something girls. It really boosted my self-esteem. As the season went on though, I began feeling tired…at times weak. My times got worse and racing became a chore. I felt down right awful. This, we later found out, had to do with low iron and malnutrition. One thing I can say is NEVER mess with your diet and or try loosing weight when it comes to a high intensity sport like Cross Country. All you end up with is guilt for letting your team mates down and a whole lot of embarrassment. I learned the hard way.
Sophomore year came around and I was back to health and ready to make the season better and more enjoyable than the last. The girls who I had trained with the year before had graduated, therefor I had to train by myself. It was very lonely at first, but I soon got use to it. Sometimes I would train with some of the guys who were similar to my fitness level but for the most part it was just me and my watch. Always trying to improve my times. My dad, before the start of the season, told me to set a goal for myself…something that would keep me motivated. So I set the goal of running a race (2.5 miles) under 16 minutes. Well, that goal was accomplished on the very first race of the season when I finished 2nd. I had to come up with a new goal. This time my goal was to qualify for state. This was a much harder goal, but I was determined. I had to stay in good health and rely on my parents and coach for support as well as keep pushing myself;quitting was not an option at this point. With hard work and determination I was able to meet my goal. I qualified for state as an individual (the second girl at my school to do so ever) and that’s when I realized that anything is possible. You just have to believe in yourself because its amazing what you can accomplish with hard work and faith in yourself.