From One Reality to the Next (Bklyn)

by Jairo Martinez

Growing up, I had to learn how to protect myself from a young age. I came from a humble background in what would be considered a bad neighborhood. Early on, I had to be taught what streets it was safe to walk on and which areas you wouldn’t want to walk alone. Look around for anything that could potentially be used as a weapon when you see a group of people walking towards you. Getting from point A to point B without stopping in between. Majority of you reading this may not have been taught this or gone through this at a young age but that was my reality. This was common in my area and I thought it was going to be my whole life. 
However, I decided to take another approach. I had some major adversities growing up and I lived an unhealthy lifestyle when it came to health and people I hung out with. I had it in my head that everyone was out to get you, that you couldn’t show fear and you always had to confront anyone who you felt looked at you the wrong way. I wouldn’t be the same person I am now though if I hadn’t found the world of running. 

Jairo lives in Spanish Harlem, but his dedication to Brooklyn is unwavering. Whether it’s Hell Week or a race or a social event, you can count on him to show up.

Joining November Project is one of the best decisions I made in my life period. Running took me out of the reality of the world I was taught to live in and it put me in another where I didn’t feel the need to constantly look behind my back. To be able to trust a group of individuals who have the same purpose at every workout. Get fit, make friends and have fun in the process. It really did take me a while to understand this concept though. I kept to myself the first couple of workouts. I did the workout, briefly spoke to whomever I was partnered with when it came to a partner workout, sit for the picture and be on my way. 

He is a creative one, that Jairo. Ask him about the content he creates.

But with each workout, I realized that I was changing for the better. I was cheering louder during the morning bounce, greeting people and genuinely asking them how they are. Interested in meeting new people and getting to know the current ones even better. Remembering to smile and pose for the camera as oppose to hiding from it. Hanging back after the workout knowing I’m cutting my time rather thin to get to work but these wonderful individuals were worth it. I even started attending meet ups outside the workouts. 

How modest, “I even started attending meetups.” Well, he made this one–an ice cream run in the dead of winter, and this many people showed up.

November Project is more than just a workout group. It can be an accountability goal, a means of escape, a positive environment, a healthy dose of mental strength for the week ahead. Whatever you need it to be and there is no better place to be yourself than with these incredible people I am fortunate to workout with. Thank you November Project for all that you’ve done for me.

Jairo, thank YOU for all that you’ve done for this community.
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