20 Nov 2012, 3:38pm
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  • Running: Girls On The Run

    About two and a half months ago a couple of my friends on Facebook introduced me to Girls On The Run.  Seeing as I’m happier than a puppy with paper to run, they figured it would be something I’d be interested in.  They were right.  But, because I was training for my first marathon I didn’t follow through with signing up to coach.

    Girls on the Run is a transformational learning program for 8 to 13 year-old girls. We teach life skills through dynamic, conversation-based lessons and running games. The program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5k running event. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment…

    Even though I didn’t commit to coaching, the program never left my mind.  Then, about a  two weeks ago my friends posted about needing a running buddy for their daughter, who was a part of the program.  Sign.me.up!  It was perfect timing for me too.  The race would be one week to the day after my marathon.  Just enough time for my legs to recover (and little did I know my toes would need most of the recovery time).

    Sweet Ms. A.  She and her daddy met me in the parking lot early Saturday morning, she hopped in my car and I yapped her ear off for the next 35 minutes until we reached out destination.  That was the first time we’d ever properly met.  On the way down, I discovered that her favorite animal was a zebra and that she was shy…
    Like I said, I yapped her ear off.  Poor thing :)

    After we arrived at the University where the race was taking place, we got our bibs and bags and I took her outside to warm up.  We ran for a little bit and then did some stretching.  I was getting so excited.

    Finally, they herded us all to the start line.  I didn’t even hear them say “go” or a horn blow, all I knew was we were moving, suddenly and without warning.  I started yelling like a crazy lady, arms raised, and hip bumped poor Ms. A.  She just grinned.  Good sport she is.

    In the first two minutes of the race, we were cheered on by two very special people, her Nana and her Aunt.  She got a little pep in her step when she saw them and heard their cries of encouragement.

    We adopted, quite quickly, the run/walk method.  I encouraged her to keep moving, set goals on the course to run to.  Listened and watched the other running buddies with their sweet little runners.  We made pretty good time.  Toward the end, her cheeks were red and she was wheezing.  I got a little worried, asked if she was ok, but all she would do was grin and nod.  Determined.  Determined in her own little way to get there.  As we neared the field  and the finish line I could see her getting excited.  Excitement  is contagious.  We could hear the crowd cheering.  Ahhhh.  Such a great feeling.

    I finally got her to sprint the last few yards to the finish.  I was so, so proud of her!

    Finished her first 5k in 44:45.  Got her medal and grinning like a happy panda!

    What an honor it was to run this with her.  Only 9, finishing something that most people are afraid to even start.  Anyone can run!!

    Huge cheers to both of you!

    I ran a 5K with a friend who just started running – she’s 51! It was so great to be there with her. Seeing her 3 year old grandson at the finish was the best!

    Agree 100% ~ Anyone can run!!

     
     
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