Thursday, May 24, 2012

Girls on the Run IS So Much Fun!

Well, Tuesday was my last day of Girls on the Run coaching.  And it's official.  I have found my calling in life.  Now I just need to find someone to pay me handsomely to be a Girls on the Run (GOTR) coach full-time.  Anyone?  Anyone??!!

Girls on the Run is an AMAZING organization that everyone should get involved with if they can.  Their mission is to:  "educate and empower girls at an early age in order to prevent the display of at-risk activities in the future."  It's an after school program, two days a week for 1.5 hours each time for 10 weeks.  It's a scripted program that includes warm-up activities, a lesson (topics included body image, fueling our healthy bodies, having a positive attitude, choosing good friends, etc.), and a running workout.  The workouts build up to the conclusion of the program, where the girls run a 5k! 

Which brings us to Saturday, the Girls on the Run 5k, otherwise known as the best day EVER.  

So although Sunday was horrible, since Saturday was truly one of the best days EVER, it all evens out. :-) 

About 400 girls ran in Saturday's race.

The day started with meeting at the school to ride the bus to the race.  Not all schools had buses - it was provided by the community partners since many of the girls would not have otherwise had transportation.  All but 1 girls showed up, which made me SO happy.  My worst fear was that after all their hard work, they wouldn't make it to the 5k.  The girls were a bundle of nerves and excitement, and we had a BLAST on the bus.  Did you know how hysterically funny it is to wave at cars on the freeway from the back of a school bus?  Try it sometime. 
Each girl at the race has a running buddy, who also comes to the Practice 5k which occurs at a practice a few weeks before the 5k.  The girls LOVE their running buddies, and a lot of them made capes or fun accessories for the girls to wear.  Some of them had spectators who had signs with the girls' names on them and it was overall so amazing to watch how excited the girls were to be with their buddy.  If you're female and at least 16 years old YOU too can be a running buddy!  The next 5k is December 1, mark your calendars now!

The start of the race in Seward Park

In this lesson we were practicing "relaxing".  I don't need to practice that, I'm already a pro at it. 

One of our last activities together involved designing and implementing a community impact project, which I already talked about (remember how they wanted to train police dogs?!).  We decided to make cupcakes (by "we", I mean "me" - they just decorated them :-) ) for their teachers and make cards for the kids at the local children's hospital. 

I know this post is all over the place, but the point is, GIRLS ON THE RUN IS AWESOME.  If you want to read a way better written post about Saturday's 5k go read Lauren's recap here.  

So how can you get involved?  Honestly, coaching was a huge commitment.  Although I'm going to miss my girls SO much and wish I could be a coach all year round / permanently, it was extremely difficult to leave work early twice a week for 10 weeks.  Practice was from 3:20-4:45 and not too close to my work, so I ended up usually leaving work at 2:40 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I'm lucky and have a very flexible job and am not working full-time right now because of school, so it worked out, but even with those pluses I'm still not sure if I'll coach in the fall.  It's a big undertaking.

 The girls were so incredibly excited to get their medals!  They wore them to school on Monday and Tuesday and were showing them off to their friends.  :-)

Despite this though - there are LOTS of other ways to get involved, and I will definitely be involved in one way or another.  Being a running buddy is a great way to truly make a difference in a young girl's life who might really need a role model.  Lauren was amazing and stepped up to pretty much run the entire 5k single-handedly.  Becky took some fabulous professional-caliber photos at the 5k, and JMan was a trooper and handed out water at the half-way point.  There's also sub coaches (I will probably do this as well), fundraising, etc.  Or you could just give them money.  GO GIVE THEM MONEY!

If you're still not convinced in forking over your time and money to Girls on the Run - just watch this video.  I seriously challenge you to watch this and NOT be inspired. 

Inspiring - RIGHT??!!

How will YOU get involved?  If you have any other questions about GOTR just ask!