Today we completed our end of the season accomplishment of running the Girls on the Run 5K!
We have been playing tag (sneaky interval training), running relays, and reaching new goals for number of laps run all season long! In fact, this season a new record was set for the number of laps run during practice. Two of our awesome GOTRs ran 19 laps a couple weeks ago, which is 4.75 miles. They only stopped because we ran out of time. I was not doing that in 3rd grade.
But there is more magical goodness happening at Girls on the Run than just running. Girls on the Run is character building program that uses running activities to help the girls process lessons. It is based on a curriculum that teaches them skills and strategies to deal with issues they face at this age, like standing up to bullies without being one, choosing friends who enhance us, stopping negative self-talk, and learning to pace while training for a 5K.
The girls arrived this morning smiling and excited to complete the race! We had our standard pacing discussion and talked again about how the excitement and adrenaline of everyone at the start of the race can be contagious!
We started towards the front, but behind most of the community runners. The gun went off and there we went. All of our girls stayed fairly close together for the first bit and NONE of them took off sprinting! Proud coach moment #1.
I hope this is something that sticks with them! I can't tell you how many times I've passed someone at mile 1 who are red in the face, gasping for breath, and resign to walking. I think these experiences can have a lasting negative affect on people, and deter them from running again anytime soon!
Cool Charlotte and her mom were the first GOTRs to cross the finish line, followed closely by by my running buddy Energetic Elizabeth and our teammate Awesome Ava. I wouldn't have mentioned they were the first GOTRs, because it is not a race and the girls are not timed. However, these girls have had so much self discipline and focus during practice to reach the goals they set for themselves, and then gave it their all during our run.
One of these girls has made considerable progress at practice, both during our group discussions and with running. She has worked SO DARN HARD to finish so well! I'll never forget when she beat her record for laps, I know that feeling. I felt the same way when I made my splits during our hardest speed training session this Spring. I know she's feeling powerful and probably looking forward to reaching a new goal soon.
No, it does not matter what their times were, or who finished in what order. I don't even like the girls to discuss this post-race and will jump in to remind them that this isn't a race and it doesn't matter who finished when. But as a coach and runner myself, it brought me so much joy to witness their sense of accomplishment and pride as the completed this goal! Can you imagine that sense of empowerment at such a young age?
We found a spot along the road to cheer on our teammates and settled in. I am so thankful that the parents of these girls support my request that they stay and cheer on their friends. This is where I have to be careful when I'm talking to parents who are cheering with us, I start to tear up and get so emotional. I love watching the big smiles on their faces as they are about to cross the finish line! It never gets old.
Probably because I know how much it took for each girl to get here. For some, its all about confidence. For others, its all about pushing themselves to the next level.
One by one, the girls finished and the crowd along the road started to thin out. There was one girl on our team who still needed to finish. I was getting just a little bit worried about her. She is a great runner, but I did see her walking in the shade with her running buddy walking in the shade. Turns out she had a really bad headache before the race, but wanted to finish it anyways.
I told the girls we were going to cheer really loud for our friend, Sweet Sarah Frances so she had the same experience as everyone else when she came in to the finish line. "Oh we're going to go down to the corner, jump in and run with her to the finish line!" said Wild Wynne. Proud coach moment #567.
I caught sight of her, only because I saw some familiar fairy wings and then a pink tutu. Awesome Ava and Active Aubrey went back on the course to see if they could find their friend, and were running with her. As soon as they turned the corner, the whole team jumped in and started chanting, Sarah! Sarah! Sarah!, all the way to the finish line!
And that is how the Spring 2016 Girls on the Run 5K went this morning.
There is major Girls on the Run spirit lining each and everyone of these memories! Reaching new goals, doing the right thing, supporting our teammates, taking risks, going the extra mile (kind of literally).
I'm already looking forward to the Fall season of GOTR!
Have you ever participated in a Girls on the Run 5K? I want to hear about it! Leave me a comment below or follow me on Instagram, @corrielanderson and comment there!