Happy Monday!! This week is my LAST week of school before finals start! I am so pumped and ready to be done.
Friday night, I went to Ben’s house. Ben, his parents, his sister & her fiance, and I all watched How to Train Your Dragon because I had never seen it! I thought it was absolutely adorable and I can’t wait to go see the second one now! Saturday morning, Ben, his sister and her fiance and I drove up to Prescott for our friends’ wedding. When we made it to Prescott around 9:30 AM, it was 35 degrees and SNOWING! The wind was blowing so hard that the weather forecast read “feels like 27 degrees.” Thankfully, by the time the wedding started at 4 PM the sun was shining and the snow was melted (although it was still pretty chilly!). Since we got there so early, we helped to set up in whatever way we could. The wedding itself was absolutely beautiful. The bride and groom are just made for each other, and their love and joy was contagious throughout the evening. We stayed late to help clean up, and didn’t end up making it back to Phoenix until close to midnight. That made my 4:45 AM wake-up call pretty rough, but it was worth it….
Girls on the Run 5k
Yesterday morning, our Girls on the Run ran their end of season 5k. I arrived in Tempe to help set up at 6 AM. There honestly wasn’t much for me to do when I got there! I just helped our other coaches with anything that they needed. The actual race itself didn’t start until 8:00 AM, so we had a while to get organized.
this was our “gathering” tent
For those of you who don’t know, every girl in Girls on the Run gets a running buddy to run their 5k with them. Sometimes it’s someone that they know, but usually it is people from the community who sign up to run and encourage the girls. Our running buddies came mostly from a large high school in the area. Our head coach has connections at the school, so the girls cross country team comes out every year to run with the girls. They were absolutely fantastic and I am so thankful for them! Around 7:15, a few of the running buddies led the girls in a stretching warm-up.
After they finished, I jumped in to get the girls moving a bit more. I had them do some jumping jacks, butt kicks, high knees, squats, and “running arms.” After that, the girls danced around a bit and played some games before it was time for them to head over to the start line. The community runners (people just choosing to run the race; not affiliated with GOTR) started at 8 AM, and our girls headed out at 8:05. My fellow coaches and I were so excited for them! Side note: I ended up not having to run at all because all of our girls had a running buddy! I got to hang out with my coaches and cheer the girls on.
It was so exciting to see our girls cross that finish line. They really pushed themselves. One of our girls ran her 5k 7 minutes faster than her practice 5k about a month ago. Our fastest girl finished her 5k in around 22 minutes. I cannot even wrap my mind around running that fast! A lot of our girls finished in that 23-25 minute range, and we had a lot of girls throwing up during and after the race! One girl said she got sick three times on the course but kept going. At first I was really worried, but I eventually had to calm down and realize that they just ran their hardest, and sometimes that’s how the body reacts. After they got some water and sat down for a while, they all felt great! Once they felt better, they were so proud of themselves.
Our last girl finished in just under 50 minutes. Once everyone was done, we headed over to our banquet area. Each site gets to throw their end of season banquet however they choose to. This could mean a small gathering the week before the race, the week after the race, or the day of the race. It’s really however you want to do it. We decided to have ours the day of the race. Food was provided for the girls and their running buddies, and I’m sure the parents were welcome to eat if they wanted to. I helped my coaches put together all the gift bags for the girls. There were A LOT of goodies in those bags, so I can’t even begin to tell you what was in there! I think that they got cups, pictures, and coupons, among other things. They also each got their own personalized sign that we set up along the course for them to see. We took them down when they were done running so that they could take theirs home with them. My sign looked like this:
mustachio was the nickname that the girls gave me because my name starts with an “M”
At the banquet, each girl was called up and acknowledged. Our head coach read things about the girls out loud, such as: what they learned from Girls on the Run, what their favorite thing about themselves is, and their time difference between the practice 5k and the final 5k. I found myself getting emotional as the girls were going up, realizing that I won’t see most of them again. I have loved watching these girls grow and learn. I have also learned a lot about myself through coaching. The girls will always have a spot in my heart. Last week, they were asked to write a letter to someone who inspires them. I was shocked when I received a letter from one of the girls..
I honestly had no idea where I stood with the girls. The older coaches always told us that they look up to us, but I really didn’t realize it until I got this card. That just goes to show that people are always watching the way you behave, even if you aren’t aware of it! I am so glad that I got to have this experience. It was a lot of fun, and even if I inspired just one girl, that made it worth the while.
Lastly, the women that I coached with were beyond wonderful. The other assistant coach was a girl who also attends ASU. We didn’t get to now each other too well, but I can tell you she is absolutely one of the sweetest girls I have ever met. We’re thinking about trying to coach together next season. The other five coaches were mothers of the daughters in our group. Let me tell you, they are supermoms. They do so, so much for their kids. They are always busy doing something, and they absolutely love it. They were all wonderful role models for the girls, and also to me. I was absolutely blessed to coach with them and get to know them.
A gift from my head coach
I highly recommend Girls on the Run to any girl or woman who likes to run and is passionate about helping young girls. It is truly a wonderful and rewarding experience, and I’m so glad that I did it.
Feel free to share your experience with Girls on the Run!
If you have ANY questions about Girls on the Run, please let me know!