Monday, November 18, 2013

We Did the GOTR 5K - Now Keep on Running!

For all the grown folks who are sitting on the couch, wishing they could run/walk/crawl to the finish line of a 5K and explaining all the reasons why you can't do it, take a note from our Girls on the Run (GOTR) team - you can do it!

When we started back in September, the girls were a bit skeptical.  Run how many times around the school field?  We started there with a simple math lesson: the school field is 1/6 mile, our goal is 3.1 miles, 3.1 times 6?  They thought we had pretty much lost our minds as they collected their popsicle stick lap counters and laced on their bead mile markers.  It wasn't long before they got bored of running laps and were ready to hit the street.  Our little band of 25 girls, teachers, and coaches became a familiar sight around the neighborhood at 3:30 p.m.
The color of the year: orange
Indoors, we talked about standing up for ourselves and being positive.  We talked about personal affirmations, finding personal characteristics that we could take pride in.  We pushed the girls to go beyond "I am awesome" and "I can do anything" to get to "I am a good pianist" and "I'm helpful to my mother" and "I'm beautiful."  I do believe that for some of them, it was the first time that they admitted "I am good at math" out loud.  We encouraged them to cheer each other on and say "good job" as they ran past each other on their laps.

Girl Power!  Our GOTR team getting ready to go
For the past ten weeks, twice a week, we've been meeting and talking and running.  Yesterday, we met early in the morning, dressed in our orange GOTR t-shirts and our blue and gray bandanas and gloves, representing our school colors.  Our families came out to run with us and to cheer us on - moms and dads with cameras, younger siblings in strollers, brothers and sisters with signs.  When we crossed the finish line, each girl felt a true sense of accomplishment - she really did this!  And I did, too - this was my first 5K that I've actually run the entire distance - a personal best for me.
Our ribbons of team & GOTR colors
Now that it's all over, I hope the girls will take this feeling of accomplishment with them.  Perhaps, like me, when they are in the midst of something that feels impossible, they'll remind themselves, "hey, I finished that 5K, surely I can do this."  Sometimes it just takes doing one great thing to give you the confidence to do another great thing.  I hope that these girls will keep on running.

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