Yesterday's Girls on the Run 5K race wasn't about PRs or speed or training. In fact, it wasn't about me at all. It was about my running buddy Genni and 11 other girls that I have seen work so hard and learn so much about themselves and running this season. But let's back up a little bit... :)
Since the race was to take place along the lake front down in Big City, I decided to invite myself to crash at Miss R's apartment the night before so I didn't have to make the trek in from the suburbs at the crack of dawn. Luckily Miss R is super hospitable and fabulous, AND I had convinced her to be a running buddy for one of my girls! It was Miss R's FIRST RACE and I was super excited for her. Obv I slept in my running clothes in order to score 5 extra precious minutes of sleep time in the morning, and laid out my gear the night before, including my Coach Amy beaded bracelet. :)
(<-- This is only the beginning. Since I was spending the next night in the city too, I have a gigantic duffel bag that's not in the picture, which I was lucky enough to get to tote around with me...)
Some background info on the GOTR 5k:
The girls train all season with the spring 5K as their goal. It is a HUGE event and truly a celebration of the girls' hard work and general awesomeness. This 5K had a DJ, sponsor tents, hair accessories, face paint, tiara decorating, you name it. All of the girls choose an adult to run the race with them as a Running Buddy. It's the buddy's job to stay with their girl the whole race and keep her motivated. :) Most of our girls brought a parent, one a teacher, one an older brother, and of course Coach Melinda and myself got to be running buddies!
|Miss R & Me|
When Miss R and I arrived at the location, it was a sea of pink banners with each participating school's name on them, as well as a sea of anxious and excited girls. We helped our girls pin on their race numbers (they are all #1--how cute is that) and decorate their foam tiaras with their names. After liberally applying the sunscreen, standing in the porta potty lines a few times, and talking about how excited we all were for the race, it was time to line up (with thousands of other people) with our starting wave. Yes, this 5K had at least 10 waves! It was gigantic. (Oh, and did I mention it was close to 90 degrees and humid? Perfect race weather...)
|Me & Coach Melinda|
Genni and I discussed our race strategy before starting out. We wanted to start out slow, take some walking breaks when we needed to, and finish fast and strong. We probably should have spent more time working on pacing at the GOTR practices, though, because I CHASED a very speedy Genni for about the first mile! Man, that girl took off, passing runner after runner! At about mile 1 Genni hit the wall and hit it hard. We took a few long walking breaks with short bursts of running thrown in for the next mile. It was crazy hot by this time, and the water stop wasn't until 1.75ish. We gulped down some water, walked in the shade for a few mintues, and decided to try running again after the 2 mile mark. (While the race was otherwise well-organized, I heard from other runners that they ran out of water part way through the race! This was NOT GOOD for the hundreds of dehydrated young girls that were running!)
Genni and I alternated between walking and running up until we were close to mile 3. That's when we decided to pick up the pace! Genni was excited to get to the finish and so was I! Bigger crowds started forming on the sides of the path, and we started booking it to the finish. Well, I may have set a bit of a faster pace than Genni was up for at that point in the race, and about 10 feet from the start she said she needed to stop to rest! Of course we did, took some deep breaths, and she got some water from her water bottle. We walked up to the finish line and ran across it. Yay Genni!
After finishing the race (in I have no idea what our time was, this race wasn't about that :), Genni and I got our FABULOUS Girls on the Run medals. They are the same every year, but that's okay because they are PERFECT. I love love love the inscription on the back.
I wish I could show you pictures of the girls and how cute they looked with their medals and tiaras! I will have to make due with another picture of Miss R and me:
I read this quote recently and loved it:
So many people crossing the finish line of a marathon look as happy as when I won.
They have tears in their eyes.
This sport is full of winners.
Our 5K was by no means a marathon. But for the girls, crossing the finish line wasn't any less special. It didn't matter how long it took or in what order they crossed the finish. Every girl was a winner at this race, and they knew it. I could not have been prouder of them and am so thankful I got to have this experience as a coach this year!
Let me leave you with some amazing comments from the girls themselves, as captured by our end of season survey...