Sunday, June 14, 2015

Season 2 of Girls on the Run

Hello my Lovelies and Gents,

Well this post is long overdue. I actually started it a month ago, but things got hectic. My second season with Girls on the Run has come to an end. I am so very proud to be a part of this organization and so very sad that I have to wait all summer until I work with them again.

This season was so very different from the first. Some of the girls were the same and some of the lessons we did were similar, but it was very different. This time around we had 4 coaches and 4 less girls. It was a lot easier to work with the girls.

Another big difference was that this season we transitioned from cold weather to hot. It was the opposite last season. It also meant that we dealt with a lot of snow. Well, a lot for North Carolina. We ended up missing 3 sessions because the schools were either closed or canceled after school activities. It made me cry. I missed the girls. We were able to make them up at the end of the year, but it was tough to get going after being out and then just as we got things moving it was Spring Break time.

This year a I was a little more prepared. Several times I stopped and brought in healthy snacks for the girls. One day it was apple slices and another time it was bananas. I had seen a picture on FB that someone wrote inspiring/motivational messages on the bananas with a sharpie. OH yeah, I had to do that.

Last season we had a problem with girls forgetting their water bottles. So I put a call out to my FB friends: "We all get water bottles as give aways and swag. So please save them and give them to me if you aren't using them."  I got a donation from one of my clients and a large donation with socks for all of the girls too from Mr. Eric and Ms. Lisa. It was fabulous. I made the decision to write GOTR on the bottles. If any of the girls needed one they could use it for the lesson and I would collect them at the end. I spent a lot of time washing them, but as many as I gave out this season, I would have run out week 3 if I hadn't done that. Gotta work on that next season. haha.

Once again this season we had a hard time with time. We have an hour and fifteen minutes to fit in 2 lessons and laps. We met in the gym and if the weather cooperated we would move to the bus parking lot outside, but we had to wait until after the buses left. It was like herding bees to get outside. We would constantly lose time. Generally we should have been spending 25-30 minutes doing laps. We were lucky half the time if we got in 20 minutes. Now the main focus is not the laps, but the empowering of these young girls and giving them the tools to foster positive attitudes and environments. But, it did get a little stressful. You would think that we would at least get these girls pushing themselves for that 15 minutes. Nope, mostly lollygaggers. That's okay though because they were really good about discussing the questions and topics we posed to them and that was more important. Luckily we knew that all but one of them had completed a 5K previously. We just needed nice weather.

Some of our lap days were painful. It would be gorgeous outside and you would think we were taking them into a blizzard. And then on the warm days it was like they were dragging their feet through tar. I couldn't stress water enough for them. I was the Hydration Queen!

Some days our laps truly inspired me. One day one of the girls who usually got distracted by things on her laps just really blew us away and ran and ran and ran. She made it a game to tag the coaches and chase us. We happily obliged.  She is also a girl that we saw completely open up and come into her own this season. *Smile* That's why we do this. I loved watching her friendship blossom with the other girls.

There are a couple lessons that really stood out. There was one where the girls were to run for 40 minutes completely silent. They weren't allowed to talk to each other or to the coaches. I'm not going to lie. I was a little nervous. We have some talkers. But, they did it. It was amazing. When it was over we gathered for our stretches and Miss M, our biggest talker, raised her hand. "Can we talk now?" LOL. Yes you can. I thought she was going to burst. When it was time to give Energy Awards she was nominated by the other girls because she went the whole 40 minutes without talking. LOL.

Another lesson the girls were to run a relay. We had a small stuffed bear and the girls were to run a quarter of the track and hand it to a girl in the next group who would run to the next group and pass it on etc. The object was for the bear to complete a 5K in 20 minutes. I don't quite remember the weather that day, but for whatever reason we had to stay in the gym. So we had the girls lines up and they had to run a lap and pass it on. I kept track of the lap times on my phone and the girls were simply amazing. Their times were very consistent with each other. They chanted and cheered everyone on and finished in just under 15 minutes. I had tears in my eyes.

On top of the running the girls also had to choose a Community Impact Project. The girls love animals and ran a donation drive to collect items for the Humane Society. They were so cute. Although I think they thought they were going to get to play with the dogs.


This season the 5K was split into two races. We were the first race. The girls were excited and I got them bows for their hair (not pink because they didn't have enough for them all) and sunglasses (that is hilarious). Clearly I jinxed the weather.

I had volunteered at the packet pick up and got to meet a lot of the parents. I also got a new sports bra because we got 20% off. Wow. It was worth the money (made a huge difference during the marathon).

It was slightly drizzling when we got there. We found each other and huddled under umbrellas. There was some dancing going on for a warm up, but the girls wanted to get back under the umbrellas.

Every girl needs to have a running buddy. The coaches are allowed to be buddies and one of the mom's asked if I would run with her daughter. My first thought was: OH NO! Miss M2 is one of our fastest girls. ACK!

The rain really started to come down when we started running. But, these girls were all in! Miss M2 and I ran for a little while and as I was looking ahead I noticed a giant hill. Whoa. I don't run hills. They hurt my knee too much. Luckily Miss M2 didn't want to either. That hill was steep. Luckily when we got to the top we turned around and ran back down.

What I wasn't paying attention on was that when I was noticing that first uphill I somehow missed that we were running down a hill...that meant that we had to go back up at the end.  Miss M2 did great. We paced and we cheered on the other girls when we saw them. We had been chasing a couple of the girls who kept turning around. When we were close to the finish line they turned and saw us closing in. Miss A and Miss K left their running buddy behind and started sprinting to the finish line. They kept looking back to make sure they beat me. Lol. I kept screaming turn around and look in front of you!

The girls all gathered by the finish line to cheer the rest of the girls coming in. We ran out to run in the last runner. I love the support the girls gave each other. I'm really sad about the rain because there was so much planned for after the race, but everyone just wanted to get home. I don't think I was ever so wet.

The following week was the other 5K and I had volunteered to work the water station. I had always wanted to do that. I was the water station captain. We had about 9 people who volunteered. The water station was going to be in the middle of the road at mile markers 1/2. We were going to be busy. There were 5 of us who showed up. We got our water poured and our cups were stacked. We also had a course volunteer come over to help us as well as on the of the race staff members.

The race started at 9am. By 9:04 the young man in the lead was passing us. WHAT? Wow. Soon after the big wave of runners came and didn't let up. We were undermanned, but if there is ever a race for that to happen, it's the Girls on the Run race. The girls were polite and waited for their water and then they were very respectful about throwing out the cups. We hardly had any trash to pick up. I LOVED cheering on all of the girls and encouraging them. It was so much fun.

We had our last meeting together the week after that and it was our end of the year pizza party. Younger siblings (future GOTR girls) asked if they could join us (although I think they just wanted pizza and cupcakes, no they are excited!). The girls gave me a birthday card and got me a little Key Lime pie. Aww. And I made them all their own cups to remember us.

Throughout the season I got to see almost all of the girls from the previous season walking through the halls. Nothing made me smile more than hearing "Miss Jennie!" and then getting a big hug.

It was hard to wait through winter break for the next season. I'm not sure how I'll make it through the whole summer. Haha.

Last week Coach Julie and I took the donations to the Humane Society. They were very thankful for the donations. They let us look around and see the dogs. The girls would have loved it.

I'm already counting down the days until the start of the Fall Season.

Have a Blessed Evening

****Please note****

If you feel like you are alone on your journey and you just need some encouragement I am here for you! Shoot me an email and I will do my best to check in on you or give you the words of support you need several times a week. The journey is so much easier if you have support. 
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