Thursday, May 17, 2012

Two times the 5k fun

Last weekend was the weekend of 5ks; one each day.

Saturday's 5k didn't actually involved a lot of running, per se, but the distance was covered nonetheless, and it was an official race....so I'm counting it as mileage :).

I may have mentioned some time back that I was selected to be a coach for Girls on the Run Girls on the Run is a 12-week program teaching self-respect and healthy lifestyles to pre-teen girls, and at the end of the 12-weeks, we run a 5k.  This program is pretty huge, spanning across the country in 173 cities.

It was an interesting 12-weeks, if I had to sum up the experience in one word.  I coached at a low income school...meaning, all the girls involved were on a scholarship and did not have to pay the $180 to be involved; the money was donated by a sponsor and none of us coaches knew who this was.  Not that that mattered, but when we wrote letters thanking our sponsor for the opportunity to participate, I just had them write "Dear Sponsor," and left it at that.  Hopefully the notes of thanks will end up in the right hands; the girls were truly grateful, once they knew how much the program cost.  But the season wasn't without it's challenges and I was reminded how appreciative I am to be DONE with pre-teen girls at my house ;).

Nevertheless, we overcame each obstacle unscathed and all but one of the girls who were involved in the program came out on a chilly Saturday morning to run the season-end 5k.
The entire Rocky Mountain Region Girls on the Run met early on Saturday morning in a park in Denver proper; there must have been about 1500 girls.  Nothing like a sea of swarming adolescent female hormones in one spot for a few hours to test one's patience :).  So each of us adults (if you want to call myself one - ha) ran with one girl from the team, and I got this sweet little 3rd grader:

I actually was a nervous wreck thinking I might lose her somewhere along the course; I tried to hold her hand as much as she'd let me and thankfully we stayed together the entire way.  Phew!

We started off with the masses and quickly found our "pace"...of about 6:30 min/mile.  As much as we tried to teach the girls the idea of running slow to run longer, the concept was pretty much non-existent.  They'll learn one day I suspect (unless they read all my past race reports reading, "I started out too fast", of course), so I just kept reeling her in and we were able to cover the first mile in about 10:30.  Not bad for a 9 year old who's never ran a solid mile before.  But we sort of fell apart when she found out there was no water station parked precisely on the 1-mile sign and we came to a screeching halt.  She was "out of energy", she stated, and firmly announced we'd walk until we found water.  Unfortunately, that didn't come until close to mile 2, and we pretty much did walk this whole way.

At first I was thinking, "WHAT????", the competitive freak I can be am took over and all I could see were hundreds of people passing us; race performance anxiety started to kick in.  Get a grip, Jill!!!   My little buddy did not care one iota who passed us, not even others from her school, and since this race was about her, not me (I know, *gasp*), I just tried to smother her with words of encouragement.  We finally got to the water stop and she inhaled about 4 cups of water (it was a balmy 40 degrees, you can see why she was so thirsty :)) and suddenly, we're back to our first mile tactics of 30-yard sprints followed by a 200-yard walk, with her new-found energy.  Worked for me, I'll take a bit of speedwork wherever I can get it.

We talked about a lot of things during our time on the road together and I got to learn a lot from her, like what an exceptional woman her mother is and how much adversity she has had to overcome in her very short 9-years of life.  I even figured out how to smile and have fun (even stopping to look at the ducks in the pond at one point - in a RACE - and I was A-okay with it!).  We crossed the finish line in 49:27 and I was actually a little choked-up.


I hoped she was moved in some way by the experience; she was a little distracted by post race chocolate chip pancakes and hot chocolate to get many comments about the race out of her afterwards....but as we were leaving for the day she told me, "I loved racing, I can't wait to do another one."  

My heart melted.....I found a new runner.  That is worth every single micro-second I spent with these girls during the past 12 weeks and I hope by completing this program and the big 5k race that they come away with a desire for a fit lifestyle and inspiration to take good care of their bodies through running or other forms of exercise.  I hope my little friend has many more 5ks and beyond  in her life (and I hope the race has plenty of water stops); I can't express in one blog post how good it feels to find a new member of our running community at such a young age.  If any of you have the opportunity to be a coach for such an incredible program and you find a little runner out of the process, I promise you it will change your life.

Moving on to 5k #2....

In my continued quest to find a little of my long-lost speed, I signed up for an all-women's 5k on Mother's Day.  How cool is that, lots of ladies doing what we love to do - run - on the one day of the year to celebrate women?!?  Well, celebrate moms, but moms are women so whatever.  I was all over that, but come race day morning, another chilly and drizzly day, I wondered if I should just sleep in and skip the thing....I was tired.  

But went I did.  I've never regretted any race I've ever done, even the worst of the worst ones, and I knew I wouldn't regret this one either....once I got out of my nice, warm covers.  Besides, I loved the shirt - a rarity for me - and I couldn't pass it up :).  I'm a huge fan of cotton women's cut t-shirts; they are my daily summer staple paired with my trusty Nike Tempo shorts.  What more does a girl need to wear!  And this one was so cool!
I don't think I've ever done an all-women's race.....if I have, it was back in the days before old age erased all those memories, so I was sort of looking forward to no testosterone tearing up the course.  I actually had a really bad week of running last week; my body did not recover quickly from that speedier-than-thought half marathon the weekend before so I had no idea what I was capable of and that worst-ever Pi-mile 5k a few weeks ago was still fairly fresh in my head.  I was a bit worried that the course had no water and I actually considered carrying my hand-held bottle...until I looked like dork central when no one else around me had one.  I quickly stashed it in the bushes by the start line and prayed I wouldn't pass out due to dehydration.  I thought maybe I should just run it casually so I wouldn't get so thirsty.

Hum....I believe it was only yesterday I was giving my little Girls on the Run girl the "No one NEEDS water in a 5k" pep talk.  Go, Jill!!!

This wasn't a big race by any normal Colorado race standards.  We here in the healthiest and fittest state in the country have some pretty spectacular speedy runners....none of which are me, and none of which were at this race.  In typical Jill 5k fashion, I took out too fast (duh!!!) but I really didn't care.  This was an out and back course so I could easily see my placement....and I found myself in uncharted territory: 5th place. I prayed I could hold on for dear life, but shortly after mile 2, I started to get the dreaded lead legs (duh!) and one runner passed me in my slow crawl to to the finish.  But, as we climbed the last small hill in the final quarter mile, I passed someone else and reclaimed my previous 5th place position and finished there with a 23:51.  Almost 2 minutes faster than the Pi-mile 5k a few weeks earlier.

Well, okay, the course was short, which is a miracle since every race I've done this year has been long (including the Carlsbad Marathon since I got lost and added an extra 3/4 of a mile) ... but even if I rounded the pace to the official 5k mark, I knocked off well over a minute. 

I like progress!

I took my 5th place overall medal, gift certificate to another race, and a mini bundt cake win home....


....and devoured every last drop of that cake.  Gluten and all.  All by myself.  A Happy Mother's Day weekend to me, indeed!

Run Strong, 
Jill

49 comments:

Kandi said...

I've heard such great things about Girls on the Run. I'd like to coach someday. Glad you had a nice run with your girl.
Way to go with your 5th place! I like that shirt too. Are all the good shirts in Colorado?! I ran a small 5k a few years back and somehow managed a 3rd place overall finish with a 25:xx time. The 1st and 2nd place finishers were withing 30 seconds of me! They had cash prizes too. I wished I had run a bit faster.

Tasha @Healthy Diva said...

Girls on the Run sounds like a great program Jill. I am glad that you had fun "running" with your new little buddy. Are you going to coach again next year?

Taking a minute off of a 5K time is AWESOME. That is more than progress. Great job. You deserved to devour the bundt cake. :-)

Robin said...

That's an awesome weekend of running. The Girls on the Run program is fantastic! I love the little girl you ran with. Reminds me of my daughter (who will be 9 in June) who is going to be running her first 5K June 2. I'm thinking our run will be very similar to yours! Well done.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats on both the races

misszippy said...

Sounds to me like you are on a roll! And that's so great to hear--you deserve a great year. Keep doing what you're doing--it's working!

We had a GOTR 5k here last weekend also. I was a course marshal but have been a buddy runner before also. It's a great experience--love seeing their smiles when they finish!

Raina said...

Coming back for a second comment later, but just wanted to say that race report #1 was the BEST race report I have read in a LONG time. Brought tears to my eyes. I can imagine running with my son in his first 5k soon...He's been asking to. I will politely try to step off the course OUTSIDE of the finish line if I can swing it while still holding his hand. :)
Seriously- you make me want to help with GOTR too now.

Christi said...

Sounds like you had a great weekend Jill!

Johann said...

Awesome program and really great that you can run the 5k with one of the girls. 23:51 is really fast, well done!

Tricia said...

I agree with Raina, that first race report was the best I've ever read and I had tears in my eyes. Good for you for being a Girls on the Run coach. A friend and I have talked about it when our high schoolers have moved on. What a doll you ran with and who even knew it was possible to stop and look at ducks during a race!

And congrats on the second race. 5th place is very cool.

MotherRunner said...

A Girls on the Run chapter just started in my area, and I'm thinking about being a coach. I just wish they (and the local organizers) didn't have to pay SO MUCH to use the GOTR logo and training program. Thanks for your perspective, and congrats on two great races!

brg said...

Awesome awesome awesome! ! You are getting faster. I'm dreading when you join me in my AG. ;) yum...mini bundt cake. I would be jealous except I'm in nyc and just inhaled a freshly bake cheese danish. Happy running Jill. Your speed is coming back.

Amanda@runninghood said...

So cool you did GOTR...I think I might try to do this someday. They are so lucky to have you. Jill, you continue to make such great progress as you continue your comeback...really inspiring. Awesome job on this last minute 5k. I love the shirt too.

SupermomE12 said...

I loved reading about your Girls On the Run experience! What a wonderful thing for you to do and I have no doubt that even if she was distracted by chocolate at the end, that that little girl will always remember you and that day. That is SO special!!!

And congrats on your great 5k the next day. Awesome job!!! Sounds like a perfect Mother's Day to me. :) Hugs!

hiker mom said...

What a great weekend! GOTR sounds like a great experience. So amazing to hear about:)

Whitney said...

Yay! Happy Mother's Day! That Girls on the Run program sounds so awesome - maybe I'll have to find a way to get involved here.
Congrats on the great race - and a bundt cake too!

On the Right Track said...

I can think of no one better to participate in GOTR other than you...you are constantly inspiring, motivating and supporting others...Way to Go! What great memories to keep hold of and think about, and her too hopefully!

Way to go on your 5K...that's a good time there ;)

pensive pumpkin said...

I feel your pain on the dork factor thing- I wore my hydration belt to the 5k I DNFd. They must have thought I was a real nube, but in reality I was testing the race bib holder before my Half. so their making fun can suck it.

Love that you are finding your speed! Send some my way! LOL

Julie said...

Yea Jill!!! Loved both race reports. I love those shirts for the mothers day run. I've thought about doing it several year and never ended up doing it. Maybe next year.

It's so nice to hear you sounding happy(ier) about you race times! :)

Terzah said...

I would LOVE to do Girls on the Run someday. Will and Ruth's school has a Bolder Boulder running club that I think I will volunteer with next year for a start....

Congrats again on your great 5K! I love that shirt too and hope I can be out there with you at this one next year.

2 Slow 4 Boston said...

How fitting that a runner with an email address starting "run like a girl" would help out a group called Girls on the Run. Must be fate. That sounded like a gratifying experience. Makes me want to sign my 8 year old up for a 5k now.

Way to start out the 2nd race too fast! I mean, way to take 5th place, you are fast.

Teamarcia said...

I don't know why I'm shocked the kids go out so fast and then die. I should have known this. Hopefully my GOTR race this weekend won't kill me.
Very nice racing weekend girl!

C2Iowa said...

Congrats on BOTH races. What a cool experience.

btw - I wish that I could run a sub 24 5k! Well done.

I think that your new friend has giving me an idea about my race this saturday -- run like hell until I see ducks!

DRog said...

good things going on!
sounds like a completely awesome program that you are basically perfect for :) fear of losing a 3rd grader on the race course: ive had the same fear! haha

nice progress! just ANOTHER medal to add to your impressve collection :)

Mike said...

Hey :-), good for you mentoring new young runners. Hopefully, it's a memory that will stick with your running partner. Sounds like you had to use all of your patience though :-).

Nice 5k yourself! 5th overall is awesome! Hardware and cake, double win!

Jenn said...

Okay. As usual, your writing makes me laugh out loud. This little race description=TOO funny. A balmy 40 degrees and the extreme thirst-bahahaha!!!!

Ok-that was a really good 5K Jill!! I love that shirt! I would wear that one A LOT!!! I would also clear off that bundt cake LONG before I got home!! Admire your restraint. All I ate this weekend was bread and oil and carrot cake. I am living in the tempos this week as there would realistically be NO range of motion in my jeans;) Happy Mother's Day sweet friend and amazing mother!!

Caroline said...

fantastic race!!! very happy for you!!! that is fast!!!

GOTR sounds like a wonderful program!!

Char said...

The way you wrote about supporting your new racing convert around the race reminded me so much of my kids little athletics days. Helping out at events was so rewarding. Especially when you saw the light go on in some little kid's brain and they achieved something that they'd never done before. It's an awesome thing to be part of.
Great work on that 5k. Who cares if it was a little short - 5th place is nothing to be sneezed at.

Mark said...

What a fun weekend! I bet you influenced those girls in a great way! Great job on the 5th place overall!!!

Mark said...

What a fun weekend! I bet you influenced those girls in a great way! Great job on the 5th place overall!!!

Nitmos said...

Nice 5ks! They look great on you.

Black Knight said...

5th place overall: congrats! I would be 5 overall only on a pack of 5.
A very beautiful week end.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

mini bundt cake totally awesome
being a GOTR leader amazing and I love that you walked with her without pushing

you make life fun!

Irene said...

I love that you raced with an 8 year old! I'd love to do that... Maybe I'll do that with the 8 year old in my life some day... :)

Looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks.

ajh said...

I do love the shirt! I've done a fair number of all women's racers and always like them. I think you are speedy fast! Great job.

And Girls on the Run is awesome. I have been to two of the races. Emily coached one year - a team very much like yours - and then last year a lot of my "kids" ran in one. That was awesome!

HappyTrails said...

Ohhh - "your" little girl is so cute and sweet and little! No wonder she wanted to stop and eat donuts. Now I feel bad about the "suck it up, buttercup" we were laughing about. :-( Ha, ha - a little gluten and a yummy bundt cake is good for us all every now and then. Frozen yogurt, too.... ;-) Keep up your diligent work - everything is going to "click" one of these days. Stay positive and live with passion!

Matthew Smith said...

That's so cool! Way to go on a great run and a new friend!

Petraruns said...

Girl - I have tears in my eyes. I think you're incredible. I cannot begin to imagine coaching a whole bunch of preteens - I have one 11 year old and I am not handling that one too well. What you did for this lovely little thirsty 9 year was show her something she could do that she would never have known about without you - you're amazing!

As for your 5K - way to go to win a prize and get out there. And that tshirt is great - I would have run a 5K for that myself...

Anne said...

Back to back races showing Girl Power. Love it!!

abbi said...

Love the story of the GOTR 5K and the new runner! And congrats on your 2nd 5K (even if short!)

Jenny @ The Little J-Bird said...

You're such an inspiration, Jill! GOTR sounds like a wonderful experience. Congrats on a fast 5k and on finishing the bundt cake. ;)

Bubble Boy said...

Nice race Jilly Beans! You are getting your speed back.

Julie D. said...

I need to get involved in our local GOTR! What a great experience!! Congrats on your 5th place finish!!! I love out and backs because it does give you a solid idea of where you are at!! Way to go.

Julie D. said...

I need to get involved in our local GOTR! What a great experience!! Congrats on your 5th place finish!!! I love out and backs because it does give you a solid idea of where you are at!! Way to go.

Jamoosh said...

One minute is progress indeed. Congrats on your fifth place finish!

Cory Reese said...

That picture with your mini running partner is priceless. Something like that is worth way more than any medal you could have gotten.

Great job on your races! You are basically incredible.

Adrienne said...

Wow, keep making progress, young lady! You know you have an ironman we have to get ready for LOL!!

I'm a fan of the GOTR program and have been wanting to get involved in the Houston chapter.

You are quite the ambassador for running:)

Molly said...

mmmmm. Bundt cake.

I love how you did GOTR, I'm sure your buddy will remember her first race forever.

I have a 5k next weekend, and I don't really feel like doing it, I like the longer distances. But like you said, it will be good for speedwork!!

Great job Jill! : )

Tara said...

How did I miss this post?!?! Bwhahah! I'm just kidding, I know you hate that phrase, so I decided to be a little pest and use it. In all honesty, you know I've had a busy week and have just been blog slacking (as usual).

Anyway...loved the recap of the GOTR. Your little partner is adorable and I love how little kids go balls to the walls out of the start gate and then lose steam. They are so cute. Plus it's always nice to stop and look at the ducks. :) Glad you were there to hone in a new fellow runner.

Congrats on your 5K time, your speed is returning girlie!

Suz and Allan said...

Congrats on your 5th place finish!