This morning was the St. Louis Girls On The Run 5Kand it could not have been a more perfect day. 65 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. Over 8,000 people dressed in pink and green, running through the streets together. And all my girls with huge smiles!
I woke up at 6:15 and got a parking spot on the street downtown, walking a few blocks to our meeting spot just in time to see my first girls arrive.
The rest of the team trickled in with their parents and running buddies one by one, all decked out in our tiger stripe outfits!
You might remember that I got these pink and orange tiger socks when I lived in Dallas. Well I started wearing them to practice, and my amazing assistant coach went to Target and got a pair for every girl! We used matching ribbons for some arm and hair bands and our team was definitely best dressed!
I was in charge of hair spray, and lots of the girls even got their parents to get dyed green and purple.
Then it was time for stretching. The girls were FULL of energy and had us all doing squats, high knees, lunges, and then just some crazy dance moves.
To see even my toughie girls – the ones that aren’t very enthusiastic and often not in the mood to participate – giving hugs and jumping around like crazy was amazing. It makes you feel like you really can make a difference and show these girls not only how loved they are, but how much fun being active can be!
The girl I was supposed to run with ended up feeling sick, so I decided to hop in with my other speedster. I gave her dad a break from having to keep up with her and took off with she and her older brother. We were weaving for a while, but she was kicking total butt!
(I ended up putting my hairband over the sides of my glasses to keep them in place. It worked, but it’s not very comfortable!)
There were some hills and the sun was in our eyes, but she never gave up even when it got tough.
They LOVE getting to run on the streets, and especially getting to throw their water cups on the ground!!
Once we turned the corner and saw the bubble machine we knew we were almost finished.
I told her to sprint!
We finished in 29:29, the first of our team and an AMAZING 8 minutes faster than she ran the 5k last fall! I was so proud of her.
The rest of our team starting coming in, all giving big hugs and high fives after accomplishing their goal.
They all said it was really tough! Those hills were bigger than they’re used to.
They showed off their medals and lots grabbed some frozen yogurt to cool off with. The DJ had music blasting and it was one big dance party.
I am so so sad that I can’t continue coaching these girls! There is a Girls On The Run chapter in Virginia that I will get involved with if I have the time, but I don’t know if my school schedule will allow it. I think I’m going to get email addresses and try to start a little penpal program with my girls, and maybe if I end up moving back to St. Louis I can help out again.
Such a rewarding experience.