This weekend, we celebrated each member of our family: my husband’s birthday, my son’s baby dedication, Mother’s Day, and our baby on the way. And those recaps will come. But this weekend was also a celebration of a group of 13 fabulous students I’ve had the privilege to coach during my first season with the “Girls on the Run” organization, and that’s where my weekend actually began:
Friday night, I spent the evening filling up school-spirit balloons at a car dealership (free helium, people!) to bring to the 5k the next morning. And yes, that is my baby bump with the helium tank!
My Saturday started at 4:30 AM for the regional Girls on the Run spring 5k event at Sweet Briar College. We arrived around 6:40 with plenty of time to get set up and greet each of our 13 energetic students as they arrived with their families. My co-coach, two teacher volunteers, and our amazing assistant principal also helped to get the girls pepped for the start. The girls adorned themselves with tattoos and hit up the Happy Hair station for hair paint. My husband and I brought the helium balloons to tie to our school’s sign. We passed out team paracord bracelets my husband made and shoe/hair ribbons I made for extra school spirit.
Even my son hit up the tattoo spirit station! He was so proud of his “sticker.”
Our school’s team began in Wave 3, but my co-coach arranged for two of our highly-competitive runners to begin in Wave 1. (Sure enough, they would later cross the Finish Line 1st and 2nd overall, although places and times are not officially recorded or recognized.) So proud of them regardless! They are going to be STARS in high school. I can’t wait to hear about them!!
The course at Sweet Briar College took us along the 3.1-mile Dairy Loop. They warned us about us about the hills and we trained on hills, but I think to be properly trained for these hills, we should have bussed our girls to the local ski slopes for long hikes – “hilly” was an understatement!
The course was gorgeous as promised, with stables and horses and lots of mountainside scenery. It was so inspiring to run alongside 420 little elementary school girls! So proud of each one of them and how hard they’ve worked, not just our 13!
Crossing the finish line was special for me because I again received an extra medal to put in the nursery with medals from other races I’ve completed during this pregnancy, including the Shamrock Marathon, my most recent race.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention it rained during and after the race!
It was so rewarding to stick around and watch the rest of my team cross the finish line with their families. We celebrated with lots of team pictures.
On Monday, we awarded the girls with more race goodies and certificates, took more team pictures, and had a t-shirt signing party. We’ll have a celebration party soon. And then they’ll start back up in the fall with another team! I’ll be on maternity leave, but I’ve passed the torch to two other teachers to coach next season. And who knows, maybe I’ll sign up to volunteer at the next 5k! Thank you, Girls on the Run, for developing such an amazing, empowering program! So glad to have been a part of this one for the last 12 weeks!
*I am not endorsed by GOTR… these views and opinions are all my own!