Thursday, November 16, 2017

Clash Dash with Girls on the Run

This fall I took on a new challenge, something that has been festering in my brain for a while. I decided to coach the local Girls on the Run (GOTR) team. The team of 8-10 year old girls meet twice a week for ten weeks in the park down the street from my house -- a quick half-mile bike ride away.

How hard could it be for me to volunteer 20 times? Harder than it should have been. There were the knowns (a week in Belgium and Paris) and the unknowns (the death of my mother-in-law). It was tough for me to build momentum and learn names. Then all of a sudden, or so it seemed, we had our Halloween session, our practice 5k, our volunteer day, and were finishing our season.

I won't post pictures of the girls, since I feel funny doing so in this forum. They have all signed photo releases, but I don't think their parents thought that extended to my family blog. 

Sunday the 10 weeks culminated in the Princeton Clash Dash 5k at Stuart Country Day School. There were 464 runners -- many GOTRs and their running partners. I thought I was teamed up with the fastest girl, but she talked her sister into running with her. Good thing since she beat my PR by at least one minute per mile. Instead I gave encouragement where I feel it is most needed -- the back of the packers. After the start I caught up to Miss D and her mom, a runner. Then I caught up with Coach Julia and Miss S and her friend, Miss C. We were a small pack until D and Julia caught a wind and took off. 

S's friend C was a great cheerleader. I motivated S by encouraging her to dash to the next mailbox, or stop sign, or some other marker. C kept up with her friend, all while jogging in place. When we made it to the finish line around 52 minutes, I snapped this picture of her crossing the line (I'm okay with posting backs of heads, just not faces). The more I tried to zoom, the farther she got away from me.

I will link to my time HERE for anyone truly interested, but I knew I would be so slow I didn't even turn on my running app. I did nail the CLASH part of Clash Dash:

In all honesty, it was because I was cold and not because I was trying to clash. I also wanted to wear my new running skirt. This was my fourth weekend in a row waking early to race. It was also the first morning I had to be outside with temps in the 20s in many months. I wore two sweatshirts, plus the GOTR coach shirt, fleece lined running pants, two headbands, socks, and the phone holder (the pink arm band). I did not get warm until I ran 2 miles in my neighborhood at my usual pace afterwards.

One more side story, and yes, this post is really out of order.
I did the responsible adult thing and went to Princeton Pacers on Friday afternoon to pick up my bib. I was assigned #41, as in I was the 41st person to pick up my bib. You can clearly see in the picture I am wearing bib #363. As I was walking to the start line I realized I left my bib at home. As this is a small, local race I decided to ask if I could receive another bib rather than calling Don to see if you could drive the 15 minutes to bring me the bib (I had at least 30 minutes before the start, but doing the round trip would have meant skipping the coaching responsibilities). Yes, they could handle that. Whew! That's when I realized what a mental block I had about the event. I tried to change my attitude and have some fun.

Coach Julia made the awesome purple headbands for everyone on the team.

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