Monday, May 6, 2013

Tropicool 5K with my Running Buddy

If you ever had questions about the Girls on the Run program, you absolutely have to go to one of the end of the season 5Ks. Talk about something that will put a smile on your face.

As I have said in older posts, this year is my first year of being a Running Buddy for the Girls on the Run program. (See this post for more info on GOTR) A Running Buddy is a woman who is assigned a girl enrolled in GOTR. Each week the running buddy writes letters to her buddy, encouraging her through workouts, telling her about the lessons in the program, and generally supporting all her hard work. Running buddies go to one 5K practice and then run a full 5K with their assigned buddy. 

Yesterday was our 5K. We ran the Tropicool 5K, which is in downtown Naples and also happens to be the race Gulf Coast Runners recognizes their student runners. (The amount of scholarship $$$ they are awarding this year is awesome!!) It is a fun race every year, but this year was so special. 

-excited (and a little nervous) to meet my running buddy-

I arrived early to the race to meet my buddy and her family. Honestly, I was a little nervous to meet her, but she was adorable and so excited for the race. She greeted me with a sweet letter and framed picture of herself holding a sign saying, "I am Girls on the Run". 

My buddy's mom had been training a little to and was going to run along with us. Before we started warming up the Lululemon girls presented all the GOTR girls with gift bags and bright pink headbands. We stretched and got warmed up as a big group, and headed over to the start. All the girls looked awesome with their hair paint, stickers, socks, ribbons, and new headbands.

I explained to my buddy how the timing chip worked and we were off running. She was great from the very start, and flew through the first mile. I kept asking if she was ok with our pace and if she needed to slow down, it was fine. She was not winded in the least and we chatted about her pets and family at home. I thought it was a little extra special that her mom was running with us. I started running because of my mom and some of my favorite runs have been just us two. 

We walked a little half way through the second and third mile, but only for a couple short moments. As we were finishing up the third mile, we ran into one of her friends and running buddy. The girls chatted, giggled, and decided to cross the finish line together. 

As we passed the 3 mile mark and the finish came into view, the girls grasped hands and sprinted to cross the finish line. As they received their medals, the smiles could not be any bigger. There were lots of high fives, and then they were off, looking for other runners. Such a cool moment. 

All along the finish line, girls who had finished were cheering on their friends and sharing their big moments with their families. That my friends, is what running is about. 

I got a big hug from my buddy and her mom as the left to enjoy the rest of their weekend. 

Definitely worth the 5:45 AM wake up call.