Girls on the Run! 

One reason to have a kid: the indescribable pride you feel when they accomplish a task that they wrestled with for months.  It is a feeling that I could never get from my pup or my next door neighbor or work.  It is a combo of pride and love and excitement and joy and exhilaration.  This little creature who you have nurtured and held and loved and rocked has accomplished something all her own.

Ri joined Girls on the Run in March.  She dreaded the running part of the meetings, and would pray that Girl Scouts or Strings was scheduled on a day that she had GOTR.  But then I would ask her in the evening how GOTR went, and she would reply “oh, it was fine.”  As much as she was blasé about it, or even disliking it at times, I think she learned a lot from it over the 10 week period of time.  They taught about negative thinking and body images in the media and eating healthy.  They taught about standing up for yourself and others and being strong.  And they taught these girls that they could make a goal and accomplish it even if they didn’t particularly enjoy doing it. Perseverance!

During the last week, Ri has willingly gone outside and ran up to Grandview Ave. and back.  This is a mile run.  This may not seem like a big deal to many but it is HUGE for Maria Grace.  This girl had zero desire to ever run and I believe she believed she could not do it.  So to see her strapping on my MP3 player and jogging up the street and back brought me to my knees (literally, I fell to my knees in jest and Ri rolled her eyes and chuckled). She always keeps me guessing.

 She did not exhibit any concern about the race the night before.  She asked what she should eat for breakfast and I told her definitely not a DK donut (her usual Saturday treat with dad).  She ate a half of a ham omelette and a piece of toast.  Smart girl.  Her girlfriend, Norah, wanted to run with us since her mom wasn’t running in the race.  This was a great thing because the two of them are similar in their running styles.  We arrived at the event and found the Grandview Girls team. We had to buy running head bands and pin on our numbers and take the obligatory pictures. I really enjoy the kids and the moms that participated in GOTR. They were a lively group and helped keep the girls’ momentum and excitement going as we waited for the race to begin.

The super heroes also kept our spirits up! When I saw Wonder Woman, I asked Ri to get a picture. She started walking over to her and I stopped her. “No, take my picture with her!” Ri shook her head. I eventually let her and Norah get a picture, too.

Finally, it was time to start the race.  We lined up with some other moms and waited for the gun to go off.  Waiting five minutes seems like 30 minutes when you are about to run a race.  But soon enough we were off and jogging.  Within 100 feet, Ri asked if we could walk a little.  This was going to be a long 5K.

But it wasn’t. It went by in a flash for me. Ri probably feels differently! She was not a happy camper most of the race – definitely feeling the heat and humidity as well as the pangs of running an entire 3.1 miles. We ran a bit and then set up goals to reach to walk a bit. But it wasn’t hard to get them both running again after some down time, which was a good thing. I just kept telling them that they were doing awesome and that the more we ran, the closer the finish would be. I kept trying to think about the end of my marathon and how much I hated the last few miles because I knew that was how Ri felt. But my girl kicked it into high gear when we turned onto Rich Steeet and she saw the Finish sign.

   She ran the race in 36 minutes, which is amazing for someone that has rarely run. I was beaming as we came to the end. How amazing is this daughter of mine to push herself to her limit even when she did not want to and end on a strong note? Love her to pieces. Jon and Mario and Patty were waiting at the end cheering us on and snapping pictures. That part is always so wonderful.

The girls got Popsicles and were relieved to call it over. They couldn’t believe how much they sweated (now Ri may have an appreciation for why I’m so sweaty after the gym). I spent the entire rest of the day with my heart up in the sky elated by my girl’s determination and umph and grateful for the women who put this program together. If it wasn’t for them, Ri would have missed out on conquering an activity that she never thought she’d accomplish.  How much I appreciate their efforts and confidence in the girls.

One more shot of esteem and dose of confidence for this girl. Let’s keep ’em coming.

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