Cheering Everyone On

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I volunteered to coach Girls on the Run at school this year.  I love its message of empowering girls and helping them be active and run!  Since I teach Kindergarten-2nd graders during the day, it’s also nice to meet more students as the girls on the team are in 3rd-5th grade.  The activities by the program are very cute, and I love watching the girls smile and be silly.  The lessons involve themes such as positive self-talk, reducing peer pressure, what beauty means, gaining confidence.  The girls will also develop and execute a service project over the next few weeks before running a 5k in June.


While we participate in the various activities each session, we also try to give the girls as much time to run around the block as possible.  It’s hard to stop them as time runs down when they keep saying “one more lap” and “I want to beat my goal” (they set lap goals for each day).  Some of the girls are determined running as much as possible.  Others are content walking, dancing, and doing cartwheels on the sidewalk!


Today included an inspirational moment.  As the girls finished their final lap, a couple started cheering the others coming in and holding their hands out for high fives.  You could tell it gave the runners that last burst of energy to finish strong.  Then they added to the line of cheerers.  As the last few ran in, they started chanting the name of the runner as well.  It was a great moment of watching the girls come together and truly support each other.  It truly is a testimony to building a community and girl power.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

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turtleThis past weekend I ran my second Zooma Run 10K Race. Since I started running a few years ago, I’ve mostly ran 5K races. Last year, I challenged myself to run the inaugural Zooma 10K Chicago because I was intrigued by the idea of a woman’s race and the benefits offered. I had a great weekend, so I knew I wanted to sign up for the race again this year.

Last year, my training was cut short due to a knee injury. I was glad to just finish the race, and knew I would be in pain afterwards. This year, I started increasing my running duration then slowly my mileage earlier on in hopes of being able to run all 6.2 miles. This was working well until my knees starting hurting again about 3 weeks before the race. I was frustrated with being injured and having to halt my training since it hurt to only walk. My goal was again to finish the race and take care of myself.











On race morning, I was up before the sun and had a beautiful view of the sun rise over the lake. I was excited for the race to begin, warmed up, and headed to the start line. I knew if I ran at a steady tempo, I would be able to run longer before stopping. I created a playlist of songs that I knew would motivate me while running. As I started running, I just enjoyed the feeling and beautiful view of the city. While running, as things got more challenging and I got tired, I give myself pep talks: “Keep going”, “You Can Do It”. I feel like the turtle in The Tortoise and The Hare-“Slow and Steady Wins the Race”. I gave myself a pat on the back at each mile mark. It was helpful that Zooma put inspirational signs and jokes throughout the race: If Athletes get Athlete’s Foot, what do Astronauts get? Mistletoe. Why do runners run early in the morning? They get it out of the way before their body realizes what they’re doing. And my favorite, “Nothing is Impossible, the Word Itself Says “I’m Possible” by Audrey Hepburn.

By reminding myself to go slow and steady, I was able to push myself and run longer and farther than I thought possible. I ran 5 miles before stopping for a short walk and water break, and then continued for the last mile. I was not expecting to run 6 miles nor end the race with little knee pain. Not only that, but I set a Personal Record by running a faster time than I did last year. Immense pride and relief in myself doesn’t do justice to what I was actually feeling.

This is a reminder, especially as the school year is about to begin, that Slow and Steady Really Does Win the Race. We all set goals and work at our own pace to achieve them. NO matter what is the pace, we can accomplish anything we set our mind to.


Take a Risk

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When I heard the Color Run was coming to Chicago, I was intrigued due to the popularity of the event and pictures I’ve seen of friends who have participated.  I immediately emailed a group of friends, and we organized a team.  I was excited for the event because it would be a fun and different race to complete with friends.


As the race approached and I figured out what to wear, I was excited and a little anxious.  I am not a fan of getting messy, especially my hair.  The idea of color being thrown at me was not the most comforting feeling.  I talked with people who had participated in similar races to get an idea what it would be like, and I bought a hat to protect my hair.


On race day, even though I was a little nervous, I was also very excited.  There was so much positive energy and excitement at the beginning of the race that I was ready to go!  My friends and I started the run, and it was a lot of fun walking and talking.  As we approached the first color station, pink, I was a little nervous, so I ran through the middle to avoid getting fully splashed.  It wasn’t as bad as I expected, and I loosened up a bit as we kept going.


I then strategized with my friends to figure out how we could get more color at each station.  At the next color, orange, we ran on the right side; for the blue station, we ran on the left side to even out.  We ran through the colors getting decorated and laughing along the way.


After crossing the finish line, we circled up as a group and opened up the extra color packets to celebrate.  The color got all over to finish the decorating, but we were smiling and laughing.  We then took a picture to prove we successfully finished.  Everyone said they had a great time, and we can’t wait to do it again.


Sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone, take a risk, and try something that may be scary or new.  If I hadn’t taken the risk of running the Color Run and getting a little messy, I would have missed out on the chance to have a lot of fun with friends.  It was a risk, but definitely worth it!