May 16, 2013

Girls on the Run Spring 5k Recap

A few months ago a colleague asked if I would be interested in being a running buddy for the spring Girls on the Run South Hampton Roads 5k.  I immediately told her I was in.  I had participated in the fall race and had a blast with the girls and vowed that I would be back.  My colleague asked that I come out to the school for a practice before the race to meet my buddy, H.  So last Friday I was able to get out there when the girls ran their practice 5k.  I learned that H is one of the fastest girls in the school, clocking a 7:15 mile in her physical education...whoa!  She's 9!  Pretty impressive.

Ok, back to the race...I arrived at Town Point Park in Norfolk to a sea of pink, which was fabulous.  Knowing the girls would be rocking their pink GOTR shirts, I decided on my pink Team Sparkle skirt and a purple top, to appease my eight year old self.
This race was much more organized than the last one, partly due to the fact that the park provides loads of open space and easy navigation between areas.  I found the packet pick-up area and got my bib (loved the flowers) and t-shirt.  I headed over to find my school and found the girls giggling, doing cartwheels and marveling over their freshly spray-painted hair.  (Goody is one of the sponsors so they have a booth where the girls can get their hair sprayed and whatnot.)


 I found H and met her Dad and Grandfather who had come out to spectate.  Her Dad informed me that "she's really focused this morning and she really wants to run for time."  Ok, time to get my own game face on!  Soon enough, a local hospital led the group in some stretches and we headed to the starting line.  It was a little tough staying together since pretty much everyone was in the pink t-shirts but we were able to get back together with most of the group for starting line chatter.
Before we knew it, the race was starting.  I told H to go in front of me in the beginning, knowing we would be doing a lot of weaving.  Luckily she stayed pretty close and I was easily able to see her.  The first part of the race took us down Waterside Drive past the Spirit of Norfolk and towards Harbor Park where our AAA baseball team, The Tides, play.  At this point, I was mostly focused on not losing H and trying to chat with her a bit.  We spotted her friend K and caught up with she and her dad for a while.  We hit mile 1 in about 9:30 and passed the first water stop where I grabbed a cup for H.  We walked a bit so we could both get a quick drink and then made the turn back into downtown.
Loved their shirts!

For the next stretch of the race, we were running on a path right on the water and the winds were really strong.  There were lots of spectators during this stretch which I can only assume was a mental boost for Hannah.  And when the crowd wasn't cheering as loudly as I'd like, I started yelling "go Girls on the Run" and that seemed to get them going hehe!  I even saw the coach from the last school I ran with so I gave her a high five as we turned towards Nauticus.  I could tell H was getting a little tired so I focused more on keeping our pace steady and encouraged her to focus on easy breathing.
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After running past Nauticus (the Naval history museum) and the Wisconsin battleship, we went through the Pagoda Garden which was beautiful!  I think it was in here that Hannah twisted her ankle, as the ground was a bit unsteady.  She was a total trooper and kept going after a bit of a walk break!  Out of the garden we turned onto Boush street to head toward the finish line.  We saw H's Dad and Grandfather cheering for us and crossed the finish line in 30:42 - very speedy!
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The finisher chute was well-equipped with water, bananas and bagels.  As soon as we got through, we headed back to the area for our school where H was excited to congratulate her friends.  They had a medal ceremony and each girl seemed pretty pleased with their medal.  As I was leaving, I was able to find the school I worked with last December and chatted briefly with the coach about the team.  The girls did amazing and I saw one of my former running buddies.  Awesome, simply awesome.

All in all it was a great day and I had a blast, as always!  If you have an opportunity to get involved in this organization, do it.  I promise it will be time well spent.

{Christine}

12 comments:

  1. yay so excited it went well. I help with ours at school (I'm a teacher) and our 5K is Sunday afternoon

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  2. I love GOTR, it's such a great organization! Looks like a fun time. Aren't the girls inspiring? :)

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  3. This went on in a town near me and I was thinking abou running. How many practices do you have to attend beforehand?

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  4. YAY!!! I am glad it went well!!!

    GOTR is an amazing organization for sure!

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  5. You look like your flying in your pictures! What a great thing to do!

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  6. So great! I'm volunteering as a running buddy this Sunday for our local GOTR. Can't wait :)

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  7. How much fun is that?! What a cute race!! Love your outfit, too!

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  8. Wow, sounds like so much fun! H would totally kick my butt, she did so great and it's awesome that you participated and ran with her! I've heard so many awesome things about GOTR, I really need to look at getting involved ... although not if all the girls are going to kick my butt haha :)

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  9. I love military ships! Sounds like a very scenic race!

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  10. What a great way to volunteer your time! I'm going to look into it in my area, thanks for sharing!

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  11. This looks like a great run.. lots of fun! i found out about it too late last year and this year a schedle conflict.. hopefully next year- what a neat organization

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