You may have heard me to refer to Betsy as my #solemate. While I’m sure my mother is hoping for me to find a soulmate, I am quite pleased in the fact that I’ve found a solemate. A running friend who views running in the same way I do, as she noted in her blog (that she never blogs on) about a year ago. And I quote (one of my better quotes from Betsy because I think the last one was like, "We’re going to run. Whatever we want. See you at the bridge." So eloquent.):
"I just came back from pancakes with possibly-my-running-solemate Susan (yeah—I spelled solemate that way on purpose), and I talked about rest. We are not runners who want to run one marathon, call it a day and hang up our Ravennas for something else. We are not runners who run because we feel like we should, or from pressure from others. We run because we love it, and it affects our lives in an incredibly positive manner. It makes us better people. And to maintain that, we’re allowing our bodies to run throughout our lives, with periods of rest when our legs (and hearts) require it. We rest because we know there is always more running in the future."
Almost a year later, we’re most definitely solemates and we still share the same views on running. Betsy is definitely one of my favorite people to run with and the miles flyyyy by whenever we run together. Okay, not the point of this post. Back on track.
A couple weeks ago, I got an email from Girls on the Run that they were looking for running buddies for their end-of-program 5k. For those of you who haven’t heard about GOTR, it’s a program that teaches girls ages 9-12-ish about self worth and empowerment through running. I’m sure anyone who is a runner (and you probably are if you are reading this blog…) has their own story of what running has done for them and how it makes them feel, so you can easily see how this could translate into a program for young girls. Since running has done so much for me, I knew it’d be fun to be part of running a 5k with a girl (you literally run/walk/skip with them the entire way!) as she took on her first race. Betsy thought so too, so we were in.
GOTR also has a fundraising program tied to them since putting on these programs does cost a little bit of money. Their program? The SoleMate Program. While I haven’t ever raised money for them, Betsy and I were definitely in the right place when it came to volunteering.
Sunday morning lead us to run over to Randall’s Island for the race. We ended up running into Lindsay, who I haven’t seen in awhile…we must run soon! It was a chilly morning as we grabbed some coffee and saw a bunch of the girls, families, and coaches running around and getting their hair spray painted and such. We tried to find the schools that we were assigned to, but it wasn’t until the very end that we found them.
The first plan of action was to line up on the field inside the track where the girls all cheered when their school names was called. We did some dancing to the music and warmed up Simon Says style. Who knew that Gangnam Style was a warm up? (Also, I should probably watch that video at some point…) The coach I was with paired up the girls since we didn’t have enough running buddies to go around, and we headed over to the track where the race was supposed to start. After yelling, "Girls on the Run is so much fun!" we took off. And one of the girls literally took off, sprinting ahead and quickly got lost in the crowd. I stayed back with the girl who seemed to want to keep a more slow and steady pace.
We chugged along and I tried to be chatty with my girl, but she seemed more like I was (am?) at that age…she answered my questions but didn’t offer much more, so I just asked her how she was feeling and told her how great she was doing. Sometime we ran, other times we walked, and when we didn’t want to do either, we skipped. Ha, I like it. At one point I asked her what her favorite part of the program was, and she said the running…I like you already, little one.
The race was an out and back, so after awhile we started seeing some girls on their way back…and they were flying! My little lady cheered for her friends and got really excited to high five some volunteers who were out to cheer. It was an exciting time and the girls really looked like they were having fun. I saw Betsy a few times with her girl and went back and forth with Lindsay many times, as her girl seemed to be the "sprint then stop to stretch" variety.
We definitely did better on the way back than we did on the way out, and she started to pick up the pace before taking a break for the final push into the stadium. We entered the track and cheered like crazy as she ran across the finish line…I don’t remember if she put her arms up, but I put them up for her as she got a medal placed around her neck. When you ask her how the race was, she screamed, "That was amazing!!"
I like it. So much fun, times don’t matter. I do hope she continues to run for a long time because it really can bring you so many things…maybe one day she’ll have a solemate of her own.
Have you run a GOTR 5k? Any little running buddies? Diaper dashes? God bless my future children for what I will subject them to…