Everyone needs to feed their passion. If you don’t, I truly believe that you will either a) get so bored you slowly start poisoning your spouse with cyanide-laced stroganoff just to see what happens or b) end up like that crazy astronaut lady and attempt to drive cross country in an adult diaper.
My passions are writing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Recently I have felt like through my job and freelance work I was getting my creative fix, but outside of running alone and subjecting my husband Nathan to new meatless food casualties, something was missing.
Then by a random act of star alignment, I came across a little organization called Girls on the Run. Heard of it? Imagine if you will, you wake up suddenly in a panic that you have overslept, only to check the clock and realize it’s just 3am and you can go back to bed. And it’s Saturday. Oh, and that hilarious dream you were having about you and Ty Burrell tap dancing in church? You pick up right where you left off. Yeah, Girls on the Run is THAT amazing.
Girls on the Run, for those of you who don’t know, is a “youth development program which combines an interactive curriculum and running to inspire self-respect and healthy lifestyles in pre-teen girls ages 8-13”. The programs combine training for a 5k running event with self-esteem boosting, uplifting workouts. The goal is to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development.
HOLLA!!! I love it! I mean seriously, listen to their amazing mission statement:
We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.
How amazing is this program? How many times can I say amazing in this post? GOTR was founded by Molly Barker, whom I’ve never met but kinda want to be besties with. She is a FOUR TIME Hawaii Ironman Triathlete, a mom, a published author, a super smarty pants and cutie pie. I bet she’s funny, too. You can read more about Molly and her dream for GOTR here.
I hit up my local chapter and holy hotpants! The fall 5K is this Saturday and “are you available to be a Course Monitor”? Heck yes I am and does the Course Monitor get to fire the start gun, use a bullhorn and or sing the National Anthem? No? Ok, let’s put a pin in that.
TiVo button forward to race day and with purple cowbell in hand, I made my way to my post ready to make a difference, inspire and motivate. Turns out, the term “Course Monitor” is to cheerleader what the water bra is to boobs. Excellent packaging, but once you dive into it – not as advertised. Nevertheless, I rang that bell like my hand was on fire and yelled “Way to go, Ladies! Looking good!” They looked concerned for me. Was that lady (me) having a seizure? Should we call 911? Nobody panic, I assured them. This is what caffeine, stress and lack of inspiration will do to you, kids. Stay in school.
The next 20 minutes were more of the same. Cowbell, yell, smile. Repeat.
After the last runner passed me, I made my way to the finish line and cheered as loud as I could for 300 of my closest total strangers. As I watched those young girls round the final corner to the big, blue FINISH archway, their faces lit up and every single one of them busted into a dead sprint for the finish line. Their grins were ear to ear and their arms were raised in triumph. Some were holding hands with their friends; others were waving to family in the crowd.
I quickly realized that I wasn’t the inspiration that day (jigga what?!) – these little ladies were. This group of gals made the decision 12 weeks ago to try something new. They had set goals and were seeing them through, some I am guessing for the first time. What I saw came in all shapes, sizes, colors and speeds, each one beautiful and radiating pure joy. Even if they decide to never run again, I know that there was a fire in their bellies that day that will never be extinguished. And however it transforms, whether it is as a doctor, a teacher, a mother or a basketball player, I hope they follow that fire.
I walked away Saturday with such hope for myself and a renewed sense that I owe it to myself and my future chitlins to feed my passions. I run, drink skim milk, eat dinner on a salad plate and subject myself to Total Body Conditioning class not to fit into my skinny jeans (which, by the way, isn’t happening this winter), but because it makes me feel strong, invincible and in control. Those are the qualities I want to pass on to the young girls, women and men in my life – not the obsession to be thin or popular or rich. PLUS, no matter how long my Free People tunic is, I just can’t rock an adult diaper. So, it looks like Girls on the Run is here to stay
Look out world….I’m a Girl on the RUN!!!