Today was our grand finale Girls on the Run 5K event! And for the first year ever, it was being held as a community event at a local park. Compare that to last fall when the girls ran a 5K in the parking lot of a church! Today’s event was a real race, though not competitive. I was excited, but nervous. I hadn’t trained as much as I would have liked and hadn’t even walked the full distance continuously.
But things started to look negative last night. The forecast was calling for a 70% chance of rain and thunderstorms for the entire day and though the race would only be cancelled in the event of lighting, the rain would have put a damper on everything. If that wasn’t bad enough, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to walk in the race. LilCrockett stepped on my little toe, which was still healing from when I broke it in mid-April. I slipped on a pair of tennis shoes and took a few steps to see how it would feel and I almost fell over in pain. Ahhh, of all nights, why did it have to happen the night before our race?!! I went to bed and said some prayers to chase away the rain and heal my toe (despite the fact that it was throbbing when I went to bed).
When I woke up, my toe wasn’t any better but the weather was beautiful. I tried on every pair of tennis shoes I owned, but they hurt too much to wear; so I ended up slipping on my Keene’s shoes (actually there were a $15 Walmart knockoff pair). I pretty much figured that I would just hang around the finish line and take pictures of the girls as they crossed. Sad, but the end of the world.
I downed some Advil and GothGirl and I headed to the race. It was so amazing when we got there….there were girls in green shirts everywhere, plus other race participants in blue shirts, and volunteers in yellow shirts. They had set up signs for each Girls on the Run group, so we would have a place to meet up. There was face painting and hair painting and under-eye decals (to cut glare). It was really moving to see such a wonderful event dedicated to these girls. I think there were about 500 people participating, plus lots of onlookers cheering us on.
Since I was walking and such, I didn’t take my heavy Canon. All photos were taken with my point and shoot.
Our group of awesome girls (minus two)!!
Me with my fellow coaches!
Waiting for the start!
Two of my coworkers showed up. The one in dark blue was slated to be my walking buddy (as the girls would leave me in the dust). The one in yellow was there to run with her daughter (in turquoise). I was so happy to have these ladies show up to help support a great program!
I told my walking buddy that I would just start walking and see how my toe felt, knowing I could turn around at any time since it was an out and back course. The race officially started and we were off. At first, my toe was a little sore; but then miraculously, the pain seemed to disappear. I kept going….and going. And before long, I knew I’d be able to finish the whole race. I didn’t set any speed records (51 minutes), but considering that I hadn’t really trained for this event and was walking in Keene shoes with a broken toe on a course with some decent-size hills, I was elated! And though I didn’t see her much, GothGirl had a great race too. She and a few of her friends did a combination of walking and running and made it to the finish in about 45 minutes!
The organizers really made this race fun. There were arches (made from cut hula hoops) and big high 5 signs, people ringing cowbells, mile markers, and water stations. For their first community event, they did a great job of covering all the bases. I felt really cheered on, so I know the girls must have felt it as well.
And because it was an out-and-back course, I got to see all of my girls as they were coming back toward the finish! (sadly, the photo of GothGirl was extremely blurry so I can’t share it with you)
After the race, we collected our finishers medals and headed to the pavilion for refreshments. There was tons of food and I’m sure that made the girls happy! I was ready for a drink and a chance to rest too. Shortly thereafter, a zumba dance party started and the girls hung out for more photos and such.