Tag Archives: Girls on the Run

beYOUtiful

I work for this incredible organization, Girls on the Run.  The mission of Girls on the Run is to inspire young girls to be healthy, joyful, and confident.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could inspire all women to be healthy, joyful, and confident?

This weekend I was representing Girls on the Run at a local health and wellness fair.  This is the first one I have worked and while I didn’t know exactly what to expect, I really enjoyed sharing this mission of Girls on the Run and meeting women in my community.  I’ve been dwelling on one conversation that I had and I’ve been trying to put it into words…so here it is!

As I was giving my spiel to one lady, telling her all about our 2x a week, 10 week long, 90 minute meetings with 3rd-5th grade girls…. the woman was disappointed that we didn’t start the program younger.  She explained to me that her daughter, in 2nd grade, can’t walk past a mirror and not stop and look at herself.  She said that her daughter looks at herself and says, “I’m so fat”, despite her small frame.

2nd grader.  Probably 7 years old.

Isn’t that amazing?

I have 20 more years of experience in this world than this young girl.  I struggle every day with how I look, what I have and don’t have, and what I wish I was.  I haven’t always fit in, I was never the skinniest girl, I am covered in freckles (that are oh-so-easy to make fun of) and I have always preferred to wear sweatpants over cutesy dresses.  I have been made fun of and I have been unhappy with my appearance, on more than one occasion.

But now, as an “adult”, I accept who I am.  I am me.  I have worked incredibly hard to be able to accept who I am and what I have.  Of course, I have dreams, desires, and wishes (I think that makes me human), but I love who I am, who I have become, and I am comfortable with where I am in my life and my “inner me”.

I know what I look like in the mirror, I know what my “inner me” thinks about that reflection in the mirror, but I have no idea how the rest of the world perceives me.  That seven year old looks in the mirror and thinks she’s fat.  I wonder what that 7 year old will say in 20 years? 

Now, I’m not putting blame on this mother, by any means.  I know nothing about her as a person or as a mother or their family dynamics.  But, as I have thought about this interaction, I can’t help but think about the power of influence

I know that I’m not old.  I’m not young either.  I am still influenced by the internet, the media, my family, my friends… aren’t we all? But children have the potential to be impacted so greatly by these sources of power and influence.  Children (like this 2nd grader) are learning about the world, about their family, about their bodies, about the best way to act/dress/look/be.  Influence is incredible.  Don’t you think? 

At some point, through some social media site, I came across an article talking about “things to not say in front of your daughter”.  Think I could find that article when I went to find that post? Heck no, I’m not that internet savvy I guess! However, I was able to scrounge up these links:

Great advice for moms and dads – those who have direct influence over their children.

Now, let me throw this out there.  I don’t have kids.  I plan to have kids, we’re just not there yet in life.  So yes, I don’t have the experience with raising a child – I am sure it’s 10,000 times harder than I am imagining and that the things in those links aren’t always that easy to talk about or do.  But I hope, one day, I’m able to have a daughter and be able to tell her that she is beYOUtiful, just how she is.  She is a warrior, strong, intelligent, brave… And if I have a son, I hope to be able to say the same.

We are all beautiful just how we are.  We just need to learn to accept that.  We need to be able to tell our “inner me” we are just the way we are meant to be.  We are beYOUtiful.  When we accept that within ourselves, I believe the rest of the world is able to see that – we shine from the inside out.

Be you. Be beautiful.

beyoutiful

beautiful

 

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Half Marathon Recap

Cinco de Mayo 2013 marked an awesome day…. I completed my first half marathon.

I’ve talked about the race many, many times and as I sit here and write this, 15 days later, I still can’t believe I did it!!! I was incredibly nervous (but ready) and I knew that I worked really hard to follow my training plan.

My friend Lindsey and I have been planning to run this race since September 2012; however, neither one of us could remember why we actually decided to do it.

Here’s a little photo montage of our weekend in Kalamazoo — I am now officially a half-marathoner. 🙂

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After exploring around the check-in venue, trying to find where to get our bibs, and (of course) purchasing our 13.1 car magnets, we stopped to snag a picture to show we were actually there! 🙂

Our “pre-game” meal didn’t turn out as planned as we wanted to go to a specific restaurant, not factoring in the other 3,000 people there for the race as well as proms and typical Saturday traffic.  So we ended up at Monaco Bay, a piano bar.  We got decent food (no pasta), had a pre-race celebratory beer, and prepared to be the DDs for our trusty fans.

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We went to the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange next – where Matt and Stange enjoyed “playing the market” and drinking fantastic beers. Lindsey and I decided to get in our carb load with this delicious bread pudding. I mean, why not? We’ve been training for way too long…

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And yes, we are broke and paid the waitress with those quarters. Don’t judge.

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I mean, this didn’t make us crap our pants or anything – I thought it was a good idea to have a countdown app on my phone, until 24 hours before the race and it just kept reminding me non-stop…. ummm helllloooo of course I know there’s a race coming!!!

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Besides for watching Stange and Matt get really excited at the prices of beers, this young gem was our other form of (sober) entertainment.  Who brings their young kid to the bar to play his handheld video game while hogging the pool table??? People these days…. 😉

Okay, but seriously, I’ll start talking about the actual race now. 

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Ahhhhh…. nice early morning shot. We didn’t sleep so hot the night before – probably because we jammed 4 people into a 2 person room.

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Saturday night, Lindsey was saying that the final .1 was going to be the killer and that she was just gonna stop at the 13 mile mark. Lucky for us, we parked right by the 13 sign and of course, she just decided to sit and refuse to move further.

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Ahhhh walking up to the start/finish line. How cool!

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Couldn’t wait to get the rest of the day done and over with so I could come back and see this side of the sign.

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Straight cheesing.

I wore Remedy (white), size large, calf compression running socks.  These made a WORLD of difference.  I didn’t do much training with them because I made kind of a last minute decision to buy them.  I am so incredibly happy I did.  I get chronic calf pain and shin splints from an old fracture of my tibia.  I also wore a heel cup in my right shoe as I know I have a leg length discrepancy because of the fracture.

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Yes, we were nervous.

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Let’s just say our 2.5 hour block of people was a littttttle far away from the start/finish line.

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Thumbs up?

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Double thumbs up? I’m pretty sure my knees were shaking non-stop at this point. At least I was representing my SoleMate shirt. Was so happy to be running for Girls on the Run.
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Of we go! This is the only picture I took out on the course.  If you look towards the middle/left side of the picture, you can see a white tent on top of a building…. that is where we are getting married!!! We ran right by it. I won’t lie, I cried. I especially cried because my iPod decided to play Bruno Mars “Marry You” as I was running up to it. I wish I had planned that. haha

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So, here’s the thing.  I thought that Linds was going to fly past me and that I was going to be running the race on my own, which I was totally cool with.  However, we decided in the beginning that we were going to run together.  We got each other through the race. The first half of the race was tough for me. The second half of the race was tough for her.  We pushed each other straight through.  I couldn’t have done it without her.

As we were running past that final 13 mile mark, I told Linds we were going to stick together til the end. If you can’t tell by the picture above, I didn’t hold true to my thought.  I got too caught up in the moment and pushed myself. In all honesty, I turned the corner and saw 2:46 on the sign and I was SO PISSED at myself for not even being close to the 2:30 that I wanted to be under… so I booked it. ((I was looking at the marathon time, not the half time – they left 20 minutes before us, I found that out after the fact))

Sowa and I

Immediately after.  Yes, I took advantage of the chocolate milk, water, Gatorade, banana, orange slice… And yes, I cried when I hit the finish line.  I had it all planned out that I was going to throw both arms up in the air like Rocky… instead, all I could do was one.  There is a really good professional picture of it, but I didn’t wanna post the picture.

One of the coolest things about crossing the finish lines here is that the announcer said each one of our names as we crossed the finish line. It was a really nice, personal touch and it made me feel really special.  I’ve always done smaller races, so I don’t know if this is typical of big races, but it was awesome!

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I wish I could fully express how awesome I felt at this point in time.  I called Mike right away (he had to work so couldn’t come, but was tracking me as I went) and called my mom.  Then stretched, a tiny bit. Not enough.
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Los Tres Amigos…. Stange came out to watch us race.  The coolest thing about the iPhone is group texting. The three of us have been group texting since September and she has been involved in many, many, many texts, complaints, and rants about our training.

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Apparently my calf sleeves made my legs look like transformers…. And you’ll see the blisters on the back of my heel. That’s all I had! I felt pretty good about that. But definitely need to retire the shoes I wore after this race.

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Post-race celebration at Applebees.  I got delicious fajitas and a Bud Light in honor of my dad. resultsFINAL RESULTS! Came in under 2:30, which is exactly what I wanted!!! Couldn’t believe it!

Lessons Learned:

  1. Showing up early really does make a difference – I have a tendency to show up right before the other races I have done and then I am always waiting in line for the disgusting portapotties 3 minutes before the race starts.
  2. Water, water, water, water….. especially when it ended up being 73 degrees on race day and I had been training in controlled environments at the gym or in the snow.
  3. I found it important that the night before we didn’t just sit in the hotel room – we were out and about keeping busy and not thinking about the race. This was huge for my mental game.
  4. I need to become mentally stronger … I don’t have any idea why the beginning of the race was so tough for me, but it was.
  5. WALKING IS OKAY! I knew that I was going to need to stop and walk some, and we did, and it was totally fine. I did not feel like we failed – I was honest with myself and planned it into my mind.
  6. EMBRACE THE COURSE. The people along the course were phenomenal.  I made a point to thank people, slap hands, laugh at the signs, cry when I was inspired, say hi to the little kids…. isn’t that what it’s about? The community support was amazing and I was incredibly inspired through the whole thing.
  7. I tried to keep cheering on the people around me, and they were there when I stopped towards the end and I needed it too… we all did it together.
  8. Energy along the course is essential.  I brought 2 Gu packs with me (Vanilla and Strawberry), I used both, and probably one more that was given to me from some volunteers along the course. I needed it and it took a while to kick in and help boost, but it really did make a difference.
  9. Outfit.  I did a lot of thinking about my outfit.  Because I was a Girls on the Run SoleMate, I had a shirt to wear to represent.  But, I knew it was going to be hot out, so I wore a tank top under.  I took the shirt off at about mile 4 and threw it back on at mile 12 so I could finish the race representing.  I wore shorts that I have run in a ton of times – they had pockets so it was easy for me to store my Gu and chapstick.
  10. I need to find a better place to store my iPod.  I HATE the arm sleeve holders so I didn’t wear mine.  I shoved it into my sports bra (which I usually do when I’m running) and the pictures look REDIC. So, I probably need to work on that. Any ideas?
  11. Motivation. I needed all the motivation I could get. I thought about my family. I dedicated the last few miles to a different person in my family. I ran for Girls on the Run – I thought about them often. I ran for ME.
  12. I am an inspiration.  I did something that many have done but many more have not.  I tried to do everything in my power to celebrate my accomplishment.  I have always hated running. Hated it.  I have grown to enjoy the pain, enjoy the time to myself, and celebrate my little successes.  It truly is an incredibly feeling.
  13. I wish I could fully express how sore I was. For 4 days I could barely move, sit to pee, sleep, get in and out of the car… I wish I would have stretched more, refueled better…. But, I will (hopefully) learn for next time!

Also – we drank the Kool-Aid… We are signing up for another race in Metro-Detroit for the fall. More information to come soon 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to read this, for all the love and support, and for those who said a few prayers.  I am so proud of myself for accomplishing this goal and I cant’ wait to see what happens next. 

I am a proud half-marathoner. 

Anticipation? Excitement? Nervousness? I really have no clue.

Back on October 28, 2012 I mentioned for the first time that I was thinking about running a half marathon.

Well, the time is here, on Sunday (Cinco de Mayo!) I will be running my very first half marathon.

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As I sit here and write this post, I have absolutely no idea how I am feeling about it.  Every now and then I get butterflies (probably more or less just the feeling of having to pee from drinking so much water).  Then when I look up stuff about the course or just think about it, I get pretty excited.  In all honesty, I just want Sunday to be over with.

I started my training on February 10, 2013 and it’s been really fun to write this post and look back and re-read through what I have discussed throughout this journey.  I will admit that I have taken quite the hiatus from blogging because of the craziness of the end of my school year, but there have been so many ups and downs about this training that I haven’t discussed.  I have been following the Hal Higdon Novice 2 Half Marathon training program  and I have really appreciated how it is set up.  I feel as though I have been able to schedule my runs in accordingly and that it has fit in really well with my life.

I know, sexy pants, you're jealous :)

On the other hand, I have taken it quite easy the last two weeks and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.  In the middle of the training, I got sick and took off 2 weeks from running and as I tried to get back into it, I found myself beating myself up for not meeting my goals.  Until one day, week 9 of my training, I set out to run a 10k on my own and ended up getting the whole 13.1 in.  I needed it, I needed to know I could do it.  However – I didn’t prepare my body well enough for it.  I drank the night before (and probably the few nights before), didn’t drink enough water, had a HUGE breakfast, and didn’t plan out for energy along the way. But, I did it. and it was EXACTLY what I needed.

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Since that point in time, I have been getting in light runs, resting up my shins, and continuing to gain inspiration from the girls I coach through Girls on the Run.  I have been reading much more than I probably should about preparing for a half, one word mantras, etc.  There is so much of me that is questioning why I am actually running this race.  Why did I even sign up for it in the first place? I’ve been thinking long and hard about this I’ve concluded that,

Number 1: I am running this race for me.  I have never been a runner, ever.  But I have grown to enjoy the challenge, the time to myself, the rush afterwards, and the routine.  I know I don’t run fast, but that’s not what it’s about.  It’s about completing, it’s about finishing what I set out to do.  I am running for me. 

I can do this. I will do this.

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Wouldn't be a good wrap-up if I didn't include a red face picture!

I am a warrior! :)

My face is ALWAYS so red!

Number 2: I am running this race for my Girls on the Run.  I recently became a coach and involved in this organization and I couldn’t be happier to be associated with it.  The girls I work with every week are an inspiration.  Some of the girls love to run and are very self-confident.  Then there are those who are like me when I was younger.  A little bigger (embarrassed about it), athletic (but not as good as everyone else), and dedicated.  I am running for all of these girls – I want to be an inspiration and I want to show them you can do whatever you set your mind to.  On Sunday, I am running the race as a SoleMate and have raised money for the Girls on the Run organization to allow the opportunity for more girls to be a part of this program. (If you’d like to donate to my cause, click here). I am running for the Girls on the Run. 

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Number 3: I am running for my fiance.  Sounds weird, right?  Mike has supported me through this entire journey.  This training has allowed me the opportunity to get in shape for my wedding and help take my mind of the stress of wedding planning and school.  Mike has pushed me to do my runs, supported me when I’ve gotten back (beat red, sweating, and barely talking), and expressed how proud he is of me.  He is my rock. I am running for Mike, my husband in 57 days. 

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Number 4: I am running for my dad.  As I’ve talked about before my dad passed away suddenly almost 11 years ago from an accident at work.  My dad was always so encouraging of my involvement in athletics and supported me through and through.  He was my biggest fan, even when I wasn’t the best/fastest/most skilled at what I was doing.  He taught me to breathe like I pregnant lady giving birth because my face would get so red. He inspired me to be the best.  I know that if he were here, he would have encouraged me throughout this entire journey.  I know he’ll be there with me for the entire 13.1 miles and he’ll help me get through.  I am running for my dad. 

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I am running – isn’t that all that matters? 

I’ve talked about my one word mantra a few times but haven’t shared it.  Well, here it is…. batshitcrazy.  One word, right? Well, this is bat shit crazy.  Running 13.1 miles is bat shit crazy.  I am sure I will be saying this over and over and over again in my head as I complete each mile.

If you have any advice for me for Sunday, I would love to hear it.  I want to make sure I am doing all the right things and want to be as prepared as possible.  I have been drinking a TON of water, eating healthy, stopped drinking alcohol, been trying to get sleep (unsuccessfully), planning out my outfit and my energy sources.  Additionally, I will be going up on Saturday and spending the night before the race so I don’t have to drive up on Sunday.  I plan to get there very early (I’m not usually good at this, at all – I’m usually the one still standing in line to pee 3 minutes before the race starts).

I’d love to hear any thoughts you have.

Thanks for reading about my little journey – can’t wait to update once it is over. 

Please keep me in your prayers! 

Help! I’m a SoleMate! ;)

Ahhhh…. feels so good to even have a hot second to be able to blog again! I have missed this! 🙂 🙂 

After this week, I will seriously have time to dive into everything I have been wanting to share with you all of you, but until then, you get another quick blurb from me! 

In 13 days I am going to be running my first half marathon (insert feelings of nervousness, nausea, and panic). I have decided to sign up to be a SoleMate for Girls on the Run.  As a SoleMate, I am “sponsoring” Girls on the Run and my participation in my race will allow me the opportunity to raise money just by running a race! 

As a Girls on the Run coach, I am paired up with two other coaches and we meet with a group of 15 girls twice a week.  During our 90 minutes together, we talk about everything from peer pressure, bullying, self confidence, body image, etc.  We are inspiring these girls to love themselves for who they are! 

As the name implies, we also run! We follow activities for the girls that allow them to practice their running (or walking for some of them) and encourage them to accomplish their goal: a 5k which will take place on May 18. I CANNOT WAIT. 

With being a SoleMate, I have pledged to raise $250 in the next 2 weeks before my race.  If you have even $1 to spare, I would love it if you would help me meet my goal and allow the opportunity for other girls be able to participate in this fantastic program. 

Here is a link to my fundraising page:

https://www.raceplanner.com/donate/learn_dream_live_run_2013

If you’d like to help with Girls on the Run – or run in a Girls on the Run 5k, check out this website to find your local chapter.. http://www.girlsontherun.org/

Thank you in advance – these girls are truly inspirational 🙂 

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My first GOTR experience

I have volunteered to be a coach for the Girls on the Run Organization!

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Today was our first practice and I was introduced to 15 lovely young girls who are all ready for a 10 week ride to exploring what it means to learn. dream. live. run.

If you’re not familiar with the Girls on the Run Organization, it is a youth development program that works with girls (3rd-8th grade) to teach them to stay true to themselves and live free from stereotypes.  Obviously, we mix all of the “life lessons” with running! And fun activities to get all the girls moving and accomplishing a goal: a 5k!

I have never participated in anything like this before but I have heard about the 5k races (that are open to the public! Check out this link to find a race near you!)

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I really, really wish there was something like this when I was a kid. I struggled immensely with trying to fit in, not being flexible, being the “bigger girl”… and this program targets all types of young girls and helps teach them how to be confident, healthy, motivated, etc….. My own past and current struggles with my confidence, health, motivation is what led me to volunteer for this amazing organization.

How can you help this organization?

  • Find a 5k near you!
  • Reach out to be a coach or an assistant coach
  • Refer young girls that you know to the program
  • Running a race this year? Be a SoleMate and help young girls afford the program

I cannot wait for the journey ahead. I plan on these girls motivating and inspiring me and much as I do them. I can’t wait to share this journey with all of you….we all need a little inspiration sometimes to remember that life truly is sweet. 

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related links:

Ashville Marathon Recap

Girls on the Run Napa Valley

Daughter on the Run