Last Saturday was my first time volunteering for a running event. Crazy, I know! Mostly my running and racing has been for me. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I want to give back to the running community. So I chose to be a buddy for my local Girls on the Run. And then Sara, Megan and Heidi signed up to be buddies as well.
Heidi and Sara both had girls to run with, Megan and I were free agents. So we started the run just doing our thing when about half a mile in we had someone ask us to run with their girl as she couldn’t keep up with her. So Megan and I happily synced up with Audrey.
Over the course of the 5k, we learned that Audrey is in fourth grade, her buddy was a friend of her mom, that her older brother bet her $10 that she wouldn’t make it 2 miles, and that she takes hip hop dance classes.
Overall, I had a lot of fun run/walking around Raccoon River Park. I need to remember to head out there for easy 3 mile loops at some point when my body needs a break from pounding the pavement and hit the thin gravel.
I really wish there had been a program like Girls on the Run when I was in third through fifth grade. In third and fourth grade I was still living with my biological mother. I skipped school quite a bit and even had a visit to my home from the truancy officer. This was also the period of time where my brothers and I had been temporarily placed in foster care a few months after my little brother was born. We returned back to our mother’s care, but not long after my older brother was permanently put into foster care.
About a year later, I was placed in foster care as well. I was placed back in the same home that the three of us had been put in temporarily before. It was half way through my fifth grade year. However, it was a small town so having a program like Girls on the Run doesn’t really happen.
It’s weird how much I felt like an outsider growing up in a small town. Trying to fit in is what brought me to running in the first place. I was a year behind most of the girls on my team, as they started running on the team in seventh grade and I joined in eighth grade. I stuck with it until the end of my sophomore year. That year I spent the entire season suffering from shin splints. I know now that my struggle with shin splints came from not running all year and then having training ramp up all season. Hindsight is most definitely 20/20. I did learn from that experience though. I haven’t had shin splints at all since I started running again in 2011.