Saturday, August 02, 2008

A Truly Awe-Inspiring Day

I get chills, my eyes tear and my hair stands upon my arms when I reflect upon this morning.

My girls ran their first 5K race. Yes. My morning beginner woman's run group were able to feel the camaraderie, feel the stress, the anxiety, the fear and then bask in the glow of the accomplishment that commenced at the Granite City 5K in St. Cloud this morning. It was incredible.

Only 7 short weeks ago we were walking 8 minutes and running 2 minutes x 3, three days a week. On Wednesday we walked 3 minutes and ran 11 minutes x 3 with a 10 minute walk at the end. They have progressed greatly.

As Laura and I were running along on Wednesday I told her I felt like Mother Hen, and all of these women running with me were my Chicks. She told me I should feel that way, that they are my Chicks! I love it.

This morning we met at the race 45 minutes before start time. We picked up our packets, or registered, I took photos, we laughed together and tried to rid ourselves of anxiety. It was fabulous. Some of the girls had children, spouses and friends to cheer them on. How delightful!!

Heidi's son, Peter, an 8th grader, would be running the race, too.

I was so proud of them for being here!

The morning was beautiful, the sun was shining, the venue was a park and the course would consist of trail; some asphalt, some grass, some dirt. Wow! I had no idea this would be a trail race.

We lined up near the back of the pack. My plan was to run ahead with my camera so I could photo each friend cross the finish line. I hoped my tired legs would allow me to run a 5K fast enough to get to the finish line before everyone else.

BANG! Went the gun, we were off. The course was cool. Three 1 mile loops through different surfaces, through woods and open area. A volunteer called out our mile splits, there was water on the course. I kept going back and forth with another woman that I was trying to beat. I finally caught her but on the last .25 mile she passed me. I didn't have enough to pass her back up!

Across the finish line, grab a water and get my camera out of the case. Here they come! I was able to photo everyone crossing the finish line. It was wonderful.

Lots of hugs, sweat, tears and laughs. They said they wouldn't have been there if I hadn't had this class. They thanked me. I thanked them. I am SO thankful for them.

During the award ceremony Peter placed in the teenage division and I took 2nd woman for 40-49. I ran a 24:56. During the drawings Peter again won..this time a $100 certificate to Scheel Sports and Kim won a $30 certificate to Timberlodge Steak House! Nice.

It wasn't all about the race. It was about these women honoring themselves. To give themselves an hour 3x a week..that isn't too much to ask of oneself! We get so busy, we put our families first, we put our employers first, we put the darn dog first. These women have given themselves an hour a week to come and run with other women. Stacey gets a sitter, Laura and Breanna drive an hour to Big Lake for the class, they are all doing this for themselves, nobody else. They are growing from it, they are respecting themselves because they are doing this for themselves. They have stuck with an exercise program for 7 weeks..maybe for the first time in their lives. They are honoring themselves and they feel pride in that.

When you begin to set goals and you begin to reach those goals you begin to believe in yourself. When you believe in yourself, oh boy, big things will happen. Really.

They didn't know that they could be runners, but something drew them to my running class. Some struggled the first few weeks, and some of us continue to struggle and that is OK! They are there to run, week after week, because they have committed to do this and for that they feel pride in themselves.

They know that we are counting on them to show up. They know that they will progress, that they will make it farther and farther, that they can finish up the hour session, that it will come easier as time goes on, that they might someday even enjoy running!

I am in awe of them all. They have all stepped out of their comfort zone and grown in many many ways from it.

I feel honored to have had a part in their day today.

I am so proud of them. What a wonderful wonderful group of women!


Olga said...

I am very proud for those women and very happy for you. I remember how you started coaching them:) Way to go! And on Leadville - it'll be good. Glad you're going. It's different. Hope pass is a Bear. I suggest going over it both ways once before. Have fun. I will "see" you on the finishing line:)

keith said...

You're awesome. That's all I ever have to say to you...nice job, coach!

Anonymous said...

Very, very cool! Thanks for sharing that! Way to "Chicks"!!!

Kel said...

Julie, you're a natural. Do you have more coaching classes starting up?

Julie B said...

Thanks, and they are awesome! Yes, Kel, I will offer more classes at the beginning of September. I am also offering online training.

Anonymous said...

I sit here reading this blog entry with tears dripping down on my Granite City 5K t-shirt!! I am one of your very grateful, proud and happy "chicks". I am a runner! At least well on my way to being a real one! Thanks to you, Julie, and your encouragement, your knowledge, your kindness! You have been so instrumental in curbing my doubts about myself. And to all or any wanna be's out there who think for some reason they can't, just feel the fear and do it anyway!! Even if you are fat, 42, have herniated disks in your back - it can be done!!
Thank you Julie!! God Bless!!
Love- one of your chicks, Carol

Carl Gammon said...

What a great story. I can feel the pride and happiness in every word.

Matthew Patten said...

I would have figured you would hit the lap button on your watch instead of the stop button!

Congrats to you and "the chicks". Great story, great leadership. Maybe soon they will be wearing gaiters.

Look forward to hearing about how you tore up Leadville.

See you at Superior.