Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happy to Help

I have mentioned my Head Coaching position for GOTR at a local elementary school. This weekend is the big 5-K race at GMU so today's practice was the "practice 5-K." It was a blast seeing the girls SO excited for the main event and sporting their bright, lime green shirts and neon pink laces (which also doubled as hair ties) during the session. I really love volunteering and feeling like I am helping to shape these young girls (3rd, 4th, and 5th graders). The GOTR program doesn't just have the girls run laps, but it also teaches important lessons like how to deal with bullies and peer pressure as well as ways to live a healthy lifestyle and time management. All of these topics can be extrapolated to any age and stage of life. I even learn new strategies and enjoy observing the girls' reactions to various scenarios. My favorite part of each practice is at the end when we all put our hands in a circle and shout "girls on the run is so much fun!" There is something really special about a group of young girls of different grades, socioeconomic backgrounds, and varying ethnicities bonding together over the mutual enjoyment for running and just being girls!

Tips for Race Day:
Rest up. As the race draws close, it's normal to get caught up in wanting to run or walk more miles to make sure
you can finish. But doing so can leave you tired and unable to perform at your best in the race. Get plenty of rest
during race week. You'll show up ready to rumble race morning.
Plan ahead. Read through the race day information and familiarize yourself with the race course. Put on your
race day outfit, bib number, socks and shoes the night before the race and then put it out on a chair for the morning
so you won't forget anything. Planning ahead and laying things out will make for a very pleasant journey to the
race start line.
Rise and shine. Plan to arrive at the race site at least one hour before the event. This will give you time to find
the starting area, check in and use the bathroom before the race begins. Eat a light breakfast (toast and jam,
banana) two hours before the start of the race. Topping off your fuel tank will give you power to run the race.
Have faith in your preparation. We all experience a little nervousness before the race. In fact, nervousness can
help you perform better because it teaches us to respect the race distance and prevents us from doing anything
silly the night before (staying up all night for a girls sleep over for example). : Have faith in your training, it will carry
you through to the finish line.
Ignore the Race Gremlin. It's easy to be lured by the Race Gremlin to try something new (spicy food, new shoes,
running more miles) right before the race because of nervousness but doing so can create problems on race day.
Stick with what you've learned and practiced and avoid that Gremlin when it taps on your shoulder…
Think tortoise and hare. Remember who won the famous running challenge between the tortoise and hare?
That's right, the tortoise out-witted and beat the hare because she paced herself from the beginning of the race.
It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the race and take off too quickly. Remember, she who runs
comfortably early in the race, finishes strong and with a smile on her face. Run at a pace where you can talk and
hold a conversation for the first half of the race and you'll know you'll have plenty of energy left for the finish line,
not to mention a really cute photo too!
Be grateful. It takes a lot of volunteers to make a race happen and it's always nice to thank them while you're
out on the course. It not only makes them feel appreciated for their investment of time, you'll earn some good
karma along the way as well.
Think your way through the race. The distance can seem a little scary standing at the start line, especially if
this is your first race. Running is as much a mental sport as it is physical, and a solid mental plan will help you
think your way through to the finish. Break the distance up into smaller pieces, rather than thinking about the finish
at the start, focus on reaching the first mile, or a location along the route. Before you know it, you'll be running
across the finish line!
Celebrate good times. Have fun and enjoy yourself on race day. You've trained all season and race day is all
about celebrating your successful season. Finishing is winning, no matter how long it takes to reach the finish line.

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