Sunday, December 4, 2011


Or, the story of how a 10 year old has forever changed my outlook on life.
I'm not sure if I've told you all this, but I'm a coach for Girls on the Run (GOTR). GOTR is a program that encourages young ladies in grades 3-5 to believe in themselves, through running. We spend 12 weeks learning about ourselves, others, and our community, while training for a 5K. Each of the girls participates in the 5K with a running buddy- an adult who completes the 3.1 miles by their side.

Enter "Jill". Jill is a 5th grader who is very overweight. She signed up because "why not?" (her words, not mine). Her family encouraged her, but doubted her ability to actually run the 5K. And I'll be honest, I did, too. In practice, she worked to the best of her ability, but never could run a whole lot. She encouraged her teammates, but always doubted herself. If one of the other girls spoke poorly about themselves, she was the first to give that girl a compliment. She believed in everyone but herself.

Today? She completed a 5K. It wasn't pretty. There were tears. We walked, walked, and walked. It was blood, sweat, and tears for every inch of those 3.1 miles. At mile one, I was full of doubt. I couldn't see any other girls and I knew we were headed for dead last. At the first water station, we started to see the front of the pack. They were minutes away from finishing. We were MILES away from finishing. At mile 2, we didn't see anyone except race volunteers. At mile 2.5, one person asked us if we were the last ones out there. We were. But we weren't going to stop. At mile 3, she asked me what the point was in finishing because no one would be at the finish line, we were the last ones out there. She cried for a moment and asked to stop. She told me she couldn't do it.

But SHE did it. SHE finished.


I am forever changed by the courage it took for Jill to finish that 5K. She could have given up. But she didn't.

She finished that race, and changed my life.