Julia Age 8

Here is Julia’s poem dedicated to GOTR!

 

Julia                                                             

November 2013 
3rd Grade
8 ½ years old
 
 
                Girls on the run…at girls on the run we run A LOT!
But we have fun while we’re running.The coaches let us play fun games if we are good. One of the games that we play is rain storm. The girls and I are practicing for a 5K. A lot of my friends are willing to run. I have girls on the run on Monday and Thursdays. We usually meet at Alpine school. To use girls on the run for short it’s G.O.T.R. For race day everybody needs a running buddy. My running buddy is Julia Scales. She is a cook and she said that she would make sneaker cookies for all my friends. The Turkey Trot is the week after the race. My dad said that if I do well in the 5K than I can run the Turkey Trot.  At G.O.T.R we don’t just run the coaches make it fun while we run. I do not like to run with any body because I like to run at my own speed. After every practice we get a foot tag. Foot tags are little feet that go on your shoes.   I really like G.O.T.R because it is fun.  When I grow up I want to run as good as Aunt Christine and Billy and run marathons. After every practice we do our chant, girls on the run is so much fun!  The 5K that we are running is 3.1 miles.  My friend Maddie does G.O.T.R with me and she keeps me company. I run sometimes when I get home from G.O.T.R.  You can do G.O.T.R in 3rd grade and up. I bet that when I finish the 5K I will be sweaty and tired! My goal is to run the entire 5K, without walking at all.   If I finish the 5K without walking I will be so proud of myself. You can make running fun if you do it the right way. I really like G.O.T.R because it is fun during our practices.G.O.T.R is a program that teaches girls how to run and take care of problems that they are dealing with. If you are somebody that likes to run than you should sign up for G.O.T.R. My Coaches names are Coach Furgeson, Coach Kelly, Coach Megan and Coach Olivia. My coaches are really nice and I think that my team is going to be ready for our 5K.  Sometimes I get cramps in my belly and I have to start to walk. I can not wait to run in my 5K because it will be good exercise.  That is why I love running and girls on the run!  Would you ever want to do G.O.T.R?  How would you feel if you were going to be running a 5K? 

 

Also, please check out Aunt Laura’s letter!

 

 

I’ve been a runner most of my life, but 7 years ago I learned how to run a race.
Through racing, I’ve had amazing experiences and have learned that if I set my mind to something and believe in myself, I can accomplish a lot of great things. The Girls on the Run teaches thousands of girls and their families just that and they gave me the opportunity to have a running experience I will always be thankful for and will hold in my heart never to be forgotten.
A couple of months ago my 9 year old niece Julia approached me and asked me to be her running buddy for the Girls on the Run. A running buddy is the person each member picks too practice with, to share what they are learning at their meetings and is the person who runs with them at the 5k event at the end of each season. Caught up in the moment, I thought, wow, can it get any better than this?! To be able to share something I love so much with someone I love. Then my heart sank as it quickly hit me that I had a freshly diagnosed fracture in my foot and was struggling to walk no less run. I had to tell her I was not able to be her “running buddy”. She looked so disappointed and as I walked away tears filled my eyes. Little did she know I was more disappointed than she was. Soon after that, a good friend of mine happily accepted to be her partner.
8 weeks later her big 5k day was quickly approaching, so I decided to go out and see if my foot could handle a jog and I ran a couple of miles. I quickly set a date with Julia to do a practice run that Thursday. We headed out to the track, did some stretches and off we went. With my Garmin watch tracking us, I learned her pace; after all, a runner always needs to be prepared for a race. Call me over board, but that’s not the case. I wanted her to love this event and 5k after 5k I watch people take off too fast, fizz out, throw up or outright stop, and never return to another run. We did 2 miles and talked the whole way. I told her what I tell all my running teammates before a big race: run your own pace, don’t worry about who passes you or who you pass, your only competing with yourself to do your best; don’t try to run someone else’s race.
“Are you nervous” I asked “No” she confidently responded and we headed out for dinner to carbo load. I texted her mom, “she is a natural”, then texted my friend (her running buddy) “do you mind if I run the GOTR with you on Saturday.”
The big day came and I knew I needed to be there. I registered as “Aunt Laura”.
The runners started to gather at the starting line, almost 400 of them. There was pink hair everywhere and a lot of smiles. This was big day for a lot of people, not only the girls but the parents, siblings, grandparents, you name it, all the faces were full of pride and excitement. I grabbed Julia’s hand and took her closer to the start. I reminded her that we needed to stick with a plan: the trick to running a good race is to run a pace you are comfortable with; we are not going to walk at any point but if you start to feel tired we will just slow down; You are going to see a lot of people take off really fast but we are not going to do that; don’t worry if it feels like we are way in the back because we won’t be by lap 2, that’s when we will slowly start to pass people and even more of them in the final lap with only slightly picking up our pace. Most important is to have fun and too feel proud when you come through that finish line.
The gun went off and I started the Garmin. She smiled. I could see her taking it all in as we glided through the first lap. Lap 2: still smiling. I quickly had her remove her gloves and outer layer long sleeved shirt. (wearing to much clothing, something else a lot of people do and another thing I teach my newer teammates- stay cool) we started to pass a large amount of people who were bright red in the face, some starting to walk or looking like they might get sick… we kept going, picking up the pace ever so slightly. Still smiling, we approached the final lap. I helped her remove 2 more layers of shirts. “Now you will feel like you can breathe and you are going to rock”. She looked relieved and she sprang into a 20 second faster pace. My friend Julia yelled out “you’ve got this Julia” and the 3 of us laughed. We started counting the people as we passed them… exactly as planned. I wondered what the other participants were thinking…. we were having so much fun! It was great to see all the girls with their moms, dads and family members out there on the course. Then a happy thought hit me just before mile 3, GOTR offers so much more than just girls going for a run. Look at these families out here together, sharing something positive, bonding, and smiling. This is as good for the families as it is for the girls. Getting in better shape and sharing quality time…. What a great day and what a great organization. (GOTR)
At .2 miles to go, we both cheered “go for it Julia, give it everything you’ve got,” and there was the finish line. 30:55. She did it! Her first 5k and she was still smiling!! Filled with emotion we all felt so proud. I know it’s a day in my life I will never forget. Everyone needs a running buddy, to mentor or to be mentored. 7 years ago my best friend ran my first 5k with me, a race I didn’t want to do because I was scared. Little did we know I would win a lot of races after that day, I’d run the NYC marathon and I’d be heading to Boston in 2014 as a time qualified runner… still smiling and still proud every time I come through the finish line.
I hope Julia remembers her first 5k the heart filled way I remember mine….with a smile on her face.
The Girls on the run does a lot more for girls then just teaching them to run. It builds confidence, it teaches them how to live healthy and to be strong physically and mentally. It builds friendships and brings families closer.
Thank you Julia (Lengen) and to the Girls on the Run for giving me this special memory.