Girls on the Run – First time

First, let me explain that I am not a runner. I grew up swimming year-round. I was okay when I ran the shuttle for the Presidential Fitness Award but hated the day we had to run the mile. I hated that feeling I always got of a cramp in my side and not being able to catch my breath because I would start out too fast.

This Fall there was a 5k race at my new school and I thought, why not. I should be supportive and run. It’s just a 5K. Little did I know that the race course was all up and down hills. As I climbed each hill, I just looked down, walked and kept telling myself, “One foot. Now the other foot.” As I climbed, I remembered the scene in A Long Walk to Water where the one character would tell the boy walking, “Just to that tree.” Then once there, “Just to that tree.” So I kept telling myself, “Just walk to the top and then run down the hill.” So after many walks up and runs down hills and many runners passing me, I did finish!!

Weeks ago I read that coaches were needed for the Spring Girls on the Run at my school. I thought, why not? It is Spring and I can walk and run. And hopefully the end of the season’s run will be on a course with less hills! And I get to be outside, moving and supporting girls!!

Our group met today for the first time. Lucky for us, it was gorgeous out, 60+ degrees! The hour went by quickly as we bonded over a game that got us to learn names. Then the other coach and I took turns running/walking on the half-mile loop around our school.

It is a good feeling to be outside and moving. I still don’t think I’ll ever call myself a running. But who know? I never before called myself a writer and this is my 526th blog post!

I did a 5K! Lots of Ups and Downs!

Last Saturday, I did a 5K!

At the TCRWP Summer Reading Institute, Mary taught me one way to comprehend fiction is to chart the emotions of the character onto an Emotional Timeline. I like this strategy and have used it often when reading and teaching reading. Here’s my chart made while reading My Name is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada.


Last Saturday, as I ran my first 5K race, I thought of this strategy. Let me be clear – I am not a runner. I grew up swimming and more specifically, swimming backstroke, which allows one to breath easy as one glides through the water. My childhood memory of running is vivid – that annual day where we had to run the 600m for the Presidential Award and I barely finished, all out of breathe.

On Saturday at about the 2 mile mark,  I overheard this discussion:
MOM – Come on. We are almost done.
BOY (about age 7) –  Running makes me grumpy.

Hearing this made me smile and for the next 1.1 mile I thought about all the ups and downs I was feeling as I ran/walked. At the very moment of hearing this boy, I too felt a little grumpy but I kept moving (notice I did not type “running” for I was just moving at this point in the race!) Then later, after a hot shower and some breakfast, I felt the exact opposite.

Here’s my chart of the ups and downs of my first 5K:

Today I am grateful to be alive to support the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation Memorial fund – the race raise over $95,000 which will be used to bring high quality prenatal and postnatal care to the economically vulnerable in Arlington County, VA.

Today I am grateful for the students and parents at Discovery ES who cheered me on and the unexpected friends I met along the way. All help me keep going to finish the race.

Today I am grateful for all the hills on this course (no exaggerating, there were MANY!) because without that struggle, I could not know the feeling of joy when running downhill and when crossing the finish line.

Today I am grateful that TCRWP taught me how to read well and how to chart the ups and downs of characters. By understanding character struggles, I can better live my own ups and downs that life brings me.