2015 Girls on the Run Coach & Daughters Blog

Julia, Gemma and Gayle, Huff Elementary, Mountain View

Week Eight

Julia

I really enjoyed the lesson on bullying.  We made clear what being mean and bullying were and the differences between the two. It was sooo hot and people didn’t run that much because of that.

On Friday, it was our practice 5k!!! We had bubbles, popsicles and cupcakes. I thought that the bananas were cool. They said GOTR girl, along with other inspiring phrases. My friend and I will not make the actual 5K, so we ran together with our other friend. We waited for each other and all crossed the finish line at the same time: 34:15. This was about the same as last year’s actual 5K, but I still had fun doing it with my friends. I assisted those who needed extra motivation, and got to know girls from other grades.

Gemma

The 5K was really exciting because I ran the whole 5k and I didn’t know that I could. My teacher Miss H ran with me. She said that she was only going to run a little bit but she ran the whole thing with me. There were refreshments and squirt bottles to spray people during the run since it was so hot. I’m glad that I could be able to be there!

Gayle

I would have to agree that the 5k was amazing! We were worried because the weather was forecast to be hot, hot, hot and some coaches felt that we should postpone it. Fortunately, that afternoon there was a lovely breeze and the path was lined with friends and younger siblings who sprayed the girls with water as they ran past. I loved holding the purple crepe paper finish line and cheering loudly as each girl raced through.

I was on a high from doing the run but also a bit sad. The practice 5k marked the end of the season for Julia, Gemma and me. We are writing this blog from the airport in Frankfurt, Germany en route to Italy. We will finish the school year out there and then spend time exploring. Ciao until next season...

Week Seven

Julia

For our community service project, we decided to do a bake sale. On Monday, we worked out all the details including where the money was going, what we would need for set-up, posters, and sign up sheets. We split up into groups and worked on separate things. My group was the sign-up group. We thought of ways to make a sign-up list and ended up making a poster that had three columns. The first had the word Family, the second Food, the third Allergens Contained. The money was going to new recess equipment for our school. The bake sale was taking place in two locations: it wuold be in front of the school and at the back gate - at the end of practice. Everyone who wanted to make a poster was given one.

Friday was all about gossip. Ironically, people were especially gossiping that day and ran slower because of that. We ran for a long 30 minutes and I managed to get in 3 miles. It felt good to run after a long time of no running. Our gossip exercise was like telephone standing up and facing forward. We always got the same thing. One time, I heard something wrong, so it actually was going to be different, but then our coach restarted it so it was the same.

Gemma

Monday was sort of fun. We just decided what we would do for the bake sale. My group was in charge of  ideas on set-up, like a gluten-free area and no nut area. We only got to run a little bit -- I wish we got to run more. Unfortunately, I missed Friday because of a Girl Scout meeting.

Gayle

Sometimes the little things are the most unexpected. The girls spent a lot of time and energy planning the bake sale. One girl, however, was a little disappointed. Her kitchen is undergoing a remodel and she can’t bake. She and I spent some time brainstorming other options like rice crispy treats made in the microwave or fruit kabobs with a marshmallow on top! Later, her mom let me know how much it meant to her to be included.

We shifted gears on Friday and got back to running and what it means to be a Girl on the Run. I’m glad that the session on gossip was repeated from last year with some new helpful twists like questions to ask yourself:
Is it encouraging?
Is it about someone involved in the conversation?
Is it any of my business?
Would I want someone saying this about me?
Stopping gossip is hard work. There was definitely some gossiping going on during the run so we’ll continue to work on approaches to gossip next week...

Week Six

Julia

This week was a particularly fun one. Games took up most of the time of the Monday practice. We made up games using cooperation and compromise. Many people had different views on what to play. One girl wanted to do anything, as long as it involved trot-walking. Another girl wanted to keep it simple and play chaos tag, and yet another girl wanted to play Pac-Man. After lots of consideration, compromising, and cooperation, we ended up with Pac-Man chaos tag. We never did find out how to add the trot-walking.

On Friday, we changed things up a bit. We ran with one girl for half a lap and then switched partners. I got to know other girls well and ended up giving an energy award to a girl I had hardly known before that day. I ran with 26 different people, which was almost all the girls there that day! We got bracelets based on the amount of people we ran with, not the amount of laps completed.

Gemma

On Monday, it was really fun because all of the teams got to choose or make up a game. Some people did not listen or know that game as well, so it was harder for them and not as much fun to play the game. We played Pac-Man tag with chaos tag.

On Friday, we ran with different people each half a lap, and my sister made a record. I was very proud about how many people I ran with. It was one of my best, best days of Girls On The Run.

Gayle

I agree with Gemma and Julia. It was a really fun week and all the girls got to know other people. On Monday, we played. As a grown-up, it’s something that I miss doing and it reminded me to take things less seriously and have more FUN. It was hard not to jump in when the girls were working out which games to play and who would do what, but I bit my tongue and they figured it all out.

Friday, we worked on “I feel"..."when you”... “because”... “I would like you to”.  I remembered it from last year as did many of the girls. I was also able to put it into practice with my husband, but that’s another story...

Week Five

Julia

Monday was so much fun! We changed groups and I like my new group. We also participated in a fun exercise about collaboration. We each said one word of the sentence. Each time we tried to speed it up a bit, but we weren’t very successful. We just ended up sounding like funny robots. This exercise signified the importance of working together to fix something. We ran for 25 minutes, and I ran 2.6 miles. I am so happy that we are running for more time this year. It will help us become better trained for the 5K.

Gemma

It was hard but fun to run to the cone and back with us all having to touch it by the time we went there and back. It was also different to run with an assigned partner. It was also more fun to run with a different person and not with your friend or someone who you usually ran with. That day we also got new groups. We ran for 25 minutes.

Gayle

This week we worked on cooperation and what better way to kick it off than with new teams. Each team has its own dynamics; this one is a lively bunch.

To practice cooperation, our team ran as a group to a cone and then did a game. A leader emerged with good ideas to share (pass to the person next to you, have a fast runner start off with the ball). However, the group didn’t rally behind the ideas and we actually got slower each time. The wind didn’t help. I can’t help but think that if we had been working in our previous teams and had built trust and friendship, we would have come together as a team and improved our times. I’d like to try the exercise in a few weeks and see if we improve.

For the workout, we paired runners together and broke up the typical groups. Some new friendships emerged. I overheard one fourth grader confiding with a fifth grade about a crush. Some didn’t and I saw meanness that I didn’t expect. It’s something that we’ll continue to work on, especially being kind to the youngest runners.

Week Four

Julia

On Monday, I was disappointed that I had to leave early. However, on Tuesday I ran to make up for it. I ran 21 laps, 4.2 miles! I was so tired, but that didn’t mean I didn’t stretch. Friday was my friend’s turn to leave early. We had 20 minutes, so I ran 2.2 miles, which is a huge improvement. At our first Girls on the Run practice, I ran 2 miles in 25 minutes. I am getting back into shape.

Gemma

I was impressed that I ran 14 laps, (2.8 miles) in 40 minutes. That was almost a 5K! I ran a lap to cool down after Girls on the Run. I felt accomplished!!!!! On Friday, I ran six laps because we only had 20 minutes, and I was running a little slow.

Gayle

I loved this week. It was a little more rambunctious -- I think that spring has sprung! We started out with an attitude of gratitude. Girls expressed their  gratitude for homework; “it helps me learn more” and even little brothers and sisters. What was most amazing was how much they ran/walked. Last year, some of the girls said that they would like to run more. I don’t think I’ll be hearing that feedback this year! Later in the week we talked about beauty and found beauty in catchy songs, freshly cut grass, and even horse poop. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Week Three

Julia

Today our meeting was later because we had school off. It was humid and cool at the same time, not perfect running weather. We talked about emotions and being emotionally healthy. The day before, my cousins and family watched the L.A. marathon. It was soooo inspiring! It made me want to do a marathon. We saw the winners of both the men and the women. At mile 19, they were sprinting crazy fast. We also saw the para-athletes which was awesome. The amount of runners during the workout has thinned since last Friday. I ran 12 laps.

Gemma

I ran eight laps. It wasn’t my very best, but that was okay. Not a lot of people from our Girls on the Run team were there. It was pretty fun to have smaller groups and work as a team to untangle ourselves. My team did it three times, but another team was not even able to do it once.

Gayle

"It’s okay to get angry but it’s not okay to take it out on someone else." --Huff GOTR Girl
That statement summed up our lesson on emotional health. We all have strong feelings – and that’s a good thing – what’s important is to acknowledge those feelings (everyone has them) but not let them negatively impact others. I took this advice to heart. 

These past few weeks have been frustrating at work and I’ve been constantly juggling my commitments. It would be easy to take my frustration out on Julia or Gemma or even their little brother but that's not fair to them. So I’ve done my best to set an example and pause and take a deep breath before…

Week Two

Julia

On Monday, I was in even worse of a mood than last Monday. This was subsequent to a bad walk to the GOTR meeting spot. My friends had excluded me by saying that I was slowing them down, and that they wanted to run independently. This really hurt my feelings, and the competitive part of me wanted to beat them. I ran 13 laps!

For Friday's practice we had so much time to run! Yay! 30 minutes. We talked about positive self talk, which I wanted to work on. However, no matter how hard I try, the negative always comes out : ( My friend was sick, so she couldn’t come. However, my other friend and I almost met our goal of 15 laps in 30 minutes. We got 14, which is 2.8 miles. So close!

Gemma

It was good to do nine laps on Monday to and reach my goal. I think it's really exciting when you achieve a goal that you set. I ran with my friends Kendyll and Rachel. They also reached their goals.

I thought it was cool that we made a balloon of negative thoughts and then popped it at the end. It was fun to have Coach Ally back since she was absent on Monday. I’m glad I could be there for this practice.

Gayle

It was really powerful to identify negative talk and the power of positive talk this week. It’s something that I’m working on personally. A few months back, I attended a parenting workshop on raising optimistic and resilient children. What stuck in my mind is all about how you frame your thoughts. Rather than say “I wish I were prettier,” you can say “I’m just having a bad hair day today.” In the workshop example, you could change it from an always to a temporary, changeable situation. At GOTR, we took this one step further to frame a positive statement such as “I have a beautiful smile!”

One of my favorite exercises was when one person mimed carrying her heavy burdens and then transferred them to her partner in exchange for a light one. It showed the power of how sharing tough times with our friends makes it easier. I’ve seen the same thing with us as coaches. Each of has our unique strengths, such as Tara’s making sure that we are stretched and warmed up. Sharing the lesson together makes it go much more smoothly!

Week One

Julia

I coulnd't wait for this new year of Girls On the Run. On Monday, I was grumpy since we have so many people. My group was the worst because I wasn’t with my best friends, but they were together. Ironically, I named myself Jubilant Julia. I already regret not being positive. To add to my disappointment, there was no running.

On Friday I was determined to prove to people that my behavior on Monday was not my usual positive attitude. Luckily, I did 10 laps, which is 2 miles.

Gemma

I got new shoes from On Your Mark (a local running store sponsor) and am ready to run. My best friends are not in my group either, but my sister is:) I ran my best but I didn't meet my lap goal. I promised myself I would do better next time (positive thoughts) and I did!

Gayle

We have been gearing up for the big kickoff. Last year I wasn't sure what to expect -- this year I have a good idea and am thrilled to have both my daughters participating. Groovy Gayle, Jubilant Julia and Generous Gemma already had everyone's names down. While it was good to kickoff the season, we didn't even break a sweat. Fortunately, we will be running a LOT more as the season progresses.


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