BENEFITING: Girls on the Run - Chicago
ORGANIZER: Girls on the Run - Chicago
EVENT: 2017 GOTR Chicago Marathon
EVENT DATE: Oct 08, 2017
My relationship with running began about 8 years ago, when I showed up to St. Teresa's Academy's cross country tryouts. I was a junior in high school and had never run more than a mile in my entire life, but I needed to run 3 of them in less than 28 minutes to make the team. The coach, Ms. Moran, told me to "stick with Kelly" (she was a seasoned XC vet) and I would make the time cut-off, so I pulled on my tennis shoes and started running my little heart out, trying to keep up with Kelly as she breezed down the Brookside Trolley Trail.
That time trial was one of the most challenging things I've ever done--not only physically, but even more so mentally and emotionally. When your legs aren't moving and lungs aren't breathing, it's easy for your mind to shut down, too. But when the negative thoughts crept into my brain, there was Kelly, to push them away. As she ran alongside me (okay fine she was a little in front of me), Kelly showed me how to control my breathing from huffing & puffing to inhales & exhales, talked me through each mile as they came and went, and encouraged me to keep pushing to the end. I'll never forget the feeling of crossing the finish line of that time trial--relief, pain, happiness, pride, but perhaps most importantly, comradery (I also definitely puked in a trashcan). I soon found out that I had made the time cutoff, which meant I was on the XC squad. I also found out that Kelly was a varsity runner (lol), so we had finished with more than 5 minutes to spare. I couldn't believe it. I was ecstatic. I officially loved running (and I was also officially crazy). I graciously accepted my new spot on the team and never looked back.
I think I learned more in that season of cross country than I might learn in my next lifetime. Through running, I've discovered the power of passion and perseverance. I have gained friendships, developed grit, and embraced challenge. I've learned sacrifice & discipline, how to set goals and ensure that I attain them. I've developed a pasta addiction. But most importantly, I've learned the importance of believing in yourself and supporting others. My only regret is that I didn't have running and the physical/emotional strength that came with it a little bit sooner!
That's why I decided to completely lose my marbles and get back out there this October to run a quick 26.2 miles in the Chicago Marathon. I'm not just doing this for me -- this one's for all the girls! Please join me in my run for the Girls on the Run (GOTR) foundation**, whether it's through monetary donation, thoughts, prayers, foot massages, etc. My goal is to raise over $1,500 to support this amazing organization that has brought running into the lives of little girls from Chicago to Kansas City to South Bend - and many, many more!
Every person who donates to my cause gets to choose a song for me to listen to as I bop around the streets of Chicago on October 8th, so please be sure to comment your song request when you make your donation below!
Thank you in advance for your love and support during this exciting roller coaster of a journey. 26.2 here we come!
**Why Girls on the Run? Well, I'm a girl and I'm gonna be on the run for the next 4 months so this charity just seemed fitting for me. Just kidding - there's more.
Girls on the Run is an afterschool program for girls in 3rd-8th grade that uses the power of running to inspire girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. The program combines training for a non-competitive 5k running event with interactive lessons that encourage positive social-emotional and physical development among participants. Can you imagine if I would had access to this stuff when I was a kid? I would have been running the marathon at age 16 instead of doggin' it through my 3-mile time trial.
What's even cooler about GOTR is that more than 85% of girls taking part in the program receive some sort of financial assistance to participate. All funds raised by the Girls on the Run SoleMates Team (that's me!) go to underwrite program scholarships so that any girl can participate in this life-changing programing, regardless of her family's ability to pay the program fee. That's awesome. Let's get more gals out there!