GOTR Girl & Mom Blog 2013

Cheryl and Bria: Forest Hill Elementary, San Jose

Week Ten

Cheryl:

Wow, that was a very fast, fun 10 weeks! It is hard to believe that another GOTR season has come to a close.

During our Celebration Party on Saturday after the 5K I was reflecting on all of the great things that happened this season; I got a little emotional and tongue-tied at our event so will try to capture it all here, where if I sit crying, no one will ever know.

I originally started Girls on the Run at my daughter's elementary school to inspire my daughter. She is at an age where she is still trying new things and finding "her thing" and so we thought maybe running could be it. Never did I realize how much I would get from the program. Not only did I get to meet a new batch of fresh faced young ladies that I might not have even met before, I got to meet their families and work with two other amazing mothers and coaches that made the season so much fun!

Bria:

It was more fun to do GOTR this year than it was last because I could run farther and easier this year. I liked helping the people that were new to the team. I was really proud of our community service project, we worked together and got a lot of shoes donated!

I will definitely do Girls on the Run again! It is a good experience; you get to exercise and be healthy and strong! I will keep running. I like doing 5Ks with my family and helping them be healthy too.

See you next season!

Week Nine

Cheryl:

I cannot believe that another GOTR Season is almost over. I also cannot believe how excited my team was for the community service project.  One girl even shared that it was what drew her to GOTR as she saw last year"s team bundling shoes and really having fun!

Bria:

Community is a group of people who work together to reach a goal. I am part of a few communities-GOTR, the Fabulous Forest Hill Community, the City of Campbell and my family is a small community. I am happy and sad that GOTR is ending- happy that I get to run a 5K but sad that I won"t see my team anymore. I think my mom and I are going to keep running!

Week Eight

Cheryl:

This week our team ran their practice 5K! I was so proud of them! Even in the extreme heat all 14 team members there that day completed the 5K. We were especially concerned about staying hydrated that day and drank water and misted the girls at every lap! One team member's dad was working in the school garden during our run and Ron "Rain Man" Hamada would spray us with the hose as we went by his end of the track. Super refreshing! We were fortunate to have so many parents and teachers come out to support the girls every step of the way today!

There were many moments of inspiration during the practice run. Some girls had run a 5K before and set their goals to beat a previous time. My own daughter who was more of a run/walker last season really kicked it up a notch and finished In her personal best time. Perhaps the best moment was when one of our other coaches who broke her foot during the Boston Marathon did the entire practice 5K on her crutches, the team flanking her as she crossed the finish line!

Bria:

It was really fun to run the practice 5K. Ms. Cohn (the PE teacher) ran with me. It was good to have a running buddy! it really helped me get through the run because she encouraged me. I am really proud of coach Traci for doing the event on her crutches. If she can do a 5K on crutches I can do one on my feet any time!

Week Seven

Cheryl:

This week we talked about bullying as well as choosing our friends. I shared the following story with my daughter about my most memorable "being bullied" incident from my childhood. I was a 9th grader and it was my first year at high school in the big city from my small, country K-8th grade school. It was culture shock. I was in line at the school's snack shack and a girl took cuts, got behind me and demanded that I buy her a cookie. I politely ignored her, got my food and walked away with my friends. We sat down and she came over to me and yelled and pointed at me and called me a not very nice name. I was so scared! I had seen this girl with my own eyes getting brought into the school office for beating up boys! I sat with my supportive friends and in my quivering voice told her that I did not do anything to her and to leave me alone. She walked away and never bothered me again. My friends were very supportive and even people I did not know who witnessed the incident praised me for standing up to her.

Bria:

I am not a bully and I don't think I have ever been bullied. Insert Cheryl: What about your brother? Bria: Well, maybe a little... Cheryl: Do you think that we can work on that? Bria: Yes. I like friends who are loyal, funny and kind. You get to choose your own friends. Not everyone has to be friends, but you do have to be friendly to everyone.

Week Six

Cheryl:

This past week was one of our Girls on the Run lessons come to life. We practiced standing up for ourselves and spoke about how gossiping hurts everyone. Unbeknownst to coaches during our Workout run that day, a group of girls was walking together and then two "ganged up" and broke off from another girl saying some not very GOTR-things in the process. When the parent notified me of the occurrence, the coaching team decided to talk about it as a team the next week. We got to practice again what someone might say when standing up for themselves and communicating to someone else in an assertive manner. We also got to review choosing to be a Girl on the Run and what that means. The next practice we got to talk about gossip and I had to gently notify the principal that if she heard the rumor that she was pregnant with triplets, we'd know someone had been gossiping!  While I am very sorry that my runner had her feelings hurt, I am happy with the natural learning experience it brought to the team.

Bria:

If you do not stand up for yourself things will never get better! I was able to stand up for myself recently. A friend asked me to have a sleepover, but her family always stays up way too late for me, so I chose to stay home because it was the right choice for me. You should not gossip because it hurts everyone, everyone that hears it, starts it and who it is about.

Week Five

Cheryl:

This week's lessons focused on the ideas of cooperation and peer pressure. Our girls really persevered to get everyone through our jump rope game. I was actually shocked at how difficult it was to get all of the girls through! A few had never jumped rope before and some were old pros. They gave each other clues about when to "GO!" and cheered one another on. It was heartbreaking to have them get about half way through the team only to have someone touch the rope. It was also a great workout for the coaches arms! The girls also cooperated to complete their goal of running 70 laps as a team! They did it, even with one member being absent and two others having to leave early! It was nice to see them set and reach a goal, one of many I hope they will achieve in their lives! We have a team of thespians and they did excellent role playing the exercises relating to peer pressure.

Bria:

You should not let other people peer pressure you. You get to make the decisions about your life and your body. When someone is pressuring you remember to think of ideas to deal with it that we discussed in Girls on the Run. You can tell them nicely but firmly. Cooperation is when you work together to reach a goal. Working together is much better than doing things alone because you have someone to do it with that can help and support you.

Week Four

Cheryl:

This week's themes were gratitude and inner beauty. I think it is very easy in this day and age in this area to raise very "entitled" children and I was surprised how grateful the girls were for their families and their friends and the Fabulous Forest Hill Community. Professionally, I work with people with Substance Use Disorders recovering from Opiate Addiction who are fairly marginalized by their dependence on substances and society and it is really easy every day to remember how fortunate I am. The girls, all 3rd and 4th graders, were quickly able to rattle off tons of things that made them "beautiful" on the inside. I could not help but wonder when they would start questioning themselves and their innate beauty and goodness? The lesson made me think, "When will they start comparing themselves to others and doubting their perfection just the way they are?" It also got me thinking in my role as a mother what can I do to foster gratitude and a sense of inner beauty in my own daughter. I realized that, as a term of endearment, I call my daughter "Beautiful Girl" and she is beautiful inside and out, but I really want her to know that she is so much more than a pretty face!  If you are not familiar with the movie Miss Representation, watch it!  And in a few years, watch it with your daughter!  www.missrepresentation.org

Bria:

Be thankful for what you have. It does not matter what you look like it just matters how you feel! I like it when my mom calls me "Beautiful Girl." It is her name for me and I know that she loves me. I know she means beauty inside and out because if you are pretty outside but have a mean spirit, you are not very pretty at all!

Week Three

Cheryl:

I had a great little article typed up about cortisol, ghrelin and leptin and how they are affected by sleep, stress and interact with eating and weight gain, hit send (or so I thought) and deleted my post, so, in short, without the biology lesson, physical and emotional health are inexplicablly intertwined.
 
I really thought about last week's lessons on emotional and physical health and how interconnected they are. I know that as a mom I choose to model the behaviors I expect in my children and want them to learn and incorporate into their own lives, from eating a balanced diet, involving them in food choices and meal preparation, exercising, expressing my emotions in a healthy way,  getting plenty of sleep, balancing work (school) and play and having healthy relationships in my life. I know that my ability to be the parent I want to be improves when I am taking good care of me and doing these behaviors as well.

Bria:

I always try to be happy.  Running, reading, doing gymnastics, listening to music all make me happy. They go together!  When I am not happy I try doing some of the things I like. If that doesn't work, I talk to my mom and dad or a friend.

Week Two

Cheryl:

I have to admit I think about each of the lessons I teach as a coach and think about how they apply to not only my own life, but also to my work with patients with Substance Use Disorders. This week's lessons really made me think about going through life choosing to be an active participant in your own life as well as celebrating and honoring our strengths, gifts and talents. It also made me think about what gets in the way of people getting these lessons and what helps. I did not have GOTR to teach me this as a child, but I had 4-H and that was where I learned many of these lessons. The 4-H Motto is  "to make the best better!" The 4-H pledge, the group activities, individual projects all helped me develop my personal strengths, take pride in myself, my work and my accomplishments. What I hope that the girls walk away with is that we may all be different, but we all have strengths and things that make us special and uniquely ourselves!

Bria:

I choose to be a Girl on the Run because I choose to do my personal best. I did not do negative self talk this week, except at practice when we were supposed to think of some examples. I liked having "No Nonsense Nelly" eat our negative phrases and picking out our silly word  (BOP!) to help remind each other when negative self talk was happening.

Week One

Cheryl:

This is my second year as a Girls on the Run Coach and I know that I get as much or more our of the program than the girls do! I tell people that it is the best volunteer experience of my life! Even this year I was amazed in Lesson 2 at how many of the girls already expressed feeling a part of something, the Girls on the Run Program. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would be a sports coach of any kind. I was the bookish, class geek and definitely not the person first chosen for any athletic endeavor. I had dabbled with running (mostly walking) throughout my adult life: I did the sporadic 5K for a fundraising event, I completed a marathon with Team in Training in 1998 and had not run 26 miles since then when I heard about the GOTR program from one of my cousins who is also a coach locally.

During the 2012 Spring Season I got to work with two other wonderful women who inspired me as mothers, leaders and runners as well as 15 beautiful little girls who blossomed during the season. Now in 2013 I get to work with one returning coach and one new coach (and our former coach has moved on to Girls on Track at the Middle School). Last season, I was nursing an injury and had a cortisone injection in my knee and was a walker/timekeeper most of the season. I watched our team of girls set personal bests, inspire and reward one another with Energy Awards and grow in their own sense of self and self-confidence. I helped to teach lessons that my daughter and I would talk about over dinner and with the other members of our family. You cannot teach these lessons without learning them as well. Since completing the Girls on the Run 5K in May, my daughter and I have done two other races together. I have lost 20 pounds and gained a whole new outlook on the role of exercise in my own life and how it contributes to my overall health each and every day. Girs on the Run is so much fun for everyone involved! I now know that it will be one of those very special things that my daughter and I will share throughout our lives.

Bria:

This is my second year on Girls on the Run. I really liked doing the 5K with my mom. We got to be together and dress alike. This year we have matching shoes! I like to read and listen to music to stay plugged into the Girls on the Run cord. I like that my friends Hannah, Tayley and Taylor are doing Girls on the Run again and we get to help teach the new girls cheers for Energy Awards. Running now is easier than it was last year and running really helped me on my soccer team this year.  My soccer coach said that all his best players had been in Girls on the Run.

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