'Tis the Season for 5Ks

December and January can be some of the most difficult months for staying in shape.  There are temptations of holiday cookies, cocktails, and potlucks everywhere you look.  There are parties to attend and visitors to entertain, and the cold weather provides a convenient excuse for forgoing a workout.  I decided not to participate in the Holiday Running Streak this year (running every day between Thanksgiving and New Years Day), but I am training for a Half Marathon in January and I've managed to stay busy with a couple fun and festive 5K races!

On Thanksgiving Day we participated in the annual Turkey Trot at Atalaya Elementary.  This is one of my favorite events of the season and we always see a lot of our friends and running/biking buddies at the race.  It's far from a serious race (anything with the word "Turkey" in the name is obviously just for fun), but it's inspiring to see families come together for a healthy cause before we all stuff our faces.  I had about three too many beers at Draft Station the night before but still managed to run a 27-minuter and I had fun cheering on my other friends at the finish line!

Turkey Trotting Ladies

The following weekend was the annual Jingle Bell Run, a 5K race that marks the end of the season for the Girls on the Run and supports this nonprofit organization.  This was my fourth time participating in a Girls on the Run 5K, and I always leave the event feeling invigorated and inspired.  The girls (3rd through 5th graders) practice twice a week for 10 weeks to prepare for their 5K.  They represented a wide range of athletic abilities, and their finishing times ranged from under 30 minutes to over 50 minutes, but every single girl crossed the finish line with pride in her step and a smile on her face.  

Race bibs decorated for the event
Over 80 girls participated in GOTR this season
Getting ready to run! :-)

I ran with a 6th grader (we'll call her "Catie") whom I got to know last season when I coached for her school.  Every time I run with one of the girls I learn a lot about them as individuals, but I also learn something about life.  "Catie's" words of wisdom on this particular day were, and I quote, "If you ever fall off your chair, which I do at least once a day, you have to just laugh at yourself."  I believe that accepting your faults and finding the humor in otherwise embarrassing events is a key to life, and this 11-year-old has it figured out!  Catie ran her best 5K time yet, and I think I was even more proud of her than she was of herself!

A few of our friends who came out to support the cause

I look forward to coaching GOTR in the spring.  In the meantime I'm getting back into longer distance running while I train for the Phoenix Women's Half Marathon!


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