Saturday, November 12, 2011

Couch to 5K Coaching Report : 2011 Girls on the Run 5K Race Report

Today was the day!!! Today was the day that 10 fabulous women that I've gotten to know over 9 fabulous weeks were going to run their first 5K. We trained together twice a week and they ran together once on their own each weekend. Sometimes we would get together on the weekends, as well, to keep eachother motivated. The kids would even join us on their bikes and scooters. They were setting a great example for their children and keeping their commitment to themselves at the same time. They really reached out to eachother and created bonds over their nine week journey together. We met at various parks in town and explored many different routes. The group I coached in the spring had 27 members and was a mixed-gender group. I really enjoyed getting to know each woman, their names, their personalities, and their strengths and breaking-points where they would need motivation.

We started with twelve members and I'm told that the class sold out in an hour and a half when registration opened in the Summer. There were just as many women on the waiting list. I'm so happy that so many women want to do something so positive for themselves. Of the twelve women, we only had two not join us on race day. One had scheduling troubles and just could not get to the scheduled training runs and was doing it on her own; the other preferred walking very long distances and just could not fit the running in on top of that. I consider the group to have been a huge success, considering we did not lose anyone due to lack of motivation or frustration. Everyone was still active and keeping their commitment.

At our first training run, back in September, the ladies struggled with running one minute intervals for twenty minutes. By the end of our training, they were running 32 minutes (most straight through). We went and ran the 5K course in Waunakee on Tuesday and finished in the dark and in the rain. On Thursday, we finished with a short run along the same route they struggled with on the first day, now running 20 minutes straight. We finished with a yummy pasta dinner, celebratory cake and discussion of our plan for race day.

We were scheduled to run the 3rd Annual Girls on the Run 5K for the Dane County (Madison, Wisconsin) Chapter in Waunakee, Wisconsin this morning (HERE) this morning. I had run the event the past two years and it was cloudy, dreary and last year it was raining. I was drenched last year. This year, the sun was shining, temperatures were in the low-50's and it was going to be a fantastic day to run!!! I couldn't think of a much happier way to end their journey.

The kids and I piled into the Marathon Mommy Minivan and met up with the Couch to 5K group at 9 AM. Parking was a little bit more difficult this year, due to increased participation. But, it wasn't terrible. We went into the community building and met up with everyone downstairs at packet pickup. This year, the race was chip timed. We went over how that worked and made sure everyone had their bibs on securely.

I had bought supplies for all of the kids to make signs for their moms, including Little Dude and Little Diva. The kids and their families enjoyed making some personalized signs and I know that their moms appreciated it, too.

We headed outside for some team photos. The atmosphere was awesome, as all of the Girls on the Run teams were assembling outside as well. They were cheering, doing jumping jacks and stretching. They were getting their hair spray painted in bright colors and having a great time. We were having a great time too!

We took a quick potty break inside (no porto-potties needed today!!) and then headed to the startline. We looked like we meant business in our pink Couch to 5K technical tees! The National Anthem was sung and then the fire truck whailed and we were off .....

There were two relatively large hills during the first half of the course and I tried to run back and forth between everyone in the group, to make sure that everyone was making great time and having a great time. The further we got into the race, the further apart the packs of pink shirts got. They ultimately ended up in 3-4 groups. I really had to hustle to get back and forth!

Most were smiling out on the course, some struggled at times, but I continued to remind them to focus on their breathing, to get into a rhythm and to have fun. Their experience over the past nine weeks and their legs would carry them through to the finish line ... and I hoped that they would finish with a huge smile on their face. The hard work was done .... this was the fun part!!

I believe that everyone finished between 32 and 52 minutes (and some change). They all were extremely supportive as I came in running behind the last runner from our group. They all were assembled just beyond the finish line, cheering her in and calling her by name.

After we all crossed the finish line, hugs were shared by all. Their families assembled to give their moms hugs and congratulations.

So proud of you ........










Coming together is a beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success.
~Henry Ford


  1. This brought tears to my eyes! So beautiful! Great job Ladies!!!

  2. How fun. Great job you all did!

  3. We were so glad to have you participate in our race! The girls are so amazing and inspiring, and so are your ladies! Well done everyone! Cheers! Sara

  4. That's awesome! Congrats to everyone in your group!

  5. Thank you Jamie for making our dream come true. Without all of your support & coaching we never would have run a 5K.


  6. Great job. Sounds like you had a great group of women and were able to really help them reach their potential and realize what they could do!!!

  7. First of all LOVE your skirt!!! 2nd congrats on the GOTR 5k! What an accomplishment & great feeling it must be to train these awesome people!!! I will be my daughter's running buddy for HER first 5k on Dec. 4th - Can't wait!!!

  8. How awesome! What a journey you have had with that group of women this fall, and I'm so excited that they finished the race. Even cooler that it's a race for such a good cause. Congratulations to you and your team!