Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Best Yet!

 Every year at the end of the season instead of going on a roadtrip or vacation Brian and I rush home and start our projects with the kids at The Jerry Gamble Boys and Girls Club and Harrison Park. As much as I would love to head somewhere warm or hangout for a while with no responsibilities, I couldn't imagine a spring now without seeing the kids and telling them about our ski season and hearing about their winter.
Training and Smoothie Making!
That's not to say that Brian and I don't have fun...we just find ways to have fun in our own neighborhood. Last weekend we attended the Harrison Community Hang Out! I worked on the Harrison Neighborhood Board for a year and I learned so much about the City Planning Process and how many factors are involved in having a single business open up in the area. Harrison has had a rough time in the current economy and it is very obvious by the abandoned store fronts and boarded up homes along the main road, Glenwood Ave. In an attempt to bring the community together Harrison has been putting on events that promote friendship and joy for all the residents of North Minneapolis. There is a big push for bike commuting in the area, because it is a lot cheaper and cleaner than driving, and there were a number of stands promoting biking and bike share programs.
My proudest moment! The Run Club bulletin board and tally board filled with goals and  achievements
At the Boys and Girls Club I have been visiting Brian's kids because they are short-staffed and he has more regular attendees for our latest program Run Club. After a month we have had over 65 kids sign up and together they have run over 200 miles.

The kids are drawn to our energy and excitement for their accomplishments!
Everyday we are thrilled with the number of excited kids ready to run! Run Club is the "cool" program to be involved with!

The final day of Run Club...for now!

Julius has run 15 miles so far!

Happy to have Brian finish his workout during my race  so he could cheer me on!
Brian and I are now in the Methow Valley and I miss the kids a ton already. Today Brian skied an OD and met me at a trail race (the Sun Mountain 25K) I competed in. I won the race in a time of 1:59 and was 5th overall. I am so happy my hamstring has healed and I can run pain free again! Today's race was one of the first times I have been able to run with both legs :)

Working on the guns!!!
It's training season so after my 25K race I was back at it in the gym this afternoon for power strength and classic rollerskiing. I am feeling really good right now and I am ready to focus on "just training" for the next couple of weeks.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Run Club

It's been great to be home this spring. Brian and I have been busy organizing the house and getting the yard ready for the summer months. Although the weather has been a bit crazy, like 6 inches of snow on May 2nd!, we have been staying busy at the Boys and Girls Club with our newly formed group called "Run Club."

A few of the Run Club crew! Ready to run!
The idea for Run Club came from our host family who we stayed with in Marquette for my Hall of Fame induction. Their daughter, who is in 3rd grade, showed off her necklace that had many little plastic foot charms on it. She told us that each foot represented a mile and that she had run over 26 miles already that year! She was very proud and you could tell the accomplishment gave her confidence and encouraged her to keep setting new goals.

I immediately looked up the program called Fitness Finders and ordered a booklet that described how it worked. Within two days I had the information packet and  brought it into the Boys and Girls Club to see if there was any interest from the kids. Destinee loved the idea and helped me organize an official sign up. The first meeting was mostly to explain how the program worked and have everyone start setting goals. We decided to set the mark at completing a marathon (26.2 miles) throughout the spring and summer. We looked up how many laps in the gym equaled a mile (20 laps!) and how many laps around the nearby park equaled a mile (3 laps).

The next Run Club meeting was spent creating a bulletin board for inspiration, motivation and a tally board to track laps and miles. We cut out pictures of healthy activities and exercises as well as healthy food choices that would help us achieve our goals quicker!

Our awesome Bulletin Board of Motivation and Inspiration! The club became so popular we had to add another tally chart to keep track of all the members! We are up to 35 kids!!!
With the tally board ready to go we started running laps. To keep track of our laps we used Popsicle sticks. For each lap the kids would collect their Popsicle sticks. Everyone holds onto their sticks until the end when we count them and put the totals on the board. There can be quite a bit of math involved between converting outside and inside laps into miles for the board!

Daveart (as he likes to be called) showing off his Popsicle sticks!
Helping to keep the laps motivating! The Run Club Popsicle stick queen :)
Their first day had 5 kids complete a mile. I was thrilled and we didn't even have the necklaces or charms, just Popsicle sticks! Their only motivation was to collect Popsicle sticks and hand them in to get a number and a sticker on the board next to their name. I was so excited!

Stretching before our run!
Everyday the kids showed up and wanted to run laps. Some ran 2 laps and some ran 16 laps. When the kids got tired we would do fitness exercises like sit-ups or push-ups until they were ready to do another lap. Not everyone could run the whole time so walking counts too. The only requirement is that you finish the lap entirely and collect your Popsicle Stick!

Everyone heading out on the course.
Day after day the laps added up! We now have two kids over 10 miles!!! and 25 with at least 1 mile completed. I had no idea what a success Run Club would be!
Handing out Popsicle sticks in the lap zone.
We had our first awards ceremony last week when the necklaces and charms arrived. The requirement is to complete a mile before you can earn your necklace and get your first charm. The interest in Run Club is so high right now that everyone wants to join!
Counting laps for the awards ceremony!
Various running stores and shoe companies have been generous and donated lightly used shoes to Run Club. We have set the bar high at completing 10 miles before you can earn your new shoes. Unfortunately the shoes have been a bit too big so we need to find some smaller sizes to award.
High Fives all-around!

 I have been very pleased with the both girls and boys being interested in Run Club and ages ranging from 6 to 13 years old. Our goal is to see how many kids can complete the 26.2 miles but we have also been talking about running in a local race! We gad one day when it was raining a getting late and I thought we should wait until the next day to many kids wanted to run we decided to hold run club in the gym and not let the streak end. Another 7 kids completed a mile that day!

Erriana showing off her necklace during a science day.
Terrell has been the top performer so far. He has run over 13 miles!!!