Monday, May 4, 2015

What a weekend!!!

It takes a lot to get 14 kids to the start line but it's all worth it :)
Wow, last weekend was a blast. Brian and I are always trying to increase the level of our fitness but we are also trying to increase the impact of our community service work and leave an even bigger impression on the kids at the Boys and Girls Club. Our Run Club has grown to over 80 kids now and the total mileage is over 500 for the just the month of April!!! Our goal with the program is to introduce the kids to a way of life. We want them to enjoy the process of setting goals, achieving them and then make even bigger goals. Saturday was the Go Spring! Trail run hosted by Endurance United at Battle Creek Park in St. Paul. Endurance United generously let all of the kids (and Brian and I) join the event for free!

Only kids who have been a regular part of Run Club were allowed to sign up for the event and there were a lot of kids who were had to be turned away because we had reached capacity. We use the Boys and Girls Club van and a parent volunteer's car so we were limited in seats. In the end 14 kids came out to event and everyone FINISHED :)

One of the best ways to ensure everyone is ready to go at 7AM with food in their bellies and dressed for running is to have the kids spend the night at the Boys and Girls Club the night before! THAT was something else!!! Brian, our awesome parent volunteer Kim and I took on the task of a night at the Club! We all slept on the floor and perhaps the word "slept" is a bit of an exaggeration. The kids were soooo excited to have a sleep over that it was hard to get them to actually sleep :)

Starting off the weekend!
 We worked hard to make sure that all the kids were fed well before during and after the event! A hungry kid is a grumpy kid and thankfully we nailed the food! Noodles and Company graciously donated a pre-race pasta feed for everyone and the kids began their weekend of healthy eating and team building.

Thank You to Noodles and Company!
We wanted to emphasize the idea of Team so everyone sat down together and enjoyed a pre-race meal. 
Brian serving the pasta!
Angel, hungry and happy!
Jacqui loving her meatball!
The girls sharing the moment.
 After dinner we cleaned up and headed to the TV room to watch Cool Running (the story about the Jamaican Bobsled team) and make T-Shirts for the event. I have a degree in Fine Arts and this is one of my favorite projects to do with the kids before an event. Everyone gets a shirt and has their name and some fun designs to show their excitement for the upcoming race.

Jacqui's Shirt!
The "scene" during the T-shirt making!
Elycia's shirt captured her essence she said :)
Lavon proudly displaying how many miles he had completed before the race. It says 28! He is 5 and has the most miles of anyone in Run Club. He is not the fastest but he comes everyday and works very hard.

The morning of the race we woke up at 6:30 and gathered all of our stuff and headed over to St. Paul. We stopped at Bruegger's Bagels because the donated two dozen bagels for breakfast!!! The kids were starving after a long night and the bagels were the perfect pre-race fuel.

After breakfast watching the other racers arrive from up on the hill!
Brian handing out race numbers!
Warm-up time!
Pre-race stretching.
 Brian and I focus a lot on creating a sense of pride for our North Minneapolis community. We want to show that you can achieve great things and love where you live in North Minneapolis. We created a cheer to spread the message and get the kids fired up for their race!

We had a number of volunteers come out and pair up with a kid for the event! Thank you to the St. Kate's school of Public Health, the Endurance United Juniors and of course to Kim, our parent volunteer, for coming out and running the 5K with the kids.

Brian and I got to race the 10K and we loved being able to see the kids out on course during their event and cheer them on. We also think it is important for them to see Brian and I in action. Brian and I were both able to win the 10K events and the kids were impressed to know us. It's hard for the kids to totally understand what we do when we are traveling around the world racing (and even winning medals) but they are inspired when the get to WATCH us race in person!

Lapping through for my second 5K
Everyone finished the 5K and although some thought it was the hardest thing they had ever done they still lined back up for the kids 1K event :)

Ready to go and Focused!
Still psyched to run more!
Cheering our teammates into the finish!
The Boys and Girls Club kids have seen my medal already but it was fun for some of the other kids at the event to see it for the first time. Boobo also made an appearance and was a big hit!
Relaxing and waiting for the awards.
Checking out the podium.
Brian still smiling :)
After the race we all had plenty of fruit from Fruitshare our amazing Run Club snack sponsor but we were also ready for another meal. By the end of the event most of the kids had ran over 5 miles and they were starving again! Thankfully Davanni's Pizza donated a Pizza party for the kids!

Pizza Time!
Refueling and enjoying the cool indoors.
Lavon takes his Pizza seriously!
Kamaria, not so much!
More fun!
Still smilling!
Rocking the Bliz glasses!
Thank you to Davanni's! That was an epic feast!
Riding back to the Boys and Girls Club!
One minute later!
By the end of the event we had spent the last 21 hours together and mostly on the go! The kids were  great and I am sure their parents were thankful when they got home and fell right asleep happy, full and tired! Brian and I got home cleaned up and then fell asleep for a couple of hours ourselves.

I am sad that we are entering the last week of Run Club before we head to my first camp of the year in Park City, Utah. Amazingly we have been working hard to make sure that Run Club will continue while Brian and I are away!!! More to come...

No comments: