You Got This. You’re Strong. You’re Awesome. Repeat to yourself. Say it out loud. And now believe it.
Yesterday was the Celebratory 5K for the Portland chapter of Girls on the Run, an international program that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident, and challenges them to overcome obstacles through running. This is my second year serving as a Running Buddy.
I signed up to be a Running Buddy again because I wanted to share my passion for running with the hope my girl buddy will understand there’s more to running than putting one foot in front of the other.
When we run, we tend to get a sense of who we really are or who we want to be. Running provides me with a perspective I can’t get from anything else—three miles or thirty miles, it doesn’t matter; I finish with confidence I can take on the world. Even a disheartening DNF at Speedgoat 50K didn’t shake my spirit.
But off the trails and out of my running shoes, it’s easy for confidence to turn into doubt—it can happen to any of us. I’m always amazed how a simple run can whip me back into shape—get that monkey off my back. A number of recent studies have found just being outside in nature has both physiological and psychological benefits.
On my drive to the race, my thoughts drifted to my frustrating job search, an upcoming presentation, and a seemingly never-ending “to do” list—all things that can rattle my confidence. But then it was “go time” and my focus turned to Maggie, my running buddy. As we were navigating our way through the course, signs of encouragement kept us going: “You Got This,” “You’re Strong,” “You’re Awesome!”
I took the opportunity to remind Maggie she was doing great and I was proud of her. Though she got tired at times, she was determined to finish the race. As we got close, I reflected on the signs’ messages and realized they had powerful applications past the finishline to help navigate through life—or even just one day. While this is certainly one of the take-aways Girls on the Run hopes the girls will realize, it’s a gentle reminder for all of us to be kind to ourselves and not let doubt or fear keep us from moving forward.
One of the highlights of the day was seeing Maggie’s smile after the race and knowing she knew she was awesome and strong—and she did it!
Have you volunteered with GOTR? What was the highlight of the program for you?