I'm used to waking up at 5am during the week, but not on Saturday! Something has to be really special to get me out of bed that early. Today, I got out of bed for some great kids from the Manhattan Academy of Technology!
I was one of the lucky few who got to be a race buddy at the Norway Run in Central Park - a 1.7mile run (the lower loop) that's part of the Norwegian Festival (there's also a half marathon, a troll stroll for the little ones and a festival featuring bagels, cream cheese and lox)! It's one of the best NYRR events, if you ask me. I've run the half and volunteered as a course marshal in the past, but this time I got to run with kids from MAT as their race buddy through the NYRR Youth Programs!
As a race buddy I was paired up with one of the local school teams, met with the coach when they arrived, helped them put their bibs and d-tags on, warmed up with them, and ran the race with them. It was the first race for most of the kids and I think the first time any of them had run in Central Park. Several of the parents were there to cheer them on and enjoy the experience. The race was for people of all ages, so these kids were running with adults who have been running for decades! I chose to run with the two girls on the team because they were going to be the slowest. I wanted to help them through the race and encourage them to do their best. If you know the park, you know the lower loop (like the rest of the park) has many hills. These girls did an amazing job!! They pushed through and ran the entire race. The start/finish was in about the same place as it is for the marathon, so when we got to the bottom of the last hill and they saw the finish line, they started sprinting. On their own with no encouragement from me. They absolutely rocked the race! It was awesome to see them push through, even though they had to slow down a little, they never walked. Not one step. It was so great to help them get through their first race and accomplish something great and new! They were so cute thanking the people along the course who were cheering them on and navigating around those who started too fast and ended up walking. It was also cool to tell their parent's how great they had done and how hard they worked. I could definitely tell how happy they were to hear that and how proud of their daughters they were!
The whole team was great and their coach obviously really cares about getting them running, teaching them how to run correctly and how to race correctly (he kept reminding them not to start too fast and to start slower than they thought they should so they could finish without walking). I was talking with a few of the boys during warm-ups and they were saying how they don't care if they win they just want to finish! I love that! These are middle school boys, some of whom are pretty fast, but they knew it was their first race and they just wanted to have fun and finish! Personally, I thought that was a great perspective to have. Maybe it has something to do with the teaching at their school (PS126/MAT was featured on NBC Nightly News this week when they had a visit from Bill Gates & Tom Brokaw)!
Anyway, I woke up early, it's only 12:15pm and I'm kind of exhausted, but I had a great morning and I'd definitely wake up that early another morning to do it again! When I was their age I could hardly finish a mile. To see them running races and spending their Saturday morning being physically active, was really inspiring amidst all the bad news we hear every day about the state of our health as a nation. We just need to get more kids out there, right?
GOGI 10K tomorrow morning! Can't wait for Woody to run his first race! I have to say, he got this really cute excited/nervous look on his face yesterday when I brought his race pack home last night and he realized he's running his first race and had his first bib number! (We're numbers 11 & 12 - it's by alphabetical order, not speed!) I'm a little nervous by the fact that there are three loops that overlap. I really hope I don't get lost! I also hope we don't miss the boat to get there!
How is your weekend going so far?
today's workout -