Friday, February 27, 2015

Girls on the Run Atlanta: Week 5!

The opinions expressed here are solely my opinions and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Girls on the Run® International.

Tonight I wanted to write a little bit about Girls on the Run and my experiences being a coach so far.  I'll tell you about the end of my week some other time, which I'm sure you are on the edge of your seats about so I apologize (kidding. do you guys really care about that stuff?)

Anyways, we are now five lessons in to our Girls on the Run season and I am having a lot of fun with it so far! The classes are on Mondays and Thursdays, but with my work schedule I committed to being there one day a week unless I was traveling.  But, since I was going to be missing a number of sessions over the recent weeks with work travel, this week I went to both the Monday and Thursday sessions.

Now, I know for the Northerners this is a joke, and trust me, I'm mostly laughing too, but this February has still been a bit chilly in Atlanta and people are not used to it.   We have been having a hard time fitting in the workouts and the plans exactly as they are explained by the organization because we are modifying them to be indoors. The girls show up to the practices in shorts and t-shirts sometimes and it is just too darn chilly out to be standing around or running outside with those clothes on! It’s been a little unfortunate and sometimes gets a bit cramped trying to be indoors.  Plus, I worry that the girls aren’t getting in enough running/training!

Being indoors we needed to improvise and I had a lot of fun making up different exercises, games, and workouts for the girls to do.  I taught the girls yoga moves, ab and core exercises, squats, lunges, side shuffles, high knees, burpees, and more.  And I must say, working with these girls has given me understanding of how much I love fitness and how much I have learned myself about fitness and health over the years. Today’s lesson plan was all about “healthy habits” and why they are important to have in our lives. Some of the healthy habits were discussed were brushing our teeth, getting enough sleep, exercising, eating fruit, eating protein, drinking water, etc.  I was impressed with myself at how much I had to say to the group about exactly why each of these things are important.

While they did the exercises I instructed them to do, I was able to correct their form and encouraged them to slow down and pay attention to what they were doing to get the most out of the exercises. While we were doing the yoga, I took them through a few flows and sequences and surprised myself at how easily I was able to do it and also help to make sure that they were doing the positions correctly.

Now, I can't say that the girls cared all that much about their form and were mostly just being silly and goofy, Besides not being the most attentive students, I enjoyed trying teach them and seeing their reactions when I would modify their form and all of a sudden their planks or lunges got sooooo much harder for them!

It reminded me that it was about a year ago that I was seriously considering going after my personal trainer certification.  It's only been a couple of days that this has been a thought in my mind again, but coaching for Girls on the Run has made me think that it might be something that is still down the line for me in the future.

I don't always mind improvising either, I just wish that we could do it outside. To be honest, sometimes the trainings that we are instructed to do by the organization are a bit weird.  They don't feel natural and it is hard to be yourself and read a weird script from a book.  I like putting my own personality into it and also adlibbing where needed -- due to the fact that it’s 30 degrees out and the girls show up in shorts!

I am one of few volunteers in the group that does not have a daughter in the program, kids myself, or is a teacher at a school. It puts me in an interesting position from some of the other coaches in many ways. I didn’t meet any of these girls until the start of the program. I haven’t spent this much time with the same group of girls this age in a while. I don’t know any of these girls parents or family stories and haven’t seen them grow up with my own kids.  I have a different perspective on a lot of things. I am an outsider in this environment and a totally new person to the girls and it’s really fun.

I have also been struck with what different personalities we have in the group and how different all the girls are. I see myself at their age in a lot of their behaviors and actions and feel sympathy for the poor teachers and adults that I probably caused to want to pull their hair out back in the day. I remember being the loud mouth in group settings, always shouting out of turn and making silly or nonsense answers to things thinking I was funny. It was generally under the rouse of trying to be funny and getting others to laugh, but really trying to cover up insecurities and for attention. I remember the feeling of being outside of a clique or a group and am immediately back in that position when I see it happen with these girls. I remember giggling and not paying attention to whatever was being told or asked of me and thinking that whatever grown up or adult in the room was just a busybody. I remember feeling guilty if I did get scorned or reprimanded, especially in front of a group. I remember so much what it was like to be a girl this age and it’s a weird thing.

I am still trying to learn most of their names.  I am still trying to get through to many of them and make connections.  But they are becoming a little team and I look forward to seeing them every session.  I can't wait until we can get outside and until we run more.  I am excited to do the 5K in just a couple months!

Oh, and a side note… THEY ALL HAVE CELL PHONES. They are in 3rd grade and all have iPhones! Is this normal, parents?? I was shocked. But hey, I guess it’s 2015 and even though I work in digital and can be pretty tech savvy myself, sometimes my old fogie-ness shows up!

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