“This is the only 5K I am ever going to run!”
One of our teenage girls, Chloe*, made that statement on December 1, the morning of the Girls on the Run 5K event she and 10 more of our girls participated in. What happened within moments after the race will make you want to cheer out loud for her. Chloe started asking her Home Parent Mom, Merri Heberlein, questions about marathons, 10Ks, ultra-marathons and all the different distances involved in different races. She then asked if there were any other 5K events coming up. Some quick research found the Jingle Bell Run one week after Girls on the Run, and we signed Chloe up.
Now, just a little over one month later? Chloe runs two 5Ks each week! Merri takes her along with her to the gym so they can train together. Chloe also attends a kick-boxing class once a week, and may soon be pairing up with another teen girl to walk a 5K together here at Coyote Hill once a week…making that three 5Ks each week.
What happened to the girl who declared she would never run another 5K in her life?
“When she came into our home a year ago, she demonstrated behavioral struggles at home and school. However, she made the honor roll during first quarter of this year, and her GPA is over 3.5 now. She tells me that this success is all so new and different, but it feels really good to her so she’s working really hard. Working hard in school seems to translate into wanting to work hard at other things, like her training and running.
“She’s been really self-motivated. On days when I don’t want to go to the gym, she encourages me and reminds me that she needs to go. That’s been great.”
Chloe was exposed to second-hand smoke most of her life and didn’t see it as a problem. Now that she’s working to improve athletically, she’s learning and realizing the importance of healthy lifestyle choices and avoiding harmful behaviors if she’s going to be able to perform at her best. She’s telling peers that smoking isn’t good for them. It’s been a wonderful and practical way for her to see the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle first-hand.
Chloe and Merri are signed up for a 13K race in February, and are aiming towards doing the Go Girl Run half marathon on June 1, 2019. The gym that Chloe and Merri attend is challenging its members to set a mileage goal; either 1,200 miles, or 2,019 miles in 2019. After Chloe logs her miles during January, she and Merri will decide which goal to aim towards.
Merri concludes, “I think she’s going to be the kid who really knocks this out of the park! She is rocking my socks off with how hard she is pushing herself to be stronger!”
*name changed for sake of confidentiality