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Peace Abhieyighan

Peace Abhieyighan

Diary of a Coach - Gearing up for the 5K with Sharpe

Dear Readers,

As we draw closer to the end of the fall GOTR season, I have taken the time to reflect on how our team at Sharpe Elementary is vigorously preparing for the upcoming 5k.

A few weeks ago, our wonderful friends at AutoZone’s AZHOLA’s bilingual employee group offered their support to Sharpe’s team. This year, they chose to support us by helping by equipping the girls with the right gear. AZHOLA hosted a shoe party for the girls and supplied them with other goodies. The girls were ecstatic to try out their new shoes, and they had a very productive practice session with their new kicks. Thank you so much AutoZone!

Now, lets get back to our girls.

            At the beginning of each practice session, our girls are asked to think of a lap goal that they would like to achieve for the day. Then, with that goal in mind, the girls run tirelessly, marking the completion of each lap with colored popsicle sticks and rubber bands given to them by the coaches. At the end of the session, the girls eagerly return to our meeting spot in the library to count their popsicle sticks. We began to have a routine conversation along the lines of : “Look coach, I got x  amount of sticks today, but I ran even more laps than that”. In response, I would say, “Great job. I am so proud of you”.

However, there is a lesson to be learned from these girls and their practices: Resilience and goalsetting.

            With every practice, each girl’s lap goal increases on average by five to ten extra laps. Most times, the girls exceed their goals and make a future goal right then and there. Sometimes, one of the girls on our team would come in with a not-so-eager mood and would participate minimally in our discussion and activities. Yet, she does not exclude herself completely from the practice runs. On one particular occasion, she set a lap goal of zero laps, because she felt she wasn’t in the right mood to run on that day. Surprisingly, at the end of that practice session, she reported that she ran five laps, even though she intended to do none of it. I could not help but smile at this achievement, because I understand how emotions could impact physical capabilities.

            I realized that these girls were not setting goals just to meet them, they set these goals so that they could exceed them. As an adult, I have realized that we only set goals with the hopes of just meeting them, even when we know that we can do much more than the standards we have set for ourselves.

We are now less than a week away from the 5k and the girls are working harder than ever, and so are the coaches. They have received their 5k goodie bags and are ecstatic to show off their new swag at the race.

I truly feel privileged to be a part of this little Sharpe team.

See you at the 5k!

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Founded in 2018, Girls on the Run Memphis inspires girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience based program that creatively integrates running. Our program establishes lifelong healthy habits and instills critical social and emotional skills at a time when girls need it most.

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