I find I'm always on the go, trying to get here and there as quickly as possible.  More often then not, I seem to be running more than walking, yet I've never really been a runner.  But thanks to my daughter, that may be changing after this weekend.

There's a local organization called Girls On The Run.  Perhaps you've heard of them.  It's a program meant to "inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running."  In other words, it a group of girls in 3rd-8th grade who meet twice a week and do activities meant to strengthen their sense of self, develop positive self reflection and inner belief, and overall teach them they can rise to any challenge and overcome it.  It's all centered around training to run a 5k.  So when we first heard about it, my wife and I knew it was a great idea to enroll my daughter in it, although she'd fight us on the whole running thing.  The kicker was, she needs a running buddy, which became me.

Honestly, I was okay with this, as it'd be great father/daughter time.  Plus, as I said before, I've always enjoyed the quicker pace, so why not run a 5k.  So we promised we'd train, and go on lots of runs this fall.  But, as life is, you get busy, and unfortunately, before we knew it, the run was here.  So with little to no training, I headed into the weekend a little fearful.  And of course it didn't help that the run just happened to be this past Saturday, one of the coldest days of the year.  Yikes!

Chris Carson

So we bundled up and joined over 700 girls, running buddies, and others who wanted to join in the fun at the U of Iowa Cross Country track.  I knew once we got going, we'd be plenty warm, but I was definitely missing the coat while we waited to start.  Thankfully the hot cider helped a little.  And then it was time to go.  As a Dad, I was so proud of my daughter, who kept pushing through the cramps, and trucking along.  I also surprised myself.  In all, we finished just under 40 min, which I'll take as very respectable for us first timers, especially on a cold day.  (BTW, if you're thinking of signing up, they do have a Spring session too.  Wonder if it's better to run in the warm vs. the cold?)

What I didn't expect was simply how great I felt after completing the race.  You just feel... good! Your body, mind, spirit; everything just feels good.  It was an impressive energy kick too, as I don't think I ever had my daily cup(s) of coffee that day, and even after a tiring run, didn't need them.  I can honestly say, I'll be doing a lot more 5k's in the future.  And although she impressed herself, I might have a bit of trouble convincing my daughter to join me and go through it all again.