I never believed I could be a “runner”. In high school, I hid in the bushes on the side of the road during my mile run for gym class because I disliked running so much. When I moved up to NY, my sister had found a passion for running and encouraged me to join a 5k training program through our local Fleet Feet. I had no idea how joining that program would change my life in so many ways. I found out that I could actually run and enjoy it. I remember crossing the finish line of my first 5k with my support of my coach Lisa Millis and my mentor Lisa Turpin and I couldn’t believe I had done it. That feeling was amazing, and I wanted to keep doing it. Through the years, I became a mentor for that running program through Fleet Feet and then created a teen running program with the help of my friend Lisa Millis at the agency I was working for. That program started about 6 years ago and is still continuing at a local nonprofit.
Since, transitioning into private practice, I saw the need for helping my clients engage in health cooping skills and how much running can help. We decided to create, Healing Steps. Healing Steps is a 9-week program and includes a therapeutic component along with a training component. The first hour of the group focuses on improving the girl’s self-esteem while teaching them mindfulness and healthy coping skills. The second hour is training for the 5k race. This spring was the second group of Healing Steps and we targeted girls in 7th- 10th grades.
This season of Healing Steps, the girls dealt with lots of cold, wind, rain and very little sun, hills and a speed workout and they did it with smiles on their faces. This group of girls were so kind to each during the sessions, helping them challenge their negative thoughts, helping build them up and becoming friends. Saturday, June 1st was the goal race, the culmination of nine weeks of training and we chose the Freihofer’s Run for Women. I stood past the finish line this past Saturday with the group of girls from Healing Steps and I watched as one of the girls hugged her Father with a huge smile on his face and he looked so proud of her. That young lady then said to me “I have tears in my eyes, and I am not even sure why.” Watching the girls finish their goal race with smiles on their faces and being so proud of themselves as they completed their first 5k is the best feeling in the world. I am so grateful that I discovered how beneficial running could be and that I have shared that passion with so many amazing young ladies.
We had an amazing group of mentors that volunteered their time throughout the course of the group and on race day to help encourage and support these young ladies. Thank you to Lisa Millis for coaching these girls and to all our volunteer mentors, Jackie, Stacey, Janet, Melissa, Sue, Darci. This program would not be as awesome and successful without these wonderful women.
Healing Steps is already in the planning mode for the next season. Stay tuned for more information!