By: April Joy Bowden, Black Girls RUN! Greensboro, Run Coordinator
John and Tamara are a mother/daughter team who recently completed the twelve week Walk Before You Run program with Black Girls RUN! in Winston Salem, NC. The goal of Walk Before You Run is to help people who have been inactive ease into a more healthy lifestyle and train to complete a 5k. John was originally introduced to Black Girls RUN! a year ago when her friend was participating in a Couch to 5k program in a neighboring city. She had been asked to come take pictures of the completion of her 100th mile.
What was your initial thought of Black Girls RUN!?
John: My initial thoughts about the program before my one mile trial, if my very good friend could look as good as she does after less than a year of running and still not miss out on cupcakes, I could do this! And it sounded like my already very social friend was even happier.
John: My initial thought when I showed up to our one mile trial. The overwhelming amount of ladies and variety of women getting on the track was awesome. I didn't feel out of place. Then when I started to pay attention to the women that were leading I felt like my daughter and I would be in good hands. Jameil explained the program with confidence that every women out there, if they trust the program they would feel like runners before it ended.
What made you decide to participate in the Walk Before You Run program?
John: My daughter was very active during the fall and spring I didn't want to have her slow down to much. I wanted her to grow up more active than I was. I thought BGR would be a great, organized and inexpensive way we could be active together
Tamara: To support my mom.
Why was it important to you to include your daughter?
John: I read that question and I teared up a little; (a barrel of water.) I love my children, No, I'm in love with my children and as a parent if you're honest, we make so many little mistakes that affect our children negatively in the future. Whenever I have the opportunity to do something I know for sure is right and can give us more years together, it's a no brainer.
What was the best thing about doing this with your mom?
Tamara: Healthy us time. I love spending time with her. It was better than going to the movies and eating buttery popcorn and chocolate. I still like doing that, just not as much.
What did you like most about the program?
John: Week 10 I felt like a runner. I ran 28 minutes straight at a 16 minute pace. Last year if my daughter left something at the house and we didn't realize it until we were on the bus stop, oh well I guess I was driving back to the house and driving her to school. Right before school ended this year. I was able to run home and run back to the bus stop because she forgot her glasses. The icing was save gas & 35 more minutes of sleep.
All the support I got. Ms. Mia, Ms. Angel, Ms.Bonnie, Ms. Tracie, Ms. Brie, Ms. April & Auntie April and helped me. When they helped me they also made my mommy feel okay to run when I walked. I never thought I could do it but I had the support I need.
All the other participants are adults. How was it being the only child doing the program?
Tamara: It was weird at first. I thought mommy was trying to punish me. But when my mommy kept telling me that walking and running would make us spend more years together sometimes it was better. And I got a phone because I was responsible and in BGR
What was your biggest challenge?
John: My two biggest challenges were trying the right amount of hours to eat before a run to stay fueled but not full and heavy. My second challenge was trying to keep my daughter in front of me. If she fell behind me I was always looking back or slowing down. A mother/daughter team can be explosive if she feels like I’m not supporting her or I feel like she could push more.
Tamara: Always having to run. It was a new experience. I played soccer for years but that was easy compared to this.
On July 7, you set a personal distance record and covered 3.1 miles. How did you feel at the finish line?
John: Awesome! The thought that I finished with the ladies of BGR clapping and friends who finished before us coming back and running in with us it was a great accomplishment for me. Its the longest I have attempted to run.
Tamara: I thought I did great after walking around six flags for 6 hours the day before and getting out the car 30minutes earlier from a 4.5 hour drive. With my Wonder
Woman cape, I did it!
Would you encourage other mothers to do similar programs with their daughters?
John: I would absolutely recommend it. My daughter is more confident about her body type. She feels strong. I cant say it enough its all about making memories doing new things with your children. Its my job is to help give her the tools to be better than me.
What advice would you give to other young girls who want to start running?
Tamara: Just get up and do it. Start slow.
What are your fitness plans now that Walk Before You Run has come to an end?
John: I am going to keep running.
Tamara: I’m going to keep supporting my mommy and keep her in my life longer and if that means continuing running with BGR, I guess that’s what I will do. I love spending time with her no matter what we are doing.
John completed her first official 5k on July 20th (Beat the Heat-Winston Salem). Nearing the finish line I asked her what her goal for the race was. her response was, "To finish." I reminded her that we were all pretty confident that she would finish. "Did you have a time in mind?", I asked. I'm sure she wasn't happy that I was actually hoping that she'd engage in conversation while she was trying to use her breath to run. but she answered by saying forty eight minutes. I knew how close we were to the finish line and that at her current pace, she would finish very close to her goal. I looked over at my friend and said, "You can do a little better than that. Lets get it!" I paced her a little faster. she crossed the finish line faster than her goal at 46:20.
Tamara was away on a vacation with family but will do her first official 5k with her Girl Scout troop next month.
The race is over. In three words, how do you feel?
John: "I finished.........it!!!"
The question that everyone wants an answer to after your first race. What race are you running next?
John: Not quite sure, but I'll do another one.
April Joy Bowden is the creator of I RUN This City, an online Facebook group that offers motivation and encouragement for people on a fitness journey. She also writes a blog titled “Pen and Pavement” at www.apriljoybowden.com. She began running with Black Girls Run Greensboro in May 2012. She has completed several races, including a half marathon and logged 1,000 miles in a calendar year.
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