Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Seattle Diva Dash

Saturday morning was a memorable one for two reasons.  First, Duvall experienced its first snow - appropriate for December 1st, don't you think?  Second, I attended the culminating 5K event, the Diva Dash, for the participants of Girls on the Run of Puget Sound. Held at Seward Park in Seattle, the event was well attended with over 800 female entrants!
I was dressed to run, and even paid my entry fee, but instead used my time to volunteer. The event was an opportunity for me to see scores of girls enjoying the fruits of 12 weeks of their labor with their peers, coaches and adult running buddies as they learned ways to recognize their inner strength and build positive self-esteem through the Girls on the Run program.  It also gave me the chance to meet a handful of the dedicated women that enable the girls to experience such a profound program - the Executive Director and Board of Directors for the Puget Sound Council.
Once I handed over my money, I met up with Chris, the newly instated Executive Director to see if I could assist with the preparations. Though there wasn't an immediate need for my help, within a few minutes the sign-in tent folks realized they could use another pair of hands on deck to get the lines of women ready to run. I teamed-up with one of Chris' daughters to help distribute t-shirts, tiaras and wands.  Remember, this was the Diva Dash - and though the girls and women were dressed in layers, they did it in style!  Oh, and we also passed out numbers - each runner/walker/jogger/skipper/jogging stroller rider received the number 1!  As this was an untimed event, each finisher was a champion.  Truly.
Before I knew it, I heard a woman announce that the race would be starting in 2 mintues and that all runners should be in place at the start line.  Start line?  Two minutes?  I was working on checking-in the final entrants (after nearly a non-stop hour of doing so) and wasn't even sure of WHERE the start line actually was.  I was also lucky to be sporting a coat that Chris' husband so kindly offered me, as I had left mine blocks away in my car (again, where I was lucky enough to find a parking spot for this well-attended event!).  The coat was warm and I was NOT ready to remove it!  Did I mention that the race was right along the lake and that the temperatures were in the 30's?  How about the wind - did I mentiont that part?
Well, unlike the gaggles of girls and the strong women running with them as buddies, mothers, sisters and friends, I did not have enough adrenaline running through me to shed the coat and run the 5K (I still also wasn't sure where the start was!).  Instead I helped those other generous Girls on the Run women break-down the sign-in area while I listened to coaching stories and the plans for the council's auction fundraiser in May.
It wasn't long before the first of the champions crossed the finish line.  As the women approached the line, the clouds parted and a much-appreciated sun appeared.  As appropriate as the snow was in Duvall, the streaming rays of sun at the finish were even more fitting.  Dads, husbands, brothers, sisters, friends and park vistors lined the path to the finish line, cheering on the smiling girls as they completed their final 5K for the season.  "You go, Divas!" cheered an encouraging voice through a bullhorn.
Part of me does wish I had run the race (about 10% of me!), but the warm part of me (nearly 80% of me, at that point) and the volunteer part of me (let's call that the other 10%, just to make the math easy) were glad to be at the finish line witnessing the joy of running and the wonder of girlhood.  You go, Divas!

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