Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
This weekend, I did something I've never done before: I waved pompoms and cheered my heart out. As a volunteer at the annual Girls on the Run Lollipop Run in San Francisco's Golden Gate park, I was assigned to be part of the "cheer team" and posted near the finish line of the 1 mile and 5k races. Girls on the Run, a national nonprofit, teaches girls age 8 to 13 self-esteem and leadership skills through weekly running/fitness sessions at local schools. The 12-week program culminates in a 5k, the first race most of the girls have ever participated in. Paired with an adult running buddy for the race, the girls are encouraged to complete the race however they like, walking, skipping or running. Many sprinted by me with big grins on their faces. Others needed more encouragement, but took off once I told them it was "all downhill from here" and they saw the finish line marked by an arch of pink and purple balloons.