She believed she could…

Our girls have been involved with Girls on The Run (GOTR) for the last 4 years. It is an awesome program that teaches the girls important life skills and builds confidence through accomplishment. Each season culminates in a county-wide celebratory 5k. I have watched as the girls have blossomed, building confidence and improving their self-esteem through this program. Each year, they have made comments about how they wished I could run it with them. It truly was wishful thinking as we all knew I was in no shape to even try.

This year, though, Shianne asked me to do it with her. I have been feeling better than ever and if there was ever a time, it would be now. I said, “Yes. Let’s do it”. As we got closer to starting to train, Shianne reassured me that many of the girls and coaches walk, so not to worry. Perhaps she sensed my self-doubt. Because, honestly, I am NOT a runner and was regretting having said yes. I vividly remember being super anxious when we had to do the mile run back in middle and high school. Even though I played sports and was in pretty good shape, I could not do it without taking time to rest and walk. I really only said yes because I couldn’t bring myself to say no and I wanted to support Shianne.

A couple of weeks ago, I learned I will be having reconstructive knee surgery at the end of this month. This likely the result of exacerbating an old injury and running bringing a malfunction of my knee to the surface. I had every reason to stop training and take it easy. Some think it’s crazy, but with my surgeon’s permission and an awesome stabilization brace, I have continued to train. Even so, up until our last GOTR session on Wednesday, I was stopping to walk and catch my breath and the farthest we had done was under 2.5 miles. With the 5K two weeks away, I was starting to feel that self-doubt and anxiety creep in. I honestly believed that it was impossible for me to run the whole thing. There was just not way I could do that.

But then I set out to do a training run today and realized something inside of me has changed. I have spent weeks running with the girls and other coaches as we teach the girls lessons about self-worth, self-talk, and finding their inner “start power”. I am quite certain that through all of this, I have learned more than I’ve taught and been coached more than I’ve coached. Because of this, my impossible turned into something I believed I could achieve. And when I believed I could, I did! (while Jeff and the girls ran off to the waterpark on vacation :-))

I am so grateful to be involved in this program. What started out as something I was doing to support Shianne has morphed into a personal journey that far surpasses my wildest imagination..

About Kristin Phoenix

daughter turned teacher turned social worker turned wife turned foster parent turned mom When people who don’t know our family story find out that we fostered and adopted the girls, we generally get one of two reactions…”I would have never known. They look just like you!” or “Oh, how beautiful.” Both of these things are 100% true – on the surface. The picture perfect, shiny, pretty surface. But, just below the surface is a whole lot of mess and brokenness. Our girls endured things that I never even read about in my textbooks. Our family endured things that go completely against the 3 philosophies of safety, permanency, and well-being that the child welfare system is in place to protect. When we have the chance to share a little bit more, the response always goes something like “but…how?!…and why?!” I believe in dreaming big. Part of my dream is a child welfare and healthcare system that would have prevented unnecessary trauma for my girls, my family, and our community. The other part is one of redemption and recovery for everyone involved in our story – which is everyone. I now believe part of why our family endured what we did is so that people would hear our story and ask the hard questions of how and why. With sexual abuse, trauma, foster care, and adoption, we never truly know until we find ourselves in a position of not knowing. Because of the nature of our case, I often found myself in a position of not being able to really answer the hows and whys. I reached a point where staying silent was the only option. Now that our adoptions are finalized, it is time for me to break the silence. This blog is me daring to run after my dreams – even when I find myself out of breath (which is mostly every. single. day.) It is stories of how the collective we have lived up to the Phoenix name and are rising from the ashes to burn bright! I also currently write and edit for Social Justice Solutions
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