Woke up early so I could cook mom breakfast before she ran away to work (she works at a small consignment shop in her ‘retirement’).  We made whole wheat pancakes:



Real maple syrup on the side for dippin’ action:


It’s looking like a beautiful day in Tennessee – I’m excited for Part II of our mystery road trip!  All shall be revealed soon, I promise. 🙂


Let’s Hear It For The Girls


As you guys know, one of my goals for 2010 was to volunteer more often.  I’ve recently gotten more involved with the Girls on the Run organization because 1) it’s about building confidence in young girls and 2) it’s about running <—perfect match for me!  (No, I don’t work for GOTR.)


I’ll be volunteering as a coach’s assistant one day a week this Fall, but I’m most excited about the Solemates program because I think it’s so accessible.  It’s hard for most people to volunteer in the middle of a work day as a coach, but ANYONE can be a Solemate.  All you have to do is run a race – any distance, any place – and raise $262, which funds two girls’ participation in the program.  I’m doing Solemates for my upcoming marathon, but I wanted to share this guest post from Ashley from Nourishing the Soul about her 5K and the Solemates program.


Hello! I’m Ashley from Nourishing the Soul, a blog that focuses on our at times distorted relationships with food and our bodies. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be featured here on Healthy Tipping Point to share with you my experience with the SoleMates program of Girls on the Run!  Before I get in to sharing my own experience, I’d like you to ponder something for a moment:


How might your life be different if you had had the opportunity to be inspired, challenged, and empowered by a group of positive role models as a young girl?


Some of you might be fortunate enough to answer this question simply, by saying, “I was!” To all of you, I am so happy that you were given that opportunity! However, most of us – myself included – were unfortunately not given such a unique gift. When I think about how my life might be different if I had, I think about the years of struggling to define myself. I think about years of using food and exercise and other potentially positive things in damaging and destructive ways. I think about missed opportunities to assert my own needs and desires and to take on risks and challenges. You see, I was a fairly reserved (read: insecure) girl who often felt like I was swimming in a river of uncertainty. I am no longer that girl, but rather a focused, confident, and powerful woman. But I had to endure a lot of unnecessary pain along the way.


When I think about all that, it makes me even more grateful that programs like Girls on the Run exist to prevent young people from struggling as so many of us did. GOTR offers a life-raft to pre-adolescent girls, so that they might not flounder in that same river. If you’re not the metaphorical type, here’s some hard facts for you: Program evaluations have demonstrated that girls that participate in GOTR show statistically significant improvements in body image, eating attitudes, and self-esteem. It does this by offering these young ladies a running program combined with a curriculum focused on building self-esteem and great health habits. And the best part is that GOTR is committed to never turning a girl away. 


And that, of course, is where SoleMates comes in.


Offering programs like GOTR understandably requires resources, and the SoleMates program allows people like you and me to be part of helping girls thrive. SoleMates is the charity program of GOTR that encourages athletes (or would-be athletes) to raise money by walking, biking, or running in an event. I actually learned about this program on Healthy Tipping Point and within a day was signed up. I was already training to run a 5k in October in Baltimore, so combining my training goals with an amazing organization’s mission made perfect sense.


After I signed up, I started anxiously awaiting my box of goodies to arrive! Here are some of the fun items included in the welcome pack:005 009 011 012

And I was, of course, quickly reaching out to friends and family (and some complete strangers!) to help me reach my fundraising goal. I sent out e-mails, I posted my venture on my blog, I blasted facebook, and I even baked cupcakes to sell at work. In fact, most people at work turned down my baked goods but gave me a few dollars anyway. I wasn’t sure quite how to take that (though baking is admittedly not me forte)… Here’s me soliciting: 🙂


If you’re a runner – or for some reason enjoy reading about running – you might be interested in hearing a bit about my training. It’s easy to forget that you’re training when you’re so excited to be dedicating yourself to a cause. However, my “brutal” training schedule hasn’t allowed me to totally forget!  


To give you some background, my previous running experience includes one totally-for-fun 5k charity event and a half-marathon. While I’ve been running for about three and a half years, I haven’t ever challenged myself on speed. I ran pretty consistently at a 10+ minute mile pace, whether running a block or fifteen miles. A friend suggested running a 5k to try to set a personal record – specifically, doing it in under 25 minutes (please note that the previous 5k I ran took me 33.5 minutes – so this was an 8.5-minute cut in time). 


As you might expect, I initially thought: NO WAY IN HELL!! However, I eventually came around to the idea and even decided to enlist the help of a coach – i.e. a high-school friend of my husband who is an experienced runner. We worked it out that he would set up a plan for me and e-mail me each week with my schedule, and I would follow the schedule and then report to him on how things were progressing. I was hesitant to be “reporting” to anyone, but the accountability and support has been so worthwhile. I highly recommend enlisting the help of an experienced runner (a friend will do!) if you are training for something new. At the very least, read up on the basics in order to prevent injury.


My own program, in a nutshell, involves running six days a week combined with some core strength training. Three of the days are hard – one longer run (around eight miles right now), one tempo run, and one VO2 Max run (basically running intervals at maximum or almost-maximum speed to increase oxygen uptake – also known by me as “please-kill-me-now runs”). Since before I had no interest in speed, I had never run at a track before or done intervals. It has added an entirely new dimension to running for me, and increased my confidence (and speed) tremendously!


To wrap up, I still have many weeks to go until my race and I still don’t know for sure whether I’ll make my goal (I guess we never do…), but one thing I do know is that when I’m running, I can think about all of the amazing young girls I’m supporting. I think about them and am reminded that as I build my strength and confidence in myself, I help them build theirs as well.


Have you ever run for a charity cause?  Would you consider doing the Solemates program for your upcoming race? I love the idea that the money direct funds two girls’ participation in GOTR.



  • eatmovelove August 24, 2010, 9:07 am

    Ashley has a great blog. Nice post!

    WW pancakes are where it’s at. As long as there’s Maple Syrup for “dipping”…a.k.a “Drowning” in my book. 🙂

  • Stacey August 24, 2010, 9:10 am

    I think the Solemates program sounds awesome. I was a head coach for Girls on the Run last spring, and it was a totally amazing experience. The girls that I coached were from a low-income/poverty area, and it was such a fullfilling and rewarding experience to see them set goals and accomplish them. I plan on going back to coaching this spring too. I think you will love the Solemates program! Happy traveling 😀

  • Freya (Brit Chick Runs) August 24, 2010, 9:11 am

    I love the sound of Ashley’s blog – definetly one to check out!
    I signed up for a half marathon for charity a few years back, but got injured two weeks before 🙁 so gutting!
    Is a consignment shop a charity shop btw? We don’t have the former in England unless they’re the same thing…?

    • caitlin August 24, 2010, 9:16 am

      Its like a vintage store but not as nice 🙂

    • Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul August 24, 2010, 10:46 am

      Thanks for check it out!

    • Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul August 24, 2010, 10:46 am

      Thanks for checking it out! And yes, injuries are so disheartening. Hope you can get back at it when you’re ready.

      • Freya (Brit Chick Runs) August 24, 2010, 10:57 am

        Oh I’ve done two half marathons since and I’ve got a marathon in October – the injury was 2yrs ago 🙂

  • The Hot and Fit August 24, 2010, 9:13 am

    I think its great that so many people are participating in these charity events, and for such good causes! I have never done one personally, there aren’t that many available in Europe..

  • Tina August 24, 2010, 9:14 am

    I think both aspects of those programs are phenomenal! I know if I had other positive role models growing up I would have likely felt more confident and learned some valuable lessons sooner. I think its great you’re involving yourself how you can.

    And LOVE Ashley and her blog! 🙂

  • Sarah @ Sarah's Shaping Up August 24, 2010, 9:15 am

    The solemates program is such a good idea. I’m currently in the beginning stages of actually planning a 5K that will benefit the cancer center in my hometown but will be running in it as well. This would be great motivation to up my training.

  • Sarah @ Sarah's Shaping Up August 24, 2010, 9:16 am

    The solemates program is such a good idea. I’m currently in the beginning stages of actually planning a 5K that will benefit the cancer center in my hometown but will be running in it as well. This would be great motivation to up my training.

  • Sarah @ Sarah's Shaping Up August 24, 2010, 9:17 am

    The solemates program is such a good idea. I’m currently in the beginning stages of actually planning a 5K that will benefit the cancer center in my hometown but will be running in it as well. This would be great motivation to up my training. 🙂

  • Christie {Honoring Health} August 24, 2010, 9:22 am

    Love Ashley!! The soulmates program sounds amazing!

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow August 24, 2010, 9:23 am

    What a beautiful program…

    I am doing an MS charity event this September (a hike actually!) and it has been such an awesome experience so far. I love reaching out to people and ultimately hearing their stories that are somehow connected to your charity. Often stories rooted in challenge and even sadness but people are so inspiring!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit August 24, 2010, 9:24 am

    It sounds like an awesome program, and I might look into it for after my half marathon is over. I’m raising money for a local AIDS org. for this race.

  • Caitlin @ Right Foot Forward August 24, 2010, 9:27 am

    I never have raised money for a race, but I’ve definitely considered it for my first marathon (whenever that may be). I have checked out the Girls on the Run Manhattan website numerous times, but it hasn’t been updated since March!!

  • Kelly August 24, 2010, 9:28 am

    I think this sounds like a great charity/cause. I would totally consider doing it for my next race.

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite August 24, 2010, 9:30 am

    What a fabulous post! Thanks for sharing Caitlin!

  • Heather August 24, 2010, 9:35 am

    I am looking into it for my next half marathon!

  • rebecca lustig August 24, 2010, 9:38 am

    my roommate worked for girls on the run– it’s such a fabulous organization that promotes a HEALTHY well-being for kids. although she told me about one mom who would constantly lecture her daughter on diets– breaks my heart.

  • rebecca lustig August 24, 2010, 9:38 am

    my roommate worked for girls on the run– it’s such a fabulous organization that promotes a HEALTHY well-being for kids. although she told me about one mom who would constantly lecture her daughter on diets– breaks my heart.

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter August 24, 2010, 9:41 am

    I have done two 5K’s that goes towards schools in my college town, and I have also done Relay For Life for 5 years… or 6. I’m not sure. Basically, a lot!

  • Melissa August 24, 2010, 9:47 am

    Does GOTR do any fundraising through their website such as t-shirt sales, etc??

    • Lauren August 24, 2010, 10:54 am

      We do have an online shop page with GOTR t-shirts and other items, but it is not specifically fundraising. However, you can donate through our online Donate Now button!
      Thanks for your interest in supporting Girls on the Run!
      Girls on the Run International

  • Janna@Janna's Keeping it Real! August 24, 2010, 9:47 am

    I ran the Nike womens marathon last year with Team in Training, raising money for the leukemia lymphoma society. It was the most rewarding and life changing experience I’ve had thus far!

    After your initial GOTR post, I actually contacted someone from my towns chapter, and will be working with her and volunteering shortly! I have been feeling a void, not having TNT to participate in this year, and I think this is the perfect transition!

  • Beth @ Will Run for Books August 24, 2010, 9:47 am

    I’m running the Chicago Half (my longest race ever) for the American Cancer Society in three weeks! – check out my page: http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?px=17217269&pg=personal&fr_id=27330

    I love this girl’s story!

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine August 24, 2010, 9:59 am

    This is such a great idea- I’m going to look into it for my half in November!! I really love the idea of a bake sale to raise money especially 🙂

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) August 24, 2010, 10:04 am

    I did a walk for the March of Dimes but never a run. So happy that you are with your mom. Breakfast looks like a perfect start to your day! Enjoy TN!

  • Mary August 24, 2010, 10:08 am

    This is something I definitely want to do for the triangle chapter of NC where I am, I’d love to make a positive impact on a little girl and help her complete her first race. it’s an awesome program :”)

  • Lisa August 24, 2010, 10:09 am

    I’ve never run for a charity cause but I do volunteer with a running group for the visually impaired. It’s a lot of fun and has so improved the fitness of some people that they’ve branched out into other activities(I also take part in volunteering with the hiking group – with overnights – it’s definitely a challenge! as well as a triathlon group)

  • Kacy August 24, 2010, 10:12 am

    I was thinking about doing TNT for my next marathon, but this really has me thinking now. Great post!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman August 24, 2010, 10:14 am

    I love the idea and Ashley’s story. If I could run I would A. do a happy dance, and B. look into this program. What a great way to help young girls!

  • Wei-Wei August 24, 2010, 10:15 am

    GOTR seems like a great program! I wish I lived in the US and was good enough at running that I could fundraise with it… if you think about it, running is quite the talent nowadays. 😉

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) August 24, 2010, 10:16 am

    i love nourishing the sole blog 🙂 so great to hear her story on here too!

  • Holly @ couchpotatoathlete August 24, 2010, 10:19 am

    GOTR sounds great, and I will definitely look into it more. I would have loved to have a positive female role model — I had good role models, but not when it came to health/fitness/etc.

    Caitlin your pancakes look delicious!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg August 24, 2010, 10:19 am

    GOTR is such a great program!

    I have those little dipping bowls from Pier One too 🙂

  • Brooke - One Healthy Cookie August 24, 2010, 10:28 am

    I’ve run in a Race for the Cure 5k and a Livestrong 5k. I am a terrible runner (asthma), but running for a good cause pushed me through!

  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans August 24, 2010, 10:30 am

    I love charity runs. I am organizing a team for the CIBC Run for the Cure in support of breast cancer research here in Toronto. This will be my third year as team captain and 4th year participating and I am always excited to support such an important cause.

  • Julie August 24, 2010, 10:32 am

    I’ve run a marathon and raced in two half ironmans for Team in Training as I have two people close to me with blood cancers. When I first heard about GOTR here at HTP, I was all over it! I’m planning on being involved in the Spring season and definitely getting all my young nieces involved!

  • Camille August 24, 2010, 10:41 am

    I ran my last marathon and my upcoming marathon or the National Eating Disorder Society. It is so much more rewarding when it is for a cause!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat August 24, 2010, 11:37 am

    The Solemates program sounds great! I’ve run in a couple of charity-related races, mostly to raise money for breast cancer research.
    Can’t wait to hear about part 2 of your road trip! 🙂

  • Chelsea (Chelsea's Chew and Run Fun) August 24, 2010, 11:43 am

    I’ve never done a charity run, but am currently browsing around my area for some upcoming ones. It’s such a motivational and rewarding thing to participate in. Firstly, you’re challenging yourself physically, and secondly you’re contributing to a good that is greater than yourself. It’s an ambition that’s doubly rewarding.

  • Melissa August 24, 2010, 11:46 am

    Heyy! I was wondering how you made whole wheat pancakes. I tried but they came out very grainy? Unless that’s how it tastes ….

    • Caitlin August 24, 2010, 12:13 pm

      I use a mix – hodgsons mills. I love that brand!

  • Sara August 24, 2010, 12:11 pm

    Fantastic post and write up on SoleMates!!! Maricopa County Girls on the Run is growing our SoleMates teams for the November 7th Scottsdale/Tempe 1/2 Marathon and the PF Changs 1/2 and full marathon in January! If you are in the Phoenix area check us out!!! http://www.gotrmc.org

    P.S. I recently bought Operation Beautiful (LOVE!) and going to share it with all our GOTRMC coaches at training this weekend!!!

    • caitlin August 24, 2010, 1:56 pm

      Thank you!

  • Christine @ Grub, Sweat and Cheers August 24, 2010, 12:18 pm

    The question posed (How might your life be different if you had had the opportunity to be inspired, challenged, and empowered by a group of positive role models as a young girl?) really is food for thought.

    Just thinking about it brings tears to me eyes. How different would my life have been had I for one moment been shown it was ok to believe in myself, to have some sense of self-worth and respect?

    This program is just fantastic. Well done for highlighting it and bringing it to our attention!

  • Stacey (The Habit of Healthy) August 24, 2010, 12:24 pm

    It sounds like a really good cause. Definitely a good one to promote.

  • Lisa August 24, 2010, 12:25 pm

    I haven’t run for a charity cause but I did bike for one. Reach the Beach benefited the American Lung Assoc. I’m glad the money I was able to raise went to a good cause!

  • Megan (Braise The Roof) August 24, 2010, 1:08 pm

    GOTR is awesome! And they really do have a ton of ways to get involved. I haven’t worked an event yet, but I’m looking forward to my first one!

  • Faith @ lovelyascharged August 24, 2010, 1:12 pm

    A little while ago I read about the GOTR program and was so psyched to get involved…but I realized that I didn’t have one locally. Such a bummer :/

    • Lauren August 24, 2010, 1:45 pm

      Where are you located? We add new councils every quarter so keep checking back!

  • Shannon August 24, 2010, 1:20 pm

    GOTR looks awesome and is something I’m def going to check out for my Half in Disney this year!

    I ran a relay race for Penn State’s Dance Marathon Last February. It benefited children with Pediatric Cancer. My team of about 15 ran 135 miles in 24 hours. It’s so awesome to run for a cause that you believe in and makes an immediate difference. Those kids get you through the tough miles and rough training days! Congrats Ashley! Awesome Blog!

  • Jaclyn August 24, 2010, 1:24 pm

    Have fun on your mystery road trip!

    I think GOTR is a great organization, I would love to somehow become involved with them!

  • Sana August 24, 2010, 2:25 pm

    I would love to do something like this, however I want to wait until I can run without having to worry about another injury to my spine.

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) August 24, 2010, 3:26 pm

    I like to pick races based on what the money raised goes towards. I would love to do something like this when we move to a bigger area where it exists. I think the mentoring aspect is amazing.

  • kristy @ ksayerphotography August 24, 2010, 4:43 pm

    I don’t even like pancakes, but yours look AMAZING! Have a great time on your (not so mystery anymore) road trip 😛

  • Tanya Kummerow August 24, 2010, 6:27 pm

    Wow! Thanks to both of your for committing to GOTR and Solemates and even more for talking about it and sharing your experiences with others. I have the coolest job ever working for GOTR and I will also be running for Solemates this fall to reach my goal: first ever marathon! You are two inspiring women and I thank you for all that you do!

  • Amber August 24, 2010, 7:02 pm

    I ran my marathon in June under the Solemates program. I was a coach for three seasons for GOTR and loved every minute of it! It was one of the best experiences. I enjoyed raising money for GOTR. After the girls run their 5k and you get to see the look of happiness on their faces it makes running your race that much more meaningful. Enjoy!

  • Betsy August 25, 2010, 6:58 pm

    I love GOTR. I am so happy that you are getting their name out there.

    I was a SoleMate last year as I trained for my first half marathon. I still avidly volunteer with GOTR, but this year I am “run-raising” for Ray of Hope Foundation and their Girls Empowerment Seminars in Kenya.

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