Run Like a Girl Gives Women a Step Toward Recovery

§ May 10th, 2012 § Filed under Events, Health, Programs, Success Stories § 1 Comment

In the parking lot of a local middle school, a handful of women stood in a semicircle peering into the back of a minivan. “What about this one,” said one woman, holding up a brightly colored sports bra. “Do you want to try it on in the car?”

Alicia is all smiles.

"I wake up every day genuinely happy," said Alicia Fletty.

A breeze of laughter floated through the group. “No thanks, I think I’ll take it home to try it,” said another woman. The back of the car was filled with boxes and bags of running equipment – new or gently used running shoes and sports bras of all sizes – donated for these women to use while training for Second Step Housing’s inaugural Run Like a Girl 5k fundraiser on June 10, 2012.

Like many other running events held in the Pacific Northwest throughout the year, the Run Like a Girl 5k is planned to be a fun, healthy community event with a timed out-and back race, a kid’s race, snacks, and costume contest in a family-friendly location near historic Fort Vancouver. Unlike any other race, Second Step is really walking their walk (running their run?) when it comes to Run Like a Girl. In this case, Second Step Housing is fulfilling their mission to “foster self-sufficiency for at-risk women and families” by providing sponsorships and ongoing training for their clients who want to participate in the race.

The group of women who have gathered at the middle school on a Friday evening are all clients, employees, and friends of Second Step Housing who are training together for the 5k. The 8-week training program orchestrated by fund strategist and running enthusiast Andy Orizotti is designed to help someone who hasn’t been walking or running to achieve a level of fitness where they can complete the 5k. “For the women at Second Step Housing, their priority has been rebuilding

High Five

The women in the Second Step run training program support each other.

their life. Exercise and fitness are lower on the list, but I really want to show them how empowering exercise, especially running, can be for women,” she said. “As an agency, we want them to recognize how important their overall health is on their path to self-sufficiency.”

One Second Step woman who has really embraced the training is Alicia Fletty. “It’s on my bucket list to run a race like this,” said 35-year-old Fletty who has been clean and sober and focused on rebuilding her life for the past year. Since January, Fletty has changed her eating habits and cut way back on smoking. As a result, she’s shed about 20 excess pounds. Now that she’s participating in the race training, she’s stronger and has more endurance. “I’m going to RUN it,” she said of the Run Like a Girl 5k.

Race training has given Fletty a new opportunity to take action in her life. “Andy is willing to teach us. To be there with us step-by-step,” Fletty said about Orizotti’s training program. “She makes it simple. Encourages us. Answers emails and questions throughout the week. Makes us be accountable.”

Accountability is a big issue with Fletty. Because of her alcoholism, she was previously, by her own admission, “self-centered, selfish,

Alicia Fletty and Second Step's Volunteer Coordinator Carrie Robbins stretch after their workout.

full of fear, and weak to the disease.” Now she is accountable for her life. “I have integrity. I know I have to take responsibility for myself,” said Fletty. “I’m the problem. I work on me now – mentally, physically, spiritually.”

Now Fletty continuously seeks opportunities for advancement and improvement, like the Run Like a Girl 5k training. “My family is so proud of me. I’m finally becoming the mom I’ve always wanted to be,” she said. “I wake up every day genuinely happy. I owe it all to God, AA, and Second Step.”

As race training winds down for the evening and Fletty jogs in place before her final cool down laps, she smiles. “Recovery – it’s a marathon, you know, not a sprint.”

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