By: Raina Wilson
New Years Eve 2011 was the first time I went out with the ladies of Black Girls Run! Baltimore. I was 7 months postpartum and determined that I was going to get back in running shape. Rewind to the Baltimore Running Festival in October of the same year. I was gearing up for my first 5k after my son's birth. I registered for the 5k in August to give myself incentive to get back on the pavement. Two days before the race I posted a status update on Facebook asking if anyone was going to run the 5k at the Baltimore Running Festival; nope, just me. Everyone I knew was either doing the half-marathon or the full. On the morning of the race I quickly realized how lonely I was. I didn't have anyone to run with, and I didn't have anyone to cheer me on since my husband was away on business and my family lives out of town. It didn't matter to me since I had just had baby and here I was running, or rather shuffling as my race time indicated.
I had heard of Black Girls Run from a good friend in another state. What I didn't realize was that these beautiful women of color would have such a strong presence at the Baltimore Running Festival. It seemed like every few minutes I would see someone sporting their Black Girls Run! tee. When I finished my race, I went back out to the course and cheered them on because I was so happy to see other black women running. That was it, I wanted in. As soon as I got home I emailed the Ambassadors, Leeann Sands and Minka Carter and asked that I be added to the Facebook page.
I was so excited about my first run with BGR! Baltimore the morning of New Year's Eve that I could barely stand myself. I'm not a fast runner and tried to channel my nervous energy by joking with the ladies and telling them that I would be "black girl shuffling" and not really a "black girl running." This was my way of telling them that I was slow and that I was fine with it.
On May 19, 2012 I completed my first 10k along side my brother at the Capitol Hill Classic in Washington, DC. Not only did I have the support from him, but I had the cheers from my BGR! Baltimore ladies via Facebook and the waves and high fives from the BGR! DC ladies who I saw on the course.
I'm proud to say that I'm no longer "black girl shuffling," but that I am now "black girl running." I'm a part of a group of women who support me, who tolerate my endless chatter and who never leave me behind. I'm a part of the movement because I am moving.