Let’s get one thing straight from the onset; I am not a fan of pounding pavement (don’t let the smiles fool ya!). There are times when I’ve enjoyed it, such as running tank trails on Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Then it was just me, the dusty road, the tall trees and birdsong. Peaceful. Most other times I used loathe running, especially the platoon or company death runs when the senior enlisted or the officer was being maniacal (which was often). I am a slow to start and a slow and steady runner, not made for Marine Corps, “lo right ah left right”, start fast and finish faster physical training (PT) sessions. I survived them, pulled hamstrings, countless turned ankles and an iliotibial (IT) band that thinks tightness is it’s de rigueur state.
I didn’t start running until my mid twenties, when my recruiter disabused me of the notion that boot camp was going to get me in shape. I think he might have laughed at me when I shared that misguided idea with him. So the summer of 2003 saw me strapping on a pair of brand new running shoes, powered up my trusty old disc-man (y’all remember those), slipped in a Disturbed’s The Sickness CD and got to running. I didn’t like it then and still don’t like it now but running is now part of my life. I even tried to run away from running but the fact it, putting feet to road is good for me. It improves my fitness, gives me focus, heck I even am writing again because in the minutes I’m on the road I start crafting essays. In fact the beginnings of this post came to me while participating in my first 5K in a long time.
As I was running, I started talking to myself (What? You don’t talk to yourself? How strange) saying, “You’ve been training for this, keep one foot in front the other, don’t stop, don’t walk, keep going, you got this. Run, girl, run.” Somewhere in that moment I thought it would be nice to get my friends and family involved in this particular journey (yes, a smaller journey within the larger journey of my life). I thought of how encouraging many of you have been in the past 2 very difficult years of my life on and off line. That’s when I thought to make my own words of encouragement a mantra for myself but also a hashtag which I can share it with you all to use online. As I continued to run, the aches started and my breathing got ragged, and I kept on, telling myself “Don’t stop, keep running, you got this. Run, girl, run.” I and especially liked the “run, girl, run” part and thought it would be a great hashtag. In the age of social media and the hashtag it was inevitable that I’d so there. I also use a few for various things, the main one being #littlefootsjourney. I thought #rungirlrun would be great, but figured it would already be in use (I checked it is) and I wanted something more specific to me.
Now while running, I flashed back to my first year on active duty and my peaceful runs under the trees, but I also remembered the Marines I served with. One Staff Sergeant (SSgt) in particular had his own nickname for me that nobody else was allowed to use. One day we were discussing something (I don’t recall what) but it led to us discussing about whether smidge or smidgen were correct words (the both are). Later, he rolled into our office and announced he was going to call me smidge. If you’ve ever stood next to me you’d understand why that was fitting. (not exactly like below but close enough).
I had a great rapport and working relationship with him so I was okay with HIM calling me that but that’s it. Part of the culture of the military is giving each other sobriquets, some good, some bad, many questionable (such as Mooseknuckle for a female Harrier pilot) so SSgt H having his own diminutive for me was no big, thing and this one I liked. It was unusual (smidge is not a word you hear often) and I thought it described me neatly, but back to running. With these reminisces I heard SSgt saying, “run, smidge, run” and thus the title of this post and the hashtag was brought to life.
So I kept running and made it across the finish line. I didn’t make my goal of 30 minutes but that was a bit ambitious considering I strapped on my sneakers on January 9th and the 5K was January 30th. I finished the race in the middle of the pack, with a time of 34:08. I was 45 out of 83 in my age group and 339 out of 638 women overall. I am proud of me. Of setting a goal and doing the work to accomplish said goal. I want to give a big thank you to my girl Yolande (sheblog on at http://runbigmommarun.com/) for inspiring and encouraging me to get up off the ever widening ass and get moving. I may not like running, but as she pointed it out, it’s good for my health and it gets me out the house to meet others who’re about that fitness life as well.
So when you see my posts about putting the miles in you can cheer me on and add #RunSmidgeRun to your comment(s). Tell me your fitness stories in the comments or shout out a friend who got you doing something to improve your health and fitness, whether it’s a simple as giving up soda (don’t tell me you still drink a teaspoon of sugar) or walking around your office building at lunch time.