“Looking good girl!” I smiled, then inhaled once through my nose and exhaled twice through pursed lips. Half a mile in according to my pedometer. Just a half mile and I knew I wasn’t going to quit. It was cold, no exact temperature needed, I went by the lack of feeling in my fingers and toes and the puffs of air expelled by everyone on this cloudy Saturday morning.
A nimble older gentleman with a thick mustache moved past me briskly, his iPod blasting Lil Wayne’s ” Teach me how to love”. He slowed down to help a lady get her iPod working and soon she was blasting R.Kelly and then they passed me together. At a fork in the route, the 10 k runners veered left for their training route.
“Looking good!” I was getting used to hearing the Black Girls Run theme cheerfully ascribed by the ladies in bright pink and black. Nearly 2 miles in and a lady in black who I traded places with alternately along our course slowed down and through labored breath, managed a, “looking good girl!”
“You too!”, I breathed back.
“It’s what we’re here for, to encourage each other.’ the lady in black seemed a lot less labored and all of a sudden more focused and encouraging.
At 2 miles in, an older lady came up briskly on my right side.
“You doing ok?” she asked.
“I’m fine, just thinking a 4 mile run is more of a shock than I considered after too much time off.”
“Well, walking is still good. I walk about 3 miles everyday back home in Pensacola. It’s not this cold but it’s still doable. I also stop to look at gardens and talk with friends.”
We walked briskly for the last mile and a half. “Mama G” as I came to call her was a military mom, taking care of the home while her husband served in the Navy for the first half of their 48 year marriage. She started her first business at 40, opening a daycare with 10 kids and sold the business when enrollment reached 200+. Today’s run/walk with Black Girls Run was a drop in her bucket list. I was thankful I got to be a part of that and the three items of advice she gave me:
Epsom salt is your friend.
Walk at your own pace but for goodness sake, never stop walking.
It’s never too late to chase your dreams.