Stephen Caldwell

I really started running regularly in late 2015 to get prepared for Officer Candidate School at Camp Shelby, MS.  At the time I was working in Jackson near the Air Guard Base so I would run there with a couple guys I worked with and we kinda had a workout group.  Summer 2016 comes and I go to my first 2 weeks of OCS and when I get back I am told that my wife wants a divorce.  Of course this was a very depressing time for me but I knew I had to maintain fitness for OCS (this is a year long process 2 weeks one year, one weekend a month for a year, then a final 2 weeks the following year) to stay in the program and to get my commission as an Army Officer.  So to help with my depression and to help focus on myself I started running more regularly and running 3 miles on a regular basis.  The year comes and goes and in Aug 2017 I was commissioned as a 2LT in the Mississippi Army National Guard, but I still had to maintain my fitness and get ready for my follow up school in October so I kept running.  I finished my school in Feb 2018 and immediately went to Ft. Bliss TX to deploy with the 155 ABCT to Kuwait.  During this time I couldn't really run much, I was so busy I didn't have the time to make it all happen. When I got to Kuwait, that was a different story.  I landed in Kuwait on 3 July 2018 and a friend of mine who graduated OCS with me says that every Wednesday they do a 5k on base, and wouldn't you know it July 4th is on a Wednesday and my friend says I should get out there and do it.  So there I am running my first "official" 5k at Camp Buehring Kuwait.  It was a horrible experience.  I hadn't acclimated to the weather or been there 24 hours yet, but there I was running a 5k in a foreign country on a US military base.  I kept up with it every week.  My roommates helped keep me going and running.  By the end of the tour I had done over 100k worth of 5ks.  A funny thing happened on this tour though. A teacher in Laurel, MS did a classs project where her students wrote letters to deployed soldiers.  Well she split everyone up and gave names to all her students and several soldiers had more than one student, but there were some that didn't have enough students to write them so she made up the difference by writing letters herself.  Well she wrote me one of those letters.  Turns out she had been through a divorce recently too and had also gotten back into working out to better herself.  She preferred biking but she also ran as well.  We kept talking and fell pretty hard for each other.  When I got home we started seeing each other and in April 2019 we started doing 1 "official" 5k a month.  We are still doing it to this day.  This past weekend we completed the Midtown Minion 5k in Hattiesburg (for Feb), this weekend we have the Run Through History 10k in Vicksburg, MS (for March), and in April we are doing the Hattiesburg Half Marathon.  For us running is something that started as a way for us to stay in shape or get in shape but it has become something that we share and get to do together.

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