Getting Dirty, Girl

digging springtime

In the spring,

at the end of the day,

you should smell like dirt.

-Margaret Atwood

From Margaret Atwood’s pen to Cassidy’s ears.

In the middle of the area Jeff usually fences off for our veggie garden attempts, there once was a big ol’ tree stump.

The tree stump was apparently Jeff’s white whale for reasons that are quite beyond my understanding, and he totally got all Captain Ahab on its ass once the weather warmed. He was out there chop, chop, chopping away, every evening and on the weekends, but in the end he conquered that sucker.


DIY tree stump removal


Once it was all broken up and dug out, there was a massive hole in the ground that I wanted to fashion into a dinosaur footprint and photograph for the tabloids, but my family assured me that this idea was even more ridiculous than my usual array of ridiculous ideas. Can’t win ’em all, I guess.

Cass got to help fill the hole back in and tamp it down (the photo is post-tamping). Jeff shared in secret that she’s the hardest worker of all the kids, but seriously to Cass there is no better way to spend your time than getting all dirty with permission.

Please, do not buy this child any toys for her birthday. Just ask her to come dig and refill holes in your yard and she will be a happy camper, modeling her dirty face and clothes like the trendiest of Parisian finery.


kid covered in dirt


Mucking about in the dirt is good for you, you know. There have been plenty of studies suggesting that spending time in green spaces improve your well-being: reducing stress, helping you sleep, boosting immunity, reducing allergies. But Mycobacterium vaccae, a harmless bacteria found in dirt, measurably boosts serotonin in your brain (low serotonin levels cause depression).

It’s one reason I’ve learned to deal with stained clothes and dirt under her fingernails. But it’s also because I’d rather she be outside than inside, shoveling than sitting, and beaming with a smudged face than worried about messing up her clothes. The kid is a tomboy and I like her that way.

She reminds me of me.

Speaking of which…

Cassie’s not the only dirty girl around here. I’m going to be getting a little dirty myself.

 dirty girl logo

I’m joining my boss-lady-in-chief Kelly Olexa and a handful of FitFluential Ambassadors in Atlanta April 28th for the Dirty Girl Mud Run.

Dirty Girl is a ladies-only, untimed, no pressure obstacle course 5K mud run for all fitness levels that puts the emphasis on good (un)clean fun. It’s a revisiting of that childhood joy from just mucking around and making everyday things into physical challenges.

The course consists of obstacles like “H2 Oh My God,” “Utopian Tubes,” “Slippery When Wet” & “PMS” (Pretty Muddy Stuff), is manned by off-duty firefighters & ends with a sloshing crawl through a 40 ft long mud pit. Each one gives you the option of going around if you don’t think you can handle it. And afterwards, you’re awarded with a t-shirt, charm rather than medal, music, entertainment, pampering, adult drinks, shopping opps, and of course: an overwhelming sense of freedom and accomplishment.

For this novice, reluctant runner (starting week 4 of the Couch to 5K program tomorrow) it’s something to work towards. You’re as young as you feel, as they say, and I predict I’ll feel seven years old when I’m done. And I hope I can carry a spark of that feeling into my every day.

A portion of Dirty Girl proceeds are donated to National Breast Cancer Foundation, and every run city reserves 250 free registrations for cancer survivors. You can find and register at a Dirty Girl location here, and they are planning to expand into 40-50 cities next year.

On April 5th we’ll be co-hosting a Twitter chat with @GoDirtyGirl about the Dirty Girl runs (9pm EST, search for the hashtag #GoDirtyGirl). I’m the one behind the @FitFluential handle. Come hang out with me and find out more about the event and how to prepare… Run registrations good for any 2012 Dirty Girl location will be given away to five randomly chosen participants.

Come on. You know you wanna talk dirty and get dirty with me.

(If you’re not on the Twitter, you can also like Dirty Girl Mud Run on the Facebook for updates.)

Truth be told, I’m kinda nervous about making a dang fool of myself. Words of encouragement are welcome in the comments :)


Disclosure: I’m Community Manager for FitFluential and Dirty Girl is a client. I received a complimentary run registration for the Atlanta run. I will buy another for Scranton if enough people say they’ll join me. All long-winded musings are my own.


  1. says

    I recall The Captain working on a couple of huge stumps left in yard after having to have huge spruce trees removed. Your pictures are great.

    Have fun getting ready for the Mud Run, and good for you for becoming a runner. Love it.

  2. says

    First – my nearly 5 yo daughter is the same way. I cannot keep her clean without exhausting myself! It’s ridiculous! But good. yes, being dirty is healthy right?

    next, oh how I wish I had a Dirty Girl near me! I live near Kansas City, so maybe next year as this expands and grows I can do the KC one :) Sounds like a HUGELY AWESOMELY FUN time!! Love the names you picked out. PMS? H2 OH My God? Those had me giggling so much. I am totally there for the twitter party, you know it!!

  3. says

    First–I was never a dirty girl, but I always wondered how fun it would be. My mom kept us super clean.

    Second–the run sounds SO MUCH FUN. Can FitFluential start one up here? because I would SO be into that. You’ll have an amazing time!!!

  4. says

    My 5-year old is very much the diva, but she also loves to play in the mud.
    I wish I could take part in the Dirty Girl on the 28th, but I have something that day :(

  5. says

    I LOVE THIS! My kids (with the exception of my 12 year old) are always outside – or begging to go outside. My 12 year old goes out in spurts, but even so, she’s still super active inside (gymnastics, treadmill, etc inside). She just doesn’t like HEAT so when it’s comfortable out, she’s outside with the rest. My 9 year old is the one who will get down and dirty in a minute. I agree – it’s healthy for them :) As for the run, it sounds like a blast! I really need to work toward something similar!!

  6. says

    The picture of your daughter reminds me so much of one from a few years ago of my daughter. We have a dirt pile in our backyard that gets tons of activity from my kids and the neighborhood kids. It’s not going away any time soon!

    Here’s to more digging!

  7. says

    Your daughter looks great.. it is no fun to be clean all the time. My daughter is a fancy ‘dirty girl” she our in the backyard and sit int he dirty and talk to the neighbor. Yea to the dirty girl and have a great time on the Atlanta Run!

  8. says

    My kids are always running around barefoot. It’s almost a punishment to tell them to put shoes on. Glad to hear it’s healthy for them. :)

    I’m sure you won’t make a fool of yourself because there are probably all types of people doing this run. But you will have a good time and be even more fit when you’re done. Way to go!

  9. says

    thank you so much for spelling out some of the reasons that dirt is good for us. I work closely with the Out of the Darkness 5k walk as one of the co-chairs for the Chicago/IL chapter of the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention. Knowing that dirt contains stuff to help boost seratonin levels is so important. Anything we can do to ward off depression including eating a whole food based diet, and even a little dirt now and then, helps our cause. :) & now I’m regretting putting off signing up for Dirty Girl cause the wave my friends are in is closed :(


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