Q&A with Charles Miller - We Don't Run Running Club
Meet Charles Miller, owner of Charles Miller Brand Denim - a family and veteran-owned and operated denim and heritage goods brand that lives through the journey of every person wearing it. After years of keeping up with CMBD, we did a collaboration together back in 2020. With the success of working together, our friendships and relationships with one another has continued grow.
"Looking back, I didn’t realize I was creating a community that developed an appreciation for well-made, American denim and goods. I didn’t understand the value in what I was creating in the beginning and now I see that, CMBD, a Veteran and Black owned denim brand means more than well-made products; we’re creating experiences for the consumer and positioning them to create stories in the products we provide." - Miller said.
If you were to follow @cmbdenim on social media you would realize that as a business they love to tell stories from individuals in their branded community. They look at stories where the main character in the experience is one of their products, and it continues to inspire them to keep going. Now take a read through this Q&A with Charles Miller and check out his story.
What excites you about entrepreneurship?
The thrill of the journey excites me. It's the challenge that I’m learning something new or applying what I’ve learned to a new challenge. Finding a problem and creating the solution with the tools of marketing and branding are such an attractive frame of reference that aligns to a person's ability to strive for their aspirations in life. I see risk takers and in entrepreneurship and I respect that.
What inspired you to start running?
I used to run track in middle school, but I was average with a couple track meets where I shined. I didn’t run because I loved it then, I ran because I was part of a group of friends where we all supported each other in all activities. I didn’t have the discipline then or the competitive perspective to push myself to my limits. That didn’t come until I joined the Army. And still, It took 10 years in the Army before I took my physical training seriously enough to be inspired to run and achieve personal goals. The same thing happened in the Army; I was surrounded by great people who challenged me and we supported each other. The only difference was my perspective; I now knew the value of health and fitness and I leveraged it to become better for myself and in turn, help those around me take pride in being better themselves, through running or any other physical exercise.
How is running therapeutic for you?
For me, running is a stress reliever, it's the only physical training that lifts tension off my shoulders while at the same time giving me clarity in my thoughts for whatever priorities I’m figuring out at the time. I can get lost in running with my music and not a care in the world. The best time for me is running early in the morning or as soon as the sun sets; the cool weather and quiet pavement places me in the zone where I’m forced to think and I’m all about finding time for yourself, whatever that is, to clear your mind and reset.
What does WDRFA mean to you?
It’s a value I approach life with. It's a challenge for me to beat fear and increase faith (daily) in all aspirations. WDRFA is my story of how I’ve learned from failures and a constant reminder of why I grind every day.
After placing 1st in the We Don’t Run Running Challenge ’21 how did it make you feel?
I felt at that time, the We Don’t Run Running Challenge ’21 was what I needed to get back in rhythm from an Army move leaving Illinois and moving back to Virginia. It was therapeutic for me. I was energized. For me, it wasn’t about winning; it was about not giving up and doing something with my wife where we shared the same movement of challenges. There’s something about a closeness that happens when you and someone else go after a goal together and live through, fight through, the adversity, the pain, in order to accomplish a personal goal.
What is the longest you’ve run without stopping?
10 miles of the Army 10-miler. I’ve run it 3 times. My goal is to run a marathon by the age of 40. I’m 38 now so I guess I need to start training. I can’t go out and just run a half marathon like my wife can (she’s a beast); I need to work my body up to it.
How has the ARMY helped with your running?
Part of my career requirements is staying in shape to a specific standard or higher. In the Army, I’m surrounded by many different walks of life and camaraderie fuels me to go harder and be better. We have to stay ready (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) so that we don’t have to get ready in the event our Military specialties are needed in the face of domestic or foreign conflict.
The Army conditions me to perform my best in physical training and that includes running. The Army adopted a holistic health and fitness perspective which essentially changes the perspective of no pain, no gain to investing in a Soldiers readiness through optimizing physical performance and reducing injury prone approaches. The overall health of a Soldier is detrimental to the Soldiers mental readiness and physical health as well as the Army’s missions. Twice a year, I test out of the Army’s physical training test which consists of running. I wouldn't be where I am if I wasn’t mentored by great people who run better and faster than me. I wouldn’t be disciplined in running if it weren’t for how much running indirectly influenced experience and progression in the Army.
What inspires you to keep going? In life and while running?
My family and the goals I’ve set to make life better for my family. It took me a while, but I had to understand that the pain in my legs while running was going to come anyway, so I just focused on consistency in my movement and that analogy has proved well in executing the same perspective in life; WDRFA!
When injuries and/or fatigue kicks in how do you overcome adversity?
I just keep moving. The Army teaches us, “slow is smooth and smooth is fast”. It's not about crushing myself to the point where I’m crippled with ailments; it's about endurance and consistency in the race. “It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon” - WDRFA