Treats! Show us your favorite treat for yourself- it could be a favorite holiday indulgence, or a little gift you got yourself to reward all the gift buying you’ve been doing for others.
I do love me a sweet treat. Or an expensive, “I worked hard on [insert project], so I totally deserve this thing that I will now buy myself.”
But the best treat I can give myself is time for myself, which I generally fill with running. Slow running, because that’s just the person and the runner that I am, and that’s okay.
Running is where I do most of my best thinking. It is where I do almost all of my praying. It is the fastest way for me to diffuse anger or to bring in some much needed peace. When everything else seems out of control and crazy, running reminds me of the beauty in pattern and simplicity– the steady beat of my footsteps, the deep rhythm of my breath.
There is this… movement? Or collective awareness, maybe, often referred to by the title of a book and video called “Slow is Fast.” It’s this idea/awareness that you can live or work in a place for a very long time, and never really see it until you slow down. Literally. In the case of the book, it’s these dudes who sort of rediscover parts of California when they take a 700 mile bike trip. I feel like I get that with running.
I cannot even begin to describe how intimately I know some of the stretches of sidewalk in our neighborhood. I know how different the Minnehaha Creek sounds under the bridge at Chicago Avenue from the gentle bend it takes leaving Lake Harriet. I mark the changing of the seasons by this rabbit statue in a tiny triangle park along the running path. She gets a red Christmas bow in December and a beautiful flowered crown around Easter. Through the summer she gets spoiled by dirty, sticky hugs from the kids riding by on bikes and scooters.
I count the ducks I pass and often report a post-run Ducks Per Mile (DPM).
I don’t remember the real reason I started running, but I’d guess it was out of vanity. I was in my early 20s, after all. I signed up for more races then– maybe to prove that I was a “real runner.” I still race, but I find the real satisfaction is found on the long, slow distances on the weekends. Church of the Sunday Long Run.
This year, when I realized injury had prematurely ended my bid to run the Twin Cities Marathon, I wrote this about my running this year:
At Mile 2 of today’s run, first I cried. Then, immediately, I forgave myself. I am beautifully and wonderfully made, inside and out. I am not a “good” runner, but I’m doing it anyway, because I am not ashamed of my pace or my body or my running form. I am proud of the work I put in during this training cycle– it was my most diligent one ever. I worked hard and I will not have a finisher’s medal to show for it, but instead I have collected sunrises, lakeside loops, and moments when I wanted to quit and didn’t. That is a worthy prize.