You deserve a reward!

Running, for me, is an enjoyable activity. Just getting out there and doing it, is reward in itself. I (mostly) have no trouble getting out of bed in the morning to go for a run. I’m lucky to have found a form of exercise that I actually enjoy.

I know not everyone enjoys running, or exercise. And that’s when you have to find something to reward yourself for having done it. Food is an obvious one, and indeed is the reason why most of us run stupid long distances. 

Will run for donuts (and bling)

But it can be a bit of a trap. One into which I have almost fallen- for example, when you know you’re going out for a big night, you go for a long run first (to ‘make up’ for what you’re about to do). And then things can get ugly if you start PUNISHING yourself by exercising, like after a big night, forcing yourself to go for a long run the next day, kind of like penance for your sins. Don’t get me wrong, a good run can be a great hangover cure, but make sure you’re doing it for the right reason.

But it can get dangerous if you start thinking in these terms…

So, how else do I reward myself, other than eating all of the food?

There is, of course, coffee. Coffee follows almost every run. 

The nectar of the gods!

And it’s probably not the coffee itself that I enjoy the most (although that does stop me from being a complete biatch in the mornings, something for which I’m sure my colleagues are grateful), but the chat that goes along with it. Frequently the coffee lasts longer than the run itself!

What better way to start the day?

I started rewarding myself after an ultramarathon by purchasing some nice new activewear, usually from a certain store that starts with ‘l’ and ends with ‘ululemon’. That quickly got expensive when I started doing more and more ultras! Plus, I really don’t NEED any more activewear (I can’t believe I just said that!)

This past Sunday, for the first time since I started running, I treated myself to a (free!) 1 hour relaxation massage. Massage is something I need to start doing regularly. Not just as a reward, but for maintenance. Much like I get my car serviced regularly to keep it on the road!

While waiting for my massage appointment, I indulged in a little retail therapy – and for once, it was NOT activewear!

But when will I ever wear it?

So, other than retail therapy, massage and eating WHATEVER THE HELL I WANT, how else do I reward myself?
I can only think of one other way. I go out for a NICE, CRUISY, SOCIAL trail run. This weekend was my first introduction to the Pioneer Women’s Trail. The PWT is a 20-something kilometre trail from Hahndorf to Beaumont, a popular one with runners and walkers, and one which I’d heard a lot about but never actually run, so when I heard there was a group doing it the weekend after Heysen, I jumped at the chance. (It did mean missing out on a race, the Black Hill Challenge, but I decided my post-ultra legs weren’t up to doing any crazy hills so that was an easy decision)

We chartered a bus one way from our usual Friday and Sunday post-run coffee haunt to the start at Hahndorf. There were about 15 of us there, ready and raring to go at 6:15am. (Oh yeah, sleeping in is NOT one of the ways I reward myself! An afternoon nap, maybe!)

It was a coolish morning, with the threat of rain. It was never going to be a fast run, and in fact I walked a lot. I stopped frequently to take pictures and take it all in. 

So much green! And lots of fallen trees to hurdle!
Fairy doors! We didn’t quite fit through…
Out of the darkness, back out into the light 🙂

One of my fellow runners (who shall remain nameless, don’t worry Karen, your secret’s safe with me!) suggested a coffee stop mid-run in Stirling. Of course, I did not protest!

Mid-run coffee. It’s a thing.

I walked/ran most of it with Karen, her husband Daryl and a friend’s young daughter who is just getting into trail running. Us 3 girls even used sticks to make the hill climbs easier!

Chicks with sticks!

Towards the end, where it was practically all downhill, I left the rest of them and ran the rest of the way back to Base Camp, flying down the single track, stretching out the legs, and trying to beat the impending weather! I missed the last little bit of the trail, realising quickly I’d taken a wrong turn but just as quickly realised that I knew exactly where I was on the trail and could get back. 

And then there was more coffee.

The best (and only) way to finish a run!

Followed by the aforementioned retail therapy and massage! 

I consider myself very much rewarded !
How do YOU reward yourself?