At night we run

At Night We Run



We ran under the moon not long ago and it was as magical to me as it always was. We couldn’t see it from where we started and had to earn the lunar view at the top. once there, I invited everyone to pause and turn off our headlamps. let’s look up, I said. I was so taken with the night sky dotted with stars and constellations I didn’t know the names of, I hoped the others might be too.


Just the fact that we too are part of space, that our bodies are healthy and strong, that we get to run – at night – for fun and without knowing exactly how our bodies are able to do it. That’s a bushel full of miracles right there, people. As is often the case, folks don’t always share my sense of wonder and bone-deep gratitude for mysteries like these.


But I know myself and what a feat it is to keep track of my keys some days, so I know I’d be lost if I had to beat my heart, breathe my lungs, and coordinate my limbs every literal step of the way. That profundity is not lost on me, and it’s okay that folks don’t always get it. Then again, that’s a mystery to me too.

Cultivating Courage and Vulnerability: A Mindfulness Training of the Heart

 

In the world of spirituality and practice, words like ‘courage’ and ‘vulnerability’ get tossed around so much, they often become overused and misunderstood when unaccompanied by action. And in many cultures, courage and vulnerability too often have associations with false bravado and weakness, respectively. Do terms like ‘man-up’ and ‘being too sensitive’ come to mind here?

 

So, what does it mean to cultivate these qualities in ourselves? In this course, we’ll explore the associations we make with these words and redefine them in a context of mindfulness and meditation. Courage and vulnerability are interconnected because we can’t be courageous (expressing our authenticity from from the heart) without being vulnerable (laid bare in our emotions, transparent, defenseless).

 

This introductory course is created with newcomers to meditation in mind and to experienced meditators interested in delving deeper into featured topics. This space will foster an environment of mutual support. Together we will establish a safe and trusting community as we build and deepen an ongoing practice of meditation in service to cultivating our courage and vulnerability.

 

Each week builds on the previous instruction. Full attendance is encouraged in order to build a safe container for growing our practice together.

 

Topics we’ll cover include:

  • What is mindfulness?
  • Courage, vulnerability, and beginner’s mind
  • Dismantling internalized beliefs about strength and weakness
  • Committing to new ways of being in the moment
  • The power of forgiveness and self-compassion
  • Getting unstuck, one breath at a time
  • Sitting with difficult emotions
  • Learning to trust your voice

Make no mistake: meditation can be dull, hard, and boring sometimes. It can also be rapturous and peace-filled. Our aim is to establish an ongoing practice that welcomes the growth and healing that consistency can bring. This safe community creates the added benefit of sharing our experiences, personal stories, and progress as we process. Together. 

Register here.

4 online sessions:

Mondays: 2/8, 2/15, 2/22, 3/1

5pm – 6 PT / 6pm – 7pm MT / 7pm – 8pm CT / 8pm – 9pm ET

This course is open to ALL, and no prior meditation or writing experience is necessary.

Register here.

Groundbreakers

As far as I’m concerned, the history of Black people in America is also American history. And now that we’ve launched into a month dedicated to highlighting that fact, I’d like to share with you a piece I wrote for Altra Running.

 

This month Altra’s running a series entitled “Groundbreakers” that features stories from Black athletes highlighting the people they see as having broken ground before them. New Groundbreakers are born every day. I often talk about the importance of using one’s voice to share stories because it can help shift dated notions we have about each other. And because all of our stories matter.

 

Here’s some of what what I shared:

 

“I heard the prominent Black novelist Walter Mosely once say that we don’t exist if we can’t see ourselves in the literature of the day. Present and past, he added. Toni Morrison famously said that if we don’t see the stories we want to read, we must write them ourselves. History is literature, a compilation of our stories, told for posterity. And the more we know about our stories – those of our ancestors, our neighbors, ourselves – the more real we become to each other.

 

“When I’m on trails and the cellphone signal falls away, I find myself imagining the lives of my predecessors. I think about the courageous men and women who led so many enslaved people to freedom; I think about the artists and authors and scholars who understood the importance of casting us in the fullness of our humanity so that we didn’t forget it when the world seemed to. I think about the people whose names I’ll never know, boycotting the buses to bring an era of inequity to its knees, and those who made their homes in inhospitable conditions under unimaginable circumstances so that we’d have a chance to live lives they couldn’t have fathomed for themselves. I take great inspiration from these groundbreakers as I run, knowing that I’m never truly going it alone. Without them and their collective efforts, I’d likely never know the privilege and joy in this freedom of movement.”

 

You can read the rest here.

“It’s a Practice. It’s not a Perfect.” | Kriste on Nicole DeBoom’s Run This World Podcast

*Note: This article is penned by Nicole DeBoom

Kriste Peoples magically fell into my life when I was looking for local models for Skirt Sports. We’ve always worked hard to showcase real women from the community of all ages, sizes, ethnic diversity and more. From the first moment she smiled for the camera, it was obvious she was special.

Kriste has that glow. That magical glow that truly special people exude when they’re smiling (and even when they’re not smiling) – they light up the world from the inside out.

Kriste has been on the show before – Mile Repeat 7 from October 2018 – “Kriste Peoples Says YES.” Because that has always been her philosophy which you’ll hear more about today.

But what’s interesting is that she has also realized there are very important times to say no. Like when I reached out to her in June to talk about systemic racism in our country. She was so devastated by the events that had recently occurred that her answer at that time was… no.

 

This is so important to recognize because we do need to support those moments in our lives when we need to regroup, renourish our souls, find our new paths. I’m going through one right now myself.

 

Today Kriste has emerged stronger, with a deep emotional perspective on what is happening to our country. And she has also discovered some new tools to help find the calm within the storm – namely meditation. In fact she is launching her first ever guided meditation course called “Mindfulness: A Contemplative Intro to Awareness Meditation.” Check it out! It’s only $20 for 4 sessions starting November 16, 2020.

 

There are so many nuggets today that I decided to simply pull some quotes for you to simmer on and explore:

 

“I’m not in a sinkhole. I’m good.”

 

“It’s dangerous to walk this world in a black body.”

 

“Going outside of your comfort zone is going into the unknown.”

 

“Running is a moving meditation. It can offer some real restoration.”

 

“Trail running is my jam.”

 

“We can do hard things.”

 

“Meditation is a practice. It’s not a perfect.”

 

FINAL NUGGET “Celebrate yourself because every day is a new opportunity.”

 

For more on Nicole DeBoom, go to her website, and listen to her podcast Run this World ( & follow her on social @NicoleDeBoom) 

Trail Running and Anti-Racism | A Conversation with Kriste Peoples by Vic Thasiah

Kriste-Peoples-Trail-Running

*Note: This article is penned by Vic Thasiah for Medium.com

 

“If we took improving our race relations as seriously as we took improving our race times, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.” — Kriste Peoples

 

We at Runners for Public Lands are outraged by the lynching of African-American runner Ahmaud Arbery; the shooting of Breonna Taylor by police; the life-threatening harassment of Christian Cooper while bird watching in New York City’s Central Park; the killing of George Floyd by police, causing so much unrest today; and the countless other forms of racial violence and injustice happening in our country. We stand against white supremacy, and for a socially and environmentally just world.

Climate correspondent Eric Holthaus summarizes our situation well. “Black Americans were brought to this country as slaves four hundred years ago and have been dying in disproportionate numbers ever since. Black Americans have borne the brunt of the fossil fuel era, dying from air pollution, cancer from exposure to toxic chemicals, and severe weather at greater rates than the national average. And the system works to maintain this inequality. Black Americans are killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans. Black Americans have died at more than twice the rate as white Americans from the coronavirus pandemic.”

 

Whether it’s about bodies, lands, or skies, the logic is the same — the enrichment of some at the expense of the endangerment of others. We must do everything we can to end the application of this logic. Many are calling for white Americans to educate themselves and take action. Our work is hundreds of years overdue. We call on every runner who hasn’t joined the struggle for racial and climate justice to start now. It’s time for us to make anti-racist learning and behavior a part of our everyday lives.

 

At the U.S. Trail Running Conference last year, I heard Kriste Peoples talk about racial and socio-economic diversity and inclusion on the trails. Kriste is a sunshine enthusiast, writer, speaker, and women’s trail running coach with Life’s 2 Short Fitness, and thrives in Denver. After her session, I wanted to hear more. Last week she and I talked further. Here’s an excerpt of our conversation.

 

Vic: What’s trail running about for you?

 

Kriste: I love running trails because there’s nothing like running up on wildflowers exploding in peak season, ice melt in summer is heaven to hot feet, and I get to pause and take in the glory around me in ways I can’t on surface streets. I also love bringing people with me who are new to the sport because I get to see these spaces again with fresh eyes. It’s not an escape from life’s difficulties because there are hard days when I face racism on trails too. Even so, trail running gives me a greater capacity to face my challenges and to connect with the land, which is medicine in itself. And that’s what enables me to finish feeling more complete, more fully myself, than when I started.

 

To learn more from Kriste and Vic, read the rest of the interview here on Medium.com.

Self-Care, Support and the Coronavirus

Self-Care and the Corona Virus Kriste Peoples
I haven’t always been good about asking for support – and I still wouldn’t call it my superpower. But I’m getting better, thanks to a couple months’ worth of forced physical distance and emotional rollercoastering – and having good people to go the distance with.
 
 
Here are few things I do, places I go, what I reach for sometimes:
 
 
  • daily stretching and meditation (most days)
  • occasional howling at 8 under an open sky
  • running and/or walking with friends
  • sleeping on soft sheets with windows thrown open
  • pausing for ‘no good reason’
  • expressing my love and care and fear and pain
  • dancing down the hallway to my own singing
  • giving myself permission not to be doing stuff every minute
  • writing stories (chipping away at my book)
  • herbal tea, seltzer, earl grey with bergamot
  • audiobooks / hardcover books / softcover books
  • bad behavior and hollering when I have to
  • good music floating through my rooms
  • cold water with citrus
  • colorful toenails
  • soul music
  • deep listening
  • dreaming
  • good shoes
  • elastic waistbands
  • fabulous earrings
  • foul language
  • poems to mull over
  • essential oils
  • belly laughs
  • intermittent snacking
  • lots of veggies and fruit
  • talking with wise teachers
  • moving slowly because why rush
  • crafts, crafts, crafts! (I probably own 12 scissors, people!)
  • incense and candles; they’re calming and smell so good
  • greens! veggies, houseplants, trees outside my window
  • being kind to myself, especially when I’m feeling over it all
  • telling the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable
  • not holding back, as much as I’m able
  • happy tears, sad tears, rage crying
  • touching the earth with hands, feet, body
  • embracing my awkwardness
  • letting myself be enough as is
  • letting people help
  • belly breaths

 

When I’m able to see it, I have a lot more support than I imagined. How about you? What’s working?

Rest and Resistance

Rest and Resistance

It’s been a week, people. Up until 10:30 this morning, no sh!t, I still thought it was Monday.

Last week brought many of us to new edges of outrage, grief, rage, despair, and rage (yes, more than once). Come Sunday, many of us were brimming with joy and pride, all the feels.

I don’t know about you, but quaranteening and this extended emotional whackamole has forced me to explore my creativity in surprising and sometimes laughable ways, and I’m grateful for that outlet. I’ve also been finding new city-bound trails to run and wander and exhaust myself on.

Probably the hardest thing I’ve needed to do — while still having the privilege of an income these days — is re-learn how to rest for real. And not just as a sole response to overwork, overwhelm, trauma fatigue and fear, but as an important part of my own preemptive self-care — before things break down (again).

In the days surrounding the solidarity run for Ahmaud Arbery, I had no idea what to do with myself. I was tired and over every last thing. I talk about outdoor engagement A LOT and one truth is, risks are real anytime we set foot outside (or even when we stay inside sometimes, but that’s another story) — particularly as people of color. Which can make it even more challenging to take to nature for rest and healing when we need it most.

By whatever means you use to resist oppression and injustice, or to cope, or to recreate and refuel, don’t dismiss the importance of rest. In the crush of all the inequity and injustice we see and carry, being healthy and well, rested and happy, caring kindly for ourselves is its own powerful form of activism. To the extent we’re able to avail ourselves of this resource, it can be plenty.

Revisiting My Writing ‘Why’

The last time I created a blog, I was motivated by fear. I’d just finished graduate school, my Creative Writing MFA in hand, and there was nowhere to go but to the blank screen. I wanted it to serve as a safe space to find my voice. Despite the time I’d spent in school, and a life’s worth of reading and creativity, I had no idea how to come confidently to the page and share what mattered to me. Despite the fact that I’d invested so much in the process of learning how to do it, my education still wasn’t complete. In many ways I’d have to be my own teacher.

 

That first blog was a sort of ongoing documentation of learning how not to take myself too seriously, how not to take rejection too personally, how not to cling too tightly to my own ideas. That blog was a means for me to follow my curiosity by going deeper down paths that called me whether or not I knew where they’d lead. More than a hundred posts later, that vehicle had run its course, my skin a bit thicker, my mission accomplished.

 

Today, I’m interested to see how this return to blogging will serve as a container for my continued exploration of new paths of inner and outer adventure. As inner exploration goes, I’m currently nearing the end of a two-year mindfulness meditation teacher training program and it’s proving to be a whole lot less peaceful than I thought when I started. It’s a journey that keeps surprising me in the demands it makes and the myriad ways it kicks my ass on the path to greater self-awareness. Sometimes, people, growth is messy, and it’s the only path if you ask me. Speaking of paths, as an outdoorist, I get into nature nearly every chance I get, and the experience always teaches me something new about myself, my place(s) in the world, and my responsibility to care for it.

 

I can’t promise I’ll be blogging every week at such and such time, but I can assure you I’ll keep returning. Matsuro Emoto wrote a book about Secret Life of Water and this passage struck me because it speaks to the messiness of growth, change, and adventure, and I’m here for it all: “If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.”

 

Welcome.