My after-Thanksgiving 5K: Running against myself. I won.

Yesterday morning, a lot of my friends got up and ran a festive Thanksgiving morning turkey trot race, whether it were 5 kilometers or a half-marathon like my fast and fabulous friend Kristi. In the past, I too have donned the running shoes of the determined and carb-adjacent and taken a spin around a road or two in triumph, as well to stave off whatever I was going to eat.

This Thanksgiving, the shoes stayed on the floor and my butt stayed on my couch watching “The Magnificent Seven” remake for the third time in 24 hours. There were years in the past that I would have felt like I was missing out, or slacking, or not keeping up with some standards set I set at a time of healthier knees. But this year, Leslie was perfectly fine chilling. And this morning, before anyone else was up, I got up, retrieved those shoes, and hit the road for my very own 5K, my own personal 3.1 mile race.

It was free. It was in my own neighborhood. And the only person I was racing against was me.

I won.

I won against the voices in my head that judged me against other people or against that me with the better knees. I won against the idea that run/walk intervals aren’t good enough (Better Knees Leslie used to judge run/walkers, and she was a jerk for that. Wasn’t her business.) I won against the narcissistic urges that assumed the other walkers and runners were judging me because they were minding their own business and not thinking about me. I won against Better Knees Leslie’s assertions that she used to be faster and would have been embarrassed 10 years ago at this time, forgetting that four years ago when she was grieving and heavy she couldn’t have run even this fast, so shut up.)

I won because I ran because I wanted to, not because I had to, or because I hated myself for what I ate and drank yesterday (Y’all, I do not. Not even for a little bit. Had more for breakfast. Ain’t scared.) I won because I live in a place where you can run in shorts the day after November, where there is sunshine and other people excited for our good fortune.

I won because I ran. And my medal was a bowl of white rice and homemade gravy. What have you done for yourself today that was for you? That brought you joy, that you celebrated yourself for? That was your win?

Go win something. I’m rooting for you.

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