April 20, 2021 – Gift Economy

“We have created a grotesque economy that grinds what is beautiful and unique into money, a currency that enables us to purchase things we don’t really need while destroying what we do.” – Charles Eisenstein



Hi All!


I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking recently about the “gift economy.” Especially now, with new lockdown measures in place, it’s more important than ever to recognize the gifts we have and to embrace the feeling of community which comes from taking part in a gift economy. The gift economy is a concept which is shared eloquently by Robin Wall-Kimmerer (author of Braiding Sweetgrass). It is a system which many indigenous cultures have thrived on and some still do, to ensure strong community relationships. It is one of sharing all of what you have with your neighbour instead of hoarding and compiling ‘wealth’ or goods or knowledge. This sits in contrast to the type of economy we’re familiar with: the capital market economy which is built on the concept of scarcity, a never ending hunger for accumulation, and encourages individual success over that of the community.


Understanding the gift economy can become a way of seeing and living in the world. Wall-Kimmerer is a botanist, and sees gifts in nature all the time – fresh berries on a tree, a bird’s song in the morning which lifts your spirits, a tree’s canopy that brings shade on a hot day. These are not services which you can pay for – nor are they to be pilfered or hoarded. They are gifts of the earth. And when we recognize them as gifts, we respond with gratitude and reciprocity. We start acting in ways that honour and cherish where they came from and this encourages protection and regeneration.


I’m not naïve – I realize our society is too large and disconnected to function solely with a gift economy. However, Wall-Kimmerer notes that gift economies can function successfully in smaller communities along-side market economies. And that is the space where I see our Lower East Siders running crew.


This group of people are among the most generous people I know. And I also know that every time I am able to offer any piece of advice or support that will help someone, I benefit in many ways because I’m part of the whole. Maybe I’ve touched the artist who will make beautiful art for others to enjoy, or maybe the doctor who will pass it along in her care for someone else, or the volunteer who will make my community run more smoothly through their efforts. I understand that there is no truly selfless giving because we are all connected.


Gratitude and reciprocity are the currency of a gift economy, and they have the remarkable property of multiplying with every exchange, their energy concentrating as they pass from hand to hand, a truly renewable resource.


To name the world as gift is to feel one’s membership in the web of reciprocity. It makes you happy—and it makes you accountable. Conceiving of something as a gift changes your relationship to it in a profound way…” – Robin Wall-Kimmerer


This crew does not exist as a service to get you to run fast. It might work well that way for many of us, but it only works because of the presence of all of the givers around us who hold it together. I love running with others and sharing that, and I know people in this group do too. We have created a real economy – I don’t feel I have to specifically reach out to everyone all the time – I know that when one of us is injured or down there are at least five sets of arms reaching out to help them up. What differentiates us from many other running clubs is that we are not consumers of a service – we are participants in a community.


So I just want to take this moment to say thank-you to all of you for your gifts – of your friendship, of sharing your cheers and energy with others when they run, of listening to/reading my thoughts, of reflecting whatever you gain from this back out into the community. And if you do feel like you’ve benefitted in any way from anything that the Lower East Siders have brought you, I only ask that you reciprocate it back to someone else in any way that is meaningful to you.



Oh, I also wanted to give a big shout out to Karen who ran a stealthy and solid ATB 30K this weekend in the midst of an absolutely crazy time at work! Way to go Karen! And her partner in crime Adam who snuck in a sub-19 min 5K PB last weekend (18:53!!) and then paced Karen this weekend! I guess if the only person you can run with is doing 30K, you do 30K! lol. Way to go team.



Onto workouts for this week:


  1. Ladder: 1600 (@HM – 1:45 rec), 1200 (@slightly faster – 1:30 rec), 1000 (@10K – 1:30 rec), 800 (@5K – 1:30 rec), 600 (@5K – 1:30 rec), 400 (@3K – 1:30 rec), 2 x 200 (@1500 w 45 rec)


  1. If doing this as fartlek: (6-5-4-3-2-1-30 sec-30 sec) Hard w Easy jogging as rest above
  2. People coming back from ATB just start at 4 mins and work down IF you’re feeling like working out again (not if you just did it this weekend)
  3. Tempo: Let’s give you a cut-down also – 10 mins, 8 mins, 6 mins, 4 mins – all w 2 min rec


That’s all! I think many of us are getting vaccinated this week (yay!) If there is one other person you feel comfortable running with, I’m not looking. I suggest the timed version vs path for stealth reasons.


Stay safe and see you soooooon!!!!