I’m not a fan of January. It’s always been my least favorite month. As a long time small business owner, it brings to mind taxes and end of the year filing and reports. As a runner, it means dreary, cold days that send me to the dreadmill instead of running in my beloved outdoors. I often find myself vaguely depressed and unsettled in January. I’m sure I’m not alone.
Last year at this time, I was still nursing a knee injury incurred during training and running the NYC marathon. I was also battling a huge bout of depression after having that event to focus on for such a long time, then suddenly being rootless. This year, my man is still recovering from his much more serious injury incurred last September. He’s doing well, but it’s been a long, slow recovery and I’m as ready as he is for him to be at 100% again.
But, this January has been a little different for me. I’m learning to embrace things that have previously brought darkness to my life, so I’ve done some things this month that I would never normally do. In looking for the bright side of January, I’ve discovered some things about myself that are surprising.
In a previous post, I recounted the fun 5k I ran with my daughter. It was wicked cold, and I would be lying if I said that I loved the race, but what I did love was the feeling that she and I both shared afterward. The feeling of a job well done, in spite of less than ideal conditions. I learned not to let anything stand in my way to a goal.
I took some time off over the holidays, and really enjoyed that recovery time. When the new year rolled around, I was ready to get back to my regular training program. I resumed my strength training, and have found, to my surprise and delight, that I’m actually not minding it. I usually hate it and grumble about it incessantly. My running, which was going very, very well in October and November, then not so much in December, has picked back up and feels great again. I’m building miles and training for an early March half marathon that I’m really looking forward to. I learned that time off from running is not only okay, but will usually make you come back better and stronger. I also learned that sometimes “just doing it” makes it less of a chore.
This week has been a perfect example of Mississippi winters: muggy, rainy, and warm over last weekend, cold and rainy on Monday and Tuesday, snow on Thursday, then beautiful sunshine and 66 degrees for the weekend. You never know what Mississippi weather will throw at you, so you better learn to appreciate all of it. I ran Tuesday morning in the rain. At one point, it was hard enough to make my man coming looking for me. When he saw I was okay and didn’t want to get in the truck, but wanted to finish my run, he drove off muttering something. I didn’t hear exactly what he was saying, but the words “crazy” and “death of cold” drifted back to me as he drove away. Of course, as this was coming from the man who is still limping from a dirt bike racing accident, I gave it the weight it deserved.
I really enjoyed that rainy run, the quiet of the morning was broken only by the occasional car splashing by and the honking from the geese that flew overhead. Love those quiet times, with just the pounding of my feet and the prayers in my mind to keep me company. Thursday we awoke to huge snowflakes falling to the ground. I’m adventurous, but I’m not crazy, so I sat by the fire and drank my coffee until the snow passed. Then, I laced up and headed out. I discovered that I didn’t hate running in the cold that day. I was dressed for it (I remembered my neck gaiter!), and the quiet of the morning with the sun peeking through occasionally to flirt with me was a combination too tantalizing to resist.
I run long on the weekends, and yesterday brought weather that was almost perfect. One thing I do like about winter is the fact that I can sleep in, snuggled in my warm bed next to my man, without having to worry about getting overheated on my long run. I didn’t start my run until after 9, which is really late for me, but the weather was simply breathtaking. Cool, sunny, the kind of weather that just makes you want to be in God’s beautiful creation. I met it in the brightest colors I could manage – I wish the picture was a little better so you could appreciate how loud I was. According to the weatherman, we’re going to have sunshine for the week! Now that’s what I’m talking about!! It makes me pine for spring a little less when I awake to sunshine streaming in on my face. I learned that there’s something to love in every kind of weather or situation. Looking for the bright side, that greener grass, takes practice, but is well worth the effort.
This year, January has been much kinder to me. I have my mind set on renewal and redemption, looking forward to the year ahead. Can’t wait to meet its challenges for a change!