Run For Your Life

Winter is not a good time for me. I struggle with depression and anxiety that hits me like a ton of bricks, usually starting in December and masquerading as holiday blues and peaking in February/March, when I’ve had enough of the cold and am ready to start seeing buds on the trees that won’t appear for another 2-3 months. I feel blessed to know what it is, to be able to expect it, and to know that there are things that work for me to help keep it at bay. Exercise is the biggest help, but eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and getting outside as much as possible also helps. Unfortunately I’m looking at the third winter storm warning in as many weeks and the things that usually take a little motivation suddenly feel like they’re buried under 2 ton weights. Even getting out of bed takes incredible effort. Yesterday and this morning I hit a pretty hard wall, thinking about my Dad who recently passed and feeling frustrated with some hurry-up-and-wait things happening in my life, and I promised myself I’d go to the gym on my lunch break.

When I Run

I work a few blocks from a Planet Fitness where I’ve had a membership for years despite my only handful of visits. We have a makeshift locker room in the office, where I keep my workout clothes from that one time I went to the gym in January. There are few ways it could be easier for me to get to the gym but I let my depression make excuses until today, when I forced myself up to the locker room and took one look at my sneakers and realized I’d missed them.

I’d missed the feeling of lacing them up, the extra bounce in my step that comes from even having them on, the way I just feel better about myself when I’m wearing workout clothes. I’d missed the way my feet pound the ground in time to the music in my ears and my mind instantly wanders in glorious daydreams I never experience when I’m standing still or sitting.

Fast forward 40 minutes: music up, treadmill moving, sweat beading along my hairline, and I was feeling great. I was thinking about yoga and how often I’ve missed that, too, which got me to thinking about how cool it is that my friend Kaitlin is now a yoga teacher. Then I thought of a story she told me the other day about taking a spin class for the first time and enjoying it, which she hadn’t expected. When she said this to another yoga teacher, the response was, “All that spinning your wheels and going nowhere is probably bad energy, and a metaphor for your life.”* Suddenly I looked down at the treadmill and slammed my fist on the stop button. All that energy, all that focus, to stay in one place.

No. Absolutely not.

So I’m going to make a concerted effort to get a few extra layers to wear outside, to find a friend or a club that runs during a time that works in my schedule, and get my butt onto the street (the sidewalks are still covered in snow because every ┬áin every third house in my neighborhood a jerk resides who refuses to shovel) a few times a week. Follow my adventures on DailyMile.

Do you run outside in the cold? What are your motivation tips? Gear tips? Any good routes in the Financial District/Downtown area I can tackle on my lunch break?


*totally paraphrasing here. Stories retold aren’t usually as good as the original telling.

By Jennifer Spencer

I'm a storyteller, food lover, book collector, and a Southerner at heart. I love connecting people.