Every morning when my alarm goes off it gets harder and harder to believe its 6 a.m. Before the sun rises I’m out the door to help coach the UCCS women’s cross-country team. A few weeks ago when I woke up and looked outside I was less than impressed to find raindrops splattering down upon the windowsill. Normally the sun hasn’t been coming up until the girls nearly finish their warm-up, but that day I knew the sun probably wouldn’t peak through the clouds at all.
My first reaction to weather like this is somewhat instinctual—grab a warm mug of cocoa, curl up in a blanket, get cozy with a good book and stay there all day. But despite my despise of dreary days like this, I know life must go on whether or not I feel like it.
I hate rainy days.
As much as I try to deny it, the weather really does have a great effect on my mood if I’m not careful. Maybe it’s from living in the South for six years and developing an addiction to sunshine. Maybe its Colorado’s 300+ days of sunshine a year that make us unprepared for a couple of days of truly lousy weather.
I hate that feeling when you first sep outside for a rainy run. The sky is literally spitting in your face, causing a permanent squint in your eyes. The humid air sending shivers down your spine, and like one of the girls on our team said this morning, “Is it just me or is there like water in the air?”–yeah, welcome to humidity Coloradans!That’s not to say you won’t see me out there, putting in the miles in the pouring rain and stomping through mud-colored puddles. I will, however, always be the one with one-too-many layers, the raincoat with the hood and visor, drawstring pulled tight around my face leaving nothing but my eyes and nose exposed. At least, that’s usually how I start those runs; too many layers (which soon will be shed) and too little optimism in my head.
Although I’ve never been diagnosed with any sort of seasonal depression, (and I know depression is a strong word to simply throw around) I can still relate to the symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). As a child even, I never liked the fall, and still today overcast days make me feel drowsy, lazy, less motivated and often nostalgic.
Being a competitive runner, there’s little room for laziness no matter what the season. Thankfully, I’m able to credit two things that get me through the rainy-day-blues. 1) Forcing myself out the door for my run, and 2)Reminding myself that even if I can’t see it, there’s always a sun.
Let me explain.
The funny thing about running in the rain is that once the first few miles go by and I settle into a rhythm, I often find the rainy-day-runs rather enjoyable. There’s something invigorating about it, lie a scene straight out of an epic movie where the warriors run towards the battle line as the sky opens its flood gates. In these moments, the rainy day blues melt away and the grey-colored mountains are lifted up in layers of fog and somehow my spirits are lifted as well.
When it comes to running, no matter how my mood may change on a rainy day, my long-term motivation to succeed in this sport never changes. It’s not always easy (even for a pro) to get out the door, but deep down my desire to be my best is what gets me going.
The second thing that helps keep me motivated in the winter months is remembering that the sun is there even if I can’t see it. In this case, I’m not actually talking about the sun, but “the Son” that brings light to the darkness in my life. The Son who endured the darkest hour when he died on the cross for me and you. Jesus, is the reason I can get through any season–rain, snow, cold shush, ice, or all-in-one.
Similar to my motivation in running that remains “unchanged,” God’s shining light is the purest form of unconditional love; unaffected by conditions. That kind of light never really goes away.
Finally, I really believe living a joyful life is all about perspective. My friend and training partner, Nathalie posted a quote the other day that sums it up best: