My annual February post
|February 9, 2017||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
The world is AWFUL and I’m never doing anything again because the world/weather/darkness is going to be here FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER and what was I thinking calling myself a runner, and all the horses should obviously be sold because they are never going to be ridden again……
…So begins the self-wallowing pit of misery that occurs every single February.
It’s that time of year again. The time of year where after entering the winter prepared with a full bottle of vitamin D and full awareness that the while the nights are long and the trails often wet, there is an end I still end up wallowing in a pit of self-despair.
This particular year as been a
bit wet an effing catastrophe wheres-your-ark type of thing, however if it’s not that its…
- being immediately post partum and homeless (2016)
- in clinics with MONTHS to go until freedom, oh and being pregnant too (2015)
- Starting clinics with a full 18 months until there’s an end in sight (2014)
- Studying for exams and trying not to flunk out and being only-in-grad-school-can-you-be-this-broke broke (2012, 2013).
- Beautiful relatively non-raining weather but the horse is lame…..(2011)
My point being that when the dark season takes up a third of the year and you are trail junkie with seasonal affective disorder, there’s always going to be something.
Regardless, *this* is the year I’m always prepared. Bottle of vitamin D – check. Reduced expectations for myself – check. November, December go pretty well. January starts to fall apart and by February it’s all over. Gnashing of teeth in the darkness, wails and tears of hopelessness.
So, instead of posting my scheduled content here (so far you have missed “Link Luv”, “6 questions to ask before buying tack”, “Media Monday – Horse eating under saddle”, “What a beginner needs for endurance”, “100 mile advice”), I’ve not been doing much other than laying on the couch feeling vaguely ill, eating junk food, not running, no running or doing any other self-care activities.
As usual by mid-February, I’ve decided that the spring solstice or the start of daylight savings will be the magic end to all this and I just need to hold on long enough to get there….I think.
I don’t know what I was thinking when I signed up for yet another event in the darkest time of the year for me. It didn’t work last year with School of the Horse Soldier and it’s certainly not working out well for Black Canyon.
Latest excuse for not training….All my trails are under water 🙂
And the only trail system that holds up in the rain for long mile training is currently experiencing….difficulties.
Am I burnt out? Running another WS100 qualifier so soon after my 2016 qualifier was a risk. When ever motivation is low burnout is a valid question.
I don’t think I’m burnt out. I’m tired of forcing myself to run in horrible weather and in mud that poses a real injury risk with every step. That isn’t burn out, that’s expending a lot of finite willpower and finally coming to the end of the well. In this weather everything has to be forced through will power – getting up, eating, taking care of the dogs, slogging through mud to see the horse. Slogging through mud to get to work. White knuckle driving the commute to work (because Earl Grey’s blower switch went out, which means i don’t have defrost, which means that I drive in the rain using the hem of my sleeve to wipe condensation off, have 1 window down, AND have the AC blowing. The good news is it has effectively curbed my texting and driving habit. Who has time to TEXT through all that? ). The point is, there’s only so much willpower in my body to force myself to do unpleasant things.
So what’s my coping strategy for next year? Heaven knows one thing I’ve learned is that this comes every year and I haven’t learned (yet) that there is no way to prevent February’s folly, so I’ll continue to try.
- A big bottle of vitamin D is a start. (I’m so proud! I’ve remembered this for the last couple of years!)
- The hundred days of horses challenge was genius. Totally doing that again.
- Stop signing up for big events in early spring and late winter.
- Create a walking daily challenge.
What are your cold and dark season secrets?
Here’s more river pics from the river/levee where I live:
For comparison, here’s the levees in the same area when it isn’t flooded.
I don’t find the levees very picturesque and unfortunatley I can’t find the one I *know* I have some place that will give you a sense of scale of how TALL they are :(.
Heck, how can I complain just cos its dark till 7am. I live in Texas and this is some of our best weather now.
My best advice, which WordPress had deleted twice so far:
* Definitely Vitamin D. And take 2000 units if 1000 doesn’t seem to help. Also seek out Vitamin B and iron–low vitamin B can lead to clinical depression-esque symptoms, ask me how I know.
* GO OUTSIDE EVERY DAY! Even if it’s just 5 minutes, and LOOK UP. This works best in daylight, but even at night in pouring rain is better than nothing.
* Try to avoid sugar. And while you’re doing that, come here and tie my hands so I can stay out of it too.
*Minimize screen time. Read a book or talk to real people more than screen peeps. Except me, of course.
*Give yourself permission: to sleep more, to work slower, to miss meetings that won’t make the world better anyhow, to avoid people who drag you down, to seek out people who make you laugh.
I take 2000 bits of vitamin d (just looked at the bottle this morning). It sure doesn’t seem as effective as it has in the past years. But maybe I would be even worse off without it.
I think I forget that going outside doesn’t count if it’s just walking from my front door to my car 🙂
(PART 2, ALSO DELETED TWICE BY WORDPRESS):
* When you don’t know what to do, do SOMETHING: if you can’t face running, go for a walk or visit or bookstore or call somebody you don’t call very often. Read a book from a new author, read a newspaper from another part of the country (or the world). Go grocery shopping and buy two of everything: one for you, and one for the food bank. Sing along in a language you don’t speak. Ride a bus just to watch the people or the scenery out the window.
February is absolutely the longest month of the year–by my calculation, we only have 74 more days of it. Start the countdown!
I identify with everything you said about Feb and winter gloom, Melinda! Good ideas from your buddy, too. Hang in there!
BUT — even if you must run the AC, can’t you set the temp on RED and get warm air instead? Sometimes my AC kicks on when I move another dial – (I think it’s when I move from “defrost” to “now direct air on my feet”) – and I’m freezing until I realize the AC is running. Nissan has a few bugs.
Sunny days ahead, even though the river- and Oroville(!)- will keep rising from mountain run-off. Just be prepared to evacuate. It’s been my experience that if everyone gets ready, nothing happens!
So my blower was broken so the only way to manage the amount of condensation was to get the interior of the car as cold as possible since no air was blowing on the windshield. Well, very little anyways. The blower was sorta working but not well.
So much for our great riding plans this month!!!!!!!!! 🙁
For now, it’s just a matter of staying dry, including house and horses. Takin’ a day at a time and expecting this to just be a faint memory by the end of the year.
Uggg I so get this! For me, January is by far the worst, by February I feel hope that it will end soon. It HAS to end soon!
Watching Seahawks, weightlifting, and rowing. Usually I can add eating all kinds of junk food, but other than the holiday binge I’ve managed to shake that one this year. our bad weather started in Oct and no end in sight so far.
Totally commiserating. This February is a slog, this year literally. Too much rain for us leaves the trails so bad. At least the top of your levees are still a bit dry! I did a slip-sliding ride on a dragon of a horse, not sure if it was even worth it. Last night I hiked the confluence in the dark. I just have to get out! So this weekend of sun, but still disgusting muddy trails, I’m embracing it and going to the snow. Give in now!
On a happier note I totally want to come this year and ride the Oroville trails…when they’re not underwater/threat of dam overtopping! (Waiting on that overtopping issue, amazing stuff can happen, like Canyon Lake Gorge in Texas)
Would love to give you a tour! And then I need to go up to your neck of the woods and show me where the swimming is and ride some of the trails there
This summer we will do it finally!!!!
It was almost nice enough to go for a walk by my house when bee hives showed up for the almonds. I won’t be walking that way. We need the rain. I like the advise to go outside and just look up. Hang in there!
Aarene’s recommendations = <3 Yes. I get full-blown seasonal affective disorder and it has nothing to do with the weather or the cold and everything to do with the time change and earlier nightfall. Despite it being a US territory, we did not have the time change where I come from; it was not a thing that we did, and it is the single thing that I cannot (and will probably never) adjust to, even though as of last year, I have officially spent more years on the mainland than on the island.
1. I take up to 5,000 IU of vitamin D. I add 2,000 IU in September and increase to 5,000 at the time change. I stop vitamin D supplementation entirely when the time changes again in spring.
2. I work out like a fiend. I refuse to work out outside when it is raining and muddy, hence the horses get a "vacation" (they get worked consistently 3-4x/week during the "on" season, and more like once a week to once every other week during our 3-month winters.) I do my runs in the gym and I ramp up my strength training exponentially (strength training is 6 days/week. Cardio is 3 days/week.)
3. I also like to dabble in cardio classes like Spinning and Bang Power Dance during this time, as the environment is fun and upbeat and invariably leaves me feeling invigorated. Once spring rolls around, I just want to be outside and by then I've done sufficient cross training to make stepping out into 6-mile runs an easy thing for me. (I am not a natural at running. 6 miles is an achievement in my world.)
4. We plan little outings every weekend to have something to look forward to and have a weekly date night of just my husband and me. Stuff that we can do regardless of weather.
I just have to say, I suffered from SAD long enough and finally got on an SSRI. It has changed my life in terms of how much better and more like *me* I feel during the winter. I highly encourage anyone who feels like they would benefit to just try it. I had a lot of reservations about it—especially with the stigma of anti-depressants. Now I just sing their praises in the hopes of dispelling stigma and maybe helping someone to take steps toward self care. Whether that’s pharmaceuticals or not. ❤️
I went on something similar about five or six years ago. Not an SSRI (they didn’t work for me) but a related class. Very good short term solution and they ended up being a stepping stone rather than something I needed long term thankfully. I too encourage people to use them and not wait until “last resort” which is what i feel like the message often is.
Specifically for me right now, I can’t justify taking them for the mere 6 weeks out of 52 that really get to me. Weaning off and on them is a bit of a process and thus far for me when I’ve had to do it, extremely unpleasant. Definitely shouldn’t scare someone from trying it though if their situation warrants it.