On my desk at work, I have a “365 Days of Happy” calendar. Every morning, I rip off another square and a new, uplifting message greets me. “Be a little weird every day!” says Friday, January 23. “Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one,” says Monday, February 9 (and Dr. Seuss).
Most of the time, these sayings and quotes are a cute little boost to my day. This week, though, they just didn’t seem to be working their usual magic. I ripped off Monday and tore Tuesday, too, tossing it into the trash. But still, I was gloomy. Sad like the snow after it turns from white to that dirty brown color, feeling like all the cars in the world had tossed their muck onto me as they drove by.
I am currently training for a half marathon, my first, in March. But because of the storms and the bad driving lately (and approximately 5,000 other excuses), I have been slacking on logging those miles. Slacking really, really hard. Yesterday, I finally pep talked/shamed myself into getting my ass to the gym–I had truly run out of excuses, and realizing that March is looming closer and closer didn’t hurt either.
“If you want to finish this race, you have to get on a treadmill and start running,” I negotiated with myself. So I laced up my highlighter-yellow sneakers and drove to the gym, promising myself a reward smoothie after. I hopped on the treadmill and pressed start, my feet moving and my lungs burning. My muscles, which have become quite accustomed to the couch and an overload of carbs, pulled and ached. But slowly, the miles ticked up up up and then something even better happened.
My cloudy, week-long blues began melting down my back and falling off like sweat.
My eyes felt less puffy and my mouth slowly resumed a smile, that long-lost upward curve that has been hard to find lately. I began to agree with wise old Dr. Seuss. “Today was good! Today was fun!” That dark winter sleep that finds its way into so many of our bones was waking up and leaving.
The other day I set a goal. It might be lofty, but I’m determined to at least try hard, the kind of hard that is blisters and ice baths and fist pumps. In the next year or so, I want to run/bike/swim/sweat through five races. My half marathon in March, another half in May, a triathlon in August, an impossibly long bike ride in October, and the crème de la crème of them all–the Disney Princess Half Marathon in January.
I might not be even close to ready for any of these right now (even my 13.1-mile trek next month…oops), but I like working for something. Putting a purpose underneath the soles of my feet and hustling for it. I like life in between goals, and I sure like the way inching towards those goals make me feel. Full with spilling-over energy. Happy.
Yesterday, I decided I wouldn’t even bother blogging this week. I was sad and wallowing around in it, knee-deep and uninspired. This morning, I decided I might cut my four-mile run down to three miles, but then I changed my mind. Because I can do four miles, even if it’s a slow four miles. Because it reminds me that I am strong. This afternoon, I decided I might actually write after all. Because I can use my week’s worth of frowns and turn them into something cool. Because writing, like running, makes me feel good and these days, I’m in the business of doing things that make me feel good.
It’s Thursday, February 5 and my calves are tight from the treadmill this morning. My head is hurting just a little from staring at a computer screen for so long, but my heart is feeling pretty good for the first time in days. It’s sitting cautiously in the sunshine, even if only for a minute or two. My calendar tells me “Everything’s going to be A-OK” and I believe it. Because I have those races to finish and these truths to write, despite the gloom and the dirty snow that piles up sometimes. A river cuts through a rock not because of its power but its persistence, and I plan to be the goddamned Grand Canyon.