Back in 2017, when my depression was at it’s worst, I was running nearly every day. And it helped. I am pretty sure it kept me alive, actually.
See, I am someone who feels things in my body. (Insert weird joke here). No, seriously. If I am stressed, my body hurts. If I am tired, all my joints ache. If I am excited, it can be hard to breathe. My mental state and my physical state are pretty well connected. I know this – in fact, I have always known this. (If you are into Enneagram stuff, I am an 8 with a strong 9 wing, which are both body types. )
So, if I want to change my mental state, the fastest way for me to do that is to change my physical state. If I am not physically active, if I am not getting endorphins flowing through my bloodstream, if I don’t get my heart pumping, then mentally I pay a pretty severe price.
Note: This doesn’t mean I enjoy exercise. I do not. It bores me to tears. But I pay the price, mentally and emotionally, when I don’t do it.
Which brings us to February, 20, of 2018.
That’s right – this same day last year. On that day, I went for a run.
I was running pretty regular through 2017, at the height of my depression. But in the fall of 17, I went on depression medication, which helped with the effects of the depression, but also meant the risk was less if I skipped a couple of days of running. And then it got cold. I hate being cold, so I would go to the gym and run on a treadmill, but I hate running on treadmills too. So, over the winter my mileage was way down.
But a year ago today, I ran. It was a good run.
But then a bunch of things happened.
We announced we were moving. Suddenly, everyone wanted to hang out. And we put our house up for sale, but it needed a new roof. So, I put a new roof on the house, which is very physical (and exhausting) work. Then we moved.
And we lived in a tiny apartment for months while we waited for our house to sell, and then we bought a house and then we did a bunch of renovations and then we moved again.
I was busy and in chaos. And while that is when I should have been exercising the most, it was actually the reason I gave for not doing it. And then one day I woke up and it had been a year since I ran.
It was 55 degrees today. The rain had (briefly) stopped. I live in a new house, in a nice, easily runnable neighborhood. I had unpacked the box that had my running gear in it, so I know where everything was.
In short, I was out of excuses. So, I ran.
It was slow. Painfull. Awkward. A little less than 2 miles.
But I ran.
The key now is to do it again. And then again. And again.