The weather was cold for running, but not so cold as to question your sanity. We’d had a bit of a thaw the days prior, but now the temps had dipped again, solidifying the muddy mess of tractor ruts. Though the sky was gray, and my eyes were streaming with tears from the wind, it was a beautiful run.
Along my path for the day, trees had been planted at regular 200 meter intervals (you have to love German precision). So, I sprinted between two trees, then took two trees rest, and then sprinted again, all the way down the lane. When I came to my first roller coaster hill, I decided to skip like a schoolgirl.
It quickly became tough, but I didn’t quit; I didn’t give up; I felt strong.
I went over the hill and ran along the bottom of the valley, where I passed the compost heap, which, unfortunately, had not frozen. Once again, I dug in and skipped up to the plateau of canola fields.
Relieved to be almost done with my workout, I reached the final hill, only to discover deer standing along the ridge.
My mind flashed to the image of the car I had seen parked on the other side. Hunters? Or Farmers? If the village hunter was armed and ready on the other side of the hill, it would probably not be wise to go joyfully skipping up behind his group of targets.
For the first time ever, I was a little upset with my deer, because if they had informed me this would be a five-mile workout, I wouldn’t have expended so much energy.
But, I reasoned, the deer know best.
I retraced my path, taking the long way home.
When I came around the side of the hill, an old man and an old woman were chopping at the frozen ground with hoes.
I smiled as I ran past them.
It was a good day.
It was the most perfect day for running you could imagine. The ground had no snow or ice, and the mud was frozen solid. Plus, the sun was shining with the type of faint warmth that wakes something dormant inside you.
I was at the spa with my family, having a great time toting my little water monkeys in circles through the outdoor heated pool, but all I could think about was going for a run.
As we drove home, and the winter sun began to lower itself towards the horizon, it seemed every slow-moving vehicle in the country arranged to be directly in front of us. They took turns. First a tractor, then a semi-truck, then a Peugeot…and on and on. We were trapped in the most depressing parade you’d ever seen, all the way to the autobahn.
But the sun continued to bathe the countryside in a warm golden light, and if Amelia, my GPS, was correct, I would have time for a good run before the sun sank completely.
Autobahn, yes! We zipped along. Soon, we passed Rothenburg. Almost home!
As we approached the last hill before our exit, our car was suddenly enshrouded with fog: thick, icy, can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face fog.
Our entire village was covered in it, yet not five miles away, it was a perfect early spring day.
It was a sick joke.
I MUST have done something wrong. Bad karma? Was God punishing me for thinking about running the entire morning?
Even with my neon green jacket, running in that fog would be dangerous.
Fine! I thought. I’m just going to be lazy!
I made myself a big bowl of popcorn, sprinkled some peanut M&Ms on top (my particular weakness), and watched TV (which I normally do only while folding laundry).
If I were a little German kid, I would have thrown myself on the ground, kicking and screaming—it was the same idea: the same frustration and rebellion motivating me.
It was a bad day.
A few days later, I reflected that while my moods do not actually generate the weather, my mindset dictates what kind of day I’m going to have.
Good days are only good if I make them so by overcoming difficulty.
Bad days are bad because I wallow in difficulty.
Some people, myself included, have very real symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, which cannot be overcome by simply thinking happy thoughts (trust me, I’ve tried).
But when I stand at the crossroads, and I have the choice to work towards my goals or to give up, I should always choose the higher path.
I want to be the kind of person who takes challenges head-on and overcomes them.