Editor’s note: Daren Schumaker and Dennis Lee are attempting to run across Iowa’s 99 counties, raising money for the American Heart Association. They have completed 53 counties. This is No. 52. Next: Cass County.
By Daren Schumaker, community contributor
It’s that time of year again. Winter has worn out its welcome.
Many find themselves depressed and “down” in the proverbial “dumps.” Others find themselves neck-deep in a quagmire of depression that slowly surrounded them during the long and cold weeks of winter.
Then “Daylight saving time” slaps everyone in the face. Many would gladly give up an hour of sleep to “spring forward” into the spring, but it hardly seems fair to give up an hour to “spring forward” into more winterlike cold.
For some, the long winter strangles motivation and breeds weeks of inactivity, resulting in more depression. Once the “pity party” starts, it can be difficult to get the guests to leave. It is easier to slowly spiral downward than to start the even slower climb toward the light.
On March 9, Team 99 Counties met “Daylight saving time” in the early morning hours as we headed southwest toward Mahaska County. We arrived to start our run at the exact spot on Highway 92 where we had ended Marion County a few weeks prior, a pleasant surprise. As we prepared to depart, we experienced a not-so-pleasant surprise, a broken camera.
After a few minutes, we solved the problem. The camera would work, but only with a lens that was designed to take pictures from afar. Just like the camera, we kept our focus on what was on the horizon ... hills.
As we followed Highway 92 east we noted a slight breeze at our back — a pleasant surprise — and that the morning sun had softened the shoulders of the highway into a muddy mess that we frequently sank into — a not-so-pleasant surprise. We followed Highway 92 into Oskaloosa before jumping onto a paved trail — a pleasant surprise — that was covered in thick ice and that we ran on until we were lost, running more than a mile in the wrong direction — a not-so-pleasant surprise.
We righted our wrongs, passed through the town square and ran by the Mahaska County Courthouse before continuing our eastward journey on Highway 92. We crossed the South and North Skunk River before we finished our 27.75-mile route in 3:54:50 — smelling like roses rather than skunks.
Moral of the story? After a long winter hibernation, you might find yourself far from where you want to be — a not-so-pleasant surprise. Your goal might be so far off in the distance you lose hope, thinking the distance is literally too far to travel. You can’t change the things you did or didn’t do during the long winter, but you can change what you do today, tomorrow and next week. Break the choke hold winter has had on your motivation, escort the guests of your “pity party” to the door and slowly start to climb toward the light. It’s not easy, but you can always right your wrongs.
Shift your focus to more attainable goals that will slowly get you to where you want to go. It’s all about the lens that you decide to look through and, for most of us, we need to take the time to focus on things both near and far in order to get where we want to go. Things can always get better, and they will if you take the first step ... and the second step ... and the third step.
Set your alarm and wake up, smell the roses that will hopefully be blooming in a few short weeks. Make it a daily habit to take a step toward your health goals. Small or large, each step is a step in the right direction.
It’s time each of us kindly reminds the snow, cold and depression of winter they are no longer welcome.Inspiration through perspiration. Become active or make a donation to Team 99 Counties or the American Heart Association to help fight heart disease.