December 2016

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing. And I had it this year. Maybe I had it other years and didn't know what it was. But this year, it jumped on my back and took me down. I kid you not.
This is the story of how I wrested that bear off my back with little biohacks and other strategies.
Let's set the stage.
It probably started last winter (15/16) which was the rainiest since 1997, yes a 17 year record! But what does that have to do with this winter?
Let me tell you….
See, my theory is that rain and total lack of sunshine is a cumulative thing. At first, you think great ! A cozy week [or ten] by the fire but slowly the rain and100% damp start eating at your spirit. Your nerves are at the end of your skin and nothing sets your soul on fire. Flat everything.
Well that didn't happen last winter. Why? Because the summer before [that would be summer 2015] was hot and dry and every run was a joy. Back then I lived in paradise. And the cumulative effect of all that sun in 2015 got me [and you] through the rainy winter of 15/16.
But this past summer was cold and wet. Here is a photo from my last long run before my 50 mile race.


Does this photo scream "mid July at 49.5˚ latitude?

No, right?

Anyway, long story short, it was a rainy summer following on from a rainy winter. Then we had October.

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And November.

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How great was that? Warn(ish) rain!

I guess that it all added up because I started to dread running and being wet and damp in general. There was a lot of time on the web searching for deals in dry, warm areas of the southern US. As evidence, I now receive 20+ emails a day from Trip Advisor and Home Away luring me with new deals in places with more sun.

Meanwhile… on the trail. For the cognoscenti, this is Tracks From Hell heading east.


Ha ha. That was nothing. Not long after that picture was taken in November, I took this photo on the same trail.


And it kind of went from bad to worse. I mean the snow stayed on the ground for 3 plus months. And we broke more records:

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Only one being loved every minute:


So how come I feel better? What advice can I offer?

Surviving the rain/snow tips:

1. Buy an infrared heater or lamp. I made this baby (with help from my friend Anik) by buying a construction lamp fixture, an infrared bulb and then attaching the construction fixture to an old desk lamp.


Later Lynne went to Walmart and bought me this infrared heater for my office. Apparently my home-made lamp looked like a fire hazard.


Just shine that infrared big boy on you at relatively close proximity (especially any injuries). The gist is that infrared penetrates the skin and deeply warms near tissue. It heals injuries and takes away that feeling of damp. And damp is real condition in Chinese Medicine - one that coastal people are particularly susceptible to.

2. Sign up for races, lots of them. Let's face it: stopping running and staying indoor is NOT going to make us feel better in the long run. Or even the short run because, hey, you already feel like s*%t. Signing up for races that are just slighly beyond your current abilities is an excellent way to stay motivated.
Maybe I overdid it with The Canyons 100 km in April … with close to 15,000 feet of vertical ascent. But no, that wasn't enough. Then I voluntarily signed up for the Squamish 50/50 (you run 50 miles with 11,000 feet of climbing one day and run 50 km with 9000 feet of climbing the next day). Oh yah baby!

3. Have people for dinner. Somehow the rain does not feel so defeating at night with guests, amazing food and a fire burning in the fireplace. Be joyous rat !

4. Watch TV. A lot. Make sure you are up to date on your steaming subscriptions. We recently watched Longmire, Hell on Wheels, Borgen and have just settled into The Crown. A plug for Borgen: best political drama we have watched and an amazing and hopeful version of an alternate reality to current affairs in the US.

5. Wait. The sun does return. First sighting below:


Update: that sighting was followed by lots more snow. ARRGHH.
No further advice.