Wednesday, March 30, 2005

That elusive runner’s high

People talk about it a lot. Have you ever felt it? What’s it like? Is it great?

Some people worry they’ll never have one. “My runs aren’t long enough. By the time I get close, it’s over.”

Others talk about it too much, like they’re faking it. “That 12 mile run was fantastic. Best run I’ve ever had. There’s nothing like that moment, when you hit your stride. I felt like I could keep going all. day. long.”

Me? I don’t know if I’ve ever had one.

I mean, some runs are better than others. Sometimes, after the first mile or so, every step stops being an epic battle between my desire to reach the current mileage goal and my seemingly much stronger desire to just stop running already, my god, how much farther can it be, and why am I doing this already? Sometimes, when the weather is right, and the conversation or the music is good, and my muscles feel limber, and my joints aren’t achy, I don’t notice every step, and the miles accumulate without too much bother.

My 10 mile run two Saturdays ago was like that. So were the last 2 miles of my 8 mile run. Is that a runner’s high? Or was I just distracted by good company?

However, this much I know: last Saturday’s 14 mile run was NOT like that. I was glad to be out there, and I was pleased that I finished the mileage. It was 14 miles with an unspecified “plus”. 14 miles, give or take. 14 miles, or so.

That’s more than half a marathon, and for my personal psychological outlook, finishing that was big. The second half of any run is always easier for me. In my head there’s a shift after the halfway point, that makes the rest of the run feel downhill, regardless of any actual, physical incline. It’s like every step means one less than I had to do to get that far, and if I’ve already made it that far, I know I can do the rest.

Plus, 14 miles is a fucking LONG ASS distance (excuse my language). We basically ran from Georgetown, through Bethesda, and back. And that doesn’t mean much if you’re not from here, but it’s a trek that I normally drive, and it’s not all that quick in the car, if you see what I’m saying.

So I’m glad I did it. It gave me further confidence that I’ll actually complete this marathon in June. I can’t do it yet. But I’ll do it then.

But if I’m going to feel any sort of high during the experience, a little herbal assistance might be in order.

Not that I’d ever do that.

But it might help.


Anonymous BD said...

You'll know if you had a runner's high when you have one.

Just kidding.

It's not intoxicating and it's not like you radiate rainbows of energy or anything. It feels...I dunno...pure. There's a connection to everything around you. You feel peaceful. Spiritual. You'll know it because the run will feel like it was a really, really great run. The feeling lingers for a while too. At least that's what I think it is. Perhaps I don't really know.

Yes, 14 miles IS a FLAD! It's also an important milestone. Now you know you can run the thing.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my site today. You'll never know how much it means to have someone care enough to take the time to write!

As to your site, I'm so envious of your quest...I remember when I was going to run a marathon. Maybe one day. :-)

1:45 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Saying you're not sure if you've ever had a runner's high is like someone saying they're not sure if they've ever had an orgasm.

If you're not sure, you haven't.

3:26 AM  
Anonymous scully said...

Umm... I think that was kinda the joke she was going for. Too subtle? Oh well, I was amused

2:46 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Huh, you're right. I totally missed that the first time through, but reading it again, it's obvious. Sorry. :-)

3:08 PM  

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