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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

High On Something

There is this phenomenon known as, the runner’s high; the thought is that while running (or engaging in physical activity) the body will increase its production of endorphins, which is a chemical in the brain associated with feelings of content and well-being, and will therefore cause happy and invincible feelings. While the effects of a “runner’s high” may be different for different people, the idea is all the same - pleasure in the pain. Want to know my two-cents? Whoever said that was most definitely high on something, but not from running!! During our run last night Lisa and I discussed this lovely little phenomenon and here’s what we came up with; for both of us running really provides no pleasure. From start to finish I really just hate running, and Lisa agrees. Now don’t get me wrong, I obviously love it somewhere, but my pleasure seems to come in the before and after. I am most definitely the most gung-ho runner, I always show up annoyingly happy and excited about any run we have planned. Long run of 12 miles at 5:30am? Sure let’s do this thing! You say we have 40 hills to run tonight? Heck yes, let’s get on those things! What, you want me to sprint for 3 miles? Sure thing let’s go! And I most definitely find pleasure in the end results (I mean really now, who doesn’t enjoy feeling accomplished?). It’s just the process that I actually can’t seem to find any pleasure in, and I’m not really sure why.  Lisa says that for her she can’t seem to get her breathing down and if she just felt like she could breathe she would be fine. But I don’t have trouble with the breathing; I can maintain a steady breath and not feel winded all the time. And it’s not like its necessarily painful, because let’s face it, if it were painful, I most definitely would not do it! So it’s a mystery to me, this “runner’s high”; I wish I could say I’ve experienced it and that it’s what keeps me going during my runs, but alas there is no such thing for me. Even though I feel great AFTER a run or workout, to me that’s normal. If your body is working correctly, then yes you have indeed raised your endorphin levels and so therefore, yes, you should feel better and find more enjoyment throughout your day. And for every person that level of exercise varies, meaning what might increase one person’s endorphins to a certain level might not be enough for someone else. So maybe I’m not running hard enough? No telling! All I know is runners are definitely high on something!

To recap last night’s workout: we did a hill workout. We started with a 2.5 mile run on a few rolling hills. We ran at a fast pace for us of 11:40. Then we went to the monster hill (*reminder, take picture next time!) and did 4 sprints up the hill. Oh my goodness I totally forgot just how much I love doing hill workouts! I guess this would be my equivalent to a runner’s high – my joy in sprinting up hills! From there we ran the short distance back to our cars and went to the gym. Since I had wanted to do 4 miles I got on the treadmill and busted out the last 1.5 miles (I did this at a little over an 11:00 min pace – good fast miles last night, I love that!).  From there we did 30 min on the bike and then stretched really well, we don’t need any more pulled muscles around here!!

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