Saturday, May 10, 2008

In Search Of Running Euphoria

The past two weeks I have really been getting into running. It's like when you rediscover an old favorite tv show, or favorite food that you had forgotten about. And it's all you think about/want.

Previously in this pregnancy I had been using running as a tool to stay healthy and active and to cure my exhaustion- it really works, I swear. But running became more like a chore this way and less like a passion. I was always worried that I wasn't getting enough oxygen, my body was over-heating and that I was dehydrated. This became a huge mental block. I didn't feel I could run as freely as I used to, forget ever experiencing the much missed runner's high.

As classes ended and I have been preparing for finals, I felt the desire and the need to get lost in running again. Not as a restricted form of exercise that is just another thing on my "to do" list, but as an indulgence in a passion. I miss racing and I decided to register for a half marathon for the end of the month. Of course I'm going to be careful and cautious but my body can handle a lot and I know this is something I can do.

So I've been starting to build up my mileage. And I've been running more like a free empassioned soul and less like a hampster in the running equivalent of a wheel- the treadmill. Yesterday, I went out for what was supposed to be my six mile run. I indulged myself and drove 30 minutes to my favorite park and- gasp- ran OUTSIDE. This change was INCREDIBLE. Birds, sun, trees, fresh air, nothing but trails ahead of me for miles. I popped on my ipod and I was in another world.

Feeling soft grass, hearing the crunch of gravel, my legs propelling my body further. Lungs filling with sweet, crisp air. I felt so in control and yet so carefree. At mile 5.5 my legs became heavier and my lungs felt a little sore. I knew as soon as I stopped running, my legs would feel like bricks and every muscle would ache. But as long as I kept going, the pain just felt good. The runner's high must have kicked in just then because I couldn't stop. I couldn't imagine ending my workout at 6 miles. There was so much left to experience and feel and think about.

I extended the run to 8 miles. I wanted to keep going and I think I could have done 10, but I decided not to over-do it. I began to feel paranoid about depriving the baby of oxygen or over-heating. Plus, it's not really good to increase your long run by more then 10-15% at any time. I decided this was a good enough taste for what was to come in the half marathon.

The euphoria that hit me after the workout was undescribable. I felt so calm and relaxed. Mentally and emotionall sedated. I was so...happy. I realized that anything could have happened right then and I would have been so cool, calm and collected about it. This is what I have been missing for the past five and a half months.

There is no way I can go back to the stuffy gym and the controlled treadmill now. I've rediscovered the explorer-adventure runner in me, the destination distance runner. I can't wait for my next run. I'm addicted again.


Law Student Hot Mama said...

So, before I got knocked up I decided I would run (having never been a runner before). Apparently I was in better shape than I thought because I ended up running like 8 miles. "I LOVE THIS!" I thought to myself, "This is the GREATEST THING EVER!"

The next day? I was totally crippled with knees swollen to the size of melons.

I guess you're not supposed to run 8 miles the first time out. DOH!

Anonymous said...

hey - that's cool that you're enjoying the running so much! i'm just getting back into running 8 weeks post-partum and it feels so fantastic. i found 2 blogs you might be interested in reading some of the archives of: - a kinda crazy woman who ran like 10 miles a day all through pregnancy, and - a more sane woman who probably just had her baby and was running almost the whole time.

Cee said...

Thanks for letting me know about those blogs- I actually had been kinda following the runner's world blog but never heard of the other. Thanks!

the dragonfly said...

I wish I could run. I used to...but now there is just pain. *sigh* I even had several doctors tell me I can't run anymore.

But I'm so glad you've found that euphoria. I remember how good a good run feels...