Friday, October 12, 2012

Because I Got High (or, why I chose to run 10.2 miles 5 days after a half marathon)

I probably got a few looks during my run this morning.  Started off wearing neon pink arm warmers, so nobody on Roswell Road could possibly miss me as I climbed the hill from East Cobb Park to Robinson Road.  Then as I ran into Chick-fil-A for a quick pit stop, dripping with sweat and wearing a hydration belt, I stood out like a sore thumb in a sea of chicken biscuit munching patrons.  On a particularly fast and breezy downhill stretch towards the end, I waved my arms in the air and sang along to my iPod as cars whizzed by me.  Why did I choose to spend the better part of my morning running 10.2 miles around my ‘hood?  In the words of Afroman, “because I got high.”  *DISCLAIMER: We’re talking runner’s high here, people.  Just want to make that clear.

I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy non-training periods when you can just walk out your door, Garmin or no Garmin, and go for a run.  No distance, time or pace goals, even no particular route in mind.  That’s exactly what I did this morning.  Packed my Gatorade and nutrition JUST IN CASE, and went for it.  I wasn’t even keeping track of the miles, in fact I barely glanced at my Garmin until I got to an intersection where I though “Huh. I’m pretty freakin’ far from home right now. At least on foot.”  I went just a little bit further (apparently I like to push myself even when I don’t have to) and them promptly turned around and strided, shimmied and sang my heart out (er, legs out) all the way back home.

Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t the perfect run; I didn’t break any speed records or even PR for the distance; I made a water stop and I even stopped to stretch my calves a few times along the way.  But I ran at a pace that felt good to me and I caught that elusive runner’s high THREE TIMES.  Woot.  I watched the clouds give way to blue sky and sunshine, and I greeted a few other runners, walkers and bikers with a cheery “Good morning!”  After only a few miles my racing mind calmed down and gave way to a clear head and a sense of peace and calm that’s hard for me to find throughout the day.  I felt like I was flying on that last downhill, and my legs, though tired at the end, made me proud. 

Wait a minute – maybe this morning’s run WAS the perfect run.  Maybe the lack of self-induced pressure allowed my mind to quiet itself and my body to do its thing – impress me.  I am impressed with you, body, very much so.  And my mind has a new challenge in store for you very soon.