July 30, 2006

The Run

It was everything I thought it would be and more. I started with 5 miles on the bike to warm up and then started my run. I’ve been wanting to run to my Blue October CD since I bought it. There are lyrics I love and a beat I can breathe to.

Today I did not run from internal demons but towards my ring made of unobtainium.

I hit my first endorphin rush in what must’ve been 2 minutes into it. I never get it that early, but I think the 5 mile warm up helped as when I hit that “I can run forever” feel, I realized it at 3 minutes 20 seconds and I’d been in the zone for awhile.

The rush lasted for nearly 15 minutes I think. I was in and out of it, hardly cognizant of the time… the pain non-existent. I was in the zone and nobody was in the room with me, of whom I was aware.

It was at that point I realized I was probably only 5 songs into the CD and there was no way this run would last only 30 minutes. I time my runs. I don’t go by mileage, I go by time. Sometimes it totally sucks, when that rush is ever so ellusive. I have to play mind games.

“If I make it to 15 minutes… I’ll quit then.” At 15 minutes, I look down and realize the meter is saying I burned 175 calories and I say to myself, “Well, I’ll even it up to 200 calories and then I’ll quit…” And at 200 calories I look at the time and I’m hovering at 22 minutes and I think, “OK… I’ll just run to 25 minutes…” and so it goes, until I’ve conned myself into the full 30 minutes.

But today, at around 17 minutes I realized I had 6 songs left on this CD and I was still cranking. The rush was gone, but I didn’t hurt and I wasn’t playing mind games and so I said to myself, ‘I’ll finish this CD…’

And I ran and cranked up the resistance and the climb, and ran and ran and ran and I hit a full blown endorphin rush again at 20 minutes. I was completely drenched and hit it full on and once again felt like I could run forever. Blissfully forever.

I ran for 40 minutes before my left knee started to signal I was pushing the envelope of what my body should do… so I ran for 5 more full on and then slowed it down for the last 5, giving me a 50 minute run.

I’ve never run that long before. Never.

I stretched for 20 and then did 200 crunches and some back extensions. I caught a look of myself in the mirror and I looked like hell. Like I’d run to hell and back, but I felt great.

As I was doing my stretches and crunches, cooling down to my newly downloaded Josh Grobin CD, trying to chill out and bring my heart rate down, I started to wonder if I’m not much better than I frickin’ crack whore.

What she does is illegal… using crack for her rush. And she’s burning up her brain. And her body. But she does it all for the craving of the rush.

And as I warm down, I am thinking, that what I crave is that endorphin rush. I need it. I have to have it. I’d run every day if my body let me. I’d run twice a day if my body let me and if I did not have a life that I must tend to. I’ll run until my knees are shot. I know I’m destroying my knees.

Yet I cannot stop. I have switched to the elliptical in an effort to stave off the inevitable. I have great shoes and expensive orthotics. All in an effort to save my knees and feet.

But I cannot stop.

The difference being… I consciously have the control to not run when I cannot… I can actually control whether I seek the rush or not…where the crack whore cannot. And running is not destroying my life… just my body.

I know that in today’s run, I have sacrificed tomorrow’s. I won’t be able to do it tomorrow as my knees or some other part of my body will step up and say, ‘No’. But I also know… that if my body doesn’t tell me ‘No’ tomorrow… I will seek that rush again.

And I asked myself today, what Tammi put in my comments to the below post, what will I do when I cannot run? What will I do to get that rush when running isn’t it?

Swimming doesn’t give me the rush. And although I try to always go a full mile when I swim, after a ¾ of a mile, I am sick of myself. I am sick of listening to my heart, the sound of my hands hitting the water, the sound of my controlled breathing, thinking of my life, thinking of my next stroke. I am sick of me. But I am adding swimming back into my regime soon. Very soon.

But running... I am starting to wonder now, which run will be my last? Is it on the horizon? I am not taking it for granted. I know not what I will do when I can no longer run…

So for now, I bask in every rush it provides and look forward to the next…

Posted by Boudicca at July 30, 2006 08:51 PM | TrackBack

Please know I hope you can run as long as you want to...I would just hate for you to not have that rush.....

I'm glad you had such a great one today!Days like that? Yeah, they make it all worth while!

Posted by: Tammi at July 30, 2006 09:08 PM

Oh I know you do. I'm just now kind of wondering what in the hell I'll do. I dread the day.

Posted by: Bou at July 30, 2006 09:14 PM

It'll be a terrible day.

Posted by: TGOO at July 30, 2006 09:38 PM

Bou, you should submit this post to Runner's World magazine. IT is honest, well written, and I think a lot of people would really be able to identify with you and enjoy this article.

Posted by: Lisa W. at July 31, 2006 06:12 AM

... I think Lisa W. is 100% right...

Posted by: Eric at July 31, 2006 06:56 AM

You need to take good care of your knees, they are precious things, things most people take for granted.

Bad knees are horrible, having days where I can not stand without assitance is embarassing.

Do everything you can to prolong your knees, sacrafice's now will pay benefits later.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at July 31, 2006 07:11 AM

TGOO- I know. I figured you of all would identify with that thought...

Lisa W and Eric- They are pavement runners though. I don't know if they'd put me in the same league. I quit running pavement permanently about 6 months ago, after I had some surgery. It was THE WORST run I'd ever had in my life and I vowed if I ever ran like that again, hurt that bad, I'd hang up my running shoes forever. I still shudder at the memory. But it was my signal that I was done with pavement running. My bones hurt too much when I run on cement or road.

QW and I have discussed my knees...

Posted by: Bou at July 31, 2006 09:10 AM

Wow. That was like being a non-Catholic listening to a Latin Mass. You kinda get the gist of what's going on, but the whole concept is completely foreign to you.

See, I tend to run only when chased. I'm also pretty well armed, so I don't ever get chased. As a result, my acquaintance with exercise is mostly theoretical, much to my waistline's detriment.

I must've inherited one whopper of a "hate sweat & discomfort" gene. Maybe if I'd pushed through the pain a few times in my youth, I'd know what the endorphin thing was all about.

Posted by: El Capitan at July 31, 2006 11:34 AM

"I don't know if they'd put me in the same league".

I'm with Lisa W. and Eric, submit the article and let them make the decision.

Personally I hate running, but everyone needs to find their bliss.

Posted by: mom at July 31, 2006 12:49 PM