Runner’s high only happens after I’ve been going for a few miles. Out of the blue, while I’m listening to the end of a song and trying not to think about the pain of putting one foot in front of the other for any longer, suddenly, I’ll get the chills and my breath comes easier, as if I’m cooling down. I feel calm and almost queasy – everything in me thinks I’m about to throw up – but I push through it and the feeling falls away, leaving my lungs heavy and sweat dripping into my eyes. It’s why I love to run: the more I run, the more the feeling comes and goes. It did just this afternoon on my loop around the neighborhood. I always try to pinpoint when the feeling comes, breathing in slow, like I do when I’m coming up with a descriptive lede for a story. I inhaled and my nose caught a familiar smell as if for the first time. My head turned to the right without thinking and my mind remembered: the sandy woods and the afternoon sun beating down on pine needles; me creeping through the forest racing dirt bikes. I breathed again and the scent welcomed me like my mother’s arms. Then, the high hit.
“Believe that you can run farther or faster. Believe that you’re young enough, old enough, strong enough, and so on to accomplish everything you want to do. Don’t let worn-out beliefs stop you from moving beyond yourself.” – John Bingham, running speaker and writer