My First Runners High

I had the most bizarre, surreal, and unbelievable running experience on Monday. I’m still trying to piece together why and how it actually happened, but I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to figure it out.

Let’s recap to put things into perspective: On Wednesday of last week I ran my first two miles. Then accomplished that mileage again on Thursday with Plank’s Run Club. When I was running on my own on Wednesday, and I was using my MapMyRun app, it told me I was running about 8:30 minutes/mile. I danced on Friday and Saturday and had a day of rest on Sunday because I was too sore to even move.

I decided on Sunday night that Monday would be a run day for me. I had to run in the afternoon since I was teaching the early morning shift at Plank, so I wasn’t hopeful that it’d be a particularly good one considering my negative track record with afternoon jogs. I took a 30-minute nap around 5:00pm, my early morning getting the best of me, so I was still groggy when I started running. Because it was overcast and getting to be that twilight hour, I felt like I was still dreaming as I trod along. I ran along the Hudson since I had time and really wanted the view to distract me. The first thing I noticed (or didn’t notice) was that all my thoughts were positive and motivating about the month ahead. I felt extremely reflective. It was about to be May, there are a bunch of good and fun things ahead, I’m accomplishing my goals and adding more to the list, etc. Retrospectively, I never once thought about my breath, my form, my mileage. I noticed that my run app kept talking to me over my music, but I was barely listening. I was completely zoned out.

Before I get even more philosophical and pensive on you, let me just cut to the chase of how crazy this is. I ran 3.5 miles and at a 7:20 minutes/mile pace…….WHAT?! I was so confused that I thought my phone was broken. It couldn’t be right. I thought about all those 5K races I want to run this spring and summer and then realized that I ran over a 5K distance by accident. The only reason I stopped running was because I was at my doorstep. I mean, I would feel freaked out if I had kept going. It’s just too weird to begin with.

I was completely dumbfounded, so I called my marathon runner friend Chad who’s been another pseudo coach to me since I started running. After his initial I-told-you-so moment, he was excited for me and attributed my success to my day of rest and multiple days away from running. The positivity and ease I felt was my first runners high. (Thanks for finally showing up, endocannabinoids!) He cautioned me to not hold high expectations for my next couple of jogs. In other words, 3.5 miles shouldn’t be my new minimum mileage. A great article from NY Times’ Well Blog about runners high. 

I guess I’m proud of myself, but it feels like a fluke. More than anything, I truly enjoyed running for the first time ever. I didn’t have one moment where I was annoyed with myself or the exercise. It was wonderful. But…I’m still creeped out.

If any one else would like to contribute their thoughts as to what happened please leave your comments here or on Facebook or Twitter!

I’ve truly found what Happy Running means,
The Run Around Girl