Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Stay the Course! Find Your Runner's High!

Prefontaine

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

The New Year brings a zest for exercise, eating healthy, and promises to make THIS year the year we reach our fitness goals.  The gyms are abuzz with new people and a vibrant, hopeful energy.  Within a few weeks, the numbers dwindle down, people abandon their pursuits and return to their unhealthy, sedentary lifestyles.  I see people just starting out on their journey wheezing, gasping, struggling with each step and I always want to reach out and tell them that the steps that are painful today will be joyful tomorrow.  

"On the roads, I can see truth revealed whole without thought or reason. There I experience the sudden understanding that comes unasked, unbidden. I simply rest, rest within myself, rest within the pure rhythm of my running. And I wait." - George Sheehan, M.D.
George Sheehan

No one new to running ever believes in the idea of a runner's high. I didn't! Some seasoned runners still don't believe that.  Behind the pain, the struggle, the sweat, and the soreness there lies a "runner's high".  A perfect run where the body, the mind, and the run become one fluid experience.  The mind is peaceful, the body is relaxed, and the run is effortless no matter the distance.

"Ask your self. 'Can I give more?' The answer is usually: 'Yes.'" Paul Tergat

Like anything in life worth having it takes an investment of time, energy, effort... it takes all of you committing to the task.  And not just once but again and again until the protesting of the muscles and lungs subsides and all you feel is the rhythm that guides your steps and your heart beating in perfect time in your chest.  Like climbing a mountain and reaching the summit... you can almost forget what brought you there and the view takes your breath away.  It's then, when you shut off your mind and accept the experience that it happens, you feel like you can fly, and you are, because you have given yourself wings. 

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” - Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong

You've put in the time, the training, and your reward is the experience of a lifetime - a runner's high that will keep you coming back for more and remind you on cold mornings, and with aching knees, and in the heat of the summer, at the end of a long run or a dead sprint why you do it.... because you can.  And it will inspire you to crave it... because you know the secret.  Everything it takes is already inside you.... and you are putting more there with every step that you take so when you need it, it will be there.  Keep after it... chase the high... it's out there waiting for you.