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The elusive runner's high

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  September 18, 2012 08:34 AM

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I was beginning to think the "runner's high" was something that just wasn't going to happen for me -- and doubting it actually happens to anyone.

Since I started running about six months ago, I've been waiting for it. Patiently. And it never happened.

I was sure that if I was going to get that "high" it was bound to happen after I finished my first 5K. While I felt great, and really excited and pleased that I finished my very first race, there was no high. I felt some exhaustion, and relief that I got through the race without stopping. No runner's high there.

The day of my 10K, I didn't think about getting a runner's high very much because I was so nervous and excited all I could focus on was not cracking under the pressure I was putting on myself to finish strong. When I finished that race, I felt happy yet again, like I was addicted to racing, but I wouldn't call that feeling a high.

Now, months into training for my half-marathon, I've run 10+ miles waiting for that high. Some days, running feels like a long slog; other days it feels like a really great way to release pressure.

Today, it finally happened. I know what people are talking about now. Today's run was only 3.5 miles, but something happened after that first mile. All of a sudden my breathing became steady and more controlled than it's ever been. All the thoughts that usually race in my head during runs just disappeared. And although I know I was in control of my body, my legs seemed to be compelled to just go, as if they've now done this running thing enough that they could operate as a piece of machinery would on auto-pilot. And, for the first time since I started running months ago, I loved running.

There it was: the runner's high that I keep hearing about. Now I understand why people talk about it the way they do, as if getting that high is like hitting nirvana. Because once it happens, you just want to chase it again.

Have you experienced a runner's high?

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.

CONTRIBUTORS

Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at Boston.com. She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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