Saturday, December 05, 2009

A moment of revelation

In an effort to improve my over all health, I decided to plunge back in to the world of regular exercise. It is amazing how poorly us doctors do at taking care of ourselves. The medical field has created this culture of self-neglect. In some aspects, I think the pendulum is swinging a bit. However, life as a resident is built on a firm dictatorial foundation. As in you dictate next to nothing about your life. However, as this year is my "research" year, I felt it was the best time to establish some healthier habits, ones that hopefully I can carry through the next two years after this until I am done and (hopefully) have a little more control over my schedule. As such, I have rediscovered that perhaps running isn't just as insane as I used to think it was. Here is a little secret: I used to hate running. In fact, hate may just not be sufficiently strong to convey my feelings about it. I loathed it. I thought it was evil, a beast that should be chained in the deepest pit of Tartarus. Yeah, not a fan. But biking just wasn't doing it for me. It didn't feel like enough of a workout unless I really went for a while. Still fun, but just not what I was looking for. So I decided I would try running again. I have flirted with running in the past. I have even reached a point where I didn't despise the very thought of it. But I never honestly could say I liked it. Until this morning. Getting back in the swing of things after some sickness and some stress at work, Thanksgiving morning I went for a 5.5 mile run. The most I have done in at least 4 years or so. It hurt. But mentally I was pleased I had done it, even if it was not fun. I have done pretty well since then, running regularly (a well as some cross training with weights, jump rope, etc.) with one other >5 mile run.
I planned to do a 10k this morning.
10k isn't a lot for people who actually run. You know, people who are healthy and in shape. Those sorts of people. But for those like me, you know, us fatties, 10k is a long freaking distance. I mean seriously, moving my meaty frame at a constant jog for 6.2 miles is a pretty big deal. So it took some mental preparation. I knew how far to go, where to turn around and had a sound plan.
0630 this morning I set out. A tad later than I was initially planning, but still early enough. As usual, it felt a little rough for the first kilometer or so. But I kept going and eventually it stopped hurting, and if it didn't feel good, it wasn't at least feeling awful.
Then "it" happened. For the past week the Nike+ sensor in my shoe had been telling me the battery was low. But it had still been working, recording my mileage and telling me when to turn around. Alas, at 3.92k my iPod told me it had stopped recording activity. Yep, my sensor was dead.
I won't lie. There was a part of me that just about turned around then. It would have been 8k, not bad and still a good run.
But I still could listen to music, and I knew when to turn around to make it the full 10k. So I decided to press on. I hit the half-way point and a funny thing happened. I decided to go a little farther. I knew how far to go to add another half mile out, adding a full additional mile to the run. 7.2 miles was sounding pretty good. Still, sitting in the back of my mind was the fact that however far I went away from home, I had that far to go on the return trip.
But I made it. Then another funny thing happened. I decided to go a bit farther. Up, over the pasarela (overpass, but for some reason they will always be pasarelas to me) and up to the High School. There I decided to turn around. I was actually feeling pretty good. Granted, I wasn't setting any speed records, but I was still running my pace and in a groove.
Five miles into the run, with a way to go still the weirdest thing happened. Something I have never felt before. I felt great. Not just good, but great. I'm talking grinning from ear to ear, breathlessly singing along with my iPod, giving high-fives to the low hanging tree branches great. I felt giddy.
I have heard about a "runner's high". Lis talks about them and my dad has even made mention of it. I thought it was fiction. You know, something that runners talk about to fool us regular folk in to running, telling us eventually we will feel it just to keep us going. In short, I thought it was a lie.
Not any more.
I felt higher than a kite this morning. I don't regularly use mind or mood altering substances. I have, on very few occasions, used narcotics while in the throws of passing kidney stones. I hated those. No idea why people would pay good money to feel that way.
But this was different. If I could have bottled this feeling to sell, I would be a millionaire. I felt invincible. I loved it. I crave feeling it again.
Oh dear. Looks like I got my first hit today, and now I am hooked. I just may become something of a junkie. 7.8 miles done, and I was already planning next week's runs. And, yes, I bought a new sensor today.


  1. Yay! You thought I LIED! Me, the laziest exerciser on the planet who won't lift weights because it hurts? I'm tickled pink that you love it now!

  2. crazy. Must be in the genes, or something. I still think you're all insane.

  3. Yeah, I thought you were just making up that whole runner's high thing.

    Nat: Yeah, it is crazy. I agree.