3 Things on Getting a Runner’s High

Tomorrow is the day.

I’ve ironed the letters on my jersey.

I’ve checked the weather, it’s going to be awful.

But that’s okay, it’s Silverstone.  We have issues with each other so I expected it.

My running partner, who has never ever run in a half marathon – let alone a distance race – is dutifully freaking out.

And that’s okay too, because it’s his first race and freaking out is completely normal. (Though it feels completely patronising to write that sentence.)

Last Sunday I ran 10 miles.  After much debate I decided to.  Primarily because I have issues past 9 miles in half marathons in the past and I wanted to test something that is called “The Runner’s High.”

Past 9 miles in a half marathon one of two things happen to me:

  1. I become super angry and miserable, often attempting to verbally or visually curse anyone within a 50 foot radius of me.
  2. I become super serene and peaceful and pretty much want to group hug finish line spectators or anyone holding lots of plastic bags that may or may not have bananas in them.

So you are aware, I prefer post-9 mile me at option 2, and need to replicate it. (I know, shocking.)

And, considering I have a first timer running (likely ahead of me but nonetheless we are carpooling) who is looking to me as example, I needed to test and see what brings out the Buddha version of me.

Stuff I learned that does:

  • Start slow.  Okay, the Oatmeal covered this off at point one in his very true comic on running, but when I committed to going at least 30 seconds slower per mile in the first few miles of running I did not start the slide into demonic-fire-breathing-lunatic that I know I have become in the past.
  • Water/food BEFORE I need water/food.  “Yep,” says the masses of 18 of you who subscribe, “that’s like, canon in running, isn’t it?”  But when engaged in the moment of feeling awesome at mile 5 I have been well known to skip water/food because I’m feeling awesome then.  When I followed my rules on fuelling (which, guess what, I remembered because I wasn’t trying to break the land speed record for sloth running) I didn’t have the onset of odd that starts the slide to crazy at mile 8.  Who knew, right?
  • Remember it’s just about finishing. I think one of the things that, besides illness, that plagued my last half was this promise I made to ‘run the whole time.’  And when I could not do that I started to kick myself, despite crossing the line well under some of my earlier races.  Tomorrow I will be on a closed course with a race time limit that is as generous.  If I follow the above rules and just focus on a solid finish I will likely equal my faster half marathon times.

And maybe, if I’m lucky, beat a Stig or two around on the course.  But lets not get ahead of ourselves.

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