I’m a junkie

I’ve discovered a drug. A wonderful, happy-making, pain-soothing drug. And I’m hooked.

This morning I got up and, before anyone else was awake, slipped out of the house to get myself a hit. When I came back, Deena and Kaia were up. Deena could see on my face that I’d been out getting high. She knew the look. She’s the one that got me hooked in the first place.

She was proud of me.

I was proud too.

You see, I’ve taken up running. And when you run, along with the sweat, the encroaching feeling of heaviness, the mind-fogging weariness that creeps over you, there is a payoff.

The body gives you the gift of endorphins.

Let me tell you, it’s awesome.

It’s powerful.

It’s more than a little bit habit-forming.

Just over a month after I went for my first run with Deena, I find myself eager to go out for more. Even though we’re in the middle of a hot, humid Boston summer. (Hence the early morning run, when the temperature is moderately bearable.) Even though I’m not getting quite enough sleep (two young kids and all). Even though I have all the excuses I’ve always had not to spend time on exercise.

I am almost up to five kilometres in one go – long enough to enter a proper run. My goal by the end of the summer is 10k, and at the current rate I’ll get there no problem.

Now, I hear you thinking that maybe it’s not this endogenous drug cocktail my body is dosing me with. Maybe I’m simply high on life. Maybe I’m elated at the sense of personal accomplishment.

To which I say yes, of course. I am an animal, and my subjective experiences are built from complex interactions of hormones, neurotransmitters, synaptic potentials, and other things that I (a non-biologist) don’t really understand. Stupendous!

The subjective experience is captivating, compelling, even addictive. By extension, the biological processes supporting it are pretty nifty too. (Anyone know of a good popular-level book on the science and physiology of running? Or of exercise more generally?)

And now, I’m beginning to wonder if running endorphins are some sort of gateway drug. I’ve been getting this odd urge to try out weight training too. I’m starting with push-ups, but who knows where this spiralling behaviour will lead?

(By the way, can anyone suggest any late-summer or autumn 5k or 10k runs in the Boston area that I could set my sights on?)

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2 Responses to “I’m a junkie”

  1. Ariel Pandachuck Says:

    You had me worried for a moment 😉

  2. susanne430 Says:

    I can relate to the drug of working out! Great post!

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