I think every runner has that run that makes them feel like everything is right in the world. That makes them want to keep running forever. Mine was yesterday.
I didn’t have school because it was one of the coldest days of the year. We’ve been in a deep freeze for what feels like forever, and I only get to run once or twice a week. In fact, last Saturday was my first treadmill run of the year – it was just too cold.
I get really stir-crazy during the winter. I’m used to riding my bike everywhere, taking walks, and just sitting outside everyday. When this cold weather comes, I don’t know what to do.
I definitely have my struggles with Seasonal Affective Disorder and I know when it’s coming on because everything feels off. I don’t feel hungry, I feel really tired, I don’t want to do anything. I’m usually pretty good at stopping the bad feelings, but I felt especially off yesterday. I knew a run would make me feel better, but it’s just so cold outside. I don’t mind the cold when I run as much as I mind the wind, and there didn’t seem to be a strong one, so I forced myself to layer up and head outside, even if it was only for a few miles.
I was wrong about the wind. There was a direct north wind coming straight into my face. I pulled up my face mask and told myself to just make it through the mile, then I could turn around and head for home.
Once I got to the main road, I did the typical runner trick – turned the complete opposite way from home. I told myself to run fast and try to warm up.
As usual, after two miles (which I might add were 8:04 and 8:07. I haven’t run that fast in a long time!) I started to feel okay in the cold. I was actually enjoying that I could run fast without overheating. So I kept going.
I said that I could turn around after three miles and take the short way home to get me to about five miles. When I hit three, I couldn’t find a reason to head for home, so I kept going. “Just run a fast mile, then you can take the rest of the way home easy” was what I was thinking.
I hit four miles and knew that it was a good 3.5 miles to get home. I ran what I estimated was another .25 then turned around. By this time in my run I wasn’t cold at all and still feeling like I could go fast. This is what I think of as the Runner’s High. I could practically feel the happy endorphins emanating from me. While I thought about how small I am compared to everything else in the universe, I still felt like I was the most lucky, blessed, and happy person in the world. It was complete and utter bliss.
I hit mile five and knew I was just about three miles from home. I thought that I’d do one more quick mile then take the last two as a cool down. You could say I was in the zone for that mile. Suddenly my watch beeped and read 7:24. It’s not my fastest mile ever, but to run that, in the cold, after already running five miles made me feel invincible. At that moment I decided I wanted to sign up for a marathon. Running makes our thoughts a little crazy 😉
Mile seven was relaxing. Throughout it there were some words going through my mind, a few of which being grateful, happiness, and fulfilled. I remember I got beeped at by a truck and they were waving, but I don’t know who you were so please tell me, haha!
Before I knew it I had ran up the last hill and was on my last mile. While I knew it wasn’t going to be lightning speed, I also knew that I wasn’t going to take it easy as planned.
I ran through the street I’ve run so many times. Somehow it just felt different yesterday. I had a new appreciation for its sidewalks and curbs and little potholes. In a few minutes I was turning onto my street. I started speeding up and kept up a strong pace until my watch beeped eight miles, a half a block past my house. I stopped it and started walking down the street, not wanting my euphoria to end.
A few blocks later I came upon a patch of sunlight and stopped. I just stood there for a few minutes, closed my eyes, and let the Vitamin D seep into my skin. It was 3F out, but I pretended I was laying outside in the summer sun.
After a couple minutes I started heading for home. I thought about how much my day had changed in that short hour. I thought about why I run.
I run because of how it makes me feel. I run because I love to take care of my body. I run because I love to eat. I run because it’s who I am and I can’t imagine anything else.