The Running Addiction

10 Nov

I am a very, very new runner, a newborn who can’t roll over on its own yet. I’ve been running for 15 weeks according to my journal. I have 2 5Ks under my belt, but with tragically slow times. As someone who is extremely competitive and perfectionistic, this sport has greatly, greatly humbled me.

It is a huge challenge for me to run though I am in excellent shape. There is something so extremely difficult about it, it never seems to get easier. I don’t know if it’s because I am new or the physical limitations I have (exercise-induced asthma and I take beta blockers for migraines which greatly hinder running). Typically, if I can’t overachieve at something fairly quickly, I tend to quit. I have to be excellent at everything or I won’t bother at all. Maybe not the best attitude towards things, but that’s me.

Yet, despite all of my “failings” with running, I can’t quit. Not only that, I am starting to cross over into having a running addiction. I read voraciously on the topic both in inspirational books about the sport and running magazines. I actually sat and watched the New York Marathon this weekend. Then there’s the actual act of it. For example, today, I was doing a run/walk trying to recover from last week’s horrible week of only working out 2 days instead of 5. I couldn’t breathe, my side hurt, my legs were mildly angry, and I said to myself that I was going to stop after a mile.

Yet, when the mile came and went I kept going. It was like I had no control. I had to keep running in spite of the fact I was not a happy panda. At 1.25 miles, I did take a quick break. I went to the water fountain and soaked my forehead until it was numb with cold. I went back and did 1.75 miles straight through. At the end of each run cycle (2:30 today), when I’d begin my walk, I promised myself I was going to stop at the end of my 1 minute walk. However, like the drug addict who tells himself that this hit is his last, I immediately pumped the speed up once my minute was over to continue. I walked for about 2 minutes and then did my last .25 mile.

Again, the time was tragic and I did it in segments, but at the end of today, I ran 3.03 miles. My body had to. I couldn’t stop no matter how much I wanted to. I would have kept going further, but my 1 hour workout at work was over and it was time to go home. I had already done weightlifting at the start, so I was out of time.

I’ve been extremely, extremely stressed out over the past 2 weeks as I am purchasing my first home. That is part of the reason my workouts last week were so bad. Yet, today, after my run, I feel glorious. I feel completely peaceful, happy and content. It is that runner’s high I keep reading about. That is definitely not a myth. I feel the best right this moment that I’ve felt in two weeks.

Tomorrow it will start all over again. I will dread the first mile and promise myself that I’ll stop on my last walk interval. Except I know I won’t. And so the addiction continues.

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