A publicized, putative effect of endorphins is the so-called "runner's high", which is said to occur when people exercise so strenuously that their bodies reach the threshold of endorphin release. Endorphins are released during long, continuous workouts of moderate to high intensity, corresponding to prolonged physical stress. This also corresponds with the time that the muscles use up their stored glycogen. The presence of endorphins would presumably mitigate pain sensation by negatively regulating pain-carrying signals from nociceptive neurons in the spinal cord. Notably, such analgesic effects of endorphins could potentially increase the likelihood of injury, as pain sensation could be more easily ignored. Experiencing a runner's high has also been known to cause feelings of euphoria.
This morning my Mom (on her birthday even!) watched C (the littlest) so I could do my long run. I dropped the big two off at their schools, and set off for my run. I used mapmyrun to figure out a 9K loop, and was aiming to run it twice. What I didn't count on was the ice. Yesterday was 7C and all the snow melted on the sidewalks, then froze overnight. It was treacherous. I had 3K to run on the sidewalks, before I hit a paved pathway system. The pathway system had it's own challenge of large dogs running amuck. I love dogs. We have a Golden Retriever. But dogs I don't know running, while I'm running, honestly terrify me a little. I was briefly "chased" by a black lab who I had to return to it's owner.
The first 6K felt like a slog. My legs felt heavy, and the hills though moderate, felt like I was tackling a mountain. Then something switched, and from 6K on it started to feel easier. I did the first loop and honestly thought "that wasn't so bad" and easily started the loop a second time. Then this happened at around 11K.
I fell. Hard. I wasn't too worried about my hand. I was mostly worried about my knee. It must have been quite the thing to see as a woman pulled over in her truck to check on me, and wasn't sure about leaving me. She asked me twice if I was sure I was actually ok. At that point I decided I was done with the sidewalks, and started running on the road facing traffic.
I was euphoric finishing the 18K. 18K. I feel really stinkin' proud of that. I felt just last week that 16K was a wall I wasn't sure I would pass, let alone hit the 18K that I had needed. A friend at A's preschool told me as I put on his boots to head home that I was "glowing with endorphins". That made me grin from ear to ear. My hubby told me just a few weeks ago that I am at my happiest after I've been for a run. And I suppose that's why I keep going out, even after runs that feel impossible, and I question why? Because those hard runs, are also replaced with amazing runs.
And you know what I did with such a kick? I signed up for this:
SCOTIABANK CALGARY MARATHON
Crazy. On so many levels. I'm ridiculously excited with an equal mix of fear. This will be my 7th marathon (that makes it lucky right?). It will be 11 years since I ran my first Calgary marathon, and 5 years since running my last marathon. My 1st as a Mom of three.