... I never understood the "Runner's High".
It's this mythical state where a runner has reached a level of training that, during a run, the bloodstream gets flooded with hormones that the body produces that have opiate, or morphinelike, properties. It's an euphoric state that, quite frankly, can be addictive in the right peron's physiology.
I've never really considered myself a runner (it's waaayyy too much work) but I did run track in high school (110m high hurdles and pole vault, thank you) and did my fair share of some 5k's and 10k's when I was in grad school and early medical school.
But, I never got "the high". I remember seeing it in the face of a high school classmate of mine when we had to run a mile in gym class. She had this big grin on her face and literally sprinted the last 100 yards. It was f'in nuts and a little scary.
(Interesting side note - she had 6 kids and is now a fitness instructor at a YMCA in Tennessee; she DID become addicted to the endorphins! Women get an endorphin rush after delivery and experience a slightly less powerful but more pleasant neurohormone when breast feeding.)
Anyway, today was shaping up to be a crap day.
My two rowing partners were out of town and I was looking forward to taking my single out this morning.
But as I pulled into the parking lot on Raspberry Island, the sky was dark and a little rain was falling. Shit. Not ideal conditions, but do-able.
However, the competitive team was coming in (there are ... like a million of them) because of the rain and some lightning. Pussies - I guess they're afraid of 2 to 3 gigawatts of arcing plasma that can essentially melt your nervous system. (just kidding ;))
Shit, again. So I slogged away on the erg for about half an hour which I love (sarcasm), stopping every 10 minutes to look at the weather channel website on my phone.
I hate erging, so I talked to Linnea and Eric (people that rowed Novice with me, but are infintely better than me now) briefly and then adjusted the length and inboard my oars which I had been meaning to do for a while. Finally, it looked like the little break in the rain was about to cruise through the downtown Saint Paul area, but the worse case scenario was about to unfold.
Nice kids (who all probably row better than me) but watching them get organized and get off the dock is like watching a Keystone Kops movie ... but more annoying and less structured. I don't know their coach very well, but she's very vocal and loud - which doesn't seem to help the kids too much. Shit, cubed.
I went to my happy place for a brief respite and emerged to find the rain had stopped, the wind had died down and I had exactly 35 minutes to row. Finally.
I got off the dock with no problems and after a few minutes of warm-up drills, I felt pretty good. I went up to the inlet which is nice and protected and did a couple of laps in there. Once again, despite waiting for over an hour, everything felt good. I headed back out into the river and downstream towards the club.
I was rowing a 18 stroke rate and I was able to balance and get my oars off the water.
It's wasn't exactly a "high" but everything felt in sync and I watched my pace get ever so slightly quicker and quicker on my stroke coach iphone thingy. I was breathing hard but I didn't notice. My back was good, the linkage of legs, trunk and arms was smooth and I could feel my (yet unnamed) single surge a little after each stroke. Hmm ... maybe I'm not as bad as I thought.
I turned around under the Wabasha Street Bridge and docked relatively smoothly. It didn't start raining again until I was halfway up the ramp. It didn't start raining hard until I was in my car and speeding up 35E towards work.
I didn't care, the endorphins were still tickling my brain ...