Monday, June 18, 2012

I got high

The comparison between running and drugs is a tired analogy.  How many studies do we need to fund about whether "runner's high" is a real thing or just some made up feeling runners talk about to make sedentary people feel like they are missing out on something? I know it's a drug because it can and in my case, has lead to addiction.

Much like drugs that get you high, say "addiction" and you immediately think of empty vodka bottles, rehab and Lindsay Lohan.  But, I think being addicted to running is a good thing.  Furthermore, I think it's OK if you let your addiction rub off on people here and there.

During my five weeks of IT Band Syndrome (not that it's gone, but I'll get to that), I'll be the first to admit that there has been a little bit of withdrawal.  I get crabby, cranky and eat large portions of ice cream as a response to the void left by the absence of 80 miles a week.  But, unlike injuries in the past, I haven't totally shut out the world of running, pretending it doesn't exist.  I've channeled my injury into being a fan of the running goals of my friends and my family.

Shortly before the injury struck, Lauren surprised us both by getting into the 2012 New York City Marathon.  Not only has she never run a marathon/showed no interest in doing so, her running had taken a backseat for a good three months to the more important things happening in her life.  You should know though, Lauren doesn't turn down a challenge no matter how difficult it might be. 

Fast forward to today, she is more than a month into her training plan and already raised nearly $2,000 for colon cancer research in honor of our friend Amiee who passed away last winter.  So far, the highlight of her training was last weekend's Get Your Rear in Gear 4 Miler in Brooklyn where she, our friends Josh and Tanya and I all ran the race in brightly colored briefs.

I've also had a front row seat to Urban Athletics success in the New York Road Runners Race series.  We were the second place team in the Brooklyn Half Marathon and third place at this week's Portugal Day Five Miler.  Sure, I want to be out there scoring points and duking it out with the Central Park Track Club, but being a cheerleader is the next best thing and it gives me that much more motivation to be smart about taking it easy and getting strong for the fall.

And from my perspective, that's what I am doing.  I've spent the past five weeks slowly evolving from the pool (thanks to Tanya for sneaking me into Equinox) to the elliptical to the Alter G, to the roads.  In between, there has been massage, physical therapy, acupuncture, an MRI and double the amount of stretching I had done in my entire life leading up to this point.  Last week, I ran 31 miles.  This week, I hope to run 40.  But, the number isn't set in stone.  There are still small aches and pains here and there, and I have read enough about IT Band injuries (i.e. every article on the entire internet) to know that just because it's gone for a few days, even a few weeks, doesn't mean it's not going to come back with a vengeance.  If it doesn't feel right, I don't run.  It's that simple. 

The thing about any drug is when you take too much of it, it sort of looses its edge -- just a little bit.  it becomes a permanent buzz instead of a temporary lift.  Long lay-offs allow you realize how wonderful running is.  Coming back from an injury sucks in a lot of ways, but the upside is you are playing our sport in its simplest form.  As I was running down the West Side Highway tonight, no GPS device, no set number of miles to run, I felt that high that I've missed for the past couple of weeks, temporarily lifting me from the fog of a tough day at the office.  I'm excited to get back to that permanent buzz, but this will be fun for a while.

No comments:

Post a Comment