Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Dangers of a Runner's High

Here I sit on the floor of my overly warm apartment, alternating between bites of my breakfast sandwich and rolling out bits and pieces of my legs. I can relate, in the happiest prose, that I had a good run. I also need to start running with a tape recorder because I have all my best thoughts out there, but no way to stop and write them down. 

I woke up with a salt hangover after eating an horrific amount of Chinese food the night before. (I cannot ever remember that it's never worth it!) After a few glasses of water I tucked myself back into bed to watch The Spirit of the Marathon, again, for  little pre-run inspiration. After 102 minutes and sobbing out all the water I just drank, I put on my gear and headed to the park while the sun was still shining and I was still motivated. 

Things wen't well until about a mile in when I started to feel bad. BAD. Body check: legs and arms felt good, breathing fine, not nauseous...which meant there was only reason I was experiencing the pressure of both a heart attack and stomach ache somewhere in between those two organs; there was an air bubble trapped somewhere in there and I had to burp. Now. (This has been happening to me a lot lately, actually. I don't think I'm eating at a different-than-normal speed, but somehow I am sucking air to places it doesn't belong.) So I started to run with an exaggerated bounce, shake myself from side to side, pound myself on the back, but in the end I had to stop off on the side of the road to wiggle and stretch it out of me. Aaaahhhh.

Baaaack on track, I headed down the east side of Central Park and left it at the bottom to run across 60th Street to my old friend, the Queensborough Bridge. It is almost never sunny when I run this bridge. Somehow it is always cloudy or rainy or dark (in fact when I left my apartment in the sun I thought there was no way it would hold up because we both knew where I was headed). But I pranced up that first side in sunshiney goodness. 

I also remembered running this bridge once when a homeless couple yelled at me as I was passing them. The man seemed kind of crazy and I wondered if he'd yell at me again on the way back. Or what if I was murdered on the QB bridge? Which was kind crazy on my part. But remembering this today made me think what we all do from time to time, "Could I die happy right now?" For a split second I thought "No." I haven't climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro or seen **. But then I decided that those things were just bonuses; not the things that make up a good life. I have loved others and they have loved me. I have done nice things for people and experienced kindness myself. There are certainly more risks I could be taking to make my life more complete, and my bucket list isn't getting any smaller, but if I died right then in the middle of running—my passion—I could be okay with that. 

Anyway, off the bridge and heading back to the park I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a store front and thought to myself I didn't look so lumbering in my stride. My running rights had been a little looser this morning (even though I've gained about ten pounds back during and after vacation) and overall I am in the best shape I've been in for a long while. Almost immediately after this pleasant thought I stopped at a light on the corner and stretched while waiting, and a woman also at the cross walk gave me a smile and said "Good for you!" For a minute it registered as "Oh, why because I'm a little chubby?" but then I figured she must've been referring to the below-freezing temperature. Sometimes my brain is an asshole. 

I finished up on the west side of the park and had a little stretch before taking the subway home. Because I keep putting off grocery shopping, I had to stop for a cup of coffee and the barista asked how far I ran. Fact: I need to start hanging with more people who do not repeat, with emphasis, "Only nine miles?" back at me when I say how far I've run. Yes. ONLY. Sheesh.

This good mood just might be enough for me to hop on over to the NYRR website and claim my 2014 NYC marathon entry. I've been going back and forth on whether to run it this year. I've been good about stretching and taking care of my muscles. I've been (mostly) good about dropping some lbs. I think if I put in the work I could have a good marathon. Better than my others. I'd look forward to joining a training program and meeting new running friends. I guess the only things holding me back are knowing what a time-suck it is, and worrying that I will get injured, which are both expensive prospects in time and money. 

But it's still gnawing at me. I don't have an injury to hide behind this season. No excuses. Okay. Oh shit, I'M IN.

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