The Runner's High Exist for a Reason
Yesterday's 16 mile training run was mentally and physically tough. It was 8 am and the temperatures were already nearing 90 degrees. All I wanted to do was drop back from the group, but there was an internal motivator that kept me in stride for the full length of the run. It was my "why." Every runner has their own reason for running, but there is a core theme that ties all of these "why's" together. What is it?
It was my reason for running that pushed me beyond the limits of what I thought was possible during that blistering hot 16-mile run. I thought to myself mid-run: it is insane that we willingly wake up at 5 am on a Saturday morning to endure hours of pain on the trail; it is crazy that anyone would intentionally push themselves to the brink of exhaustion to experience this runner's high; many valuable hours could be spent doing anything other than running right now. Running is an activity that links countless humans together across the planet in a very peculiar way. Why?
For me, I run because I want to see how far I can really go. I believe that this is the instinctive thread that links all of humanity together. At the core of our existence, we long to discover new planets, sail to other lands, cure the next disease, etc. Curiosity is a feature that gave us a distinct advantage over our prey when we had to run much further and longer to feed our tribe. This curiosity is what gave us the mindset to create new tools and harvest mass crops. Curiosity to see how far we can really go is why we exist in such abundance on this planet.
Whenever I am in perfect stride in nature, away from all of my daily distractions, I feel a sense of connection with the Earth. It is as if I was born to be there in that very moment, and that I could run forever. This sense of flow is what some would call a "runner's high." The runner's high exists for a reason: to send a signal to our brain, confirming that we are doing the right thing by pushing past the limits of our curiosity. This was the original high that humans experienced.
Unfortunately, we as humans have discovered a new way to artificially experience this high with stimulants and drugs. I believe that drugs and addictions are a curse on this Earth, and that they prevent us from truly experiencing the fullness of this life. They send us fake confirmation signals, and are far too easy to obtain. Without putting yourself through hours of endurance and commitment, you can spend brief moments with an artificial substance that gives you a similar effect.
For me, I run because I want to see how far I can really go. I feel a great call on this Earth to further develop the great sport of running, and to eradicate the curse of addictions. I full-heartedly believe that running can be a miraculous tool for healing addictions. One man cannot do this alone, but the hopeful part of this dream is that there are 64 million runners in the United States alone. There is power in numbers, and anyone who has ever experienced the runner's high knows that there is no drug to replace it. We can all do our part by simply understanding the power of running and the negative impacts of addictions. Let's see how far we can really go.