Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Finish Line

On Thursday night, I convinced my roommate to go for a run with me outside in our neighborhood. I needed to do four miles, “medium” run for this week of training.We held a very quick pace despite the snow, ice, and lack of visibility. It was my first outside run in the snow (so probably my first outside run since late November…shhh) and I was trying to keep pace with Bryan. As we were finishing our run, I quickened my pace without even thinking about it. He said, “Wow, somebody picked up the pace,” which to me sounded like, “zfjlhdfjhdsfkjsdhfkhsfkhsjdf” over the sound of my pounding music and the adrenaline of finishing strong. And this, my friends, is one of my favorite parts of running.

Ah, the finish line. If you are a regular runner, you probably know what I’m talking about. For me, every run is a race; either a race against myself, the clock, or a running partner (sorry not sorry, I’m THAT douchebag to run with). And if you’ve run a race before, you know how good/terrible the end of a race is…the finish line is so close you can taste it, and every millisecond faster that you run is a millisecond worth of you not running. Your body is screaming at you that you are done, spent, and have no more gas in the tank, but your mind knows that you have a little more to give. Depending on the length of the run, the finish line for me starts with about a mile left.

Some people talk about runners high, but as far as I’m concerned, I’ve never had one. I’ve heard it described as very orgasm-like: when you get one, you KNOW it. My cousin says it feels like she is no longer inside her body and is just cruising on somebody else’s legs. I think I feel adrenaline for the finish line, but no orgasm-like symptoms on my end.

For me, the finish line is like this: I finally allow the mental to demolish the physical (a battle I have been fighting for the entire run, probably). I focus on certain mantras, images, or things I’ve experienced that have been so much worse than the next three minutes of sprinting.

You lived with a suicidal roommate for your first year of college. You worked for an insufferable boss. You ran a marathon. You said goodbye to beloved relatives. Car accident. You got your heart broken. Twice. You live life with anxiety. You have overcome horribly painful injuries. One more mile. Nine more minutes. Five more minutes. Push. Push. Harder. Faster. (that’s what she said) More. Leave it here. Bring it home. You’ve come this far, don’t give up now. THIS IS FOR ALL THE MARBLES. Run for your life. Go. Go. So close. All the marbles. Finish strong.

And just like that, repeating stuff like that over and over in my head, I find myself flying across the finish line, whatever finish line that might be. Whether it’s a race or a three mile run, the finish line mentality kicks in and I go all crazy runner, cranking up the treadmill or shoving past my roommate to sprint the last blocks home. And while I don’t get the out-of-body-runners high, I get the necessary hit of adrenaline from the finish line to keep me lacing up my shoes week in and week out. So find your finish line, get yo self some endorphins, and finish every race like a champion.

Have any of you experienced a runners high? What’s it like?