Thursday, February 07, 2013

A Runner's High...

My daily jog has become an anticipated part of my day as of late. Each morning I wake up and start organizing my day in my head- what clients do I see, will we be around the house at meal times, do we have any playdates, do I need to go to the store, what will Steve and I do after Cora goes to bed tonight, and then: when do I get to work out today???

Right now because of my work schedule and Cora's routine the best time for me to work out is mid-morning. I am loving it. I get to have a relaxing breakfast and play time with Cora and then we head to the gym (or load up in the jogging stroller) around 9:30-10am. Cora gets excited as I dress her for the outing- she loves going to see Ms. Connie at the YMCA and she loves riding along in fresh air has she 'jogs' with me in her stroller. It's a win/win for her which ever form of exercise I pick.

As I pull on my Lululemon jogging tights and tank, my body starts anticipating the jog to come. My feet wiggle and adjust as I tighten my neon running shoes. This is about the time Hope starts to understand what is going on. It is like she already knows my decision on my form of exercise for the day- she is either waiting by the back door by her lease or curled up in her crate ready to nap while we enjoy the gym. She is a smart dog.

The first part of my work out is always the same- it  starts in a slow walk. My legs and arms start to relax in a slow rhythm and my body follows suit. I have by this time turned on both my Nike Running App and Pandora. I am preparing my mind and body for this run. Nike helps me track my distance, time, and path; Pandora provides a variety of tunes to get me body pumped up as I take on the road (or treadmill) ahead of me.

As my slow steady walk finds its rhythm, my legs automatically start to move faster. It is about this time I am walking at a brisk pace. Arms are pumping and legs are long with stride. I've settled into my shoes, my brain has adjusted to the beat coming through my ear buds, my heart has elevated, and sweat starts to form on the nape of my neck. It is here that I start getting excited for the run. I can hear and feel my body saying yes, we are ready, let's take this up a notch. And so I do.

It starts slow but it's steady. My legs pump faster and my arms swing stronger. My heart starts to pump blood faster and I am looking for my breathing to start alining with the growing pace of my heartbeat. The beginning of my jog is slow but definitely a run. The pounding of the pavement from my feet and the breeze quickly brushing my face lets me know I am no longer at a walker's pace. Soon my heart and breathing are in time together. My legs and arms are married in a perfect runners harmony and this is the point in the run where I think- I could do this forever. This feels good.

I stay at this steady pace for a while. It's my favorite part of the run. Everything is in harmony. Each new song passing from my iPhone into my ears and onto my brain excites my body. I love finding the rhythm in my run to match my music. That's one of the reasons I choose Pandora. I never know what is coming next. It keeps me on my toes during my run. Most of the time if you see me running you are going to think one of two things: 'Oh look, there is a girl running' or 'Oh look, there is a girl running, pumping her fists and wiggling her bottom in time with a beat only she can hear.' That's what happens sometimes. The music just makes my body want to move, to dance, to express the beat of the music through rhythm. I am sure this looks the most funny when I am on the treadmill at the gym. But to my knowledge no one has stopped and stared or interrupted my run. I have a feeling they know, they have been there too.

I know my jog is coming to an end when a couple things happening. One, I will start seeing my street or the numbers on the treadmill point to around 3 miles. I can feel my body at this point saying its almost done, it's been a good run, let's walk for a bit. But I do not stop here, I always push for one last sprint, one last hurrah in the workout, one last rush of the heart. My tired legs start to move fast and my stride starts to lengthen. My heart pumps blood so fast I can hear the swoosh of the blood in my ears. Sweat pours down my brow, drips off my chin, soaks my hair. My breaths quicken and come out of my mouth in sharp blows. And I turn up the music. I let it blare into my ears. I let it take over my whole body. And if you passed on the street or glanced at me at the YMCA you would see this on my face: a big, fat smile. This is the moment I have been anticipating since my eyes opened this morning. This is the moment my body feels most alive. This is the moment I am already thinking about recreating tomorrow. This is a runners high.

This part does not last long. My body slows after awhile. My fast walk comes back and quickly it turns into a cool down pace. I start to reach for the sky and stretch out my arms and back. I wiggle the toes in the awesome neon shoes and flex the fingers that I'd been clenching into fists while I ran. I start to wipe the sweat off my face with my already soaked tank top. I turn the music from Jay-Z and Timberlake to Mumford & Sons and Peter Bradley Adams. I start the cool down. I find the normal beat of heart and I let my body relax into my surrounds. If we are outside I start seeing my house and chatting with Cora about the rest of the events of the day. Hope looks up at me and thanks me with her eyes. She is glad for the exercise too. If I am at the gym I do a couple last stretches on the treadmill then hop off to get cleaners to wipe down the machine I have sweat all over for the last 45 minutes.

And then it's over. I enter my house for sit ups, light weights and stretches. Or I find a corner in the gym to workout on the yoga ball and swing the kettlebell around for a bit. And in the last moments of my dwindling work out, I give thanks to God. Thanks for a body that works. Thanks for a body that is healthy and whole. Thanks for time to care for my body. And thanks for life. I only have one body. I hope I always take care of it, love it, nurture it with healthy things. I want Cora to see this care of the body. I want Steve to enjoy my body and take care of his body alongside me. I want to feel good and healthy.

I want a runners high everyday. In fact, that might just be what I am doing as you are reading this entry.  What is your runners high? What brings you joy? What helps bring health and happiness to your life? I know its not running for everyone. I can think of a million things that bring this same feeling for people- gardening, biking, hiking, walking, fishing, skiing, and the list could go on and on and on. The body is an amazing thing. The way it moves and works.

Thanks be to God for bodies. What a beautiful creation...

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