Running to not feel like crap

I wonder why other people run. To get fit? To challenge themselves? To compete?

I run to not feel like crap. See this New York Times article:

Yes, Running Can Make You High

Researchers in Germany, using advances in neuroscience, report in the current issue of the journal Cerebral Cortex that the folk belief is true: Running does elicit a flood of endorphins in the brain. The endorphins are associated with mood changes, and the more endorphins a runner’s body pumps out, the greater the effect.

I only started running at the beginning of last year. A few things happened, really — a friend recommended I do so to feel better about the breakup, and it sounded reasonable (I had no idea the endorphin thing wasn’t proven at the time); I realised I was, strangely enough, feeling very positive after each NS remedial training session; and, most of all, Akmal encouraged me to join him in volunteering with the Special Olympics running club, and that’s been making me run regularly ever since.

While I was busy feeling sorry for myself at the beginning of the year, I did resolve to not let the year go to waste. Thank goodness, then, for the amazing volunteers and athletes with Special Olympics. While I risk sounding like a terrible cliché, running with them really made me feel alive, and finishing the half-marathon in December with my athlete and friend Shaun truly made the entire year worthwhile. I don’t think any of the other volunteers knew why I started going (except maybe Akmal), but it still means a lot to me that they took me on — even when I was initially unable to keep up with their training — and let me have a chance to be part of what they do.

One comment from the article above:

Nothing quite compares to how I feel when I finish a run: everything becomes possible, I feel great exuberance and joy, and completely and totally energized. If that’s a “runner’s high” then I’m in, for life.

Yeah, that’s about right.

This year’s been awfully busy so far, so I’ve been running a lot less. My mood’s been suffering as a result, and even though that could also be attributed to any number of things (new responsibilities at work, living by myself, living at work), running has so far still succeeded in giving me that rare feel-good moment.

I hope the rain eases up soon. I need to go for a run.

(Aside: The Nike+ kit Hansen sent over (before it was available in Singapore) helped a lot, too. Having something track my distances every run, every week and every month (even if it was mildly inaccurate) did push me to run more. Seeing numbers stack up on the Nike+ website makes me unnecessarily happy — it’s like a RPG of some kind, and all they need to do now to complete the experience is to level us up after a certain numbers of miles. And add weapons and armour.)