Chris's mother once asked me if I loved running because of the runner's "high." Truth be told, I've never really had a runner's high - that complete state of euphoria many runners get when they're going for a run. I usually got it when I got home and was stretching and reflecting on my workout. Running always made me feel good, but usually when I'm on a run I'm more focused on my time, my form, and my tempo rather than on the run itself.
I've mentioned before that I usually start my runs off too quickly and the last quarter mile seems like a huge battle. My splits go from 9:30, to 10:00, and then to around 11:30. So for this run, I really treated the first mile like my warm up and took it at my target pace time: 10:00/mile. Well at the 1st mile mark my split time was 10:00, so already I was off to a good start.
I've always struggled with the middle of my run because that's when I start to think about how far I am from finishing. When my mind begins to lag, my body begins to lag, and by the last mile I'm defeated and just pushing myself to finish. Yet with this run, I was on my 2nd mile and instead of feeling like the road was an endless stretch in front of me, the crackled sidewalks and overgrown hedges looked like an enticing adventure. I ran for about half of a mile more and I looked down at my feet and almost fell over - they looked like they were going so fast underneath me. And yet instead of letting my head tell my legs to get it under control, I let my legs set the tempo for the first time and allowed myself not to think. It was a completely different feeling for me. I didn't have the need to glance at my watch and bemoan over the fact I was behind pace or still had 15 minutes left. I had let my mind go blank and was just listening to the music and just going along for the ride. Before I knew it I was closing in on my third mile and still had lots of energy to spare. When I reached the hill on Lincoln, it felt more like a friendly competition than an insurmountable challenge and I powered up that incline. I felt like I could have kept running straight down my neighborhood streets for miles and miles. But I knew the run had to end and longer runs would come later.
I have never felt like this before during a run. I honestly couldn't describe it as anything else than a runner's "high." I had let my mind go blank, allowing my legs to push me along, and just savored the run. It was a pretty amazing experience.
Usually when I get back from my runs, I make myself a glass of chocolate milk. When I became serious about my running, I had an understanding that when I ran, my muscles would tear (hence the soreness) and as they rebuild themselves, they become stronger. Yet I wanted to make sure I was getting the right nutrients to make sure my muscles did repair themselves quickly and efficiently. The thought of drinking whey protein turned me off because I had no desire to put on muscle - I just wanted to help repair my muscles naturally. After talking to a few people, a woman I know told me her husband went to an Army training clinic and the doctors were recommending chocolate milk as a post workout recovery drink because it has the 4:1 carbs to protein ratio in a recovery drink that your muscles need to replenish themselves. Plus it's absolutely delicious so why would I complain?
After this run, I decided to amp up my chocolate milk a bit because I was hungry so I made a chocolate banana shake/smoothie (I couldn't decide which one to call it because it has milk and ice).
I started with my cup of milk.
Then added my 2 tbsp of chocolate syrup (with only one hand on the camera, my hand was shaking uncontrollably. Sorry for the blurry image).
Then put in a whole banana and about a handful of ice to add some body.
Blended it all together and poured it into my awesome travel cup. Seriously, how great is this cup? It's reusable and perfect for iced coffees, smoothies, shakes, and any juice you want to take with you. It's not the type of container you can just put in your bag and forget about because the straw is open, but it's great to carry along with you on your way to work or class.