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Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Runner's High

Between outdoor running and the indoor gym this evening, there was no hesitation which one I would pick. As I've already attended zumba and pilates classes this week, I decided to give myself a good cardio workout by running - at the beach, of course.

I finished a 7km run in 38:46mins. That calculates to an average 5:32min/km pace. Its not that impressive; its only 7km compared to some female runners who can hold the same pace throughout an entire half marathon distance! I was planning to complete the intended 8k distance but decided to stop when I reached the 7th kilometre. I've crossed the comfort zone and I was feeling utterly breathless as I pounded each step of the way. My last run was only a short 4km done 5 days ago. Imagine not having run for 5 days....your energy levels dip, your speed is compromised and you don't feel that you're running as easy as you should.

What about the zumba and pilates classes in between my runs? Frankly, I don't think any indoor exercise classes can substitute outdoor running for those who run to achieve a 'runner's high'. Honestly, how much can you skip, run or jump throughout an exercise class? You can be moving on the spot all the time but hardly traveling away from your own spot unlike outdoor running. You do get tired but not as much as running; you perspire enough too-that's about all. Put simply, the heart doesn't pump hard enough.

Hard core runners cannot really detach themselves from outdoor running. I tried after my Sundown race in May by taking a hiatus but failed miserably. I realised that I do feel happier after a hard run. Yes, my lungs are aching now but it hurts so good. Tomorrow, I shall return to the gym to attend another exercise class. Purely for fun.

I can talk endlessly about running to anyone who is willing to lend me their ears. The other day, at a child's birthday party, a mother sat beside me and initiated a casual conversation. I thought she looked pretty slim and taut so I asked if she ran. When she nodded her head, I was indeed pleased to know that another mother runs like me. But she is definitely way faster! For the record, I found out that she had finished her 21km race at the New Balance Real Run 2012 in 1:47 hr!! This is much faster than the 5:32min/km pace that I clocked this evening! I'm so impressed with her time. Before we parted, she told me to look out for the 2XU 21km race next year. Well, I've just received the flyer from a promoter at the Standard Chartered Marathon Race Pack Collection this afternoon. It will be held next March.

Few mothers run. I guess it really boils down to one's personality, priorities and interests. Some women have so many friends running along with them, training together and encouraging one another to go further. I really feel envious at times. Occasionally, my enthusiasm for running is diluted when others around me don't feel the same. When I want to share a bit more about my running experiences on facebook, I simply stop short as I know that majority of my friends don't like to run. Unlike me who have experienced that adrenaline rush, these friends will never understand why running is so addictive to the mind and body unless they start.

Even my hubby has taken a break. I am the one nudging him to make a comeback. I am the one encouraging him to sign up for another race with me. Sometimes, its hard when you are doing this all by yourself. I pace myself, run by myself and even travel to the race site all by myself for the 2 races which I participated in this year. Some people may call me foolish but I know I've benefited much from running and road racing. Its a lone sport; true. But it strengthens your mind. I can be running alone but I'm not lonely at all. I'm too busy trying to focus on my run. It can be rather monotonous but once you get used to it, you won't stop.

After a run, they say that endorphins are released which is why a runner often feels good when his run is over. Or feels like running again the next day, haha! When I went to collect my kids' race pack this early afternoon, I felt rather dissapointed that I wasn't one of the half or full marathon participants. I wish I can do a full distance in 2013 if time permits. I'm hoping that some companion will sign up with me so that I can challenge myself to go further. Having said that, one must be prepared to train for it. And I'm not talking about running thrice weekly. That won't be sufficient at all.

Well, that is also a runner's high. When 21k is not enough and I still want to go further.

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