Runner’s High

It is an interesting thing … this thing called a “Runners High”.

On 14 February I had the joy of running the Buller Gorge Marathon again. It was only my second marathon, and it had been a full  year since running it for the first time. This time I felt much less well trained for it, and wondered even whether I would actually make it to the end.

A combination of factors led to that thought pattern, lack of time for training due to extra long working hours, an achilles problem which niggled – but not enough to stop me in my tracks, and a general state of tiredness and lethargy leading up to the event. I had decided tho, that as I had paid for it, and entered it – I would still run it … even if it meant walking most of the way!

However this year I had planned some holidays – a few days before and a week following. What a difference that made. Instead of driving over 8 hours the day before the race, the trip up the west coast was relaxed and refreshing. I arrived in Westport with a sense of anticipation and excitement. From deep within I felt ‘ready’ after all.


Al & me, ready to head to the start line. (This time we knew what was ahead … 42 km of scenic running)

The day dawned – high cloud,  the air early in the morning was cool. Perfect conditions for a jaunt along the gorge, alongside the Buller river.  Other runners around me were in various stages of preparation … twitching, stretching, chatting, looking nervous, etc!

As I jogged over the bridge into Westport, (which meant just one kilometer left to go), I could feel the excitement in my spirit grow. I knew that not only had I made it to the end, but I had probably done not too badly with the time. Running between the flags lining the path before the finishing chute,  I stepped up a gear and RAN … wow, where did that burst of energy come from? I looked up and saw my time at 4:53:53. My grin said it all. I had taken a whopping 17 minutes off my previous time of 5:10:24.

I was on a high all day, and the following days … and even today at work when a customer (and good friend) I hadn’t seen since being back, asked me how it had gone – I realised when relaying the story to her that I was still “up there”. The high had not really abated much at all.

The power the comes with completion, brings with it a pride of achievement – that of accomplishing against all odds. That is, what I call ‘my runners high’ and I am so keen know that feeling again one day.

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