My Endogenous Morphine Addiction
Endogenous morphine is a fancy way of saying endorphins, so I’m not looking for rehab — yet. My addiction to these pain-relieving opiate proteins goes way back. In fact, I would bet that most people are addicted to endorphins on some level, it’s just that the athletes who keep coming back for more (and more) are much more likely to realize and embrace their vice. The feeling that I’m addicted to is what many people call the “runner’s high,” and it’s as real as the nose on my face.
The runner’s high isn’t always positive, though. There are times during a run where I feel absolutely terrible, both physically and mentally. Endorphins are released as a way for your body to cope with pain, and running hurts (almost always). Endorphins cause mood changes throughout exercise; sometimes those moods are good, sometimes they are bad. It always amazes me to witness the level at which the body and mind are connected, especially while running. There have been times when I can’t feel my legs and my mind has to carry me. There are times when my mind is so busy that the only way to cope is to listen to my feet hit the pavement. I toggle between the two, and I’m not always sure who’s leading — my body or my spirit.
One thing is for sure: I always feel a surge of joy at the end of a run, and that’s the runner’s high we usually associate the phrase with. But I’m also addicted to the ups and downs that happen during my run. Those are what remind me that I’m normal, human and wholeheartedly a runner. -- Amie