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Duuudde, I’m So Stooonnned… The Reality Behind Runner’s High

I read an intriguing post on Vivathlete’s blog on runner’s high (did you get high today?) that really got me to reviewing my thoughts on runner’s high.  Now, I happen to experience runner’s (or in most cases, “cyclists”) high almost every time I go out with the sole exception being “recovery rides” in which I’m riding at a much slower pace than normal just to loosen the legs up.  Years ago I even took the time to figure out how I can attain the “zone” that leads to the runner’s high at the end and repeat it, regularly.

Now, you may wonder why I would go to so much trouble in pursuit of this trivial “high”.  Uh, dude, look at the name of my site…  I’ve been recovering from being a drunk and addict for 20 years now – I don’t touch so much as a pain pill or muscle relaxer (not even Tylenol 3’s).  If there’s a freebie out there that can make me feel good without adding chemicals of any kind, I’m going to find it.  With that out of the way, there are a few important things to know about runner’s high that, as things go, should come from a professional high-on, like me.

The most important thing to know about runner’s high is that it’s small, tiny and very easy to miss – thus why some runners think the notion is bunk.  Having established that I am hypersensitive to anything that makes me feel good, I can tell you for certain:  In my experience it is very real.  The problem with it though is that the actual nature of the high is minute, tiny.  If you compared a runner’s high to the buzz one could get from just a single glass of wine (something that I wouldn’t even bother with in my using days because it was too weak), you’d barely notice it.  It’s here that we get into the definition of “is”, as it were:  As in, “is you high or isn’t you”.

The answer is yes but it depends on the runner’s ability to perceive it.  If you’re a regular imbiber, then it’s very possible that you’d miss it but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.  Now, if you’re a recovering alcoholic who drank solely to escape your feeling “less than” and eventually the shit that had become your life (like me), then a five to ten minute feeling of free euphoria, no matter how small, is absolutely beautiful and to be enjoyed.

Now, there’s one more thing I wanted to cover from Vivathlete’s post that tips my BS meter when it comes to the science behind the runner’s high:

“Scientists have demonstrated that rhythmic, continuous exercise — aerobic exercise — can in fact produce cannabinoids in the body (the same kind of chemicals found in marijuana)”

Now, before I get into this, I am not trying to start another silly blog war by flaming another blogger for using that information in a post.  What I’m getting at is deeper and beyond one’s use of a scientific study in a post.  I mean no disrespect to Vivathlete’s post in any way (and my comment on that post should show this).  With that, please allow me to spout off on the so-called “science” itself…  Bullshit.  The notion, at least to me, seems agenda driven and silly.  In fact before cannabinoids the way runner’s high worked, with the release of endorphins and how the brain used them, was linked to opioids.  This is how I see it:  There’s a big push to legalize marijuana lately so they make up these things called cannabinoids that cardiovascular exercise releases into the brain (or however it works, I’m not even going to bother reading up on the lunacy).  The idea is to make this a part of the “it occurs in nature therefore it should be legal” argument.  The reality is that the human body releases “chemicals” to battle the pain associated with moving about rigorously.  The chemicals in drugs mimic this (or key on it), not the other way around, and without requiring the physical activity and in a vastly greater concentration.

In other words, I have a funny feeling the scientists who came up with cannabinoids were sampling the product, if you know what I mean…  Because whatever they came up is laughable on the face of it.  On the other hand, it’s not like anyone’s ever gotten addicted to running or cycling…  Err, oh shit.

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