Commentary

June 20, 2014

Chasing runner’s high

Senior Airman Michael Smith
17th Training Wing Public Affairs

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — I hear it all the time: “I hate running.” To be honest, I didn’t like it too much either, until five years ago when it was taken away from me. My only goals back then were to run track for Clemson University and make it to the Olympics — running consumed me. I pushed myself to train six days a week, even through shin splints. Then, before I knew it, I had stress fractures, sidelining me for six months. Within the first month, I realized how much running was a part of my life, not only for physical fitness, but also mental fitness. Without having an outlet for my stress and anxiety, I quickly found myself falling down a spiral of depression. It was the longest six months of my life. When the healing process was finally over, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. I was literally ready to hit the ground running. I started off slowly with a couple of laps at the local track and slowly increased the distance week by week, until I felt comfortable enough to do a road run. I challenged myself to beat my personal record and run non-stop for six miles. Everything was going great, until mile three when I hit the proverbial wall. It felt like I had just been paid a visit by a dementor, a psyche-consuming being from the Harry Potter series. I didn’t want to go any further. I felt defeated. That is when I decided to dig deep and push through the pain. All of a sudden, the pain went away. One of the greatest feelings ever was running without even thinking about it. Before I knew it I was on the final stretch, and at that moment I was hooked on the runner’s high. According to researcher David A. Raichlen, humans report a wide range of neurobiological rewards following moderate and intense aerobic activity, also referred to as the “runner’s high,” which can encourage habitual aerobic exercise. Now, I run for an hour or more, multiple times a week. I love the euphoric feeling of my mind being free of any worries. No matter what happens at home or work, running is my number one self-prescribed medication. Nothing works better to get me at ease and put everything into a better perspective. There are plenty of times where I grudgingly force myself to go on a short run, and end up running double what I had planned because of the high. No matter if I’m stressed, sad, angry, energetic, confused or happy – the runner’s high is my go-to drug, so to speak. Running, for me, has changed from a burden to a gift, and I have become a better person because of it. Marathoner Gail W. Kislevitz said it best: “Running is my private time, my therapy, my religion.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler

40 years of Red Flag ends on high note

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler A C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 437th Airlift Wing, Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., flies to the Nevada Test and Training Range during Red Flag 15-4, Aug. 25. With a...
 
 

Never underestimate your impact

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey — Every day I visit our great Airmen and every day I come across more than one that underestimates their impact to the mission. There’s the one-stripe maintainer, “just repaneling an aircraft,” for the next day’s flight, or the young personalist, “just issuing another identification card,” or the defender, “just guarding...
 
 

Challenge yourself: Never give up, never quit

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. — I once read that newly created cells in our bodies do one of two things: they either begin to decay or they become more vital. These cells choose their path based on what we demand of them. If we are sedentary, our brains signal our cells to decay; but...
 

 

SECDEF visits Nellis

U.S. Air Force photo by Lawrence Crespo U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks with Airmen from Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases during an all-call at the Lightning Aircraft Maintenance Unit hangar on Nellis AFB, Nev., Aug. 26. Carter’s department is responsible for policy development, planning, resource management, fiscal, and program evaluations for the...
 
 

Air Force extends SAPR services to AF civilians

WASHINGTON — The Air Force released a policy memo today allowing Air Force civilian employees who are victims of sexual assault to file restricted and unrestricted reports with their installation’s sexual assault response coordinator. The policy is effective immediately and allows SARCs and sexual assault prevention and response victim advocates to assist Air Force civilians...
 
 

TRICARE pharmacy rules changing for maintenance, brand-name drugs

WASHINGTON — TRICARE beneficiaries who take certain brand-name medications on a regular basis will be required to fill prescriptions at a military treatment facility or through a mail-in program beginning Oct. 1, a Defense Health Agency official said here Aug. 20. George Jones, DHA’s pharmacy operations division chief, said the new policy does not apply...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>