Finding the Runner’s High

About 11 years ago I ran my first marathon and then the next year, my second. I was in OK enough shape to finish but it they were both a struggle for sure. The second one more so since I had just become a father for the first time during training. Once my second daughter was born that pretty much did it for my commitment to running as there were more important things to attend to. My fitness level slipped greatly and I found myself overweight, with back problems and no hope of running again.

Two years ago I decided to make a change and get myself back into respectable shape. I still had no intentions of being able to run again let alone any substantial distance but I needed to make some changes. I made the switch to a paleo lifestyle and it made a huge difference in my health. Now fast forward about 50 fewer pounds, and last year I started feeling well enough that I wanted to try running again just to see how it would go. Early in life I was not a particularly athletic person but there was always something about running that I found very enjoyable and zen-like. It was my time to clear my head and concern myself with nothing more than the rythum of my breathing. Little by little I was able to claw my way back into running again and, just as before, the more I ran the more I found I wanted run again. I was finding the runner’s highs and the zen time again.

On a last minute whim I decided to run the Madison half last November. It’s a good thing I waited until the last minute to register because the second I did my stomach was in knots. What the heck was I thinking? I haven’t run that far in years, could I even make it to the finish? Best decision I ever made. Not only did I finish with a great personal time but I instantly wanted more. I went online as soon as I got home and started trying to find the next Wisconsin full marathon that I thought I could be ready for. I started training right away and signed up January 2nd for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon.

I am now in the best shape I have been in years and running better than I ever did before. I am really excited and the anticipation of race day is keeping me going through the polar vortex that seems to be parked on top of us this year. The training is not without it’s down days, too, with kids and work and life in general all competing for time and energy. On those days when I don’t want to get out of bed at 5am I just try to remember that feeling of race day morning, the fact that not everyday is going to be a great run day (and that’s OK), and that the training is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Happy running…

Joel McCaw

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