Saturday, September 10, 2011

Running as an Addiction

Hello.  I'm Hope, and I have an addictive personality.

I'm thankful and lucky that this has not led me down destructive pathways as it has for many, but I am an addict nonetheless.  Some of the addictions I've overcome border on trivial and idiotic, like Diet Coke and sugar; heck...I'm addicted to chapstick for heaven's sake.  True story.  If that little tube of lovliness is not in my pocket, and I need my hands get sweaty, my heart beats faster...I can't concentrate, I'm on high alert and get extremely aggitated.  But one of my addictions had become a bit too serious and I had to become a quitter.  As of 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 6, 2011, I have been four weeks smoke free.  (YAY!!!)

But I wonder.....have I again substituted one addiction for another?  Have I replaced one high for another?  Is running an addiction?

Easy answer, and I think most will agree, is yes.  Now, we know I'm not scientifically gifted, but let's think about it.  After we run for a significant period of time, chemicals are released in our body and when we're done, we experience a feeling of sheer invincibility, might be different for each person, but I'm confident in saying that this is the endorphin rush or "runner's high" that people speak so fondly of.  It's truly a remarkable rush.  It's...well, it's addicting.  We all know it.  Now, we may not talk about it, but we know it.  Even Nike picked up on it and incorporated it into a (brilliant) marketing tool:

So now I running a healthy addiction?  Most wouldn't think twice about saying "well of course it is!" But let's look at it a little deeper.  This rush.  It makes us do things we normally wouldn't do.  I think my mother would agree with me that no way in hell would I wake up a 5:00 in the morning to exercise.  But guess what?  5:00 and I'm up....I need my fix.  This rush.  It makes us keep coming back, no matter what.  I mean we push ourselves constantly, to run further to run faster.  We become obsessed with PRs and splits.  And then we push harder, punishing our bodies until we injure ourselves.  And then we are forced to stop.  Withdrawal symptoms set in; irritability, lack of focus, depression.  We crave the rush so badly that we may ignore the fact we are hurt, ignore the pain, and in the end just hurting ourselves more.

This is actually a pretty interesting theory I've got going on here and I could probably keep writing on and on.  But, I'll spare you!   I guess i just want all my friends to be careful.  Run.  Always run. Please do! But always be mindful that any addiction, no matter how "healthy" you think it can be, can also be as destructive.

Now...I'm off to run my 5.5m  ;-)


1 comment:

Melissa 'Sa' said...

Way to go on your four weeks smoke free!!! I'm sure it's making breathing easier while you exercise. I can honestly say I am no addicted to running lol but am a gym junkie.

You should be proud of yourself for quitting!