Yesterday morning, I went for the longest run I’ve done since I injured myself over three weeks ago. Before the run, I was irritable, grouchy, unable to settle down and do anything. By now, my husband is well acquainted with all the signs of runner’s low, and told me, “Get out there. Go for your run.”

On the way to the national park where I like to do my longer runs, I called up my brother to see if he could join. “Sure,” he said, “I’m downtown [at least twenty minutes away] and have no running clothes with me, but I’ll be there.”

Now, running with my 6’4″ former Army Ranger brother is no walk in the park. Even his slowest pace makes me ratchet mine up slightly, and that’s when I’ve been running regularly. This time, I was amazed at how much three weeks with minimum cardiovascular workouts set me back — I was breathing as heavily as I did back in my pre-running high school days, when I was diagnosed with sports-induced asthma.

Needless to say, he kicked my butt: I did my usual longer run, which usually takes me nearly an hour, in about 45 minutes. Ouch! The hip injury felt fine, thankfully, but right after we finished, my head felt like it was imminently about to explode.

Pretty soon though, after I realized that my head was in fact going to stay on my shoulders, the high I’d been waiting for set in. And God, I missed it. Feeling those endorphins coursing their way back through my body was like being reborn — gone was the old, cranky, pessimistic me, and here again was the happy, goofy me, ready to take on the world. Or at least have a quick lunch with my mom. When I returned home shortly afterwards, my husband took one look at me and said, “OK, endorphin junkie. Glad you had a good run.”

The best part is, I read this morning that researchers have finally proven runner’s high DOES exist! (I didn’t know it could possibly be in dispute, but OK. Perhaps none of the researchers have ever been runners.) The New York Times tells me that scientists in Germany have made a positive link between running and an increase in endorphins. Um… duh? In my eyes, you have only to observe the stupid grin on people’s faces after a good run (or conversely the irritable a-holes they become without running!) to see that it’s an addiction, pure and simple. But hey, if you need official proof, I’m all for it.

So that’s it folks — I am officially an addict. And damn, it feels good.

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