Sunday, 5 August 2012

Ego and endorphins

An update regarding my walk that I got back from around an hour ago.

Imogen rang this morning to see if I was keen to go for a walk again today, as she was out of town yesterday.  When I knocked on her door at 4.30, I got no answer.  Tried again at 5 o'clock and it turns out Imogen had been asleep - oops!  So I tried to convince her that a really good energy boost other than a nap was to exercise.  I tried for about ten minutes to convince Imogen to come along, but nothing doing.

So I went out on my own, on the same route we did the other day.  And after only 15 minutes, I was bored and I wanted to turn around and go back.  I had music with me, but I only own an FM-reciever, so I was at the mercy of what the radio threw at me.  Needless to say, not all of it was the most motivating to keep pushing myself to walk fast.  I was so disinterested and realised that I either should have pushed Imogen more to come along with me, or find some other way to keep me going.

On the route I took, on the other side of the highway, is a new development area.  There hasn't been a lot of development there yet.  Only 2 completed houses, and one in progress.  This new housing development has a long straight 'feeder' road, that the other streets (will eventually) run from.  This road is around 1km long, so a 2 km return distance.  (1.35 mi according  to googlemaps).  It also has no traffic (because no-one lives in the development yet) and has streetlights along one side of the road.  By eye, those street lights look like they are pretty much evenly spaced.

As I was pushing myself to keep going, somewhere, something twigged in my brain to run between streetlight distances, and then walk the next one as recovery, before running the next distance again.

Yes my friends, my brain suggested I do some intervals... and I went along with it.

I'm normally really good at ignoring my brain when it points out things which are good for me.  But I guess, snaps for my lazy side, I knew that running would be faster than walking, so if I ran some, I would finish up my walk sooner.  I convinced my brain that I would be better off running* the distance between two sets of streetlights and use the same double distance to walk, giving me more recovery time.  I'm pleased to say that I intervalled all the way down and back along that road.  Initially, I bargained that I would run* only down to my turn-around point and then just walk back.  But my lazy side battled with the time issue, while my sensible side countered with the "you just showed you could do it on the way down, why pike out now?". 

My sensible side won out, and I ran*-walked back to the top of the road.  And I felt GREAT!  I don't want to brag too much, but I think a got a little taste of what is 'runner's high'.  Although, truth be told, it was probably equal parts ego as it was endorphins. 

That was the second deal with myself, to run back up the road.  I stuck to it and went a little further again, once I reached the end of the road. 
As I was walking back along the path that heads back to the other side of the highway, my legs still felt pumped, I felt pumped from the ego/endorphin boost.  So I ran* a little more.  Just once, and I think the distance was about equivalent to three streetlight spans.  But I ran* again, further than I had initially thought, and further than the second time I adjusted my bargain. 

I felt so pumped and happy about what I accomplished!  : )  I hate to run, have always hated it.  The only time in the past I've voluntarily run was when I was chasing the school bus down the road on the mornings I slept in.  But today, because of laziness, or bordeom, I chose to run.  And I want to do it again.   : D 

So, I think I now know what will be my September challenge - to start a couch to 5K running program.

-Sunny Duckling

*P.S.  I say run, but I think my running speed is probably closer to fit people's jogging speed.  I was still moving faster than a walk speed and my heart rate went up and my breathing was heavier.  Signs that I exerted myself.   :) 


  1. Hi there I'm Emilio from Argentina! I read your post it's kind of funny :) I have to say that I use to have many issue of not feeling motivated enough but I think I found my balance by having good music with me. You should try to get a cheap mp3 player and make a power playlist as well as a relaxation playlist. I have some 60 seconds high rhythm files which I use to force myself demand more from myself (e.g. running as fast as I can, making as many abs as I can e.t.c.)

    Good blog I'll be reading you!!


  2. Thanks for your kind words and support Emilio.

    Funnily enough, I've been thinking about getting an mp3 player. There is the obvious benefit of listening to motivating music, but I've also got some podcasts of health and fitness tips, and exercise workouts.
    I was thinking my reward for meeting my August challenge would be to get an mp3 player. You've given me a great idea.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of the blog.