Running: the Agony & the Ecstasy

I don’t know what it is, but for the past few years, the middle weekend in May has been EPIC! It’s been the weekend I have run ‘firsts’ for the past 4 years straight…

  • 2013 – my first  half marathon (Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon)
  • 2014 – my first marathon (Great Ocean Road Marathon; 45km)
  • 2015 – my first relay event (Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon)
  • 2016 – my first trail half marathon (Ultra Trail Australia; 22km)

All smiles at the start of UTA 22

It got me reflecting on all these firsts and wondering what else I can add to the list? As runners, it seems we are often seeking more – more distance, more PB’s, more events, more variety, more Strava segment crowns 😉 So, why? What is it about running that brings this desire to do more, or be more? What is it that pushes us to our absolute limits both physically and mentally? Why do we keep going back again, and again, even though we know the pain that awaits us? Non-runners think that if you run a lot it’s easy, but I am here to tell you that is not true!

The thoughts that go though my brain when I’m running include (but are not limited to):

  • Wow, I feel great! I’ve got this in the bag today.
  • I don’t remember there being a hill on this street when I drove it in my car.
  • Oh, yep I really feel like rubbish right now.
  • Oh yay, a down hill!
  • I wonder where there’s a tap?
  • I really want to stop.
  • No don’t stop, you’ll get it done quicker if you just keep running.
  • Ouch, that hurts.
  • Lungs. In. Agony.
  • 400m sure seems longer than I remember.
  • Woohoo – only 1km to go, let’s smash it!
  • Yay, I’m done. That was great!! (even when it was NOT)

As you can see, it’s literally a roller coaster! So why keep doing it to ourselves? If you’re a runner you will know & there’s something different in it for everyone, but ultimately it makes us feel good. The friends we make, the sense of achievement, the places it takes us, and not to forget the fitness aspect. Of course there’s also the endorphins that running releases, which are said to trigger a similar feeling to that of morphine. No wonder we keep wanting more! It’s the continual feeling of wanting a bigger & better high.


Riding the endorphin high at the end of UTA

Ultra Trail Australia last weekend was one of the hardest events I have ever done, and at the end I was spent, but now I look back on it with only fond memories and am thinking ‘what next’? What is the next level of agony and ecstasy I will put my body through? How will I ‘level up’ this time? I think I might head out for a run and ponder this one…

SMH girls

Rachel’s Runners girls experiencing the ‘runner’s high’ after the SMH Half Marathon











About Rachel Allworth (112 Articles)
Owner & Coach - Rachel's Runners

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