Time for my second-ever Thinking Out Loud post. Today’s is really out of desperation for a blog post today for my Blogmas!
I gotta say, it’s actually been super fun so far to get the motivation to post everyday. Though the last several days you may have noticed my posts are going up late in the evening!
So today I expected to get out of work super early… but did not. I was kinda saving my “get a post together” efforts for an afternoon and evening off. SO you get the rambling instead.
1. Quick update on my week: I mentioned that I’m in TRIAL this week at work! It’s been super fun and exciting for a change. I’ve never really been in trial like this before. I’ve helped out here and there, mostly at jobs that I had during law school. But this is the first trial where I’ve been involved in the case from almost day 1 (my office literally got this case one week before I started at my current job, so I was put on it as soon as I started and it’s been my WHOLE year and a half at this firm…. I mean, I have other cases. But still. Ya feel me?) We finished up today, but have to wait for the decision so….. we’ll see!
2. Ummmmm who else loves Grape Nuts??? Because I LOVE them, but suddenly can’t find them ANYWHERE. I’m so annoyed. I looked a few places this weekend, and no luck. I work next to a health food store, so I’m investigating this weekend. And of course, Preston has never heard of them before and thinks I’m crazy. (For those wondering, Grape Nuts are a fantastic CEREAL. Super healthy. But the awesome fun part is it’s good cold, and is a super crunchy brekkie, but if you microwave it they turn soft almost like oatmeal. I will FIND some and share with y’all.)
3. It’s been raining here the last few days and I love it. We’ve had super misty foggy days with the rain which are just GORGEOUS. I snapped a few pictures from the top of a parking garage today hahaha. AH, I die. So pretty.
4. EXCEPT it’s making the traffic extra insane. I mean, THE WORST EVER. Normally we really don’t have too much to complain about as far as traffic goes here, but this week has been beyond atrocious. Yesterday I actually couldn’t take it anymore and just detoured to go harass my sister and wait for the traffic to die down. I live on the opposite side of the Sacramento River from the heart of Sacramento (and from where I work.) Meaning to get home from the main area of Sac, and from my job, I have to cross a river. And there are only so many ways to do that (like just a few.) So when the traffic is psychotic, I really don’t have alternate routes to take… Worst part about living near the river.
5. SPEAKING OF THE RIVER, there were two independent reports of DOLPHIN SIGHTINGS IN SACRAMENTO TODAY!!!! Like, just a few miles away from my apartment. In the river. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA????? This is crazy. We do get sea lions semi-often. And we’ve had a few famous WHALES make it up here before. But I’ve never heard of dolphins making it all the way up to Sac! I did a quick search, and there are all kinds of varying opinions – maybe it (they?) is a porpoise of some kind… or maybe people are communally smoking something.
6. I am filming some VLOGS for Blogmas! I thought it would be super fun since Blogmas was inspired by YouTubers to do a few videos! So I’ve been filming random bits and pieces the last few days… but since my week has been so weird, tiring, and full of extra horrendous traffic so far it feels super whiny. I haven’t looked back at what I have yet, so I guess I’ll see what it feels like when I finish up. But I figure I’ll do that as un-whiny as possible, maybe throw in a more normal day or two (maybe a day-in-the-life) for a separate video, AND I’m going to do some kind of cooking video.
7. My presents are all wrapped and under the tree(!!!!!!) I still have a little bit of stocking stuffer buying to do. But otherwise… totally finished :-D
8. But the only Christmas decorations I’ve gotten out are the tree and its ornaments! Still gotta get the rest out!!! Maybe this weekend…
AND I’m officially pooped. It’s just after 8 and I am most definitely going to be asleep less than 30 minutes after posting this…. so good night y’all, I’ll see you tomorrow! On FRIDAY!!!! (WHAT?! Awesomest part about a busy crazy week is that holy shit it flew by and now it’s almost the weekend. Yassssssss!)
Long time, read-every-word readers will know instantly why I’m talking about this.
For the rest of you, here’s the cheat sheet:
1. Last year, I trained for and ran a half marathon and in six weeks and absolutely loved the entire process. Runner’s high for SURE.
2. This year, I’ve been feeling some serious anxiety, which is brand new to me, and I’m trying to make it stop.
3. Also this year, I have been running less than ever in my life before.
4. In October, I ran a half marathon. Even though the training was disastrous, I felt the most incredible emotional relief and clarity during that race.
SO: I wanted to do some digging into WHY we feel a runner’s high. Why some people seem to feel it more than others (a conclusion I made based on a few conversations with friends – so super scientific.) Why some people feel that high during other exercises and some people don’t (also based on my scientific process.)
Basically, I wanted to capture that incredible, natural, healthy high that gives me a clear head and vulnerable but joyful heart.
So I did some research to figure out the answers that I had: WHY is the runner’s high so powerful and HOW do I clutch onto that feeling.
Why do we experience runner’s high?
Most people think that endorphins cause a runner’s high. That might be right, but a recent study indicate that if endorphins do contribute to a runner’s high, they are most likely a secondary source. The real source of a runner’s high (or maybe I should say, the one that studies have scientifically proven) are endocannabinoids. (YES, that word does come from the same root as cannabis – as in marijuana – and YES, the physical response is similar.)
Super quick summary of the recent study: some awesome folks in Germany studied mice running on their little mice wheels. They were able to measure the anxiety (somehow) and sensitivity to pain (somehow) of these mice, before and after running. And they were (somehow) able to block the mice’s responses to endorphins in one control group, and the responses to endocannabinoids in another group. The group whose endorphin responses were blocked still experienced a reduction in anxiety, while the group whose endocannabinoids were blocked did not.
There have been a few other studies that indicate endorphins are NOT the cause of our runner’s high, but this is the only study I found that actually had a link to another cause.
5 Ways to Achieve Runner’s High
I was thrilled to discover that there are some things you can control to help achieve runner’s high and maintain it – it’s not completely hit-or-miss.
1. Push Yourself (but not too much).
This is the BEST tip to help achieve runner’s high. Yes, and super vague. Allow me to clarify… Both endorphins (we’ll still address these since we can’t completely rule them out) and endocannabinoids are released to ease your body when it is stressed. So you want to cause a bit of stress on your body – but NOT so much that you are in physical pain, because that initiates a whole other response than simply stress. (A response that tells you to STOP what you’re doing.)
This is also really important to keep in mind because what it means is that running three miles today might give you a HUGE runner’s high if that’s a challenge for you. If you keep it up and get to the point that three miles is nothing, you probably won’t achieve anywhere near the same high. This is a GREAT reason to mix up the type of workout, speed, distance, tempo, or do intervals (though those can also contribute to a runner’s high on their own accord.) That way you can still give yourself a challenge without needing to significantly increase your distance or speed. The only caveat is that it’s not a linear relationship – meaning pushing yourself even harder does NOT mean you get MORE of a runner’s high. Again, don’t push yourself until you’re in pain.
2. But give yourself rest days and slow days.
Overtraining seriously limits the runner’s high your body is capable of achieving. Simple as that.
3. Listen to music or run with a friend.
Okay, these are two but I am including them here because I’m guessing (more from a hunch than from my research) that only one of these will work for most people. But both of these are things that can contribute to the release of endorphins, and many people believe that either listening to music or running with a loved one can contribute to your runner’s high. Personally, running with someone else will never do that for me. But music? OH HELL YEAH. Maybe you’re lucky and they’ll both work for you! Anybody out there think they both help?
4. Pay attention to what works for you.
No, I’m not just referring to #3. Even if somehow you could have the exact same stamina, shape, fuel, abilities, etc., as someone else, your ability to achieve a runner’s high will not be identical. Pay attention to the level of difficulty or duration at which you experience your high during a run, what type of fuel contributes, what stage of recovery you’re in. All of that varies by person. Sure, there are a few things (like the first two) that universally apply to a certain degree – but none of it is universal to the SAME degree.
5. Add intervals.
I mentioned this in #1 because changing your intervals up will prevent your body from acclimating to your workout, thus reducing the push. But intervals can increase your runner’s high on their own, too! Add sprinting interviews, hills, stair climbs – anything to mix up the intensity at which you’re working. It will really increase your chances of achieving a runner’s high.
What kinds of workouts can cause a “runner’s high”?
Sure, we call it a runner’s high. But running isn’t the only workout that causes it. Again, this is personal and might vary. The types of exercises that are scientifically proven to cause a physiological change are all repetitive – like running, cycling, or swimming. So those are your best bets!
Good luck and happy runner’s high to you!
Even I wouldn’t have chosen to try something described that way, BUT I wound up having this bizarre hot and freaking delightful shredded cabbage salad thinger (so slaw… right?) and I’m in love.
I am not sure it’s crafted to be served hot, but I’ve had this slaw a few times now when I’ve ordered takeout from our super close Chinese/Japanese restaurant (yes, it’s both. They have a separate menu for each cuisine) that comes with their salmon teriyaki.
weekend tidbits | Pretty simple weekend – spent awhile prepping and cleaning for our belated Friendsgiving on Saturday. It was an absolute BLAST and flew by way too fast. Spent half of Sunday being lazy and watching TV, and the other half getting ready for my trial that starts tomorrow!!!!
I stumbled on an awesome way to do interval training on a run recently. Use the music you’re listening to.
I’ve done this before (and I’m guessing many other people have too? But I suppose this is the kind of thing where I have no idea what’s normal. It’s just internal dialogue.) Anyway… I’ve been on runs and told myself something like “walking break until the end of this song” or “just run until the chorus is over and then you can take a break” or “sprint as fast as you can until this bridge ends and then you can slow it down.”
But this time I was a little more calculated and intentional. I repeated Free by The Broods a few times and sprinted for the duration of the chorus each time. Then I walked until the next time the chorus came on. It’s a really short, upbeat, and motivating chorus. But it seems to happen pretty often, so my walking breaks were short too. It’s also one of those songs where midway through the chorus starts playing twice through each time it plays, so my last couple sprints were double the length of the first couple.
The day that I stumbled on doing this, I started doing it at the end of a run that wasn’t going quite as well as I wanted, and I was trying to push myself. It was perfect for that! But by the last sprint, I was dead tired and needed to stop. So on my next run, I played this song three times in a row at the beginning of my run. Then I transitioned to a pretty slow jog for the rest of my run. It was fantastic! My overall pace was still so good because I got so many sprints in when I was feeling really good, I warmed myself up (which was nice because it was damn cold outside) and got some fantastic interval training in.
Give it a try and let me know how it works for you! OR if you find any other songs that work well! I’ll be on the hunt for more…
I almost forgot about December goals! DANG!
November Little Goals Recap:
1. Finish all my Christmas shopping early. DONE! I ordered my last present on December 1st, so I’m totally counting that. Now all that’s left is stocking stuffers, which I LOOOOOVE! I’ll be collecting those over the course of the next few weeks!
2. Spend at least 20 minutes every weekday crafting. I didn’t really keep track of this, and I know I didn’t do it every weekday. But I did make it way more of a priority to spend more time relaxing on weekdays – in ways OTHER than staring at the TV. I’m going to repeat this one this month but actually keep track ;)
3. Enjoy at least a few minutes outside everyday. Well, thanks to Ned’s need to… y’know… pee, I certainly got outside at least a few minutes. But there were still more days than intended that I spent locked up in my office and didn’t even leave during lunch, or spent all my free time at home inside in my sweats and blankets. Still need to get myself out on that balcony more! So I’m repeating this goal too, and adding a little balcony project to make that a cozy place ;)
December Little Goals:
1. Spend at least 20 minutes every weekday crafting. I just got a CRICUT too, so this should be even more exciting and motivating! So many fun possibilities!!!
2. “Winterize” the balcony. Seems like at the end of summer, the balcony just hangs in limbo until spring when I do a big cleanup. Dead pepper plants just stay as they are, leaves pile up, the barbecue gets covered in whatever the weather sends its way. I DID get a cover for the barbecue this year, so it looks a bit cleaner. (Though we totally threw the new cover over the filthy barbecue, HA!) This year, I want to clear out the dead plants, pick up all the leaves, maybe get some candles or a little tabletop lantern to have out there in the cold. We do already have it perfectly covered in twinkle lights, and I DO make it a habit of turning them on a lot. But I want to make it a little more enjoyable to take a blanket and a cup of cocoa out there.
3. Enjoy at least a few minutes outside everyday. Take two.
4. Plan four great dinners a week! I’ve talked a lot about meal planning here and consider myself a pretty damn good planner. But instead of planning awesome dinners lately, I’ve kind of wound up in a rotation of the same few meals that require me to buy the same few ingredients, and on the occasion I feel like something else it’s a separate grocery trip. So I’m getting back to my usual ways and picking four awesome dinners each week and buying supplies on the weekend for them. Maybe that’ll result in some fun menu posts or new recipe roundups for y’all too…. we shall see!