Runner’s High?

I normally don’t take extraneous cell phone photos of myself, but I looked pretty ridiculous after my run last night. I banged out an 8 mile tempo run on the treadmill and by the time I finished, my face was nearly as red as my shirt. The girl reading US Weekly on the elliptical next to me asked if I was “going to be alright”. Heh. Seriously.

I’m not sure what I was thinking yesterday when I packed clothes for my evening tempo run. Shorts and a lightweight t-shirt are not exactly ideal for a rainy, 40-degree night. I guess I could have sucked it up, but I’m pretty temperature sensitive and rain + cold = numb, painful hands. Thanks Reynaud’s phenomenon! While not ideal, I actually (sometimes) really like doing solo workouts on the treadmill. I can start exactly when I want to, run exactly what pace I want to, and rock out to Selena Gomez without getting hit by a car. Obviously, running on a flat treadmill belt isn’t quite the same as running on the hills of Central Park, but sometimes you gotta make do.

The workout:

  • 1 mile warm-up (8:30 pace)
  • 2 miles at marathon pace (7:30 pace)
  • 4 miles at half marathon pace (6:59, 6:54, 6:54, 6:40)
  • 2 miles at marathon pace (7:30 pace)
  • 9 miles total

I don’t want to be super annoying, but damn…I felt good during this workout. The 4 miles at half-marathon pace were not easy, but I definitely wasn’t in the red zone. And by comparison, the final 2 miles at 7:30 pace felt very relaxed. For a girl who usually averages 9:00 pace for everyday runs, that was a pleasant surprise. Every so often, I’ll have an experience that I would liken to a runner’s high. Last night’s run was one of those times. Did I feel like I was actually on drugs or something? No. Did running sub-7:00 pace feel like a walk in the park? Nope. But I did feel intensely in the zone and really happy to be doing exactly what I was doing (running fast!). For every awesome-feeling tempo run, there are probably dozens of slow, “when is this going to be over” every day runs, so I’m trying to appreciate last night’s effort as much as possible.

After the Philly Rock ‘n Roll half in September, I was super pumped to do train for the November half, but over the last 2 weeks I’ve lost a bit of steam (a road trip, an ache-y foot) and was kind of getting down on myself for not training hard enough. Sure, I’m running decent mileage, but speed workouts and tempo runs? Eh, I could do better. But you know what? I’m always going to think that. There’s always going to be something else, something more that I could be doing. Instead of focusing on the could haves or should haves, I need to stay positive and focused for the next 3 weeks. My training isn’t going to be perfect, but if I can fit in a few more long runs, a few more tempos, and keep the mileage at 55-65 mpw, I should be alright.

In other news, my landlord controls the heat in my building and he hasn’t turned it on yet, so it’s cold. Yay, NYC apartment living! I’ve been baking and cooking a lot to warm up the kitchen. Last night I baked some Ranger Cookies based mostly on this King Arthur Flour recipe. The only changes I made were 1) cutting the recipe in half because lolz I do not need 60 cookies and 2) adding some dried cranberries to the dough.

This morning after about 5 hours of sleep (ugh, not enough!) I braved the dark and cold to run before work. I logged about 7 miles with my Prospect Park running buddy and finished just as the sun was coming up. I arrived home by 7am and had over an hour before I needed to leave for work. Even after a shower, I was still chilled, so I decided to make some soup. Inspired by the celery I picked up from my CSA on Tuesday, I made a variation of 101 Cookbook’s Chunky Celery soup. I followed her directions, but changed up the ingredient list a bit.

Chunky Celery (and other vegetables) Soup (makes about 3 servings)


  • 2 small red onions, diced
  • 2 medium watermelon radishes, chopped
  • 4 small carrots, sliced into coins
  • 8 medium celery stalks, chopped (save some of the celery leaves – these make a great addition!)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth, 2 cups of water
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup of cooked bulgur wheat


Basically, I just sauteed all of the veggies (minus the garlic) in a stock pot for about 10 minutes or until softened. I added the garlic, cooked for another minute, and then poured in the broth, water, salt, pepper, and cooked bulgur. I let this simmer for about 10 minutes and then added some of the celery stalk leaves and let them wilt. I plan to serve this with grated grana padano cheese and crusty bread. I bet it would be good with beans, too!
I received a heirloom radish variety in my CSA pick-up this week: The Watermelon Radish!

Totally normal for 7:30am, right?

Okay friends, that’s all I’ve got. Here’s hoping I survive the cold snap that is set to grace us tomorrow night. How am I supposed to dress up as a scantily-clad cat for Halloween if it’s going to SNOW? Gah.

So, tell me: Have you ever experienced a “runner’s high”? What was it like?

p.s. Dear Mom – when someone experiences a “runner’s high”, it does not actually mean they are doing drugs. Just, FYI.

  • AR

    I run while doing crack. That always gets me high!

    And that tempo run is beastly. I don’t know how you ran it on a treadmill in a t-shirt though. YOU’RE NUTS, in the very best way possible. <3

  • Anonymous

    lolz, my gym won’t let people run without shirts!! it’s too “immodest”.

  • The elliptical girl’s comment was pretty funny…that sounds like an awesome run, gotta love the feeling after one of those!

  • RunTheLongRoad

    i love runs like that!  and i love mixing up MP and HMP.  it’s always a good workout (hard but not all-out hard).  and MP does feel easier 🙂

    i get a runner’s high every time i do a 20-miler.  there is just something about that distance.  i LOVE it.  i feel so happy and carefree, like i’m on top of the world.  yeeaah, that totally sounds like i’m on drugs!

  • J (Morning Runner)

    Awesome treadmill tempo! Some days – especially once we get into winter – the tempos are just so much easier on the treadmill.  Then you don’t have to worry about traffic or slipping on ice, you can just run!

  • SquashandSquats (Brittany)

    I love how patient you are being with yourself with your training. It is a nice reminder (as someone just getting started in “serious” running) that you can live life and understand things happen but still do incredible things in races. Your passion is inspiring and I am definitely in awe of your ability to wake up so early with so little sleep.. I try and try.. 😉 Thanks for keeping us inspired! 

  • I love doing speedwork/tempos on the treadmill. It makes the time go by fast. I don’t really get “runner’s high” I don’t think, but I sometimes have runs where I can’t believe how easy a fast pace feels. Love it when that happens!

    And dried cranberries sound like an excellent addition to the ranget cookies!

  • Those cookies look delicious! And I’m impressed that you ran 9 miles on the treadmill! I can’t spend more than 45 minutes or so on the mill before I go crazy. The closest I get to a runners high is during long runs. I would rather run 20 miles slow every day of my life than do tempo runs and track workouts. Sadly that’s not really the way training works. 

  • great job on the work outs! And I totally know what you mean about heat in NYC apartments. BUT, I think it’s past the mandatory date when buildings have to tun on the heat, so I’d check that on the city website if I were you. I hear it might snow tomorrow! Stay warm!

  • peter_bbt

    Runner’s highs tend to happen to me at the end of a well-executed race, though sometimes after a mid-winter run (“you’re mad!” “I know!”)

  • I love your PS for your mom! That looks like an awesome workout… I hate the treadmill but if I have something structured like that to do, it’s a little more manageable

  • AR

    Could you do it without rolling the sleeves up? For some reason I find it extra itchy indoors.

  • I love runs like that – when running, at running fast at that, feels like the most natural thing you could be doing. You should soak it up and channel that into your training the next few weeks. There have definitely been some runs when I felt on top of the world –  I guess that’s a “Runner’s High.” 

    Umm…can I have some Ranger cookies evening of Nov 6th?

  • Kirsten Shipp

    Hi Megan! I have been reading your blog for about a year, when I first starting running again after a 8 year break from my high school cross country days! You have kept me inspired as I more recently began training for my first half marathon. I finally had to comment because I have Raynauds too. I live in Texas now (I moved here in part because of Raynauds) so it’s not as much as an issue… But I occasionally get white fingers from over air-conditioned rooms. I just wanted to say that I know what you are going through in the cold weather. As far as the runner highs go, I have only had a few and it’s usually been on runs that I really didn’t think would go well when I started. They seem to hit around mile 3 or 4 and for me I feel like I could run forever, which kinda makes me feel like superwoman 😉 keep up the great blogging Megan!

  • Hi Megan! I don’t comment too often but I just love that you feel the same as I do with treadmill runs sometimes. I definitely had a runners high the last treadmill of 13.1 miles at 6.5 minute pace. I love that I feel so confident on the mill bc there are no cars, no scary people, no wondering how I will get water… it is really more like “race day” in my mind set – i don’t have to worry about any of those things! I wish I could create wind resistance though haha.

    Anyway. Great job on the run!

  • NICE! Excellent workout! As the saying goes, “You’re only one run away from your next good run.” (Something like that?) I hear you about treadmill workouts – as much as they often suck, they can also rock if youre feeling great. Your splits were awesome!! You’re gonna be great in Nov!
    Happy halloween wknd!

  • PS: hysterical that the girl asked if you were ok. I get “worried looks” often after treadmill workouts – haha

  • Anonymous

    I totally get runner’s high! A lot. Sometimes it’s intense, sometimes not so much, but it’s one of my favorite things about running! And I definitely think it is slightly addictive. Nice workout, friend. 

    Also, those cookies look delectable.

  • Yay, congrats on a great tempo run– knew you could do it! I love how those awesome, ‘runners high’ runs often come when you least expect it. And that’s what makes them so great! Nice work. And lolz to the girl next to you.

    Are you going to the CPTC benefit tomorrow night? I’ll be there, hope it warms up a bit! Brrr…

  • Jonathan Thomas

    Congrats on your tempo run! I love the runners high and can totally relate to Reynauds…i have it as well…ugggg…Jonathan

  • Best way to describe a runner’s high is “flying” for me.  Great workout there…I am seriously impressed.

  • Megscott83

    I’ll never forget when I started to run more regularly- the fall color popped more while I was running, and i’d be sitting in my 9 am Chemistry class after a run and just be bursting with joy!  And I hated chemistry! But I’d just feel like I was invincible, nothing could stop me, I could do anything!  I suppose I still get it every once in awhile, but nothing like I did in the beginning!

  • I am seriously impressed with your morning soup making abilities, Megan!   Runner’s high is most definitely a real phenomenon – I think for me, it happens most often during a race when I am able to get “in the zone”…so not necessarily just running fast, but running happy!  I love that feeling, sigh, so thanks for the reminder that it is achievable 🙂