What would happen if you missed a run? Would you feel guilty?
No. It’s not guilt exactly. It’s not anger either. It’s just that I wouldn’t feel right. There are bits of guilt and anger to be sure but there’s more to it than that. In an episode of The Golden Girls, Blanche Devereaux refers to this as the colour magenta. That feeling of not being blue because you’re not really sad, jealous but you’re not really green with envy, scared but you’re not yellow. And Blanche hated the colour magenta so she referred to this jumble of feelings as the colour magenta.
So do I get sad, jealous, or scared? No. Maybe I experience a different shade of magenta. But I do get a mixed bag of emotions. I don’t think I’ve ever missed a training run unless it was due to severe injury. And I can honestly say I was a basket case when this did happen. I was antsy. I was concerned about what the time off was doing to my speed and potentially to my waistline. And when I taper for a big race not only are my emotions heightened and on edge but I’ve gotten the most bizarre and disturbing dreams. I wonder if this is what it’s like to go through withdrawal from recreational drug use — but without any of the violent episodes of psychosis.
They say runners get a runners’ high where the release of endorphins and various other neurochemicals induce a feeling of euphoria. And so it would make sense that my body, my mind, my very soul would miss this effect. The funny thing is I don’t always perceive a runners’ high when I run. There are many times to be sure when my running has been very methodical and reliant on mental toughness to pull me through. But all the same in the absence of running I undergo a tangle of feelings that are all in the spectrum that reflects different degrees of negativity.
So I run. I run because I can. Because I enjoy it. Running is a mood enhancer that keeps me at one and the same time fit and sane. And perhaps most pertinent to those who flatter me by deigning to be in my presence, running helps to make me bearable to be around.