Flash Fiction about 'Runner's High'
There is a state of euphoria called “runner’s high”. The body is put under stress and the mind reacts accordingly by producing endorphins. Endorphins are any of a number of opiate proteins with pain-relieving properties found naturally in the brain. Studies conclude that runner's high is a state of euphoria caused by the environmental stimuli around the runner and the biological aspects of stress associated with running. Many long distance runners have actually compared runner's high to the feeling of an orgasm….
Gary Davis loved to run. He loved it because it gave him something he could not get anywhere else—it changed him—separated his body from his mind—gave him the feeling of being one with everything around him.
He traveled the country participating in every long distance race he could find. His hunger for the experience was insatiable, but the toll it took on his body was severe.
“Another race, Gary? Didn’t you just do one last week in Los Angeles?”
Davis looked up from taping the dollar-sized blister on his right heel. “Oh…hey, Kim, how ya doing?”
“I’m fine, but you don’t look so hot. Why don’t you pass on this one? Give yourself a chance to heal.”
“I’m good—no problem.”
“Well, you must be Superman then, it takes me three months to come back after one of these things. How do you do it? Why do you do it?”
Gary smiled as he performed some leg stretches. “Mind over body, Kim. The runner's high…”
The Starter’s voice boomed across the crowd. “Runners approach the starting line please.”
“I’ll stay close to you, in case you need me,” Kim said with a worried expression.
“I’m fine, Kim…really. Besides, there’s no way you can keep up with me.”
The Starter’s voice screeched again through the squelching microphone. “This is a ten mile run. Pace yourselves! Use the rest areas, the sun can be murder out there. All right, then…good luck to you all. At the sound of the gun, the race will officially get underway. On your mark! Get set! Go!”
The echo of the gun firing, split the quiet of the rural Iowa town.
As soon as he started, Gary felt the elation of running. His body screamed with aches and pains, his blister’s popped open again, but the thought about the high that waited for him somewhere down the road—that feeling that would exceed any pain he now felt, spurred him on like an expectant lover.
He easily moved through the crowd of runners and took the lead. Kim hollered once, but he never turned around to look. Already, he could feel his body changing, growing stronger. A smile sat on the corners of his mouth.
At the five-mile-mark, a staging area had been set up to refresh the athletes. Gary ran right by it, never even looking at the proffered cups of juice and Gatorade. He was free, no longer a captive of his exhausted physical form. He ran like a puppet, controlled by something larger than he was—something that floated above him—untiring.
He was in sight of the finish line, running faster than ever before, when his heart exploded. The strings that once held him up snapped and he rolled forward in a heap of flailing limbs.
As Kim ran to the small group of runners already gathered around Gary’s body, her heart sank, and a mournful moan crept from her throat. She bent over him, almost too tired to cry, and stared at the elated grin etched into his face.
…so, in conclusion, it can be stated, that while running, there is a point when a person's body undergoes some type of change. As yet, the scientific community has been unable to fully understand it.