Hedonists believe pleasure and happiness is good and proper aim of human life.
Ibiza was hot and humid, the amazing ancient architecture and natural beauty was a great distraction as I ran three marathons this weekend. I found it to be a place of two halves, with man made ‘hedonism’ heaven luring most visitors. I was there for one of my oldest friends’ birthday celebrations and my running raised a few eyebrows: ”Isn’t it a bit extreme? It can’t be healthy? Don’t you get lonely?
Is it more extreme to run three marathons in three days than party day and night for three days? Both require similar levels of endurance and recovery! The Tish, my friend knew, would have drunk everyone under the table, never wanting the party to end. This weekend, as others came home from partying I was on my way out running, as some had just recovered from the evening excesses, I was ready to recuperate after running, and as they were ready to go again at 10 in the evening I desperately needed my bed in readiness for an early running start, to miss the worst of the sun.
Is it extreme? I’m a relative newbie’ ‘ultra’ or long distance runner: ultra keen, big on ambition but low on experience. To the ultra running community that’s quite an obvious reality, and my running is moderate compared to their activities. To my friends, family and pretty much most people I know, my new ‘normal’ is extreme. Its hard for some to recognize me, I no longer need the Tequila slammers, wine, champagne or other highs I indulged in in the past in my pursuit of happiness. I haven’t changed that much in reality, I’m not that different to those partying on Ibiza.
I get high on dopamine by setting and achieving challenges beyond my comfort zone. The morphine based endorphins raging around my body enable me to get into my flow about thirty minutes into a good run. Many hours in on a long slow run, I know its better to keep going than stop as the cannabis like anandamide will keep me pain free if I keep going. Its only after I stop that I might feel the pain, but if I’ve done everything right I can usually avoid that too. Running is my indulgence. I love it because it makes me feel alive and when I’m in my flow, my whole body, mind and spirit feel as one. It is sometimes lonely running for hours in the hills, but its also the most connected I feel to the earth and the time when I think about and appreciate my friends and family most, they are what truly keep me going. Running allows me to be the best I can be, in every aspect of my life.
We all get our highs somehow, and whether we call ourselves Hedonists or not, there is no doubt that the pursuit of happiness is one of the essentials in life. Next time you see a runner, remember they are probably just out pleasure seeking too.
A lot of slow miles over the weekend, and the most specific training I’ve done yet for my Run the World. I took it slowly and am feeling strong and healthy this morning. Back home and using the last day of holiday to plan my next key milestone in my Run the World specific training plan: Run to Work – Otley to Dusseldorf.
Get high on Life this Bank Holiday,