Leor Pantilat - Runner's High

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Runner’s High

By Leor Pantilat


The technical definition of a “runner’s high” or the “endorphin rush” is the release of endorphins and other chemicals brought on by pain, exertion, danger, or other forms of stress. In most runners it occurs after strenuous exercise at an intense threshold for a prolonged period and usually entails varying degrees of pain and suffering to get there. When running on a track or on the roads the rush usually boils down to a physically induced high, often entailing competition with yourself or others. It’s a great feeling I have experienced many times, but for me the greatest high I can get – the most fulfilling high – is the feeling I get running trails and mountains.

My high is more than just crossing a threshold of physical exertion or beating a time; it’s a connection with my surroundings and neither pain nor physical stress is necessary. It’s a high that comes not from the act of running alone, but from running in inspiring places. It’s about experiencing the flow and rhythm of nature – the single track winding through the forest; the sweeping views after cresting a ridge; the clear, fresh air on my face; and the solitude and peacefulness of wilderness. It’s about the lush redwood forest, the towering peaks, the immense glaciers, the reflecting lakes, and the picturesque waterfalls. The result is a more personal, powerful, and meaningful experience. The high opens up a door to my heart that releases a flood of emotions – memories, dreams, and love for the people and events in my life. It allows me to take an introspective look at what I’ve become, who I am, and where I’m headed; a reflection of things I’ve done right and things I wish did differently, but overall a feeling of satisfaction and happiness.

I am incredibly fortunate to be able to visit these sanctuaries of natural beauty on a regular basis. They provide the only source of motivation I need and explain how running is not just something that I do but a part of who I am. It’s an addictive feeling that doesn’t lessen or grow old with time or repeat experience. Instead, the passion grows with every high, fueling my desire to explore and dream of adventures to come.  Feel the flow!





Talli van Sunder, Saturday, August 13, 2011

If I was running in the places that you ran I think I would just get a high from the magnificent vistas. Incredible photos Leor! Good job.

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