Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Big things of the world can only be achieved by attending to their small beginnings. -Lao-Tzu

I did a track workout last night, by myself. I wasn't sure I'd be able to. Running 400m ten times is a daunting task, particularly when you're out of shape from a winter of not playing, and you've got nothing but your conscience to make you do them. Add to that the fact that I hate 400's with a passion, and you'll see why I was fairly certain I'd come up with an excuse for myself to get out of doing them.

But no! Miraculously, I did the workout!

After work, I went home and got changed. Then I got myself to the track. I got warmed up and stretched out. I ran the first three 400's. And then I ran two more and was halfway done. A little while later, I had only two more to go. And then, somehow, I was on my last one! My body hurt, but I finished! (Many, many thanks, by the way, to Jerry for supplying the soundtrack. I listened to a fantastic dance mix he gave me last year. Definitely more fun to think about dancing than about pounding down the track!)

An hour before The Workout, I was in a state of absolute dread. I was almost in tears on the bike ride to the track. But an hour after it was finished, I was kind of wanted to go back and do it again. Here's what Wikipedia has to say:
Although "adrenaline junkie" is usually used facetiously without any genuine implication of addiction, there may be an element of truth to the term. Many of the key elements of addiction are present in the behaviour of an adrenaline junkie:

1. An altered state of consciousness (in this case called an "adrenaline rush") causes desirable physiological and psychological effects.
2. The altered state eventually disappears, leaving a "crash" in its wake, usually involving feelings of disappointment and depression.
3. During the crash phase, craving for another rush manifests itself, prompting a search for a new rush.

This creates a pattern which is reminiscent of the classical addiction cycle.

An adrenaline rush is usually accompanied by an increase in endorphin activity. Endorphins are responsible for feelings of well being, as well as pain relief. Due to synaptic plasticity, increased endorphin activity creates an increase in endorphin receptor sites, which in turn can create a stronger desire for endorphins. Synaptic plasticity and receptor site proliferation are widely believed to be the mechanisms by which chemical addictions are developed.

However, the same can be said for any endorphin-stimulating activity, whether laughter, physical exertion, artistic expression, religious experience, or sexual intercourse. Although synaptic plasticity may responsible for chemical addictions, it is also believed to be involved in reinforcement, the mechanism by which animals learn to differentiate what is desirable from what is undesirable. Seen in this context, chemical addiction could simply be seen as an aberrant form of plasticity.

Although the effects of adrenaline is largely positive, increasing cardiovascular activity and oxygenation, extended or chronic adrenal stimulation can eventually lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and other stress-related diseases.

Instead of feeding the addiction, I fed my body. Margo had never been to Pasta Mia, so I took her there for a birthday dinner. It was excellent, and we had to wait just long enough to allow me to get hungry. We got gnocchi and ravioli, half a liter of the house red and, of course, tiramisu. Happy birthday Sis!

1 comment:

Margo said...

Thanks for the delicious dinner sister!