Saturday, July 31, 2010


I'm so tired and so hungry. I can't begin to tell you how much I could eat right now. But I won't go into that right now.

First, here's what I did today:

Woke up at 6AM and went for a short run/walk followed by an AA meeting in Gulf Breeze. After that I went to Pensacola State College track and ran a quarter mile then went for a short swim in the pool. By then it was time for STEAK! I got a nice sized Beef Loin from Winn Dixie (they ARE the BEEF PEOPLE after all!) and fixed that for lunch, but I was still hungry so I ate a bag of Doritos but I don't think that qualifies as real food. After all that exercise I felt like my blood sugar was dropping as a result of consuming one of those awesome NOS drinks. The only problem is that I'm borderline diabetic and if I have too much of those sugary energy drinks I can experience a rapid spike in blood sugar and then a CRASH that leaves me feeling jittery and confused. So I quickly made a fruit salad with fresh figs, strawberries, cottage cheese and whipped cream. WHAT? WHIPPED CREAM? Yes, you heard me...WHIPPED freakin' CREAM!!! I will never give it's the only thing I live for...LOL. Seriously, I have given up crack, alcohol, heroin, cigarettes, coffee and lying, so give me a break okay?

After that I felt a lot better. Publix had fresh figs this week and I bought 2 fact I got the LAST box!!!

I got the sudden urge to go to Bay Bluffs and climb the stairs but they were undergoing repairs so as soon as I got to the bottom of the stairs I had to turn around and go right back up which was just fine with me seeing as how it was only my "Mind" that wanted to do stair work- my body was not having any part of that stair action!

I called my mom and talked to her for an hour and it was a great talk. My daughter had a few lines in a play yesterday. I was sad that I couldn't be there but very happy that she got to enjoy being in a play.

Finally, the highlight of my day was going to Church service at Cokesbury UMC. They have a great progressive Christian rock band led by Associate Pastor Stuart Worth. The sermon was on the book of ACTS which was cool because that happens to be what I've been reading. Afterward the church had a little gathering called "Snack Saturday" with lots of good finger food and since I'm always hungry now, that was perfect. I got to make some new friends and talk with some old ones I haven't seen since I went to Celebrate Recovery.

And now, it's finallly bedtime but I'm a little too amped up to go to bed so I guess I'll see what's happening on Facebook (my last addiction...)

peace out

Friday, July 30, 2010



I am going to do something radical on Sunday morning before my Gulf Breeze A.A. meeting.

I'm going to go down to the Bay Bluffs park and start at the top of the stairs, run all the way down, then run all the way back up. I believe it's a total of at least one mile all the way around the course. Afterward, I'm going to drink a gallon of water and stay in bed the rest of the day! LOL

Early Morning Runs

I live in Pensacola, FL, where summer heat indexes are well above 102 degrees in late July and August. For the most part I try not to even go outside. At all. I'm not friends with the heat index. When I see people running down Bayou Blvd. at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I wonder if they should have their brains checked. Why would anyone want to run in the heat?

Alas, I am a morning person. I think I may have been a rooster in my last life...I get up THAT early.

First wake up is at 2AM and I literally have to force myself to go back to sleep. Second wake up is at 4AM and this time hunger motivates me and I actually have to get up. Finally, at 5 AM when the light begins to creep through my windows, I get out of bed.

Funny thing, though..I've been sleeping in my running gear so that all I have to do is get out of bed and put on my socks and shoes. No excuses!

Back to the Heat Index. WTF is with running when it's 110 degrees? I don't think you'll ever catch me doing it unless there is a suitcase filled with one million dollars in it at the end of the run.

My idea of "Cool Running" is getting up at the crack of dawn and running when the daytime LO temp hits...usually about 4 or 5am.

I don't see that changing anytime soon!

Yes, Running Can Make You High

Originally published on March 27, 2008 in the New York Times


THE runner’s high: Every athlete has heard of it, most seem to believe in it and many say they have experienced it. But for years scientists have reserved judgment because no rigorous test confirmed its existence.

Yes, some people reported that they felt so good when they exercised that it was as if they had taken mood-altering drugs. But was that feeling real or just a delusion? And even if it was real, what was the feeling supposed to be, and what caused it?

Some who said they had experienced a runner’s high said it was uncommon. They might feel relaxed or at peace after exercising, but only occasionally did they feel euphoric. Was the calmness itself a runner’s high?

Often, those who said they experienced an intense euphoria reported that it came after an endurance event.

My friend Marian Westley said her runner’s high came at the end of a marathon, and it was paired with such volatile emotions that the sight of a puppy had the power to make her weep.

Others said they experienced a high when pushing themselves almost to the point of collapse in a short, intense effort, such as running a five-kilometer race.

But then there are those like my friend Annie Hiniker, who says that when she finishes a 5-k race, the last thing she feels is euphoric. “I feel like I want to throw up,” she said.

The runner’s-high hypothesis proposed that there were real biochemical effects of exercise on the brain. Chemicals were released that could change an athlete’s mood, and those chemicals were endorphins, the brain’s naturally occurring opiates. Running was not the only way to get the feeling; it could also occur with most intense or endurance exercise.

The problem with the hypothesis was that it was not feasible to do a spinal tap before and after someone exercised to look for a flood of endorphins in the brain. Researchers could detect endorphins in people’s blood after a run, but those endorphins were part of the body’s stress response and could not travel from the blood to the brain. They were not responsible for elevating one’s mood. So for more than 30 years, the runner’s high remained an unproved hypothesis.

But now medical technology has caught up with exercise lore. Researchers in Germany, using advances in neuroscience, report in the current issue of the journal Cerebral Cortex that the folk belief is true: Running does elicit a flood of endorphins in the brain. The endorphins are associated with mood changes, and the more endorphins a runner’s body pumps out, the greater the effect.

Leading endorphin researchers not associated with the study said they accepted its findings.

“Impressive,” said Dr. Solomon Snyder, a neuroscience professor at Johns Hopkins and a discoverer of endorphins in the 1970’s.

“I like it,” said Huda Akil, a professor of neurosciences at the University of Michigan. “This is the first time someone took this head on. It wasn’t that the idea was not the right idea. It was that the evidence was not there.”

For athletes, the study offers a sort of vindication that runner’s high is not just a New Agey excuse for their claims of feeling good after a hard workout.

For athletes and nonathletes alike, the results are opening a new chapter in exercise science. They show that it is possible to define and measure the runner’s high and that it should be possible to figure out what brings it on. They even offer hope for those who do not enjoy exercise but do it anyway. These exercisers might learn techniques to elicit a feeling that makes working out positively addictive.

The lead researcher for the new study, Dr. Henning Boecker of the University of Bonn, said he got the idea of testing the endorphin hypothesis when he realized that methods he and others were using to study pain were directly applicable.

The idea was to use PET scans combined with recently available chemicals that reveal endorphins in the brain, to compare runners’ brains before and after a long run. If the scans showed that endorphins were being produced and were attaching themselves to areas of the brain involved with mood, that would be direct evidence for the endorphin hypothesis. And if the runners, who were not told what the study was looking for, also reported mood changes whose intensity correlated with the amount of endorphins produced, that would be another clincher for the argument.

Dr. Boecker and colleagues recruited 10 distance runners and told them they were studying opioid receptors in the brain. But the runners did not realize that the investigators were studying the release of endorphins and the runner’s high. The athletes had a PET scan before and after a two-hour run. They also took a standard psychological test that indicated their mood before and after running.

The data showed that, indeed, endorphins were produced during running and were attaching themselves to areas of the brain associated with emotions, in particular the limbic and prefrontal areas.

The limbic and prefrontal areas, Dr. Boecker said, are activated when people are involved in romantic love affairs or, he said, “when you hear music that gives you a chill of euphoria, like Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3.” The greater the euphoria the runners reported, the more endorphins in their brain.

“Some people have these really extreme experiences with very long or intensive training,” said Dr. Boecker, a casual runner and cyclist, who said he feels completely relaxed and his head is clearer after a run.

That was also what happened to the study subjects, he said: “You could really see the difference after two hours of running. You could see it in their faces.”

In a follow-up study, Dr. Boecker is investigating if running affects pain perception. “There are studies that showed enhanced pain tolerance in runners,” he said. “You have to give higher pain stimuli before they say, ‘O.K., this hurts.’ ”

And, he said, there are stories of runners who had stress fractures, even heart attacks, and kept on running.

Dr. Boecker and his colleagues have recruited 20 marathon runners and a similar number of nonathletes and are studying the perception of pain after a run, and whether there are related changes in brain scans. He is also having the subjects walk to see whether the effects, if any, are because of the intensity of the exercise.

The nonathletes can help investigators assess whether untrained people experience the same effects. Maybe one reason some people love intense exercise and others do not is that some respond with a runner’s high or changed pain perception.

Annie might question that. She loves to run, but wonders why. But her husband tells her that the look on her face when she is running is just blissful. So maybe even she gets a runner’s high.

Run and DIE?

The name Marathon comes from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger. The legend states that he was sent from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon (in which he had just fought),which took place in August or September, 490 BC. It is said that he ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the assembly, exclaiming "Νενικήκαμεν" (Nenikékamen, 'We have won.') before collapsing and dying.

And that's exactly what I picture myself doing if I ever run a marathon, except that I see myself dropping dead long before the finish line. Maybe it's because I'm turning 40 this year, or maybe it's because I've become habitually lazy since High School, but 26.2 miles seems a tad more insane than, say, I dunno...smoking crack and not eating for 10 days straight. (Gee, now that I've put it in perspective, I think running a marathon seems easy.)

If I can stay awake for ten solid days with barely any food, then BY JOVE I CAN RUN A FREAKIN MARATHON ONE DAY!!!

Run for Your Life

Washington Post Staff Writer Daniele Seiss discovered that when drugs and therapy failed to relieve her bouts of crippling depression, running was her way out. Since childhood, she has been haunted by nightmares and panic attacks. Nothing worked for her except running.

For years snooker star Ronnie O'Sullivan suffered from deep depression. Now he runs 50 miles a week to keep the beast at bay.

Research credits running as the best cure for depression. Because the brain is connected to movement, everything the body does registers a "footprint" in the brain. In short, exercise, like jogging, changes the brain. Repeated physical activity enhances brain function which improves mood, self-esteem and well-being.

Exercise and the Brain

A definite relationship exists between exercise and depression.Exercise promotes new cell growth in the brain. If depression is a form of cell death, then exercise is the best strategy against this kind of neural paralysis.

Prolonged and intense running releases endorphins or brain chemicals that produce a sense of elation. These endorphins are probably the reasons behind the proverbial runner's high.

While jogging, the body releases phenylalamine (PEA), a neurotransmitter that stimulates mental alertness; it also releases neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin (most commonly associated with antidepressants) that affect the mind in a positive way.

Not only does running release mood elevating neurochemicals, it also alters the rhythm of brain activity. The repetitive and rhythmic strides of jogging induces alpha brain waves, also known as the sensorimotor rhythm so often associated with meditation and the calm alertness of the "flow."

Running and Deep Play

This sense of peace and calm is what Diane Ackerman identifies as the purpose or the ultimate end of Deep Play, the engagement of body and mind in an activity that requires courage, concentration and a desire for transcendence.

Examples are the ritualized runs that native warriors make into the wilderness. The Zuni tribe runs 20 to 40 miles at a time. Crow Indians run to exhaustion as part of their appeasement ritual to the gods of luck and fortune. Something happens during these vigorous exercise rituals that push the participants into a higher state of consciousness, inspiring visions and insights, dispelling fear, doubt and depression.

Primitive men understood that it is the sinews that turbocharge the brain and that God is found in the body's movement.

That's why Daniele Seiss keeps running."I have figured out," she writes," that if I run at least four miles, I feel relaxed, positive and clearheaded, feelings that can last from hours to days. And if I do so consistently, I won't fall into a really dark state."


•Daniele Seiss. "Running For My Life." The Washington Post. September 15, 2009.

•Ross Tucker, Jonathan Dugas and Matt Fitzgerald. The Runner's Body:How the Latest Exercise Science Can Help You Run Stronger, Longer and Faster. Rodale Press, 2009.

© 2009 Mary Desaulniers

This is How Running Makes Me Feel!!!

This is a photograph I took on Pensacola Bay during the summer of 2010


Got up this morning at 4:00 a.m. and ate a light breakfast, then went back to sleep. The alarm woke me up at 5:30 a.m., signaling me that it was time to get up and go to the track. I had just gotten into a good snooze with vivid dreaming (something about a baby with two heads and five when the alarm sounded.

And I thought, "Do I really have to do this?" To which I told myself, "YES! You have to discipline yourself because no one else will!"

So I climbed out of bed, got dressed and made my way to Circle K for a cup of Joe to get my blood pumping. Made it to the track around 6:10 a.m. and did the following:

Walk    1/5th mile
Run      1/5th mile (1:33)
Walk    1/5 mile
Jog       1/5 mile
Crawl   1/5 mile

total time was 18:00

Went to my AA meeting at 7AM and came home and ate the other half of my breakfast and drank some Smart Water. I feel smarter already! Is it time for a nap yet? I think so...

Thursday, July 29, 2010


4:45 a.m.
Walk 18 minutes

3:00 p.m.
1/5th mile

7:20 p.m.
Walk 1 minute
Jog 1 minute
Walk 1 minute
Jog 2 minutes UPHILL

Running to Heal Depression

Writing for the Washington Post, Daniele Seiss describes how running saved her life. Like many depression sufferers, she started with therapy. When that didn't work, mammoth cocktails of medications were added: a tricyclic antidepressant, SSRI and SNRI medications.
But therapy proved emotionally draining and often left her feeling worse. The medications were either ineffective or lost their effectiveness over time, and they often had terrible side effects that made normal life impossible.

And then she discovered running. She soon experienced dramatic improvement in her mood and her life. To read her full story, click on the link below.


Washington Post September 15, 2009

Like Daniele, I've suffered from depression my entire life. I was hospitalized at the age of fourteen the first time. I've had at least ten more hospitalizations in the years that followed. Some were voluntary, and some weren't.

I don't suffer from your garden variety depression. I have Bipolar Disorder as well as Borderline Personality Disorder and PMDD (Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder). All that on top of being a recovering addict.

I've been seeing a psychiatirist for nearly five years now. We've tried every SSRI and every Mood Stabilizer known to man. Mostly I am just extremely sensitive to things - like sugar. If I eat sugar (in any form) I go crazy. I have crying spells and gain five pounds in two days. Not only do I have to watch what I eat, but I must follow a daily routine of prayer, exercise, proper nutrition and I have to make sure I take my medication. Believe it or not, on some days, I just don't want to do anything I'm supposed to. I want to reach for a donut and a crack rock in one hand and a beer and a joint in the other. That's just the old addict in me.

But instead, now, I run.

Running Funnies for Thursday, July 29th

So I came home from the track this afternoon and made a chicken salad and turned on the t.v. After an episode of Friends, my least favorite show, The Office, came on. But today I decided to leave it on because it was absolutely hysterical. It's the episode where Michael hits Meredith with his car, discovers she has rabies and then decides to organize a "Fun Run" to raise "Rabies Awareness!!!"

Totally LMAO!!!!

Michael Scott: I am not going to finish. I can’t beat rabies. Nobody can beat rabies. Rabies has been around for a thousand years. And I was a fool to think that I could beat it.
Finishing that 5K was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I ate more fettuccini alfredo, and drank less water than I have in my entire life. People always talk about triumphs of the human spirit …

… Well today I had a triumph of the human body. That’s why everybody was applauding for me at the end. My guts, my heart and well I eventually puked my guts out. I never puked my heart out, and I am very proud of that.

Day One: July 29th, 2010

Today I began my running program. I am just a few months away from my 40th birthday and I look like a cinnamon roll with a lot of extra frosting on top. I've even been referred to as "fluffy." My boyfriend calls me "heavy duty" and says I look like a female truck driver. These things are not compliments and do not make me happy.

However, losing an extra thirty pounds is not my motivation for starting a running program. My motivation comes from being too tired to enjoy life on most days and also from wanting to learn discipline. Not to mention the fact that running is exhilerating.

About two and a half months ago I started walking. At first it was hard for me to even walk around the block. Now, I can walk 20 minutes in my sleep- literally. As a matter of fact, I think I slept through my entire walk at 4:45 a.m. this morning.

But running is a little different, especially when you're 5'4" and 166 pounds. Running. Really. Hurts. But I started out running for 30 seconds, then one minute and then up to five minutes. And today, I ran 1/5th of a mile in 2:22 without even breaking a sweat (it was 96 degrees outside!). I'll keep running 1/5 of a mile every morning until I can do it just over one minute.


It was four years ago today that my little girl went to live with my mother as I packed my bags and went to treatment. After rehab, I went to a halfway house and stayed sober almost five months.

This time, I got clean on March 24th, after the death of my sister. She was 24.I am sad a lot regarding her death but I tell myself that instead of being sad about her death, I should try to remember that she's in Heaven now-with God- where she is happy and is watching over me and our family. I really miss her....I think about her everyday and I wish she were here so I could tell her about my running.

My program is not easy.

I'm go to a lot of AA meetings, I have a sponsor (who also runs!) and I am working the steps. I put my faith in my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God (The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit!). I was going to a Baptist church (because that's where my boyfriend goes) but tomorrow I begin going to a Methodist church (I have some AA friends there) because I feel more at home there.

Instead of running FROM God and FROM my problems, I'm going to run in order to take out my guilt, anger, and frustration with life on the pavement. For some reason, when things are hard, everything seems a little clearer after a good run.