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My Most Important Mile: Alisha Perkins

Alisha looking like the badass mother runner she is.
Alisha looking like the badass mother runner she is. (She sprained her ankle during this shoot, but we think the pic is worth it.)

Today's Most Important Mile comes from Alisha Perkins

The Runner's High: I heard people talk about it. Every time it was mentioned, I would just nod and play the part, act as though I was in the inner loop. I would smile, agree, and fake that I had been there too, that I had experienced that runner’s orgasm.

The truth was that I had not; in fact I had never even gotten close. I was still faking it and wondering what all the hoopla was about. I was running about 2 miles a day (the distance, I determined, where I could still eat chocolate and not get fat) and I hated it. I did it because my metabolism was not what is was when I was 18, so I had to do something to eat that Kit Kat after my kids went to bed.

I was not a running newbie by any means. I ran track in high school and for a very short time in college, but I was a sprinter who refused to do anything over 200 meters. Once out of college, married, and then a new mom I was running to stay in shape. But I had yet to love it.

That all changed one day in spring training of 2010. My husband, Glen, is a major league baseball player, and our family of four—two daughters, plus us—were in Florida without my family, friends, or babysitters. Day in and day out, my only break was the run I squeezed in when Glen got home from the field.

One day, I went out for my 2-mile run after I had more than enough of Dora and refilling snack cups. When it was coming to an end, I realized I was not ready to re-enter the world of diaper changes, temper tantrums, and the inevitable bedtime fight. So I kept running.

5 miles later—two miles further than I had even gone before in my life—I finally achieved it. The big running “O”. Something happened in that moment. I fell in love with running, which experts say can happen when you get that feeling (wink wink). I felt euphoric yet relaxed, motivated yet Zen, craving another run yet exhausted. I entered the house a better mother and wife—and my husband took notice.

That said, the effect of five miles on me was the most noticeable. Since the birth of my daughters I have struggled with anxiety, which became worse with each hormonal shift. I could not sleep alone in my house when Glen was on a road trip (which was often), so my mom stayed over. She wasn't just in my house though; I made her sleep in the same bed with me. I was a 25-year-old mother and wife who couldn’t sleep at night unless my mom was cuddled up with me.

Talk about anxiety that had spiraled out of control. It took me a long time to put a name to it, but once I did I was proactive in getting the help that I needed.

On the day of my most important mile, I had been seeing a therapist regularly for three years and was on medication for a year, but I still felt like there was something more I could do to control the adrenaline and anxiety that coursed through my body. On hot Florida pavement, I found the last piece to my anxiety puzzle, the one thing I needed keep it all in check.

I found running.

Since that day, I've completed over 15 half marathons, several 10 mile races, and one full marathon—and I hope to cross the 26.2-mile finish line again.

I never take a Runner's High for granted, as I know now that that release drains the anxiety from my veins; it is funny to me to think back to when I used to have to fake the running orgasm, I used to wonder how it could really be something so profound that people felt the need to talk about it. Now I know, I get it, and I am a better mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend for it.

Question for you: Have you experienced the Runner's High? Or do you just nod your head and fake it?

What was (or will be) the most important mile? Share it with us! Best way to submit is to email us your story with a picture: runmother {at} gmail {dot} com with “Most Important Mile” in the subject line. Please try to keep your mile stories around 400 words. Thank you!

9 responses to “My Most Important Mile: Alisha Perkins

  1. Thank you for sharing a great post! Experiencing the ‘runner’s high’ must be awesome that you will continue to be back for running, releasing anxieties and staying fit, and kit-kat-s.

  2. I want to thank you all for your kind and fun comments!! I love hearing that people can relate to what I write. And Jana thanks for the shout out for “Fifteen’s 5k”… I am so glad that you like it!!

  3. I was recently talking to a friend who met her goal to run a 5K in 2015. I asked if she’s continued to run since the race, and if she wanted to run together some time. She was feeling like a failure because during all the training and on race day, she never got the runner’s high. She figured running would just never be her “thing”. I told her I had the same feeling after running for a year at the 5K distance. It was not until I trained for a 5 miler and went beyond 3.1 miles that running became fun for me, even addicting.
    New runners need to hear that the high is there, just run a little farther to find it!

  4. If this is the Alisha and Glen, who is a major league baseball player, that I am thinking of, they are responsible for Fifteen’s 5K, a wonderful race to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Way to go Alisha!

  5. It’s what keeps me getting up and out the door for over 44 years of it….I don’t experience that “High” unless I go over 10-13 miles though. Weird, huh?

  6. Love this!!! All of it! Starting with the picture that you sprained your ankle for, to faking that runner’s O, to shifting to the serious topic of your anxiety. I used to think that I am happy and that I have no problems…. running brought clarity and courage in my life, and made me realize that I there is a whole other level of happy that I didn’t know about.

  7. Great post! It took me several years to find/achieve a runners high, but when I did it changed my life. Running is essential in my life; rest days are truly hard for me, because running is a key part of my treatment/healthy living with anxiety and depression. Thanks for sharing your story Alisha!

  8. Running is my sanity. It keeps depression at bay. It releases the clenching of my stomach when I’m stressed about something. It calms me when my day has not gone as planned. It allows me to be the patient mom I want to be. The big running “O” as you put it is what allows me to handle life without meds. Congrats on finding it.

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