Thanks Endorphins

  • Heather Stewart, San Francisco Marathon Ambassador

Written by Heather Stewart, 2016 San Francisco Marathon Ambassador.

Heather Stewart works, lives and, most importantly, runs in Santa Clarita, CA. Like many others, Heather was overweight and unhappy when she made the goal to run a 5K in late 2010. She trained, ran and was hooked! Since that day in March of 2011, she has completed over 40 organized races including 3 sprint triathlons and 3 marathons. She was chosen to be a Spotlight Runner for her first marathon, the 2013 LA Marathon and has a passion for encouraging others to meet their running dreams regardless of their size. When not running she works in Learning and Development at Princess Cruises, goes to Grad School, sits on the board of the Brenda Mehling Cancer Fund ( and is an Ambassador for Girls on the Run LA. Her goal is to be an “old lady runner” and her favorite place on earth is a finish line….whether cheering at it or running through it.

Today, I had a bad day. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I was blue. I wanted to crawl back into bed and get out tomorrow. I’m sure there are a plethora of reasons why I could have been sad.

I’m busy. I do it to myself. I’m overwhelmed with my busy-ness. I have a hard time shaking the feeling that I’m disappointing people. I have a hard time shaking the feeling that I’m disappointing myself.

So all day I felt,well, blah.

I knew I had to get a workout in today. I debated running, going to spin, or getting back into bed and exercising my right to change my mind.

But I ran.

I never thought I’d become a runner. I started running because I was stubborn. I decided to do a 5K and wasn’t going to stop until I did. I kept running because it was helping me drop some pounds and I fell in love with the feelings running gave me. I like making goals. I really like accomplishing goals.

But today I wasn’t feeling it. I went anyway.

Here’s why:

I like the way my co-workers look at me when I leave with my running clothes on, “There goes that crazy girl on another run…”

I like the way the soccer moms look at me at the park like they’re jealous that they don’t get to go for a run…

I like it that tomorrow I might hear a friend or an acquaintance say, “I think I saw you running on McBean Parkway last night.”

But most of all, I like endorphins.

Tonight, on my run, I had a “runner’s high”. That release of endorphins that runners get. This high means that many times runners can keep running despite pain, surpassing what might be considered their limit.

That pain doesn’t have to be physical pain. Today my endorphins helped me push though my emotional pain. My blue mood faded a little bit with each thump thump thump of my shoes on the pavement.

With each mile, I felt a little bit better and honestly, if I hadn’t seen that coyote next to the paseo, I probably would’ve run further.

At the end of my run I wasn’t happy but I was content. I was relaxed. I wasn’t overwhelmed. I felt good. My body felt good. My mind felt good. My soul felt good.

If hindsight is 20/20, then I can see why the old Heather spent a lot of time drowning in melancholy.

She was pre-endorphins.

I’m thankful for the pavement. I’m thankful for my body. I’m thankful to feel healthy and happy. I’m so thankful.

We all have days like this. Days that nothing seems to go our way. Days that we simply feel, BLECH. But it’s important to find something that puts things into perspective. Something that makes you feel like your authentic self. Something to bring out those endorphins.

We have a choice, to drown in the sadness or find those endorphins.

I don’t think it “is what it is”, I think it is what you make it.

Tonight, my run and I made it a better day.


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