Dopamine Pleasures: Cat Cuddling & Winter Runs

Oh! Oh! I’m feeling good.”
The OH-OH on this molecular diagram of dopamine made me laugh. I am getting lots of happy neurotransmissions lately. My work schedule is light this month & we’ve been getting lots of snow, which I love, so I’ve been sleeping in frequently to celebrate. Eddie (shown below) also has a light work schedule, so he joins me on the bed for his morning rubdowns. He makes an awesomely warm, fur-scented pillow. If only I could train him to bring Mama her coffee. I’ve also been drawing, reading, listening to newly discovered music & selfishly enjoying each passing day.

On sunny days between snowstorms, I’ve been hitting the road. Happily! (I cannot believe I’m saying this.) I now like running in winter. It’s still problematic: I have to slather on the chapstick, protect my throat from freezing raspy air, layer my clothes, prewarm cold muscles & watch my footing to prevent injury. Ordeal. Getting out there used to be a formidable effort , but I’m finding it easier since I discovered some perks. Once I get the first half-mile under my belt, I’m not cold. And by mile-2, I’ve shed my earband, neck gaiter or scarf & my outer fleece layer. I’m plenty warm but never overheated, & the air is light & dry, not thick with humidity like in summer. My route is blanketed in silent snow — no crickets, frogs, birdsong, people outdoors. It’s so peaceful! If the temp is 20-degrees or less, I can see steam rising off me like a hot spring when I finally switch to a cooldown walk at the end. It’s really gratifying.

Part of the joy is running without timing myself. That’s a first this winter. Ever since I started running, I’ve worn a sportwatch-timer. The interval training program I chose as a beginner (Couch to 5K) required me to monitor walk vs. run times. After that, I just got in the habit of always timing myself. But I’m finding that when I’m not concerned about my speed, I enjoy myself more. I’m sure I’ll go back to timing myself again come spring, but for now, it’s great to be off the clock :-)

To my delight, I’ve run 20.7 mi. in the last 12 days, all outdoors: two 4 mi. routes, three 3 mi. routes & one 3.7-miler. One of my 4 mi. stints was in PA from my parents’ home, which was great fun for a change of scenery, plus that day was warm (34 degrees). I could have gone further, but didn’t want to overdo it, so I held back.

My only downer this week: I’ve lost just 2 stinkin’ pounds on that stupid Shape magazine diet, grrr. But I still enjoy the magazine & I think the foods I’m eating are making me stronger, because I did 13 Marine-style pushups in Monday’s strength training class. That’s my personal best thus far! I kinda of feel like picking a fight with someone ;-) Can too much non-fat Greek yogurt protein do that?

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10 Responses to “Dopamine Pleasures: Cat Cuddling & Winter Runs”

  1. mike Says:

    Hennie! You are kicking butt!
    Did you Google Image dopamine? Why the hell are you studying molecular models? Or is that the secret to your art?
    Understand everything. Down to the very atom. Nice.

    Excellent mileage. Excellent attitude.

    And don’t pick a fight with me. I’m a hugger, not a fighter.

    Have a great weekend!

    • henniemavis Says:

      Where I’ve been on Google & why? I’m not obligated to answer that ;-)
      HA! You are a hugger, not a fighter… & I did recently threaten to kill you, so I’m pretty sure that qualifies me for a hug.
      Good weekend to you, too.

  2. mary taitt Says:

    I love how you’re keeping yourself and getting yourself fit!

    I used to utterly love to run–I got a runner’s high for sure back in the days when I ran 5 miles a day!!!! No more. But I would like to gradually improve my exercise routine now that my fibro has improved some, knock on wood!! Keep up the good work!

    I always feel sexier when I run regularly, too! That’s a perk! :-D

    • henniemavis Says:

      I would love to run in your neighborhood, it’s so beautiful! I could run a few miles from your house, then loop back & we could do some walk-jog intervals together, as you manage your fibro. Good for both of us… & we’d be sexier than ever, yesiree!

  3. Shannon Says:

    OH OH. One OH for each vodka I’ve had.

  4. christine Says:

    WOW! you are kickin; b–t!! congrats… I remember that runner’s high… no longer run (bad knee – soccer injury at age 46),,,, and now! I have a broken bone in my left foot, so I’m on crutches for another 5 weeks… What I wouldn’t give to be able to take a walk. I’m never going to make excuses not to exercise when I get this air cast off.

    • henniemavis Says:

      Sorry about your foot! That would sideline me too :-( I get very moody when I can’t bounce around. I hope the next 5 weeks pass quickly for your sake. Luckily, you are all about “silver linings”, so the silver lining is more time for creative projects using your upper body, like your hands! And more time for doing puzzles! Take care :-)

  5. meghan Ling Says:

    Oh, HM! I’ve missed you!
    I think I’d eventually love running in the snow, you make it sound so poetic. I’m so impressed that you’ve come to enjoy it, especially when there are no crickets and birds around to delight your senses!
    By the way, snuggling and sleeping in with pet love sounds so cozy. Lucky you!

    • henniemavis Says:

      Hey, tell ya what… you come on out here, you can snuggle & sleep in with Eddie, then run in snow… and I’ll go out & teach your Pretzels & run in your warm California sun. Deal! :-) We are getting 2 ft. of snow as I type this, btw.

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