Runner’s High

Someone asked me yesterday- when do you get your “Runner’s High”? I think they were partly serious and partly making fun of me, but I swiftly answered, “at 3:15 when my alarm goes off”. This wasn’t exactly to the answer they were looking for, but it sure started a conversation.

Runner’s High (def)- a feeling of euphoria that is experienced by some individuals engaged in strenuous running and that is held to be associated with a release of endorphins by the brain. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

I can’t explain it. I don’t always get it and it really isn’t something I was looking for when I started running, but I do believe it’s real. Most of the time my “high” doesn’t even come from the physical act of running. There are so many aspects of running I enjoy, it all just melted together. Many people ask me why I run, so here they are.

Scenery- I truly am one of the luckiest people on earth. I have access to beautiful trails, mountains, hills, sunrises and treadmills views. I have lived in Wyoming for 25+ years now and until the last 12 months, I could have cared less. I accidentally found trail running. It’s not something I was looking to do, it sounded hard and boring. I used to be a headphones guy- had to have something going on to distract me from the pain and boredom of running… Although I will still use my headphones on occasion, I can now get lost in the trails and mountains for hours and hours and just listen to the sound of the snow under my feet, birds chirping and the constant jabbering of my run group.


I love to run in the morning for several reasons, but my favorite is the Wyoming Sunrise. The sunrise represents a new beginning. No matter how good or bad yesterday was, the sunrises and shines bright on today. The sunrise shows us no two days are the same. The beauty, simplicity and the positive vibes I get from watching the sunrise come over the hill saves me thousands of dollars a year on therapy all while burning off a lot of my energy.


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Friendships– This is also something I have only gained recently. I think having people to run with has been a great addition to my training. I’m motivated from within and don’t really need anyone to get me out of bed in the morning most days, but my excitement increases a ton when I know I get to meet up with someone. I never thought having someone around would be interesting… Thankfully, I was wrong! J

I’ve also been introduced to numerous new and fun places to run that I wouldn’t have found on my own… This helps keep me interested and if I have the slightest bit of boredom, we go somewhere else and try a whole new view!



Exercise- Losing weight is obviously the number one reason I started to run. Although it took a long time for me to get started and to see progress, the persistence and small steps I took every week has compounded over time. Not only am I thinner, faster, and stronger, I no longer run for “exercise” most of the time. I trail run to burn off my energy and create more energy, I run to train for my races. How will you know if I’m running for exercise? You’ll see me on a treadmill or running stairs- that is exercise… haha




Challenge– One of the top reasons I wanted to run a marathon, a 50 miler and eventually a 100 miler. I am extremely competitive… I always have been and hopefully always will be. Most of the time it has nothing to do with others. With running, it’s never about being better than others. At this point, I want to know how fast and how far I can go. This is why I want to run a 50 and a 100. Other than enjoying the pain, I want to know that I put in the work to accomplish these goals. These are distances you can just show up to unprepared and finish. It takes a high level of commitment, dedication, persistence, hard work and massive amounts of action to finish these races. To me, that’s what is so attractive about these distances. It may not be this year or even next year, but I will eventually cross the finish line of a 100 and I will most likely have my next challenge picked out and ready to go. My bigger hope with my 100 is that it will encourage other people to push past their “limits” and keep going. The best part of my day is getting a message from someone who I’ve encouraged set and reach another goal. The more of these messages I receive, the more it keeps me pushing forward.


Therapy– My friends all me Tigger for a reason… Yep, Tigger, like the energetic & crazy Tiger on “Winnie the Pooh”… After overcoming some adversity and making some changes, I have been blessed with a zest for life. I’m no longer constrained by my past negative decisions. I have more energy than most kids and I know several adults who think I’m just crazy… If I don’t run and exercise, I bounce off the walls. When I haven’t ran for a couple days, I can barely contain myself. The girls make fun of me because I’ll run around in circles, jump over tree branches, and sprint up hill, turn around and rerun the hill for fun. We’ll stop for a quick walk and I’m completely rejuvenated.

This is my true love for running. Bouncing off the walls, taking pictures in awesome places, watching the sunrises (and occasionally enjoying a sunset run), and expunging all of my energy. I’ve been in position where I couldn’t run and I know how hard I’ve worked to get to where I am. It is going to take a major incident out of my control to take this away from me. Until then, I’ll bounce around like Tigger, take a million pictures, run thousands of miles, and enjoy my Runner’s High. The price of my Altra’s is a heck of a lot less than the pain of going back to where I used to be… Running is my drug and I can accept that. Best of all, there’s no prescription needed.

Run Epic my friends!




Published by Gary Stotler

Gary Stotler is a father, running, fitness, weight loss and personal development addict. Formally 400 pounds, Gary has naturally lost 200 pounds, created a coaching & speaking business and has become a 100 mile ultra-runner. Holding a degree in Psychology & Sociology, certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer, mindset & behavioral modification coaching, a certification in DISC personality assessment coaching and he is a certified speaker, coach & mentor with the John Maxwell Team. Gary firmly believes, if we take One Step at a Time, nothing is impossible. He is determined to let his actions show people what is possible and hopes to help you shake up your thoughts, change your actions and create your future.

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1 Comment

  1. Really great post, Gary! Your commentary on where your “runner’s high” comes from is right point. Agree with all. Anybody new to running or new to the fitness path, can learn that running or exercising in the great outdoors is great and the endorphin rush from the runner’s high is worthwhile! It’s FREE, it’s healthy, it’s energizing, it’s therapy, it’s entertainment, it’s educational, it’s social, it’s uplifting. I cannot think of any downsides…can you? Maybe the small (and unlikely) element of danger of confronting wildlife… : )


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