Monday, February 14, 2011

Philosophy from the 70's

I was going through some old papers from high school and found this essay. It was my first essay for 11th grade English class, entitled "ME". I figured you might enjoy it, since it is about running. So here is a Bangle bloop, circa 1978, age 16.

I struggled to avoid editing it as I typed it. Give me a break - I was 16.

The loud ringing shatters my unconsciousness. The morning sun beams into my eyes. I roll out of bed and sluggishly change into my running gear; shorts, shoes and a t-shirt. Within five minutes I am pounding the pavement and a new person has come to life. After five minutes an inner feeling which cannot be described but has been called euphoria has built inside me. If it is a good day, I will experience the exhilarating ‘runner’s high’ in about 30 minutes and sustain it for between five and thirty minutes. It is an experience that keeps me running day in and day out and could keep me running for the rest of my life.
Running is a major part of me. When many people mention Brad Angle they think of a runner and then a person. This is not true with all people because I have other ways of distinguishing myself, however running is in my mind more than anything else. When I run my mind is sharp yet relaxed and I do some of my best and most intelligent thinking. Every day is not a good day unfortunately and when I hurt or can’t get any rhythm or form going I get frustrated, angry and depressed. Then I think of my good days or races and think about tomorrow.
The runner’s high. No one tries to explain it. It is understood by all long distance runners as the ultimate in running pleasure. Though many non-runners as well as sprinters and joggers do not understand what we skinny crazies are talking about, this only adds to the personal feeling of the ‘high’. It usually comes at least half an hour into a run and can last for varying amounts of time. Disruptions can ruin it. A highway crossing can stop or interrupt the sensation as can being forced to adjust the pace of the run. To obtain the ‘high’, I have to be alone. When I am in this transcendental state, many things I accept or ignore at normal times take on more meaning and help increase the joy. One of the greatest thrills is to see another true runner and to exchange greetings while silently saying “I know you” or “I know what you are feeling”. At times I’d like to jump for joy or scream and shout but I get the same feeling by picking up the tempo to near race pace. Even now while writing I am becoming excited by reminiscing about certain runs.
I become a different person as a runner. During school and when I am around my friends and other people having fun, I have what many think is my only personality. I enjoy having a private feeling which I can only mention to other runners. Even with runners it is not discussed. When someone mentions their own ‘high’, runners nod and smile as they think of their own experiences. Though this ‘high’ is not a public characteristic of my personality, it is what I believe to be part of my true self. It is somewhat like a religious experience. I am ‘at one’ with myself during runs. It is definitely a fascinating experience and one which I think other people should be able to feel. I realize that there are other ways of obtaining a similar feeling because I have heard mentions of such by artists, singers, musicians and other people who have jobs or experiences which they can devote their entire person to, to get into it mentally. The physical exercise of running increases the flow of blood to the brain and physiologically as well as mentally and emotionally helps the body toward a special feeling.
As I come back to Earth, my mind feels like it has been washed of all its problems. My body and mind are alert, yet relaxed, and I am ready to go after life a little harder. Though I have only experienced the runner’s high for one year, I cannot imagine how life was without it. It is a part of me I never want to give up.

I got an A. Here is the author, in 2nd.


  1. I love this post! I wonder if I still have anything I wrote in high school. I can't even find my yearbooks. haha.

    The photos are wonderful, too.

  2. Very nice work. I know that I do not have anything left from school - "lost" during the big "D". I personally like your comment relative to returning cleansed of your problems.

    Great pics

  3. "Every day is not a good day unfortunately and when I hurt..... I get frustrated, angry and depressed."
    Just to warn you: those words might get thrown back at you at some point if I'm told to "stay positive" at the wrong moment(Just kidding-- kind of).
    I like this young Bangle. Do we all become cynics with age?