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My Runner’s High – Good Day – September 21st, 2015

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Published on , last updated on April 29, 2021

Header image long distance runner's high

Time for another ‘Good Day’ post! This post will cover the 21st of September, 2015. I was living in the Netherlands at the time, while my girlfriend was temporarily living in Australia as part of her internship abroad. It was the start of a period I now call ‘relationship hell’. It was a pretty difficult time. Luckily, I was able to find happiness in running long distances. I had signed up for my first marathon ever 2 weeks earlier, and now had to train as much as possible. During one of these long distance runs, I experienced my first runner’s high ever!

I want to show you how I tracked my happiness during this day, and what exactly made this a good day for me.

The data

Below is the data that I entered in my personal happiness tracking journal. This is how I rated my happiness on this day.

DateSeptember 21th, 2015
LocationThe Netherlands
Happiness rating8,0
CommentThis was quite an extraordinary day. I initially planned on rating my happiness with a 6, but it just turned into an 8. Let me explain.

The day started uneventful. Work was fine, nothing special, same shit as ever. Relationship was tiring. Our communication is bad again. We are definitely being tested. Things are not going as we planned, and that makes it hard for us both. At this moment, I am the one to deal with it. It’s not making my life any better, to be honest. Hopefully, we can properly talk about our issues tomorrow.

My plan to visit her in Australia has almost definitely been cancelled by now… Fucking surprise. I’m still looking to visit her over Christmas, but that means I have to get some extra days off, because I don’t have any left… I’m not too hopeful. It’s just exhausting to deal with these hiccups.

Anyway, that’s why I would have rated my happiness with a 6.
My brother and his girlfriend were here when I got back from work, which was nice. We ate a killer pasta, which always makes me happy. No exceptions.

But the grand finale was this: I just ran 25 [km]! WTF. It was almost magical. I feel great. I didn’t have to stop (which is a miracle by itself) and the last 10 [km] were extremely relaxing. I was experiencing some kind of runner’s high. What a feeling! It took me 2:33:00, which I’m happy with considering my recent injuries. It’s more about the distance than the pace for me anyway. I gotta take 5 days rest now, or else I will destroy my feet and legs.

What the fuck. What a magical feeling. I felt like I was flying the last 5 [km]. I was actually cheering out loud during these minutes. No one was around to hear me anyway. I LOVE IT. Bring it on, you damn marathon! Here I come.

Gonna sleep like a baby now. Good night!
Positive factorsRunning, Family
Negative factorsStress, Relationship

Isn’t it funny in a way? I found happiness in long distance running, at a time where my long distance relationship was crushing me.

Anyway, let me cover a bit of context before I explain what this day was like for me. You can always read more about this period in my Monthly Happiness Report.

Enter Long Distance Relationship

So my relationship was challenged. We just entered a long distance period I now refer to as ‘Relationship hell‘. My girlfriend was living on the other side of the world, and our communication was pretty miserable. I lost one of the biggest positive happiness factors in my life because of it. To make things worse, my relationship even turned into a negative happiness factor more often than not. This change was quite drastic for me.

“I felt like I was living my life on auto pilot”

Additionally, my work was not making my life any better. I was in somewhat of a slur, and did the same boring stuff day in day out. As a result, I wasn’t passionate about my work at all, yet I didn’t have the energy to change any of it. I felt like I was living my life on auto pilot. I had no passions, and was just trying to survive, really. The things that usually brought me joy and happiness were now just not as exciting anymore.

To add to the misery, my plan to visit my girlfriend in Australia was canceled and I now had no realistic opportunity to visit her anymore. It was something I had been looking forward to, so it was tough to deal with yet another blow to my happiness.

If you want to read exactly how my relationship has influenced my happiness throughout the years, I’m happy to refer you to my ‘Happiness Through Love‘ post!

Enter Long Distance Running

Anyway, I desperately needed some distraction, and I found it in the form of running. More specifically: long distance running. 2 weeks after my girlfriend left for Australia, I signed up for my very first marathon. It had been on my bucket list for quite some time, so I thought: “what the heck, why not just do it?”

“I was gonna have to prepare myself for a full marathon in less than a month”

In my total naivety, I decided to sign up for a marathon that was just 4 weeks away. Just 4 weeks! I was gonna have to prepare myself for a full marathon in less than a month. At the time, I wasn’t used to running more than 10 [km] at once, so having to quadruple that number was going to be a challenge!

I didn’t really expect it, but I thoroughly enjoyed running long distances in preparation for this marathon. This ‘Good day’ post would not exist without the long distance run I did on the 21st of September. This was the first time I ever experienced the runner’s high.

My first runner’s high

My day was pretty frustrating up untill the moment I put on my running shoes. The situation with my long distance relationship caused me stress and anger, and work was boring as usual. I felt like I had no passion for anything at all. That changed right away when I stepped outside to run 25 [km].

The entire experience was amazing. I didn’t have a goal pace whatsoever. Instead, I just put on my music and ran, not thinking about anything. I was able to fully empty my mind of all the stress and anger that had been built up. I ran about 10 [km/h], and was super relaxed throughout this entire experience.

It made me wonder: was Forrest Gump experiencing a runner’s high throughout his entire run in the movie? It sounded a lot more realistic after my first runner’s high. πŸ™‚

The details of my 25 km long distance run, I experienced the runner's high!
The details of my 25 [km] long distance run

Normally, runs tended to get harder and harder as I got closer to the finish line. Not this time, however. Despite my sore legs, my spirt was bursting with energy during the last 10 [km]. I was effectively numb from any pain and stress, and ran with nothing but a smile on my face. It was truly magical, as you can read from my comments in my happiness tracking journal.

At one point during the last few kilometers, I just started to cheer out loud. I remember feeling so excited about running, I couldn’t contain it anymore. You might not believe me, but I am not even kidding. I actually got quite emotional during this run. Running this long distance gave me such intense feelings of happiness, and I had not felt those emotions for quite some time.

This was the exact moment I fell in love with long distance running. As I’m typing this post, I’m still enjoying running these long distances. By tracking my happiness, I’ve found out that running adds a lot of happiness to my life.

I would like you to also improve the value of your life by tracking happiness!

Closing words

With that said, I will end this post here. I hope this helps you better understand how I have been tracking my happiness throughout the years. If this inspires or interests you in any way, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below!


Good days: In the β€˜Good days’ post series, I will highlight some of the best days of my life. Not just any days, but the days where I tracked the highest happiness ratings. I will detail some of the journal entries and happiness ratings on specific above-average days. The goal of this series is to show you how exactly I am tracking my happiness. In a best case scenario, it inspires you to determine the added value of tracking happiness and therefore start for yourself.


Hugo Huijer

Founder of Tracking Happiness

Founder of Tracking Happiness and lives in the Netherlands. Ran 5 marathons, with one of them in under 4 hours (3:59:58 to be exact). Data junkie and happiness tracker for over 7 years.

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