[Lantern's RUNNING, EATING, THINKING: A VEGAN ANTHOLOGY is being released this month, and features writing from Gene Baur, Catherine Berlot, JL Fields, Matt Frazier, Christine Frietchen, Cassandra Greenwald, Gordon Harvey, Ellen Jaffe Jones, James McWilliams, Lisette Oropesa, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, Kimatni Rawlins, Martin Rowe, Jasmin Singer, and Scott Spitz. Below is an an excerpt from James McWilliams.]
THE HIGH LIFE At the end of a race, the legendary University of Oregon runner Steve Prefontaine would appear weirdly comatose. The muscles in his legs would strain into a million ropy fibers, but his face would turn to putty. It was like he was watching golf. This involuntary escape from otherworldly pain-the runner's high-is what every endurance athlete, professional or amateur, aims to achieve. For long-distance runners in particular, this enviable trance is not unlike yielding to a seductive drug-an elusive experience that, could you bottle it, you'd be doing most of your running to the bank.