Many non-runners ask me if I ever get the "runner's high" that everyone seems to hear about. I can't say I quite know what that means, but I *can* say that I often get on "auto pilot." For me, "auto-pilot" means my brain is kind of mushy because I am putting all of my mental energy into the run and only the run; this typically happens only during really long runs. For example, during the Boston Marathon in 2008 some of my students were on the side of the road in Wellesley and were bare-chested (with the letters of my name on each of their chests). I stopped to say hello to them and to get my GU energy gel from Philip, but I DID NOT NOTICE THAT THEY WERE BARE-CHESTED!!! I know this sounds crazy, but it's a perfect example of what I mean by "auto-pilot." All of my mental energy is dedicated to the run so I become oblivious to details that are not related to the run. It was not until I saw pictures of the students a couple of days later that I realized they were bare-chested!! On occasion, this concerns me as I worry that I might not see a car or something safety-related like that. But so far so good.
By the way, I ran 18 miles today, definitely had that auto-pilot feeling, and ended the run covered in salt. It was very sunny so I sweated quite a bit. And when out running for several hours, that sweat has nowhere to go but to dry on me. :)