A year ago I did to date one of the most epic things of my life. Each year year I give myself different goals: athletic, personal life, work you name it and I try to attain that goal each year, some years I don’t so you just try again. Last year’s goal was to complete a 100 mile race and live to tell the tale, you can read the recap here. I can say I had a lot on the line that day, a month before I was diagnosed with ammenorehea and an eating disorder, among a few other things. That was my last go at higher mileage because after that I wasn’t allowed to run more than 25 miles a week to keep weight on and change my diet completely.
Telling someone that used running as therapy, who loved to run to not do it anymore or at least that much was like trying to breathe with half a lung. I can say it was a struggle at first to decrease my mileage but then with every appointment and reprimanding I became worn down and eventually just stopped running all together, my drive for it was killed and left like a hooker in a back alley never to be found.
Directing a running program for beginners helped me bounce back a little, it helped me focus on helping others and getting mileage in slowly. I ran a half marathon in May and bonked horribly, I was on pace for around 2hrs or less then my body just gave up because my fueling methods were drastically changed and I just couldn’t keep fuel down, my body revolted anything I tried to put into it. I’ve run a few 5ks since then and can still crank out a sub 27 minute race but I have considerably lost fitness over this year.
I signed up for a summer marathon and ultra in hopes to inspire myself back into running, that didn’t help and I ended up canceling anything over a 10 mile run. I’m at a running all time low, in this funk I can’t seem to get out of and i’m flailing so hard to try to grasp what once was and hope I can get my speed and endurance back.
During all this I became fixated on this 120 number I was told by my doctor to maintain, so fixated that I would cry if I saw anything less than that. It was the complete opposite of the number fixation the year before, but worse. Fixation on numbers for weight, calories…something I wasn’t really fixated on as much before, just how i looked, which was still distorted. When I went back for a recent visit my specialist said things looked better, maybe my body needed this and if I wanted to get back to my higher mileage I’d need to gain 5-10 more pounds. I looked her dead in the eye and was like “it has been a bitch to maintain that weight, my body doesn’t want it. I won’t be able to do what your asking physically and for the sake of my sanity. My athletic prowess has already taken a backseat”
I’m not about to listen to someone, even a professional, that can’t even do basic scientific design with proper controls..she lacked the proper controls to make a valid point to me. I was told that I was a disordered thinker and was coming at it wrong. Foremost, I’m a scientist, I’m thinking of this logically not from my illogical mind. I can’t say how many times I sat there thinking from every angle, looking at the numbers and hearing what she said but nothing matched up to me. Of course she’s a professional and it’s her area of “expertise” but I felt highly offended that she was treating me as this still broken person instead of listening to me trying to reason with her.
After that meeting I decided that I’m just going to do whatever I want, I want to be happy and healthy, not fixated on something and becoming more neurotic than ever. I wanted my life back, my passion back and if that meant sacrificing somethings then so be it. I can fake a smile, I’ve done it my whole life…I can play good girl when I need to but I will also fight you if I feel very passionate about something. This “diagnosis” and professional was taking away not only something I love but was taking over part of my career, as I running coach I need to lead by example and I can’t have marathon clients if I can’t run a marathon or run the mileage with them.
I had signed up for an experienced marathon program and to this day I have yet to show up for a practice because either the mileage scared me because I knew I had lost a lot or I was working and missed practice.
This past weekend when I had off from both my full-time and part-time job, I had time to think about what I want for this next year and how I’m planning to move past all that has happened in this year.
Many of my relationships with people got shaky because of my mental state of things and I just didn’t feel like anyone truly understood what all was happening. I withdrew from everyone, including my boyfriend. He and I both have our different demons that we chose to not bring up that we have been dealing with the past few months. Despite all of that we are still sticking it through and it’s my hopes that after this hellish past year for us that it can be seen that we can make it through just about anything. Sometimes you need no words, you just need a long hug and a good cry. I’m also hoping that we can get away for a vacation to just enjoy time together and get away from all the stress factors we have in our lives.
I’ve left a lot of people out of my life, and I’m sorry but it’s for the best for everyone involved. If I feel like I want to mention it to you then feel privileged that I’ve decided to share. Not everyone truly gives a shit about you, I’ve learned that the hard way. Some people just want to use it against you and it just makes you feel worse that the people you are confiding in make you feel so small. Nobody should feel that way, thus nobody knows my business and I’m fine keeping it that way. Maybe some day I’ll be able to open up again but I’m seriously doubting that. I’m open to talking about my struggles with the body dismorphia and eating, that will probably never go away but I hope that by me talking about it, it can help someone else out that might be struggling with the same thing.
It was recently that I’ve decided that I’m going to dedicate myself back to my running, I bought a treadmill off a woman for a fantastic deal and I just need to tie myself to it and get a run done even if i’m tired from working both jobs that day or the night before.
I’ve made it a personal goal to complete an ultra marathon next spring, one that I did the other year and try to win one of the age group or overall prizes as I was close the other year. I also am putting that 100 mile race back on my radar, it may not happen next fall but maybe the fall after that. I’m also recommitting myself to trying to qualify for the Boston marathon in the next few years. There was potential for me until I had my miles cut and now I’m starting from scratch.
My part-time job gives a certain amount of money for us to run races each year, and I had thought of deferring the Chicago marathon that I have in a month because my training is very limited but it’s free through work so why not use it as a way to try to inspire myself back into that push I need? For now I’ve set myself up with fun races so I’m not taking them too serious and just get back on the horse and then let the horse pickup and take off wherever it plans to go and however fast it wants to go.
So if you see me out on the trail or on the race course, give me a high-five, I will probably need it. Also you can bring me cupcakes, that would probably make me like you even more.