Dear Running

I miss you.

I miss lacing up my sneakers,

I miss the ache in my legs,

I miss the heaviness in my step at the start, the effortless sensation once I warm up,

I miss the elusive search for runner’s high,

I miss the trails,

I miss the pavement,

I miss fartleks,

I miss watching non-runners react to the word fartlek,

I miss the hills,

I miss the feel of sweaty, hard worked, drenched drifit tanks,

I miss the bad runs,

I miss the really really good runs,

I miss getting my headphones tangled,

I miss getting mad at my music selection,

I miss inspiring others,

I miss waking up long before dawn to start running,

I miss finishing after the sun comes up,

I miss making people’s jaws drop when I tell them how far I run,

I miss compression sleeves after long runs,

I miss getting faster,

I miss cross-training,

I miss waving to other runners,

I miss my old running routes,

I miss the blisters,

I miss racing,

I miss PRs,

I miss the alone time,

But most of all,

I miss being a Runner.

National Running Day!!

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here!!! National Running Day!

A day for runners everywhere to have a reason to run- oh wait, we run even when we don’t have a reason! But today is even more of a reason to run and to celebrate, encourage, welcome new runners, and challenge yourself as an athlete.

Today I precisely ran 0.0 miles. Yup, nothing. It is killing me. On National Running Day I am in a cast and banned from running. To make matters worse, tomorrow I am going back to the podiatrist to *cross your fingers* hopefully get out of the cast which really just means the appointment is a mere 22 hours away and therefore National Running Day is just taunting me. Evil.

But I have TONS of running planned as soon as I am out of this boot and back in my sneakers where I belong. Well, technically back in both my sneakers- I’m wearing the left one currently. Fall marathon plans are amping up and I need to whip my bum back into 20 milers in order to get some PRs this fall and some cool medals for my wall! Chicago, Marine Corps, Best Damn Race (a smaller race organization in FL), Dopey Challenge (at Disney) are all coming up between October and early January. I also wanna throw a few November 1/2s in there too. Of course, all that is contingent on this foot of mine.

Anyway back to National Running Day, since I can’t run today I am going to get as close as possible to running: aqua jogging. It just sounds awkward. Actually, I am sure it looks awkward too but I need to exercise and I need to do something other than stare at my foot and wait for the next 22 hours to pass to hopefully be cleared to run so with that I am off, off to aqua jog. And do laps- I am training for a triathlon too (plus, that looks less awkward haha).

So Happy Running Day Runners everywhere. Run a mile for me or even just a minute depending on your skill. Remember it doesn’t matter how fast, long or hard you go what matters is that you go out and run!

PS. Tomorrow if I am out of this boot, I am totally making up for not being able to run today.

Time to Tri

Last Wednesday I was sanctioned to a month of being in an air cast for my chronically broken sesamoid bone and the sesamoiditis that it is causing. My doctor wanted to put it in a hard cast and immobilize fully but I promised that I would only take the cast off when I was (a) sleeping or (b) showering and that exercise will consist of upper body weights, swimming and biking (but no standing on the bike while riding).

To me, this seemed like certifiable torture. I don’t like biking because it hurts my bum and I don’t like swimming because I always feel uncomfortable in a bathing suit and I am just not efficient enough in my freestyle stroke to be good at it.

Last Friday I went to my gym, OrangeTheory and my trainer was AMAZING about letting me know how we would adjust the class schedule so I could still come to class. In case you don’t know what OTF is, you go take a class with x number of other people (no more than 24 usually), alternating between the treadmill, ergs (rowers), and a weight room (with med balls, dumbbells, benches, bosu balls, SBT bands, etc). So the predesigned schedule doesn’t necessarily work when you can’t do lower body, rowing (my fave!) or running (my ultimate fave!).

But while I HATE the bike, I decided to embrace it and swimming. And now I have set my sights on something I would never do: the Triathlon!!!

And, I am excited about it! I am starting to get used to the bum soreness after biking and swimming I am just practicing getting better. I am going to get a swim coach at least for a few lessons to work on my efficiency with freestyle strokes and breathing and get better at that. I am a solid swimmer, I’ve just never done it competitively and that’s the part I am most worried about.

Right now, I am aiming for an August triathlon! It’s a sprint tri so it will be a short tri distance and will have a 1/4 mile swim, 10 mile bike and 3.1 mile run. If I feel ready I may go to the full tri distance for this race which is double the distance of all of those (1/2 mile run, 20 mile bike, 6.2 mile run). I don’t have a super snazzy tri bike but this one allows road bikes, which I do have and I think it’ll work well for my first one at least until I decide if I like doing triathlons.

My only concern is changing clothes (?) I am not sure how that works or what but being in a bathing suit and changing clothes is something that makes my skin crawl. I hate thinking about me being at all exposed in front of people. Heck, I hate even being around people but I am just going to try and think of the bigger picture and focus on my goals.

For now, I am going to continue using the bike at OTF during my workout (as if I have a choice), jump back into marathon training once I am freed from the cast monster, and work on my swimming at my pool just doing about 30 minutes of laps every few days. Once I am out of the boot though I am going to take a swim class and try road biking a few miles every week too.

But goodness I miss running. I can’t wait for the trails, pavement and pounding of my feet.

Every Mile is Magnificent

Well, A while ago I posted about entering the lottery for the Chicago Marathon. And the results came out… I’m in. Now, I’m a bit delayed in stating that because well, it was announced last week and while I spent the whole day at work on lottery results day hitting F5 on my computer in anticipation and then actually ran down the hall to tell a friend when the screen finally changed green at 3:14, I still feel a sense of dread associated with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond excited to go (I even already booked my flight and hotel- which is much more than I usually do for trips 5 months away) but I think my excitement is dulled by fear.

Fear of what? For starters:

1. Last year this race was MY race. I ran flawlessly, made my time goal, felt tremendous afterward, walked around the city the next day, felt so good 2 days later I went for a run, never hit the wall, took in the whole experience and enjoyed the whole thing. So why am I scared? That’s a LOT to live up to and I am a perfectionist.

2. My mom is coming- SOOOOOOOOO Excited because she didn’t get to come last year and this will be the first marathon she sees me run! But, my mom is coming. My mom. My mom who worries about what I do/don’t eat. My mom who doesn’t know about how badly I struggle with food. My mom who will be with me in the hotel, the day before and after and will realize how little I do eat and will comment. My mom, who if I end up getting help for this eating disorder before the race, may or may not be the help I need before the race.

3. Temptation. Chicago has a reputation for good food. I can vouch for it. When I am there I would love to taste a bit of it and enjoy it but it’s so laced with dread, hate and fear that when I am forced to eat, I throw it up and that comes with it a whole other set of fears (what if someone hears? what if I can’t get to the bathroom after the meal? what if I can’t purge it all? what if someone sees me eat? what if they think I am eating too much? what if they comment? what if I get sick? what if I get fatter?).

4. The boot. That’s right, I am in an air cast. I have a “traumatized shattered sesamoid bone” according to my podiatrist (or some combo of those words) and we have been trying everything conservatively for the last 15 months but I still have horrendous bouts of sesamoiditis so I am currently in an air cast and the only thing that kept me from getting a full blown hard cast is that I promised him that I would only take it off when I (a) shower (b) sleep. It’s been 4 days and I am dying to go run. I miss it so much and as much as I hate to say this, I am scared to death of having extra calories in me. The good news is I have been wanting to train for a triathlon so I started swimming in the mornings and my trainer at the gym said I can still come to class (I go to OrangeTheory- look it up it is fabulous) and that we can modify it so I only bike (no standing and pedaling) and do upper body per doctors orders.

So here I am with both of my must do marathons this year. On my way to Marathon Maniac status and I still have so much dread. I know it’s 99.99% due to the eating disorder. My sister’s birthday was yesterday and the restaurant she chose to go to is on the COMPLETELY FRICKIN UNSAFE list and when I found out that’s where she was going, I refused to go. My mom called today because I “seemed off” yesterday. I wonder if she’ll connect the dots, probably not though. Sometimes when these things are right in front of you, you are the most blind to them. I should know I have been convinced I am getting better….in all honesty though, I think I am worse than ever. Hell, I flaked on my own sister. I am contemplating flaking on Mother’s Day tomorrow too.

Anyway, I still remember my goal from my Chicago Lottery post: I am going to try and eat one meal, just one while I am in Chicago.

 

But, I am really not sure I can do this. I am already anxious.

#MCM and #RunWithTheMarines

Signs You’re a Runner: For a while now I’ve been wondering why everyone is always posting pictures with #mcm. I know about Man Crush Monday but I guess it never occurred to me that, THAT acronym didn’t mean Marine Corps Marathon….until today.

This realization only came out because I’ve been stuck in MCM (Marine Corps Marathon) mode for months now, waiting for the lottery to open, entering the lottery and waiting 10 longgg days to get a result on the lottery. And today, was lottery result day!!!

It was like trying to get a 5 year old to wait to open presents on Christmas morning. As SOON as my alarm (the first one) went off I reached over to my phone to check my email- something I NEVER do. I hate email. I think it’s overrated, overused and a nuisance.  But, I broke my rule of refusing to check my email first thing in the morning because, well, it was like Christmas for those of us waiting to hear about the Marathon. Now, there was no guarantee I would hear at 5:17am but I had heard from others that emails start in the middle of the night and continue all day. After a very poor attempt at typing my email address in on my phone and falling asleep at least 2 times, the page loaded with one unread message….I got in to the Marine Corps Marathon!!!!!

My email came at 1:46am!!  I am surprised my neighbors didn’t think I was being murdered I screamed so loud! THE Marine Corps Marathon! The 40th anniversary, I will be there! YES! I’ve never been to DC either so I am looking forward to finally getting to go to DC, better weather, running and an awesome extended weekend vacation! Plus, I come from a family of military folks (from all branches) so I think this race will be a great way to honor them.

MCM I'm In

As I jumped on IG to post a photo and hashtag everything known to man I typed in #mcm and THAT’S when I realized: #MCM = Man Crush Monday (to normal people) not Marine Corps Marathon!! It was like not just the light bulb but the whole dang chandelier went off! So, I tagged with the other MCM tag: #RunWithTheMarines because, well, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing in October!!! And as I waited for a plethora of likes on FB and little hearts on IG I realized, no one is awake at 5:17am sharing stuff on social media, except those of us waiting for the MCM results.

I have had some time today to let the excitement calm a bit (but not by much because I am so unbelieveably excited) and as I went to type this I saw my last (not so happy) post. See, the thing is despite how excited I am about this one of the first things I thought after I screamed with happiness was “oh shit, I’m going to have to eat.” AND because my friends are coming to DC with me, I know I will have to eat, in front of people and it won’t be easy to hide if I don’t like it was in Chicago last year. This is especially hard because I have felt like I am failing at having an ED this week. See, failing at having an ED means I am not doing good enough at restricting and purging- that’s what failing is to me and to any “normal” non-ED person this would be success but for me, it’s failure. Sheer,  utter, failure. On top of that my GI issues are flared up this week because what I have eaten is stuff that is bad for whatever issues my stomach has and everything from the disoriented feeling, joint pain, muscle pain and  severe nausea is back so I feel like I am failing even more.

But, I am doing what I set out to do, run toward recovery. So, I am sitting here, writing this to mostly myself and telling myself that my goal is to have a celebratory meal with my friends after the marathon. Maybe not a big meal, maybe without dessert, maybe it’ll be the same safe foods I have now, but 1 celebratory meal. No purging (and thinking about this is already making me anxious). 1 meal.

I know seeking help would probably help dramatically in being able to reach this goal but right now I still can’t. I’ve been sucked back in and the disorder eating and the voice in my head keeping me in this mode have a death grip on me. It’s like bungee jumping, I jumped toward the stability and safety of the ground (aka recovery) but, just as I almost made it there I flung back up- up toward the ED- where I started, now every time I go drop down again it seems like I am getting a bit closer to the safety of recovery and a bit farther from the ED but I am still on the bungee cord and oscillating between bounces hoping the ED doesn’t pull me back up to where I started before the bouncing ceases and I can get off and settle on solid ground. Safe, solid ground.

But, back to the marathon: Words cannot express how thrilled I am, this was the IT marathon for me this year, the one I wanted to run more than any of the others and I am astonished that I was lucky enough to get in my first year entering the lottery! I cannot wait to run, I am excited to train again and post runfies on IG with the #RunWithTheMarines (and maybe #MCM too).

Countdown: T- 7 months (exactly!) 10-25-15 will be here soon!

 

 

 

 

Chicago Marathon Lottery!

finishing a marathon

Last year I ran my first full marathon, the Chicago Marathon! It was so amazing I couldn’t possibly write a better recap of it than I did immediately after last year but since I am not yet comfortable with telling the world (or rather, all of my close friends and family) all of my secrets I am going to keep that anonymous for now and just say Chicago was epic. I ran beautifully, finished within my time goal (which is not elite by any means, I’m average pace wise when it comes to distance running), didn’t hit “the wall” and had the support of my family and friends.

This time last year I filled out the application for the Chicago lottery to run in the marathon and with much intimidation and fear I submitted it. 6 weeks later: I got in. Today, I entered the lottery again (still contemplating running for charity) and I am so hopeful I will get in again.

Marathon training was brutally hard- especially in Florida- but it made me realize a bunch of things about myself. Here are a few:

1. I really do hate Florida weather- especially summer.
2. Don’t ever run with an iphone that is not in a lifeproof case… (and don’t make that mistake twice… or four times, in my case).
3. You learn a LOT about yourself on a 20 mile training run by yourself.
4. Take September 11th off work and run that morning, the patriotism displayed by other runners on a well known running path is breathtaking and humbling.
5. You know you’ve found your best friend when you can go home and show her your horrible blisters and not have her judge you for it even though she isn’t a runner.
6. Cross training is essential to progress! I also learned I like weight training!
7. I may have an eating disorder (It was after the marathon that I realized I really do have one).
8. (perhaps the most important thing I realized). Marathon training is the hardest thing I have ever done, but I did it. I cried sometimes, I sweat- a LOT. I hated it some days. I pushed myself. I conquered my goals. Sometimes, I failed. But, October 12, 2014 I became a marathon runner and that means, I never gave up.

So today I entered again, praying that I will be honored with the ability to run 26.2 miles around the city of Chicago. A city that means so much to me and a place where I can call home even though I have never actually lived there. I find out April 28th if I get in so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

(Warning: what I post about next may be a Trigger for some)

Despite the perfection of last year, there is one thing I do look back on and wish I could change. See, I stayed with family when I was there and they were great! Love them so much! They made sure I had everything i needed and were so supportive. Here’s the thing though. I purged. I tried so hard to keep myself from doing it too. I ate little meals, I actually ate carbs. My family is so great about making sure they bought foods I liked and can eat (b/c of the GI issues, not the ED) but I couldn’t help it. I purged. I felt so wasteful. So harmful to my own body. So ashamed I was eating. I made it through the marathon (miraculously) but even after the marathon, I only ate a few vegetables, and then I purged those too. I have no clue how I survived.

So this, I guess, is a reminder of that and a way for me to hold myself accountable and let this year be a do-over. Not to replace my amazing experience last year but instead to encourage growth, healing, recovery. This year, Chicago will be just as amazing but this year, I will take care of myself better. It will be hard- especially once they know about this ED- but I’m going to do my best.

Also, to my family- if you read this, thank you. I did eat more than I normally do, you never judged my choices or made me feel bad, I hope this doesn’t change that. I hope you’ll still come out and support me this year. ❤

So with that, bring on Chicago! At least, that’s what I hope to say on April 28!

The Running Part

Since I (sort of) established a bit about my eating disorder and my goal of recovery in the previous post, I wanted to talk about the other part of the blog title, “Running to Recovery”.

I run. A lot. I love it too. Which is ironic given that in high school I only took part in P.E. because it was mandatory- I even took my second required P.E. class online to get out of running and exercise.

In early 2012 I had a really bad bout of insomnia and the slightest inkling to go run- such a foreign feeling at the time- so I did. I was overweight, couldn’t run for but 30 seconds and figured it would exhaust me enough to sleep so at 3:00am-ish I went out for maybe 20-30 minutes and ran/walked. I hated it.

And then the next night the same thing. I, again, hated it.

It was then that I decided that even if I hated it I was going to aim to run the 5k on Thanksgiving- the Turkey Trot and see if I liked it. I continued to hate it and had an on-again off-again relationship with running. Then in the fall 2012 I started having GI issues- like such severe pain I can’t even express it in words after i ate. So I started eliminating foods to try and figure it out. When that didn’t work I went to a doctor. Long story short, they couldn’t figure it out and a year of medical drama and mystery illness flare ups, hospitalizations, etc. ensued. Ultimately I was diagnosed with a GI disorder that is said to be chronic, but thankfully, not life threatening. Well, I guess that was until it led me down the eating disorder path…

But anyway, Thanksgiving came and that Turkey Trot- yeah, that didn’t happen. I hadn’t even attempted running since the medical issues sidelined me and for at least 4 months before that because, well, I live in Florida and summer sucks. And when I woke up on Thanksgiving I felt a bit of disappointment in myself. I just thought there was no way I would be able to go out there and run with “real runners” at a 5k because I “knew” I’d be last and be made fun of. I now know the running community is much more supportive and amazing than that and that shouldn’t be a fear for anyone who runs. But, back to the story, I now had motivation to complete my goal and I had my mom drop me off about 3.5 miles from our house. I knew there was a path along a road that was marked for 3.1 miles b/c it was frequented by runners so I went out and figured if I could run the 3.1 miles in 48 minutes or less I would sign up for the Feb 2013 Disney Princess 5k  (yeah, back before runDisney events sold out in 2 hours). I finished in 46:52 and was elated. I actually went home and signed up immediately.

When February arrived I was excited, we checked in at Disney and went to the expo. And that’s where my running addiction boomed. I saw all the vendors, runners of all sizes and oh my gosh ALL THE SHOPPING!!!! And in the moment with all the hype, I decided I was going to run a half marathon.

And I did. In January 2014 just less than a year after my first 5k, I ran my first half marathon at Disneyland. In February 2014, my first challenge race, the Glass Slipper Challenge (10k plus half marathon or 19.3 miles in 2 days) and on October 12, 2014 I jumped to becoming an official marathoner at THE Chicago Marathon.

So, why did I continue running? Well, shortly before the Disney 5k and just a few months after my GI issues had started my family, and myself, noticed I wasn’t getting better and I was still having major issues eating, getting sick, etc. I was hospitalized 2 times during the spring of 2013 but I always kept running and my goal of a half marathon after that first race expo and it somehow always kept me motivated to keep trying to eat, to keep trying to get better, to not give up hope. It worked too, especially through the worst of it. And, for me, it still does.

Now that this GI disease has also led me to an eating disorder, I still find that when I am going into full blown restriction and purging even the tiniest nibble of food that knowing I have a long run coming up helps me reason that I should eat. Even if I am not successful, or not very successful, I can still feel that part of me that knows I should and that is comforting.

However, it is also part of the reason I am petrified to seek help. I don’t want the doctors to take the running away and quite honestly, I know they will.

See, running is the only constant I have had, it has pulled me out from the deepest, darkest moments of my life and given me hope back when I had lost it all. It gives me time to reflect, think, plan and to see what this eating disorder is doing to me. It is on a run that I realized my fear of food- which stemmed from the GI disorder- had now morphed into something much worse. It was on a run that I decided to tell an old friend about what was going on with me. It was on a run that I decided to keep trying to eat and not give up when the doctors said this GI issue is most likely chronic. Running is more to me than just shoes, gear, and medals. It has become an outlet, a way of life and made me part of a truly amazing community of people and honestly, I know it will get me through this ED too.