Each runner has their own reason for completing a marathon. Perhaps to cross something off the "bucket list," to prove to others/self, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, to have fun, the possibilities are endless. My quest to 26.2 miles began three years ago, just to say I could. At least, that's what I thought.
Ten years ago I tried to kill myself. Not in the teenage angst suicide type way - I was diagnosed with anorexia when I was fourteen.
I firmly believe that eating disorders are not a sole result of media and social pressure, rather a mental disease. I had no idea the harm I was inflicting upon myself. I did not understand why I was banned from playing soccer, riding my horse, dancing, things that brought joy to my life. My life seemed chaotic and food/eating was the only thing I could control.
Clearly, as I write this to you, I survived my sickness - a miracle, but that is a story for another time.
Now, I look back on those dark days as a marathoner. Why? Through training for this past September’s TNF Endurance Challenge Trail Marathon in Madison, WI, I realized I did not just want to complete a marathon; I needed to complete a marathon. Every mile pounded away demons of the past. Every sore muscle gave way into gladness for being strong. Every step of anguish brought tears of joy for being alive. I needed to prove to my disease that, ten years later, it no longer owned me. When I crossed the finish line, 5 hours and 25 minutes after I started, I broke down in tears; I had never felt more free.
Eating disorders are incredibly misunderstood. If you/someone you know is currently struggling, please contact me. I am more than happy to listen, chat, love, help.
St. Louis, MO, USA