So my very first post was about running. Ever since then I have absolutely fallen in love with running. However, I’ve also fallen out of my regular running routine on multiple occasions.
On January 1, 2015 I decided my New Years Resolution was to run my first ever half marathon. While this seems like a normal goal for someone who loves to run, this absolutely scares the piss out of me. (Literally. I actually pissed my pants mid run a few months ago. Totally embarrassing! Why am I even sharing this information?) I figured, “Well Olivia, running a full 26.2 being at the top of your bucket list, you might as well train for a half.” So I did. I started! You want to know how long that lasted? RHETORICAL QUESTION: Vague answer: Not very long. I bet you saw that coming from a mile away. (Horrible running joke. I’m not a comedian. Get off my back.) In late January, early February, my life took a drastic turn, which I won’t share many details about. BUT. I moved to a different, yet super familiar part of Los Angeles – Hollywood. Don’t start “ooh-ing” and “ahh-ing.” It’s not glamorous. It smells like piss and shattered dreams. Anyway, this totally threw off my mindset and hindered my goal. I’ve lived in what’s actually “Little Armenia” for about 4 months now and (as mentioned above) am way below my goal of running the Los Angeles Rock n Roll Half Marathon. It’s a super cool race with music and fun energies for all. Who wouldn’t want to go!? But that’s not the point – I’m behind my goal for many reasons – one in particular that I don’t share with anybody. Trust me, we’ll get there before this post is over.
You may recall from a previous post that I took at 10K training class my final semester of college. It was the greatest class I ever took in college. It gave me a goal to look forward to reaching that wasn’t graduation! As I walked into Robinson Hall the very cold winter morning of Spring Semester 2014, I was so
tired excited to run the farthest I ever had in my life – 6.2 miles.
Two days later, in -1° weather (this isn’t a joke) I show up to class for training buried in sweats and gloves to run 1.5 miles around campus. I wanted to give up! After all, I had just got back from visiting my family in LA on Christmas Vacation. I ran in the mountains with perfect weather. The weather gradually got better but I can honestly say that training absolutely sucked! Was it worth it? Yes, absolutely. Not to mention it was a great accomplishment considering what I had been through previously. (Still getting there.)
That Spring I had accepted running as my new hobby and had absolutely fallen in love. Anxious? Go for a run. Stressed? Lace up, bitch. It’s running time! Too much homework? Go for a quick run, your motivation will come back. Any other problem? RUN! And don’t stop until you have a solution. Is my point coming across here? Running was my therapy, my version of a “crazy pill.”
So here is where things get informational. A little too informational but I have come to accept my flaws while choosing to grow and learn from my past experiences. Thoughts that very well flood still my mind today.
For quite some time, longer than I’m willing to share, I struggled with an eating disorder (ED) – Anorexia Nervosa. My life had become this vicious, exhausting, damaging cycle of restricting then bingeing, restricting then bingeing, etc. I won’t go too far into specifics but I had lead myself down this winding path only to discover that an image that I
wanted felt like I absolutely needed was not only impossible to achieve but would eventually kill me. I had literally lost all control of my own thoughts – I had become obsessed with food, calories, and a number on a scale.
Some family, close friends and co-workers began to ask questions and make remarks –“Are you losing weight?” This one really brought a sparkle to my eye. Eventually the remarks took a turn for the worse. “Are you doing/feeling okay?” “Is everything okay?” “You should eat a sandwich!” and so on. With confidence I would always say I was fine but behind closed doors, I was a wreck. The fall semester was a rough one – 18 units and an ED getting in the way of everything. That semester I locked myself in my room away from my friends, sometimes my classes, and more importantly, food. In all the years I struggled, I had never been this obsessed with my image. It got to a point where I restricted so much that I was constantly light headed, nervous, stressed, and hungry.
About 6 weeks of absolute chaos had passed, I started going to therapy once per week. Just a few sessions in, my therapist had recommended I see a doctor. This. Broke. Me. Immediately I had a teary eyed appointment with a doctor who had sat me down and asked me several questions about my eating habits, anxiety and depression. After what seemed like an eternity with my new doctor who I would also be seeing weekly, I was put on an examination table, tears streaming down my face, to check my heart for any possible damage. What followed next were basic procedures like blood tests and such. I hated that. Not as much as I hated myself for opening my mouth/getting into that situation in the first place. At this time I called some of my family to explain what I was going through. Hearts were broken and confusion set in.
The end of the semester approached and I was behind on school work. I had to ask several professors for extensions on papers, projects, even tests. Some granted it, others didn’t, even with the proper medical paperwork. It was a nightmare. Everything got done and I made pretty good grades considering I had just been through my own personal hell!
Finals were over and I had arrived in LA with my family that December. Hearts had started the recovery process but there was still some confusion and worry. My habits had shown improvement and I enrolled in a running class. Of course, everyone (my doctor and family) had thought I was making an iffy decision and was told to be smart/safe with this class. I was nervous but wanted to find something different to focus on. And that’s just what I did. While in LA, I started running short distances and felt pretty okay with doing so.
So here we are back at that cold day in January – Day one of training. (I just Tarantino-ed you all.) The day that I would one day learn was the day that saved my life. Throughout my training I had turned all of my negative energy into positive energy – energy to run, to tell myself to crush a run, to cross a finish line. Furthermore, running gave me confidence, a goal, and most importantly, an appetite. I knew that the only way I could keep running was to fuel my body. EAT! Eat like you’ve never eaten before! (Bad pun. Fuck.) You get my point.
I was an eating machine. I was running…far! I was in love with running AND eating. I finally loved myself and my ability to run – I was alive and well!
As for my current running goals, I’ll get there! The road I have just started down has been a little crazy/emotional/WTF but I’ll fix it. How? I’ll let you all figure that out – see paragraph five (5)! I’m still determined to run a half marathon. Maybe not the one I’ve had my heart set on but one that will be perfect for my needs.
I’ve always heard the saying “Run for your life!” but I never thought it would/could be so literal. To whoever coined that phrase, if anyone even did, thank you. It literally saved my life.
That’s my story. I am not ashamed of it. Love every difficult situation you’re given. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!