Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I decided to share another piece of my book. For some reason, I love the last sentence of this excerpt. My other favorite sentence is from a chapter where I describe the moment in which I became anorexic. It's still amazing to me that I had a full running career at such a young age. Many people don't know that I had bouts of bulimia. They were rare, and I can't even remember anymore what it was like to throw up intentionally. I think having several illnesses in which I couldn't help but throw up has permanently cured me from any thoughts of ever considering that path. Really, the meningitis episode where I was yarfing every time I sat upright will always come to my mind. The only things I could eat for several days after I started to recover were pineapple and cooked noodles. I will forever love pineapple as a result. It's not just that I like the fruit- it's that I get a warm fuzzy feeling when I see pineapple, like "aww- that's what saved me!" So yeah, I had a few episodes of bulimia mixed in with the anorexia. Mostly though it occurred during transitional phases of my life. I think it has been close to 15 years since I last threw up, and I'm relieved that I don't ever think about it.

I think some anorexics get really offended when they are accused of being bulimic. I know I did when I wasn't throwing up, as if anyone with anorexia is more pious than anyone else. Still, it's somewhat understandable, mostly because of the stigma associated with bulimia.

Anyway, here's another little sample of my writing:

Chapter 17- My Secret

“Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.” - Orison Swett Marden

I never told my coach about my problem with food. I kept it a secret from nearly everyone except my family, and that was only because my sister caught me throwing up in the sink after sneaking into the kitchen early one morning to binge and purge on ice cream.
My coach agreed to take me back on the team, and we started a training program to get me back in shape to race. Soon I began running a little bit at a time. My pelvis was holding up nicely. No more sharp pains plagued me and I could walk with a normal gate again. I had missed track, but the summer was approaching and I knew I could train in the mountains with the team to get ready for my last year in high school.
At my first big cross country race that year, I was terrified. I had established myself as the top runner on the team again, but my confidence was waning. There was a new girl on the running scene I had never run against. She was solid and fast and swam varsity on her swim team in addition to running both cross country and track. Her dad was a former military man and dictated all her workouts. On her days off in her spare time, she did pull-ups and extra sets of intervals under her father’s supervision. She eventually developed severe asthma that cropped up during and after races. I was so nervous at the start of the race that I could hardly breathe. It seemed no amount of yawning could fill my body with enough oxygen. My legs felt heavy and tired. I tried to keep my focus off this new threat, but my eye kept wandering to her warm-up movements.
When the gun went off, I felt overwhelmed as I found myself in the middle of the pack. The new girl had shot out for the early lead, and I could hardly see her in the distance. I tried to keep calm as I sensed the panic rising in me that I may not be the runner I once was. Soon however, I started to reel in the other runners ahead of me and settled into gradually closing the gap between myself and the leader. Toward the end of the race I was running side by side with her and all of a sudden I felt it; a switch turned on and I was back. I surged, giving everything I had, and passed number one to take the lead. As I lunged for the finish, the fire that had lain dormant throughout my injury was burning fully inside me again. I crossed the line just a few seconds ahead of second place, but that was all it took for me to know this was going to be my year.
The relationship between me and my coach felt strained, but I did as he asked, usually. I had learned that rest was not a bad thing. I felt it was important to take days off even though my coach was a bigger fan of easy days. Unfortunately, my days off would sometimes lead to binges and occasional purges as well. I constantly felt fat at just around 100 pounds. My weigh-ins caused me growing anxiety, and I sensed that my coach was concerned about me getting too fat. The occasional purges not only helped the weight stay off, they allowed for some occasional relief from the pressure. I was a more relaxed runner, and this unhealthy eating regime did not deter me from having a stellar season. I set a course record on every course I ran and won state, becoming the first girl in Colorado to ever win state twice in a row.  During the off season I entered a few road races and ran an incredible 35:15 10k, setting a course record in the Run for the Zoo Race in Denver.  After a night of stress-related binging and purging or, in my case just eating what others would consider normal amounts and purging, I won the Midwestern Championships and again qualified for Nationals in California. I was however starting to feel more fatigue as the overly long season of racing dragged on. I ended up seventh at nationals and felt ready for a break. Unfortunately, track season was right around the corner so my break was much too short.
By the time track season started I had already run under 11 minutes for the two mile indoors. There was no real indoor season for high school athletes, so my coach had me run some open races at the university indoor tack meets.  As our own high school track season wore on, my general fatigue grew. I was undefeated going into the state meet, and my coach was determined to have a new state record in the two mile for us. What should have been a walk in the park turned into a long clumsy jog around the track. It started the day before state. I was too fat. I knew it. The scale tipped at a whopping 102.
Fearful of the added weight, I asked him if the one or two extra pounds would affect my race the next day. “It will probably slow you down,” he said. I had no idea how to take that statement. I felt so guilty I threw up what I ate that night. I was so distressed by the time the race actually rolled around the following day that I had lost sight of my goal, setting a state record. From the gun, I got out in front and just settled. I ran comfortably. The battle in my head raged on; come on, pick it up vs. just finish the race and be done with it. About three fourths of the way through, in mid stride just as I was heading into the turn, I caught sight of my coach and I knew I would have to face him, face myself, my fatness, my apathy and my failure. I thought about the girl who had run off the track mid way through nationals in the 10k in a college meet. She just ran off the track, jumped off a bridge and tried to kill herself. She ended up surviving. She lost the use of her legs though and is confined to a wheelchair. A bitter irony, but she claims she is happier now than when she was under all that pressure and stuck in her obsessive training. By the time my foot hit the ground I just felt detachment. “Fuck it, I’m tired,” I thought. I tried everything possible to pick up the pace, but had nothing to give. My body would not respond and my mind wavered.  I finished in over 11 minutes and when I faced the man who had led me to greatness while watching my suicide, I saw the disappointment in his face. I felt like I was an absolute failure. I still won, but my perception was that I totally lost in his eyes and as a result in my own.  I still had one last race to get through in the summer, a two mile national cross country race. I finished fourth in another apathetic race. I had reached full burn-out at age 18. 


  1. Thanks for the shout out.
    Your story is amazing and sad at the same time. As a college athlete I struggled with disordered eating, just like a lot of us. Never to your extreme, but I lived rather dangerously at just over 100 pounds for a while (I am 5 6'). Its sad to see that your coach made things worse, this is so common now-a-days. Just tiny comments can totally be blown up by a young women who's confidence is waning.

    After battling with disordered eating for 6 years, I ended up with an injury for 13 months (as a college junior) and gained a great deal of weight...reaching a "normal" weight for once. When I finally was cleared to run...cleared myself to run...I worked my butt off getting back in shape for cross and was looking toned and fit. Indoor season I trained with a brand new coach...and after one sub-par performance at an Arkansas indoor meet, I told him that I really needed to loose some weight and get back to were I was before. He told me.."Are you crazy, you could tread water in a garden hose!" I laughed at this, but the way he said it made me realize 1.)He believed it, and 2.) I was stupid for thinking that weight was my biggest problem.

    I have never had a problem since. Sure, I had days were I felt huge...and times I have wanted to be restrictive...but my perception of my body is completely different and has been since that very moment 7 years ago.

    Of course, most are much far gone than I.

    You may or may not find that interesting. Can't wait to read more.

  2. Thank you so much, Meggan!

    I'm so sorry you struggled too. Ha- I love the comment about treading water. That's awesome. I'm more glad that you had a coach who understood that running isn't about being stick thin.

    This was my first attempt at writing, and it was years and years ago. I can see that it could use some editing, but they story is one I hope resonates with people.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. It's wonderful to see you running well!


  3. Thanks, like I said- can't wait to read more.

  4. I just returned from vacation in Georgetown CO and thought of you while trudging up some hills at 8,000'+ altitude. (The elevation at my home is about 200'.)

    mfranks said it for me: I can't wait to read more.

  5. Thank you, Marilyn! I hope the vacation was a good one. Nice job on the hills at that altitude. wow though- that's quite a leap from 200ft. I notice the change in elevation even when it's only 2,000ft!

  6. Having known that your colleague suffers too with the same condition as yours sort of gives you a relief, more so if your colleague had beaten eating disorder. Bulimia sufferer for example can resort to bulimia rehab and be back with a normal and healthy life.

  7. There are various online sources to provide you informative details on this topic, but this is one is very helpful

    breast augmentation colorado springs