Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rewriting

I took the plunge. The article on the internal temperature of a cooked egg will have to wait. I'm going for the rewrite.

I decided to share another little snippet from the book. Feedback is always welcome.

This is the paragraph that ended up being one of my favorites. I think it's because it describes the moment my life changed. It was such a profound moment in my life, and I know falling into anorexia isn't as black and white for some. For me, it happened in an instant, despite the fact that I didn't know the road I would be taking, only that things were going to change. I could feel it. (I kind of just stole that from Beck.)

This was after something really awful had just occurred:

I tossed the incident over and over in my mind until I was sick of it. The drugs and alcohol were wearing off and I was becoming more aware of myself. Amber and I bought our tickets and parted ways. As I was walking to the bus stop for a ride home, I felt a surge of energy and hope. Then, in an instant, I decided to change. My life was going to be different. I was going to take control. I put forth an intention out into the universe that was so loud and clear, so heartfelt and determined that it couldn’t be denied. I was going on a diet!


I'll also share part of the chapter in which I go over the edge with training. Unlike the moment in which I became anorexic, the over-training obsession came on more gradually:



After the Pikes Peak race, with another cross-country season just a month away, my coach told me to take a week off. I was frantic at the thought of resting, knowing that my daily routine would be disrupted. My body was tired, but my mind was overly active and I was becoming agitated. I rode my bike to ease some of the tension of complete rest and ran a little, so I wouldn’t forget how to run in a week. I was so thoroughly tired of this tedious lifestyle that I wished I would get hit by a car, yet even when given the permission to have a break, I couldn’t do it.  I just wouldn’t allow myself the rest I craved; I couldn’t even take a full week off at the request of my coach, a man I respected and trusted at the time.
After another undefeated season with a few course records in place, I entered the state meet with confidence. Somewhere along the crazy route of compulsive running, I had emerged an intense competitor. Though I was meek and kind off the track, I was fiery and wild in competition, often making extremely bold moves like darting to the far outside to pass people on the track or leading races in full head winds. My goal was not only to win but to push myself as hard as I could. Even if I was in the lead, I wouldn’t allow my pace to slow. I won the state meet and soon after became the first high school girl in Colorado to ever qualify for nationals in cross-country.
The national race took place in California. I was shocked when I walked into a room of 35 other girls just like me. All of us had dreams of the Olympics or various other running titles. I was sad at the thought that I wasn’t anything special here. However, I offered myself some comfort knowing that none of these girls were the kind of mountain runner I was. The race was intense and I fell into last place from the start. I worked my way up to the middle of the pack by passing as many girls as possible in what I considered to be a short race. I wasn’t exactly happy with the 15th place finish, but I also knew the 5k was not the best distance for my running ability. Despite my middle-of-the-pack performance I figured, with yet more training, I could improve and possibly even win the next year.
I was heading into the winter with even more determination than before to train harder. Then without warning as I was on a trail run with my coach, he dropped a bomb. He flat out said I was out of control. He gave me an ultimatum; either I take a break and train according to his plan or I was off the team. That was it. There was no talk of compromise or ideas on how to help me do just that, it was an either-or situation. What could I do? I was hurt and felt rejected. Plus, I was already down in it and unable to retreat, so I took the “I’ll show you” road and decided to train on my own.
For my coach, there came a point where he knew I was lying about my training and eating. He was forced to step back and throw his hands in the air, because there was nothing he could do. I was so headstrong that I couldn’t hear his concern for my health and worry about my overtraining. I was convinced he was using reverse psychology in order to motivate me to train harder when, in reality, he was trying to prevent another injury or illness. At one point the following year he agreed with my parents that I should see a counselor which I did for several months, but before then I was determined to do things my way. Ultimately, my coach always had my best interest at heart, but because I was so caught up in the illness, I couldn’t see that. I continually focused on random comments not just from him but from others around me that supported my distorted thinking. Anything that didn’t fall into my warped sense of reality, I either discarded or ignored.
I spent the next few weeks building up my mileage on an increasingly sore foot. My limp was visible, but didn’t come close to stopping my training of up to 90 miles a week plus biking, one swim session and weight training. I felt so lost at the time, but was convinced that my only option was to run more. Eventually, the continual strain on my pelvis from the improper landing of my sore foot caused my pubic bone to fracture. In the middle of a run, I felt a shooting pain so intense I thought someone was stabbing me. Rather than stop though, I hobbled the rest of the five miles back to school. I continued to train, wrapping my entire pelvis in ace bandages to lessen the severe pain. I could hardly walk down the stairs at school, yet I refused to stop running. The pain was terrible and often I would cry on my runs. Eventually after much arguing, I allowed my parents to take me to see a doctor. The fracture was no hairline mark on the x-ray. Instead, it was a big fat line right there on my bone that was approaching a full break.
The news hit me like a freight train; if I didn’t stop, I might never run again. I tried desperately to quit running, but I was a mess and couldn’t make it through the day. I lost focus in school and spent most of my days crying. Even when I did attend class, I couldn’t concentrate. I was terrified to eat, and when I did eat, I cried out of fear of gaining weight. Finally, it was decided I needed help. I was taken out of school and put in a mental hospital for teenagers. On my first day there, the other kids and I sat in a circle and introduced ourselves and stated why we were there. Most of the kids were experimenting with drugs, having trouble at home or stealing things, many of the very things I had been doing at age 13. When it came to be my turn, I thought how strange the situation was and almost had to laugh, because my response seemed so silly, “I’m Lize and I can’t stop running.”

7 comments:

  1. That is some crazy powerful writing Lize.

    An article that you may find of interest (or not as it may seem pretty basic to you): http://www.endurancecorner.com/Porter_Bratten/eating_disorders

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  2. Thank you, GZ! And thank you too for the link. It's definitely interesting, and worth sharing. So often people forget that men struggle with these issues too and can offer plenty of insight on the topic.

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  3. "..When it came to be my turn, I thought how strange the situation was and almost had to laugh, because my response seemed so silly, “I’m Lize and I can’t stop running.”"

    Glad you can share how damaging to yourself it is to run to the extreme in overtraining. Running too much conceal one's identity just as drugs and alcohol addiction. But, it is not always as blatant an addiction because it gives the appearance of as doing something healthy for your body.

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  4. Thank you, Deborah.

    Yes- this is exactly how it is. There's a definite line, and it's not always obvious to others when someone crosses from training into over training. It has a different feel to it though, and the person doing it can usually tell when running becomes a chore rather than a challenge, a tension reliever or a pleasurable experience.

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  5. Thank you for the great read, and the insight! This is brilliant: "I’m Lize and I can’t stop running." If this excerpt were a standalone piece, you could even start with that line/scene.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed reading it and hope you will continue to post excerpts!

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  6. Thank you so much!

    I will definitely post some other excerpts. I'm hoping the rewrite will breathe some new energy into the manuscript.

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  7. "I bounced the incident around my mind until I couldn't stand my own thoughts. The drugs and alcohol were wearing off, making me all too aware of myself. Amber and I bought our tickets and parted company. As I walked to the bus stop for a ride home, I felt a surge of energy and hope. In an instant, I decided to change. My life was going to be different. I was going to take control. I made a declaration to the universe that was so loud and clear, so heartfelt and determined, that it couldn’t be denied: I was going on a diet!"

    ReplyDelete

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