Lake Effect Series: Never Hitting Rock Bottom

Note from Hollie: This story is extremely heartbreaking but I know many people can relate too.  As she never hit rock bottom but had clear struggles with disordered eating and pushed through.  Thank you to everyone for sharing and donating.  I am hoping to reach my half of my goal by mid January so anything you could donate would be so appreciated!  And if you have a story to share, please don’t hesitate to email me at lolzthatswim(at)gmail.com.  It truly means a lot to me to everyone supporting me during this race, whether you are donating, sharing a story or just sharing my story.

Submitted by anonymous 

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I have always been athletic. I started gymnasts at the age of 9 and competitive cheerleading shortly after.  Both sports are notorious for body imagines issues and I have dealt with body image issues my entire life.  For as long as I can remember I have felt very body conscious. It probably didn’t help to have one of my gymnastics trainers put me on a special diet when I was 10. I can’t imagine starting a diet at that age was a good idea and it most likely contributed to some of my issues. Either way, I was always incredibly insecure about my body.  I maintained a healthy weight throughout high school and college.

I believe my body image issues developed into a full blown problem around the time I graduated and felt like I was at an in-between phase in my life. I graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in accounting but did not feel ready to enter the real world. I was interning while going to school and I just found myself a little lost. Everything up until that point in my life was mapped out for me – Elementary school, middle school, high school, and then college. Now nobody was telling me what to do or where to go next and I wasn’t really sure myself of what I wanted to do.

So I went right back to school to get my Master’s degree. I bartended my way through college for extra money which was fun while I was in college. In Grad school, I had to continue bartending for money as I was not working full time and was going to school during the day and interning part time at an accounting firm.

This is when my problem started. All of my friends and roommates who I went to college had gone on to get their ‘big girl’ jobs. The girls I lived with would wake up and go to work every day and I would not have class until 2pm. I didn’t like the feeling of being unsettled and not knowing what to do next. On top of it, being a bartender – I was feeling like I was on display all the time.  My uniform showed my stomach. This was not a good combination for someone with a body image issue.  As time went on, I found myself getting more and more confused.  I lacked direction and wasn’t sure where I was supposed to be and as a result I became depressed.

On top of it, I had a serious boyfriend for about 2 years who I thought was ‘the one.’ He was a year younger, still in college and was bartending as well.  When my boyfriend graduated college he became pretty much obsessed with the night life industry and I started to absolutely hate it. I wanted to be settled in the next phase on my life that all of my friends had entered. He let himself go physically and lost all motivation to do much of anything outside of the bar scene. Although he loved me very much and treated me very well, I just wanted to move forward and he was obsessed with everything I started to hate.

At this time I felt like I lost control of everything around me. I wasn’t where I wanted to be at all. Somewhere during this time I discovered counting calories. I started counting calories and experimenting, and I started losing weight-fast. I loved the way I looked, I felt great, and I thought I looked great.  It was the one thing in my life that was going the way I wanted. As someone who has always been self-conscious, I finally felt comfortable in my skin.

For the first 6-7 months I legitimately did not realize what trouble I was getting myself into. I thought I was fine, I thought I was healthy and looked great. In reality, I was eating 3-400 calories a day. About once a week I would get so hungry, I would eat everything in sight, and then I became bulimic as well. I lost 20 pounds off my already small frame and my weight was all I could think about. I think it was a distraction from everything else in my life I was unhappy about. I wrote down everything I ate and my mood completely revolved around whether or not I was “good” or “bad” that day with my diet.

My boyfriend, friends, and parents obviously became concerned and I found myself completely unhappy in my relationship. I knew I had to break up with him which tore me up inside even more because I knew how good he was to me.

My friends and family started saying things to me and I became incredibly defensive because I legitimately did not believe I had a problem.

But I did.

How much I weighed became the only thing in my life that mattered to me. If I was having a ‘good’ day where I was able to eat only the food I had planned to eat – I was happy. If I veered off track slightly I was miserable, and started making myself sick, a couple of times per week. I didn’t want to go out with my friends or do anything because I was tired all the time. I either wanted to go to sleep early to avoid eating, or I was upset because I had eaten more than I thought acceptable. It was not a fun time in my life, and yet I thought I was doing great and those that were concerned about me were crazy. I almost started to identify with my eating issues and they became a part of me I was strangely proud of, although I was severely depressed.

I don’t know exactly how or when exactly I got better; I think it was a combination of things. Throughout it all I purchased a treadmill and started running religiously 6 days a week as soon as I woke up in the morning. I found it to be the only other thing in my life to make me happy and it gave me time to clear my head and think.

I struggled but pushed through and finally graduated with my master’s degree.  I later broke up with my boyfriend and landed my first ‘real’ job. Things in my life, outside of my eating started to get better slowly. I started to do some reading online to see if what my friends and family were saying was true and the more I read the more I realized I absolutely did have a problem- it sounds cliché but it’s definitely true.

Realizing I had a problem scared the crap out of me but it helped me work to fix it. There was no true rock bottom moment or moment where I fixed my issue. It happened gradually as the pieces of my life started to fall back into place. I began seeing a therapist to just talk through my feelings….to get out everything I was thinking and everything I held on to and it helped big time. Although the underlying issue of why I went was my eating issues, we almost never addressed them, and it still helped make me better. The one constant that remained throughout my recovery was my running. It became my therapy, my release and my place where i could work out all of the feelings that made me feel badly about myself. Every morning I would work through what was bothering me on my run and start my day. Everything got better and I got happier. I came back to a normal weight and was eating more.

I truly believe you cannot fully understand it until you go through it. I even have a hard time relating to who I was when I was going through that time. I know I will never be fully recovered as I am still self-conscious but I no longer let it affect my life and running remains to be my therapy. I know I was lucky and not everybody is able to pull themselves out as I was – I had a great support system that was able to recognize that I was having a problem and urge me to get help. I think your cause is so important because I know there are so many people out there struggling and raising awareness is a huge part in helping people suffering and their loved ones.

Humble Pie Training (42 miles)

I didn’t even want to write this post honestly.  At the beginning of the week my training was looking absolutely beautiful.  I recorded 35 miles in the first three days.  My plan was to take the fourth day (Thursday) off and then come back for an easy run Friday, long Saturday and easy again Sunday.  Following the 10% rule of increasing mileage my goal was to hit around 60-65 miles casually building back up my mileage.

Well considering nothing after the marathon has gone to plan that isn’t what happened.  

Thursday’s rest day felt great.  I needed it and it was a reminder that although I’m getting back into shape since the marathon but I’m not 100% there yet.

Then on Thursday night I started to feel sick.  I went to bed early (not really a surprise).  I wasn’t feeling the greatest on Friday.  Instead of taking another rest day I made a short trip to the gym and did the elliptical for about 30 minutes.  Honestly I felt about 7/10 and the gym didn’t seem to make me feel any worse. I chalked it up to traveling and being pretty tired.

Saturday I wanted to do my first long run of 15 post marathon.  Around mile 4, I started to feel like absolute dog meat so I turned around.  I swallowed my pride and turned around.  Not that I really posed a danger but I was lucky that Tim was running with me.  It sucked.  It stinks having to cut a run short no matter who you are but continuing the run would have done nothing for me.  It wouldn’t build some magical endurance but only continue to tire me out.  I spent the rest of the day laying around and napping.

Today I was hoping to feel better (which I’m feeling good…not great)  so I’ll probably wait to run until Monday or whenever I do feel better. I appreciate all the well wishes but I feel fine to function in society just not well enough to run…these things happen when you train.

Though the first few days of the week were great, the week quickly took a down hill turn.  We all have these weeks though and it’s important to rest and not push through.  I could have kept running yesterday and been 7 miles away from my car…then what?

Though this wasn’t a planned rest or recovery week that is what the last few days have turned into.  I haven’t felt the need to go to the gym and overcompensate with workout classes, elliptical or other forms of cross training…just recover and rest so I can run.  Every person needs full rest days whether they realize it or not.

Occasionally we all need a slice of humble pie.  A slice telling us we are doing too much and burning the candle at both ends.  Though this week was clearly not what I had planned, I’m hoping to feel better next week and have a more productive week.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite thing to do while resting?

Relax in a hot tub.

July through December Musings

It seems like the second half of my year was far more exciting then the first.  I like to save the best for last right?  Actually after the marathon my life seems to have simmered down.

July:

I turned the big 23.  I’m an old lady now.

I finally ran a 5k PR that I feel I’m never capable of again (18:35).

Life is good!
Life is good!

August:

As with the rest of the summer I worked a lot between 50-70 hours and was really burnt out.

I ran an 8k PR and then was hit by a cylist who broke my arm.

YAY for no sling!
YAY for no sling!

I was accepted to run for Oiselle! 

runningoiselle

September:

I ran the Rock and Roll VA Beach half marathon with Laura and Heather.  It was awkward because I ran it with a broken arm.

lauraheatherandi

merunning1

I moved to Texas.

I ran another half marathon a week later in San Antonio.  1800 miles of driving, two half marathons back to back…only to go a few seconds faster in San Antonio and win a sweet Growler.

merunning4

megrowler

(one week later) I found out I was moving to New Jersey.

The night we found out we were Jersey bound
The night we found out we were Jersey bound

October:

I drove back across the country seeing Laura along the way.

Lauranandi

I moved back home with my parents (again!) for a few weeks before my marathon.

Kris and I dressed up like Pumpkins for a 10k that I missed my PR by 5 seconds.

krislandi

November:

I ran my first marathon.

menewyorkcity2

I moved to NJ.  After moving to NJ, I took some time off of running and just relaxed and looked jobs for a while.

December:

I haven’t (honestly) done a lot of note worthy things this December.  It’s been just assimilating into NJ and looking for jobs.  I hope I have something to report by the end of the year.  I guess I’ll work on that.

I took photos in the snow.  It counts as productive.
I took photos in the snow. It counts as productive.

I did run my first and only race since the marathon, The Surf and Santa 10 miler.

rareglimpselolz

Thoughts of 2013:

Although 2013 was anything but calm I truly enjoyed the year.  It seemed like it flew by and that I was happier then I have been, especially in the later half of the year.  It seems like I should have been more stressed being jobless and the 4000 miles I drove in 2 months but I wasn’t.  It was a really good year.  I have found the more stressed “I should be” is when I become less stressed.  Little stressors that shouldn’t stress me out often are the worst for me.

Anyways upward and onward to 2014 from here!

Question for you: Most notable thing of 2013? 

2013: January through June

The end of December only means one thing for blogging.  Time to reflect upon the year and see how you have changed (or not) and the excitement of your life.  I can honestly say 2013 was the most crazy year of my life.  Pictures seem to be more interesting then random musings so where we go. Like last year I broke this up into two posts since I need more content and long posts are boring. 

January:

I began my New Years running the Hair of the Dog 5k in a prom dress.  YAY!  (you are supposed to wear last night’s outfit)

mehairofdog

I worked in Oswego.  (It was cold and snowy)

Snow

Awe I miss you Danielle!
Awe I miss you Danielle!

February:

I ran 18 miles with Laura.

I ran the Lake Effect half marathon and met Heather. (and froze!)

merussianhat

March:

I had my first half marathon of the year, Shamrock!

This is from last year when I realized I was about to PR.
This is from last year when I realized I was about to PR.
This is probably the reason my legs locked up post race.
This is probably the reason my legs locked up post race.

April:

I had my current half marathon PR: Nike Women’s half!

nikerunning

Was this the month I ran 20 with you Laura?  I feel like it was my first 20 miler in my life too.

I think this was from that day.  I remember wearing this dingy jacket and complaining about it a lot.
I think this was from that day. I remember wearing this dingy jacket and complaining about it a lot.

May:

I had one last ho-rah with Heather and Laura at a 5k.

Adorable
Adorable

I moved home with my parents.

I broke my first tape in a race.

mebreakingtape1

June:

I worked anywhere from 50-75 hours weekly.  It was awful but I needed to save a good amount of money because of my unsuspecting future.  (Which I needed for sure!).  Sadly I’m not one to take selfies at work.   This was the boring month.  The first half of my year seems pretty tame compared to the second half.

Questions for you: Tell me something about your first 6 months of 2013. 

Hollie Jollie Christmas Part 2

This year was my first Christmas spent away from my parents.  It was a big change but they are actually coming up to visit this week to see our new house so I’m excited about that. 

Since Tim’s birthday was on Saturday, we drove over (neither up nor down…just straight across) to PA on Friday afternoon.  We were lucky he had from Friday afternoon to Thursday am off.  (He has to work today).   Anyways we drove to his parent’s house and I always enjoy seeing them and his entire family.  I’m so lucky they are a part of my life as well as his whole family is so caring and welcoming!

He seemed to have a good birthday on Saturday.  We relaxed, hung out, went for a nice (hilly) run and went to a Japanese hibachi/steak house called Aki.  It was good though I was disappointed (I don’t think he was) that people didn’t come obnoxiously sing happy birthday.  They did give him a piece of cheesecake though with a candle.

timsbirthday

We spent the next few days preparing for Christmas.  Not doing too much but wrapping presents, going for multiple hilly runs and just hanging out.

At the top of a 1000 foot climb
At the top of a 1000 foot climb

We went for some mountain and hilly runs.  I had a very productive week of running while on vacation.  All of our training runs were filled with hills.  Today is a well deserved rest day.

timandirunning

We sat and drank eggnog in front of the fire.

On Christmas Eve, we all decided to go to White tail mountain for some skiing.  By we, I mean Tim and his father went skiing and his mom and I watched and drank starbucks.  Lord knows I’m clumsy without two sticks attached my feet.  It was a lot of fun watching and hanging out and a great way to spend Christmas Eve.

usskiing

Christmas was spent enjoying time and being together.  Tim’s sister has recently had a baby and they came over.  She is too adorable.  Speaking of awesome, look at what Tim’s sister made both Tim and I.  How cool are these coffee mugs?

I actually wrote this post in the car ride back to NJ and then posted it when I got home…look at me go using my time wisely.

Questions for you:

How has your Holiday season been?

Was Santa good to you this year?  

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