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Lake Effect Series Final Wrap Up

I am sad this is the last post regarding the Lake Effect Series.  I have had nothing but a great time fundraising and spreading awareness for Eating Disorders.  The support I received from friends and family as well as strangers has been overwhelming.  I will truly never forget this experience.

Before the race Ophelia’s Place shared that this race contributes 10% of their annual budget.  Every single dollar and donation truly does make a difference.  It is so hard for me to believe that together we raised 2500 dollars. There were over 70 donors.  Wow! 

Left to right: Heather, Laura, me, Brittany

Left to right: Heather, Laura, me, Brittany

 

If you haven’t already please go read some or all of the incredible stories.  These stories are truly amazing and show the incredible courage and bravery of the authors.  They will always remain on my blog under the “reads” section.

After adding everyone into the giveaway (donors, story sharers and those who shared the link to the giveaway or stories) I came up with 3653 entries to the giveaway!  I drew the numbers from random.org and ended up with these.

The race director and I

The race director and I

Without further ado here are the winners and thank you again.

KIND BARS: 2912 The Writer of the post “Binge Eating”(anonymous)

Pocket Fuel and Energy Bits 2355 Package 1: Jacqueline Klayman

Pocket Fuel and Energy Bits 1037 Package 2: Mike Post

Lindsay’s Healthy Bites: 962 Alex at Runwithin

Allie’s Hearty Handful Granola:  1202 Ashley Fincher

**Please email me and I will connect you as appropriate.

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Summary:

This whole experience was eye opening for me. It truly made me realize that we do possess the ability to make a change or a difference.  Every dollar donated, whether it was 1 dollar or 100 added up to 2500 dollars.  I can honestly say this was one of my biggest accomplishments in my life. I truly cannot thank the support of family, friends, readers and anonymous donors.  It was a great experience for me and I am truly glad that I ran this race.  To answer your question: I do plan to run the Lake Effect Half Marathon every year I am close enough to Upstate NY.

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No questions today.  I just want to express how truly grateful I am for all the support from every single person. 

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Lake Effect Series: Dear Diary

Note from Hollie: This was sent to me by Sophie.  Thank you Sophie for sending me this and it’s a truly inspirational story. 

There is still time to donate.  Yesterday we reached 2231 dollars, every single dollar donated will be put to good use.  Thank you.  Thank you everyone for donating and sharing these stories.  I truly cannot believe that that the race is 2 days away.  I’m actually traveling to NY as you are reading this!  Finally don’t forget you can enter the giveaway by sharing any of the stories, giveaway link, fundraising link or anything involved.  Just let me know you did! 

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As many of you already know, I battled disordered eating, from puberty until my hospitalization in 2005. My official diagnosis was Anorexia – purging type. I would restrict calories and purge the calories I did consume with excessive exercise and/or vomiting. The disease evolved in the 15 years I battled it – making a transition in my early 20’s to full-on binge eating disorder then, back to anorexia again in my mid 20’s. There are so many reasons a person succumbs to such a disease. There’s much research and plenty of theories – none of which I feel like engaging you in with this blog entry. Mental illness is a very difficult topic because there are just too many factors – here are mine:

I was the oldest of two children born to 17 year old high school students. My parents married, got jobs in the local car factory, and did the best they could to support their young family. My mother was born into (and had in a sense escaped, when she became pregnant with me) a heavily toxic family as the oldest of 6 children. Sexual and physical abuse as well as alcoholism, were part of her daily existence as a child. My father was the 2nd oldest of 5 children born to a hard working family with a very emotionally unavailable mother. They raised their children the only way they knew how. My mother knew absolute instability, neglect, and abandonment – and my father knew how to disassociate. This was the perfect storm.

I was the oldest of 2 children and spent my entire childhood trying to keep my emotionally unstable mother happy so she didn’t fly off in a rage and abuse my brother – because when she did, I was powerless. In order to do this I had to keep my brother on his best behaviour and my father happy so he was always in a good mood. Even at the age of 6 I understood that my safety and the safety of my little brother, was in my hands entirely. As you can imagine, this didn’t work. My brother still suffered from my mother’s rage, my father still left, and I was still scrambling to pick up the pieces.

No one ever gave me this role but it was not a conscious decision that I would be the keeper to this household. I just fell into this place because of my basic survival instincts as a little girl. I learned that if I was one step ahead of everyone else, I would be safe. So, my quest for perfection began when I was 6, when my brother’s abuse began.  I was doing dishes, laundry, vacuuming, dusting, and making beds from the age of 6 to 8. By 9 I was left to take care of my brother while my parents worked, and I was in charge of cooking. I started babysitting other people’s children at that age for extra cash as well because it angered my mother when I asked for money for things for school – like pencils, erasers, new shoes. I learned that being perfect was absolutely critical to my safety.

Eventually when my dad left and my mother had nothing to be angry with me for, she started picking on my appearance. I was entering puberty and I was gaining weight, which became her focus. I would be so pretty if only I lost weight. I would be a better baseball player if only I lost weight. I would be a better… you get the point. So did I. The message was loud and clear.

My relationship with my mother would continue to be based purely on my productivity and accomplishments as I grew – and I tried to love her anyway. What I did not do however, was try to love myself. My identity was built and by hitting rock bottom with my eating disorder I was finally given permission to look at why and how that identity was killing me, slowly. I recovered in 2005 and went on to work tirelessly on rebuilding my self-worth and giving myself permission to find ME. I am now a successful entrepreneur with two businesses that allow me to embrace my two biggest passions: childcare, and fitness. I am a mother to an incredible little boy who is an absolute JOY to love, and I am a competitive bodybuilder. In spite of the rocky start and the rock bottom plummet, I am here, happy, enjoying discovering all of who I am and what the Universe has in store for me. This is the reason I decided it was time to share my experience.

Over the years I have kept a journal. Recently I came across the journal I kept while I was at the peak of my illness. While I understand the depth of my experience I was now reading these journal entries from a healthy mind, and I was absolutely floored with what I read. I want to share some of my entries with you. They are from the mind of a girl in her mid-20’s who has only the buds of consciousness that her lack of self-worth is controlling her drive to…kill herself for perfection.

Entry #1

Sometimes, like tonight, I want to stop. I picture myself as a bystander, watching this pathetic 26 year old ram her hand down her throat to remove the filth she swallowed. I see the superficial things like the mucus dripping from her nose and the strained blood vessels around her eyes, and the fear of failing to succeed at getting it all out – all of what? Food? Shame? Regret? Maybe all of the above. I see the filth all over her hand, the raw skin on her knuckles from her teeth as she pushes harder into her mouth – more frantic as time passes to get it all out. Regret kicks in, turns to shame and self pity. I see all this in my mind. What do I do with this image? Nothing usefull – clearly. I suppose I store it in my reserve pile of shame. Chances are, I won’t require it, there’s enough to go around. I want to stop, a little. I want to keep doing it more than I want to stop. I want to be skinny more than I want to stop. I see the health risks but I see them as “far away” and for those to will do this forever. I don’t see myself doing this forever. But I think I will.

Entry #2

I can’t tell him that I purge up to 6x a day, that I purge even vegetables. That I feel so unbearably alone. That I feel like no one would give a crap if I disappeared. That I take handfuls of laxatives, that I compare myself to every single person I see. That I hate myself. I hate my body, my face, my laugh, my voice, my thoughts, my dreams, I hate everything. I beg God to take me almost daily. I pray my suffering will end because I can’t end my struggle alone. I don’t have the strength to go on. How do I say that? So I don’t. I keep it all inside where I hope it will dissolve but I know it never will. One day I hope to look back on these entries in shock. Completely shocked by my words. But for now, they are mine, and all I have. My head hurts, I have to sleep. I’m too hungry to stay awake.

Entry #3

6lbs down. I swear to you that was the most beautiful thing I could ever see. I want to lose 8lbs more before I see the doctor at the hospital. How sad that I feel I need to be a better anorexic to deserve treatment, much less a diagnosis. I want to be a better, more successful anorexic. It’s insane but I can’t help it.

Entry #4

I had my assessment today with the Regional Treatment Center. After all the questionnaires and my interview with the head psychiatrist I’m told “You’re very ill and we recommend hospitalization”. Apparently I’m in a category of individuals who suffer from cardiac arrest and it’s a matter of time until I have a heart attack. You know, I honestly thought I was going to hear  “you’re not too far gone, we’ll set you up with a self-help plan”. Instead she repeated all the statements I made that stood out to her and explained how they reflect the views of a seriously ill person.  All I could think as she was saying all this was “but i’m STILL FAT! I still have fat on my stomach and thighs – can’t you see that?”

Lastly, if something does happen to me in my quest for thin, I hope my family forgives my selfishness. I’m afraid this may hurt me. Maybe not kill me, but i’m aware that it isn’t good. I know it’s selfish and vain but I can’t live without my ED. I don’t know how to undo 27 years of filth and shame.

Entry #5

The thing about anorexia that continues to shake me is that an otherwise intelligent educated woman can be convinced (by herself of all people) that she is hideous and unlovable. I can honestly say that I hate myself. No amount of weight loss can change that. I don’t like myself enough to feed myself. I feel unworthy of the food I put in my mouth, and once it’s in my stomach for any length of time I get a sudden fear that I don’t deserve what I just ate, and I purge it. Lately, even water. That’s a fucking sickness for you.

Entry #6

When things started to get tough in my life I just started to focus on destroying myself. I run twice a day, sprints in the morning, and a steady-state run in the evening – all on less than 600 calories a day. Every time I run, I pray to collapse. I realize the only way I could stop is if I died and I could only die if it happened to me. I couldn’t end my own life any other way. I desperately want it to end.

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As you can see this girl needed help in the biggest way and while she saw it – she didn’t want to acknowledge it. She was so far gone that she didn’t feel worthy of the help. The story ended happily but so many do not. There are hundreds of men and women on waiting lists to get into recovery centers like I did – some die on that waiting list. Death from starvation is one thing, but death from starvation of self-love is entirely another. No one should suffer from that, much less die from it.

If you take nothing else from this story, I want you to remember that there is absolutely nothing you cannot do with self-love.  As you can see from my story, I was not granted self-love – I had to build it – and I had to hit rock bottom to even understand the work that needed to be done in order to attain it. I work on it even now, daily – and I will never stop because that is my birthright – as it is yours <3.

Thank-you.

On Monday evening it happened.  Together we reached raising $2,000+ for Ophelia’s place.  I sat there in shock, in amazement and overall wow.  I don’t think I have been more proud or excited about something.  After realizing the significance of how much we have raised, I cried.  Good and happy crying but I just sat there crying.

opheliasplace1

I cannot thank each and every person for donating, for sharing their story and for sharing this series with others.  Not only have we fundraised but we have raised awareness. With only 2 weeks until the Lake Effect Half Marathon, I am getting more and more excited.  I am excited to run my heart out for such a good and rewarding cause.

So thank you. 

Thank you for sharing your story.

Thank you for donating.

Thank you for supporting Ophelia’s Place.

Thank you for supporting me.

opheliasplace2 opheliasplace5 opheliasplace4 opheliasplace3

 

With over 2,000 dollars raised and the primary goal met, the sky is the limit.  If you have a story you would like to share or would like to donate please don’t hesitate!  There is still over two weeks to continue building awareness and fundraising.  If you or a loved one has a story to share my blog is always open.

I cannot believe 61 people donated and together we raised 2,035 dollars.  Stay tuned because next week a few companies have sent me products to raffle off for those donating.  I’m really excited to have companies supporting this cause too!

No questions today, words can never truly express how thankful I am.

Lake Effect Series Roundup

Lindsay at Lean Green Bean is putting together a pinterest post.  I don’t do a lot of link ups but this was another great way to bring more awareness to eating disorders and the fundraising campaign.  As most people know, my next goal race, the Lake Effect Half Marathon is being run for charity.  The charity Ophelia’s Place, is an inpatient eating disorder center.  My goal is to raise 2000 dollars by February 23rd.  I cannot believe it is getting so close! I know I say in every post related to the Lake Half Marathon and Lake Effect Series but the amount of support whether it’s through comments or sharing your story, donating or sharing…the amount of support is absolutely great.  It does not feel as though I have

It’s hard to see such a dangerous topic get little awareness.  I can’t tell you how many people have sent me an email or message thanking me for creating this series or bringing a little bit more awareness.  It honestly isn’t me, it’s the entire community.  So thank you.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected such a powerful rally.

I’m exactly 400 dollars away from my huge goal of raising 2000 dollars!  If you are interested in sharing or donating, please don’t hesitate.  I know Ophelia’s Place would put it to get great use. 

Here are five stories I decided to reshare.  You can read all of them here.

Disordered Eating and Blogging

The writer suffered from disordered eating and what is normal.  After shutting down their blog and realizing they were comparing themselves they have fully recovered.

foodguidepyramid

A Sisters Point of View

The writer shares about her sister who suffered from an eating disorder.  It is a unique viewpoint, often times we hear from the person diagnosed but reading about how it affected the family is also truly heartbreaking.

ednos

Bulimia-

The writer shares her story to binging and purging her food.  “I had always sworn to myself that I would NEVER stoop low enough to vomit, but it was inevitable.”

factoid

Binge Eating-

A collegiate runner shares her struggle with binge eating.  After several years and constant yo yo dieting, she was able to fully recover and are now training for a 5k.

bingeeatingdisorder

EDNOS-

Laura talks about her struggles with life and how stress related to her disordered eating.

If you are interested in sharing your story, please don’t hesitate to email me.  No story is too strong, too powerful, too vague, too short or too long.  I can guarantee you someone has felt the same way.

Question for you: What causes or charities are close to your heart?

Lake Effect Series: Binge Eating

When Hollie reached out to me to write an article I immediately had to write something up.  Though I have been a few years removed from my “demons” they will always be there.  I’ll give you a little bit of background about me though.

I am a 26 year old runner.  I’m 5’5 and 118 pounds.   I’m now married and am holding down a full time job.  I guess that is all you really need to know for the story.

It all began in college.  I was a runner and had the dream of running at NCAA nationals.  Though I was a D3 runner, my zone was pretty tough competition and on a cross country course you had to be running 5:50 miles.  I was at the cusp of this and running 5:55 miles on difficult courses.  I had been doing everything my coach wanted me to do.  I had logged miles, perfected my speed work and my body felt as it should (it was sore on cue and I had fresh legs on cue). I was never underweight and at that time I weighed 125 pounds.

125 pounds is not underweight for my stature and I had very little muscle.  I was a typical cross country girl.  I was built like a rail or a middle school aged boy.  I had a little bit of insulation but not too much.  Since I was doing everything else my coach asked and not breaking through my plateau I started to diet.  Not in a very restricting way but in a way to come down to the lowest possible weight for my height. (112 pounds).  I would still be in the “healthy” category.  I didn’t want to drop weight too quickly because I feared I would lack energy for running.  I just wanted this weight at the regional competition and then I would go back up.  I didn’t care about weight to look good or because I had poor body image, I wanted a lower weight to be faster.  Of course I did this all behind my coaches back.  I don’t know if he would have agreed but I didn’t want to rupture our relationship.

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For the first few weeks it went according to plan.  After about a month I was 118 and I felt stronger than ever.  I also was getting faster and everything felt easier.  Then in the second month I started to take everything for granted.  I thought losing weight was easy and I was starting to miss eating more junk food.  It wasn’t that I ever ate a lot of junk food to begin with but mentally I felt like I was missing out.   I wanted more food and I began to crave everything I wasn’t eating.

One day I was at the grocery store picking up a few things and I thought the fresh baked cookies looked really good.  I bought two of them and headed home.  I ate them both on the way home in the car.  It wasn’t a big deal at all.  I was treating myself for such a great workout, treating myself because I hadn’t for a while.  Just treating myself.  I hadn’t avoided treats at all and treated myself a few times throughout my month of “dieting”.

But when I got home I immediately felt guilty.  I felt like my world had come crashing down and I began crying hysterically.  Everything had gone wrong and I wasn’t going to make it to nationals because of these cookies.  My day was ruined.  What happened next doesn’t even make sense to the outside eye but I went back to the grocery store.  I bought a dozen cookies and a cookie cake.  Roughly 3000 calories and I devoured it all in the car.  I couldn’t stop myself and it was like I was addicted and someone was forcing me to eat this food.

I didn’t vomit or puke it up.  I never suffered from bulimia.  I suffered from binge eating disorder. 

I have never had as low self esteem as the morning after and feeling bloated and asking myself what did I do?  I weighed myself and weighed 126.  Did I gain 8 pounds in one night?  Impossible.  My workout that day suffered and I couldn’t even hold a 6:30 pace on the track (which is huge considering I was able to normally hold 5:30 pace for 400 repeats).  Within a few days my weight and body went back to normal and I stopped weighing myself daily.  I was back at 118.

That must have been a trigger of “oh you can do this and stay at that weight”.  I ended up binging 2000-5000 calories several more times during the season.  I couldn’t force myself to throw up.  So I sat in empty parking lots cramming as much food into my stomach until I couldn’t anymore.  Once I felt sick I went to bed.  It gave me the same similar high that running did.

I decided not to weigh myself the rest of the season.  I felt my self esteem going downhill quickly.  I felt lethargic half the time at practice.  I couldn’t tell anyone.  I wasn’t weighing myself because I was always bloated from binging. I figured if I did what I did my very first binging session and ate well the week before regionals I would be fine.

I would make it nationals and feel great. 

I don’t know what oblivious world I was living in though.  I began weighing myself during the week up to Regionals.  My first weigh in I was 138.  138?!  I had never weighed that much in my life.  I figured it was water weight and bloat.  The day of regionals I weighed 133.  That doesn’t seem like a lot but I had gained 14 pounds in a month and not realized it.  I had simply thought it was water weight.

Regionals came and I ran a 5:58 paced race.  I missed nationals by roughly 25 places (in a 300 person field).  I ran a slower pace than the very first race of the season.  This was an extremely flat and fast course on a perfect day.  If it had been the first races conditions I would have ran closer to 6:10.

After that race and several cries I realized I was not in control of my life.  I decided I was never going to binge again but that was short lived.  I binge ate off and on for 2 years until I was 25. I told no one.  I lived alone.  I was in a viscous cycle of binging and then dieting. I cycled weights from 120-140.

I wish I could tell you about a magical moment I had to stop.  The moment came when one day I decided I was done with this aspect of my life.  I wanted to get my life into control.  I had said that multiple times but for some reason this was the time.  So at age 25 and one month I stopped.  I haven’t binged since and I never want to again.

After a few years of poor runs and even poorer self esteem resulting, I’m finally able to run and enjoy myself.  I’m finally getting the personal bests that I sabotaged myself from the last few years.  I am the person I want to be.  Though I was never officially diagnosed with a problem, it’s obvious that I had disordered eating that led to a 3 year eating disorder.

Where am I now?

I am currently training for 5ks to redeem myself from my college days.  Not a day goes by I don’t regret buying those cookies and opening up that door.  A door that I could not overcome until I grew and became more confident in myself.  Though I regret it, I know it helped me grow.  I am a happy, successful person and can say that I have truly never been happier.  I am glad I made the promise and followed through of never binging again.

I often think about eating cookies and cake but right now I fear that one cookie by myself will lead me down this path.  Instead I go out to eat and get dessert with friends.  When the meal is done, we leave.  I haven’t been triggered since although I haven’t put myself into situations that I feel I might be triggered.

I hope no runner or person every struggles through this.  Thank you for reading my story.  Thank you Hollie for putting this series together and running for this cause.  Every small amount of money raised counts and is used, just as every small amount of awareness is taken by someone and used.  So thank you and have a Happy Holidays.

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