January 23, 2009

From Bulimia to Boston!

For me, running has has become my escape. It is a way to relieve the pent up stress and anxiety and reconnect with myself. When I started running it was, of course, all about losing weight and having a killer body. However, the longer I run, the less my weight seems to matter. The rush of endorphins and the sense of accomplishment far outweigh the cost of energy and effort that my body releases. Maybe for some it is hard to understand exactly how running can transform a life because trust me, I used to feel exactly the same way. I hated exercise in all forms and only did it if I absolutely had to. Eric Lidell, the amazing runner whose story is told in the movie Chariots of Fire, once said, "When I run, I feel God" and I know EXACTLY what he means. There is pleasure in allowing my body to do what it was created to do. For me it was a choice, I could suffer in the lies, fear and destruction of bulimia for the rest of my life or I could pursue something more. I have to be honest and admit that my dream of qualifying for the Boston Marathon only came about after much prompting from my husband. I am blessed to be married to a man who not only understands my obsession with running but also trains hard right along with me and pushes me to do things that I would normally be too afraid to try. His dream is Boston and after countless long runs and tough early morning speed work, it became my dream as well. Not only my dream but my goal. That goal is how I found myself on the starting line of the Shamrock Marathon just one day before my 26th birthday. That morning I found the 3:40 pace group that would allow me to qualify and silently waited with a nervous stomach and hopeful heart. I remember looking down and seeing the stretch marks that signify to me how far I have come in my journey. Trust me when I say that they are not even slightly attractive but what they represent is beautiful. The years of rapid weight gain and loss are over and they remind of what it cost to reach this place of healing. As the starting gun was fired and the race began, I set off on a journey that completely changed how I view myself. I am a Boston Qualifier! That is huge to me! Sure, hundreds and thousands of people have qualified for Boston and each one of them has a story to tell about their journey but I guarantee you that no one has ever been as surprised as me at what I was capable of. Ever since that incredible day, my confidence and self esteem have grown. The pleasure that I found in running has rewarded me with the emotional healing that I craved. After 3 hours and 39 minutes of running, I accomplished my goal and realized that a 25 year old woman with stretch mark scars and low self esteem, is only what I USED to be. Crossing that finish line was a new beginning for me and one I intend to pursue all the way to my next goal...the world championship Hawaii Ironman. Hey, anything is possible. I am living, breathing, running proof of that!

No comments:

Post a Comment