My relationship with running has not always been a positive one. What began as a healthy hobby turned into one of the many ways I inflicted punishment on myself.
I used to look in the mirror and see nothing but imperfection. I wasn’t smart enough. I wasn’t skinny enough. I wasn’t pretty enough. I was too loud, too weird. All of the things that I was and all of the things that I liked weren’t the right things—they weren’t enough. Instead of addressing the root causes of my unhappiness, I threw myself into trying to perfect my physical appearance. I thought if I weighed a certain amount or looked a certain way, I would finally be happy. So if I ate, I ran.
I was so consumed by self-hatred that I struggled with making friends. I feared rejection, so I pushed everyone away. I slowly realized that I was alone because I made it that way. People weren’t rejecting me, I was rejecting them—and worse, I was rejecting myself. It was at that point that I chose to take control of my happiness and my mental health, and I did something I had never done before—I asked for help.
It’s been almost four years since I sought treatment for my eating disorder and I’m ready to rewrite my story with running. I run now because I love it—because it makes me feel alive, strong and resilient. Trying to be all things to all people is draining and there are so many more valuable things to spend time on than worrying about what you look like. Life is messy and that’s what makes it fun!
As a member of the Road Warrior team, I’m excited to share my love of running and my journey to self-acceptance with the community. Because everyone should have access to mental health treatment, regardless of their ability to pay, I’ll be partnering with Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services to raise money for their patient assistance fund as I run. Through this experience, I hope I can help motivate others to get out there and run, embrace their weirdness and to be comfortable in their own skin.