To run or not to run.

That is a big question when you’re in recovery from anorexia. Do I run? Do I not?

Throughout my life, I have gone through what I call “running spurts”, where I run quite a bit (most days) to really not at all. Since living in Seattle for the past 11 years, I basically run from July-September with a FEW other occasions in the year thrown in. This is due to my great distaste for Seattle weather (outside of July-September).

Exercise has really been a small part of my overall anorexia experience. From January – May, I would guess I ran a handful of times…so the frequency was not the problem. My rationale or reason for running, though, was a huge problem. I did what is called “compensatory exercise”, or to make up for something (eating 800-1000 calories that day instead of 600). That’s it, no other reason.

If you’re not familiar with Seattle weather, here’s the deal:

  • There are two seasons: Wet and Gray (October-June) and Perfection (July-September).
  • Wet & Gray season hovers around 40-50 degrees for 9 months with little sunshine. Perfection season is about 70-80 degrees, almost entirely sunny.
  • Important: I’m from South Texas. I think being cold in May and June is downright STUPID. I do not like to exercise outside in Wet & Gray season.

So, in late June I discharged from residential. FREEDOM to run! Shortly after, Perfection season started. DESIRE to run!

Problem: My doctor and dietitian veto exercise for me. Remember my breakthrough a couple of weeks ago? Well, that was a direct result of my dietitian requiring me to see the doctor after my weight dipped and I fainted, and the doctor saying that in three weeks out of res, I had managed to get my heart back to the craptastic state it was in when I started treatment back in early April. All that = NO EXERCISE.

But I’m eating the 1500 calories a day. And it’s PERFECTION season. I feel a NEED to run, and the reasons why are not so clear.

First of all, LOOK at my running view:

View of Olympic Mountains from Golden Gardens Park


View of Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound from Sunset Hill
Another of the view from Sunset Hill because…it’s freaking gorgeous.

So. I’ve had this inner (and outer, with my treatment team) conversation about whether or not I should be running. And the answer is…I have no idea.

Some days, it truly feels like I want to run for the sheer enjoyment of this beautiful place at the best time of the year. I  love feeling strong and competing with myself to be able to run faster or longer distances. I love being outside after NOT wanting to be outside for so long. I love being ALONE to run, instead of pushing a stroller around Green Lake. I get to listen to MY music and think about what I want to think about. #notoddlersallowed #mommystrong sometimes means #mommyalonetime

But other days, it’s clearly part of my eating disorder. Yesterday, we did the big challenge. McDonald’s. So of course, I knew I had to run an hour after to get rid of it. I contemplated going another 30 minutes but didn’t. One step forward, one step back = recovery. I had a kickball tournament last weekend, and with Green Lake right there and #notoddler and #nohusband I ran around the lake between games, then felt I was “okay” to eat one of the burgers my team was grilling.

The compensatory part of exercise is definitely sometimes there. But so is the pure enjoyment of movement and strength and nature.

To run or not to run. I have not decided how to answer the question. Meanwhile, I keep running.

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