The running track…what used to be my second home for the best part of my teenage years. I started in Year 7, aged 12 and absolutely loved it. I was fast and I just loved running. It became more serious when I was about 14. There was rarely a day in the week when I wasn’t training or competing. I dedicated all my time on focussing on being the best I could be, trying to get personal bests to help me achieve my ultimate goal of becoming a professional athlete. That was the dream. But instead I became a professional anorexic. That is the nightmare.
If I wanted to be a professional athlete I had to train harder, I had to run faster and that is where anorexia started to creep in (although I didn’t know it at the time). Ultimately, if I wanted to run faster I had to be thinner. So, from the age of 14, striving to become the professional athlete, my weight loss attempts began. Athletics and running weren’t fun anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I had a brilliant training group with lovely people and I did occasionally get the odd P.B., but niggling away in the back of my mind was that constant desire to lose weight and be thinner. And obviously, it’s very difficult to train efficiently when you have barely eaten all day. But to me, the only reason I was running badly was because I was too fat.
I’d always hoped that when I went to university, I would get the good coaching that I needed and I would be free to lose the weight I needed which would set me on my way to achieving the dream. But the nightmare became a living hell. Over the course of the 8 months I was at university, I progressively lost more and more weight and my running became worse and worse. It was torture. I hated it. How could my running be getting worse when I was losing weight? The more I could feel my dream slipping away, the more I slipped into the nightmare. Eventually, it didn’t matter that I couldn’t run well anymore because I could be thin instead. The running and athletics simply became a way to burn calories, although by the end I couldn’t physically run anymore. My identity as an athlete was gone and the following years in hospital developed my identity as an anorexic.
|The home of the running track|