I had tried to run from time to time, always with the attitude of forcing myself through treadmill time. Needless to say, I was miserable with this approach. After my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time, we decided to train for a marathon together once she was in remission.
Even though my mom and I lived in separate states, we came up with a training plan that both of us worked on and in January 2008, we both completed our first marathons. I came across the finish line hurting. I had been battling anorexia and was not fueled properly for this challenge. But accomplishing that goal sparked something inside me, and I knew I had found a new love. I decided to start my blog, Jill Will Run, to share this love with friends and family. Since I had been blogging since 2001, it was my natural way to communicate with people. Jill Will Run has connected me to a whole new realm of runners and friends all over the world!
I started eating more and went on to complete my second marathon later on that year. I was doing better, but wasn’t back to where I should be. Eating disorders are tricky beasts and frequently need outside care for full recovery. Just eating more is not the solution; there is a lot of emotional work that needs to be done. When I attempted my third marathon I earned a "Did Not Finish," (DNF) when I tripped during the race and ended up getting stitches in my chin. The DNF depressed me, sending me back into my eating disorder.
Fortunately, I didn’t spiral too far down that slide before recognizing that I needed help. I checked myself into an eating disorder treatment center. For 10 weeks, I was in the intensive outpatient program and for the following two years I continued to receive regular treatment through visits with a therapist, dietitian and support group.
I never stopped running during this time because it was something that truly helped me feel confident and strong and beautiful (though I did scale back my mileage). I’ve completed numerous races from 5Ks to half-marathons. I look forward to running another marathon someday, but I want to do it when I feel both physically and mentally ready to tackle that goal. I’m getting there!
I continue to blog about running, reviewing running gear, sharing my stories, being an advocate for positive body image, and trying to change the negative messages that are so prevalent in our society about the magnificent human form! Knowing we are always capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for is what pushes me through a variety of tough situations!