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Somewhere between the yellow house I’ve run past a million times and the growing peachy-brightness of the sunrise, I wonder exactly why I’m running. Why do I set my alarm? Why do I lace up my shoes? Why do I step out into the cold and dark of the early morning to run?
For the longest time I was at war with my body. I hated the way it looked. I hated the way I felt in it. So I restricted and starved and obsessed and when I couldn’t keep that up, I binged and purged and ran. I ran to burn off calories. I ran because I felt guilty for what I had eaten. I ran because I wanted to change my body. But what really needed changing was my heart and my mind.
After struggling with anorexia and bulimia for nine years, the things in my mind and heart that needed changing changed. I gave up fighting. I raised the white flag of surrender and ended the war.
It took a while for me and my body to re-learn what it meant to be healthy. I learned what hunger felt like and how to feed that hunger. I let myself feel full and nourished. And for the first time I let myself run without the goal of burning calories or losing weight.
It’s been seven years now that I’ve been free from my past struggles with an eating disorder, and every year my desire to run grows. Running isn’t about the way I look anymore, it’s about what I can do. What this body can do. It’s about nourishing and strengthening and building up my physical body, instead of loathing it and tearing it down. It’s about honing my mind, finding clarity and quieting doubt. It’s about being present in the moment and not lost in obsession. It’s about imagining the impossible and then taking steps towards it. It’s about pushing every fiber of my being to it’s full potential.
I run because I’m finally in a place where I can see exactly what this body can do when I’m working with it instead of against it.