Tag Archives: Health

If It Was Easy They’d Let Girls Do It

My left calf muscle is burning, and I rolled out of bed very slowly this morning. But, I completed my first 5K yesterday finishing with a time of 38:31:31 placing 276 out of 463. With only three weeks to get ready for the race, I’m happy with my time although I do want to run a 5K in under 30 minutes.

Interestingly enough, Hoops for Life is the second toughest 5K in state of Missouri due to all the hills that make up the course. I didn’t know this little piece of trivia when I sent in my registration form. Silly me thought the slogan “A Tough Race for a Tough Cause” referred to distance not incline, but I survived!

It seems crazy to go from not running at all to attempting a 5K in just three weeks. I tried to find a training schedule, but all the ones I found were for 9 or 5 weeks. I ended up starting out with the Couch to 5K program only running six days a week instead of three and then the last week running under the Jonny method.

The Jonny method consisted of my younger brother literally running circles around me while he was wearing a weight vest and complaining about having to slowdown his pace. He would then tell me to run when I wanted to walk and say just a little bit more when my legs were screaming. But as my dad says (when he wants to see me get mad) “If it was easy, they’d let girls do it.”

The day of the race was gorgeous. Over 600 walkers and runners, most wearing neon orange shirts, participated to raise money for pediatric brain tumor research in honor of Sahara “Hoops” Aldridge. Sahara’s parents started this 5K after they lost their 13 year old daughter to a malignant brain tumor. While there was so much adrenaline and excitement surrounding the race, I couldn’t help but think how Sahara’s parents would feel after the last runner went home. Yes, thousands of dollars were being raised to help other people’s children, but Sahara was gone. She would have turned 18 this year.

Having the courage to bring something good out of a tragedy is one of the bravest things someone going through grief can do. It is easy to give in to the pain. It’s hard to move forward. I’m sure the families connected to the movie theater shooting in Colorado can attest to this.

Grieving is a lifelong process. There is a lot of attention at the beginning when the pain seems the most intense, but it never fully goes away. You learn to cope, to celebrate, to grow but you can’t ever go back to how it was. It’s a tough race, a daily race with very real pain, but that pain can sometimes turn to hope like it did yesterday when over 600 people’s lives were touched by a girl who most had never met.

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Filed under Contemplations, Grief

Skinny Thanksgiving

Two days after Thanksgiving is a strange time to write about anorexia I know, but it’s been on my mind this week probably because I spent a good portion of the holiday with a box of tissues next to me. My immune system has been down, and it’s my own fault. I haven’t been eating right lately or getting enough sleep—end result, an annoying cold.

It’s not fun having a cold at Thanksgiving. Food just doesn’t taste the same when you can’t smell it, and it’s hard to eat when you can’t breath through your nose. But as I said, I haven’t been eating right lately. Excuse number one—I’ve been busy. When my life gets crazy I compensate at times by skipping meals. When life seems to be out of control. I often lose my appetite and carefully control what I eat. While I’m not sure if I would label myself anorexic, I do have had some anorexic tendencies at times which scares me.

According to the National Eating Disorder Association, 10 million females and 1 million males in America are said to struggle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. When you think about it, anorexia is an ironic illness for this land of plenty, but then again is it really? Anorexia is not as much about food as it is about an internal struggle. The struggle to be beautiful, perfect, and in control. It’s a symptom of an often unseen battle.

It is no great wonder that the lives of so many Americas are touched by this disease. There is so much pressure to always look good, to work hard, and to have life perfectly together. We don’t take time out for siestas, instead we are asked to give one hundred and ten percent all the time. With beauty pageants there is the idea that thin equals beautiful and that same idea is constantly reflected on TV and fashion runways. It’s not about what is healthy; it is about what looks hot.

Ever since jr. high I’ve had people tell me they were jealous of my weight or compliment me on my slender form. In high school I struggled with severe acne. In the back of my mind I always thought, “at least I’m not overweight.” I was determined to keep it that way. It was the one thing I could control.

But just as being overweight is not healthy for your body so is being underweight. 20% of people with anorexia die from complications related to this disease. A sobering statistic seeing as anorexia has become the third most chronic illness among adolescents. But is this really surprising when 50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as being overweight? Think about that 50% for a minute, and if you know a girl who is between that ages of 11 and 13. Tell her she is beautiful just the way she is. It may save her life.

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Filed under Contemplations