The seven continent marathon fever
Four hours of gymnastics practice 5-6 days a week kept me effortlessly thin through most of high school. At the end of my junior year of high school I quit gymnastics and went to Holland as an exchange student for 5 months. I was blessed with a wonderful host family who liked to eat wonderful food. I came home 3 inches and 20 pounds heavier. Back at home I realized that I would be missing a big opportunity if I didn’t take try to take advantage of potential college scholarships for gymnastics and vowed to get back in the gym. It felt like a completely new sport with my larger, and out of shape, body. So I turned to crash dieting and excessive exercise to try and get myself back in competitive shape. Over the course of the next year I lost the 25 pounds I had gained, and then an additional 15 pounds. At 5′ 2′ I weighed just 85 pounds.
I started college and realized that I was miserable. I didn’t want to be a competitive gymnast anymore. I wanted my life back. Over the next two years I regained the weight by starting to eat again. But continuing to exercise was also an important part of my recovery. It gave me a sense of control over my body. I came to love the clean feeling I got from running. I made some of my best friends in college through the running club and went on some wonderful adventures. I realized that I liked to exercise because it was fun, not just because it burned calories.
Ten years later, running, biking, and triathalons are integral to my identity and are tied to some of the best experiences of my life. While working on my master’s I got to go Ghana to run a health clinic. My early morning runs helped me to bond with the community and see a part of the country that I never would have otherwise. I went to Antarctica to run a marathon and got caught up in the 7 continent marathon fever. Having this goal helps keep me centered and give my running a purpose.