Acceptance, Willingness, and Committed Action

12 weeks into treatment and this fact becomes more clear to me every day: There are 3 components involved with change- Accepting that it's necessary, being willing to make a change, and committing to do and following through on it.  It's tough as hell. Acceptance:

Everyday I become more accepting of the fact that I will likely struggle with an eating disorder for the rest of my life. However, I don't have to let it rule me and can be in control of my actions.  I accept that my eating disorder is an evil thing that will sneak in at any moment and attempt to sabotage my efforts at recovery.  As hard as it is to admit this, it's what is going to make recovery possible for me.  5 years ago I entered treatment for the first time at the age of 20 with the belief that "I'm going to walk out of the door of this facility completely recovered and never think about me eating disorder again." Well, that certainly wasn't the case was it?  It would be inaccurate for me to think this is something that will go away, however, I know that I can lead a life that will provide the tools and strength to get through this and live a life based on values, hope, and free of darkness.

I can also accept that I do deserve a life that is free of guilt, shame, and loneliness. I accept that some days it will be very hard, but I also know that some days it will be easier.  We all deserve a life like that and it's in our human rights to be happy. But we don't have to be happy all the time; life includes feelings of sadness, happiness, love, and heartbreak.  And we need to accept that.


Lately, the willingness piece has been more difficult.  Yes, I want to get better and beat this (and I am), but often the thoughts do come in that want a return to my old, comfortable, predictable life.  I've been contemplating this blog post for a few days without knowing where to start.  I noticed that if anyone else asked me to do something for them, that I would do it as fast and as best that I could without thinking about it.  However, when it comes time to do something for myself, it's an entire different ball game and there's a realization that I don't think I am as important.  It took committing to my therapist and my peers here that I would post and update this week.

In preparing to update though, I saw pictures of my old self at swim practice and sooo terribly wanted that body back.  My eating disorder told me immediately that I could do all the things I have been working on here- flexibility, social interaction, love, friendship, spontaneity- and still get that body back.  My dietician helped me see, however, that, no, I couldn't. Undernourished, fatigued, and unhappy, my body would not be able to feed my mind enough to let me do those things.  Hence why, as hard as I tried to beat this eating disorder by myself, I wasn't able to do.

I'll be straight up, I've reached my "maintenance weight", which is significantly more than I weighed when I entered treatment 12 weeks ago. Does this petrify me?  Absolutely.  Everyone I know has only known me as I used to look. No one has seen me at a normal weight then lose weight and then return from treatment back at a normal weight. I am incredibly scared of coming back and being judged for how I look--that I will no longer have an identity; no longer be "the athlete" or "the kid with the eating disorder." I am also scared of how to reintroduce exercise without being sucked back into it as I was before.  I am willing to try though.  And I will succeed. Breaking the connections of food and exercise is tough for me; that I have to earn and deserve food in order to be able to enjoy it.  However, being here has greatly helped me with that.  I am now able to lift weights a few times a week and will begin to reintroduce cardio next week.  On the days I don't workout though, there's still no choice that I need to eat all my meals and snacks.

I also realize that I was giving food an immense amount of power.  Literally, the only source of "happiness" on many days came from my dinner and being able to eat it.  But in order to feel like I deserved it, it took sacrifice throughout the day and obsessive amounts of exercise.  That's why it was so hard for me to do activities that would threaten a meal that I had earned, because if something else got in the way of it, what then would I be able to find happiness in? It also prevented me from being truly present with friends- fully engaged and I'm sure made me less fun to be around.  I hadn't seen this need to avoid loneliness by restricting and exercise, as those would make me not feel "left out" because it gave me an excuse of something that I had to anyway.  A necessary obligation to "train and eat right"

Committed Action:

I am committed beating this.  100%, no doubt, absolutely.  I am incredibly unhappy with my body- Coming in, I had this fear that I was just a shallow and vain person for thinking that this was all just a stifling fear of becoming fat. Just having that fear that I am shallow has shown me that there is more to this than just surface appearance. I have been digging deeper and don't have a definitive answer yet, but I know large maintaining factors are feeling accepted as an athlete and a way to not feel lonely.

Part of the committed actions I make are to view and thank my body what it can do; to view my body as instrument, not adornment. I now have the ability to build muscle and get stronger, be more present, function more healthily, and think more clearly.  I can take up hockey again and enjoy or go mountain biking and have the energy to make it through a day.  I also can now let myself take the adventures or go on the trips which the eating disorder prevented me from doing. I'm not just going to walk out cured, but I have the skills to make change happen.

The most anxiety still comes from seeing people I haven't seen in 3 months and returning looking completely different. Yes, it's going to be noticeable and how do I deal with that? Especially with people who never knew I had an eating disorder.  I also need to draw lines between those who I'm accountable to, and those can support me. I had given too much responsibility to friends and strained relationships because of that.

Committing to be willing is the hardest part in all but it the most significant part of change.  To make change you can't just go through the motions, but, as I've said before, you've got to be willing to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

Thanks for reading

Welcome to Augusta

Swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, run 13.1 miles…. Spend countless hours getting people to understand this was only a HALF Ironman…

Without a doubt, IRONMAN put on amazing events.  A half Ironman (70.3) triathlon is going to be the same distance wherever you go, but each is put on by a different company.  IRONMAN is basically the gold standard (the overall company that holds the infamous Ironman Championships in Kona) of triathlon.  This was my 2nd Ironman event (I raced in Austin 70.3 last year) and the set up was once again top-notch.  This was my first Ironman racing in for Team Apex which was cool.

This was the biggest half Iron man ever put on according to the race directors and there were about 3,180 finishers!  That’s a ton of people to organize… not to mention the friends and family that came with them!

The race went well for me.  The conditions were overcast and humid to start, and then the sun came out in full force right at the time I started the run.

I set a PR on the swim, but honestly I just have to chalk it up and maybe compare it next year—the swim was in a river with the current and was literally just straight.  My stroke felt good, although I did not feel as fast as I would have liked, but it felt better than it ever has in the past.  Really tried to focus on having my arms reach straight out instead of crossing over and also focused on shoulder and hip rotation.  Making progress!  My swim time was around 31:00.

Before I knew it, the swim was over and I was running up a steep dock to the transition area.  There were wetsuit strippers at the top waiting for us (no, unfortunately  this was not strippers in wetsuit like I thought when I first heard of this a year ago in Austin) and they helped me rip my wetsuit off.  I also used to tips I saw at Wildflower and stripped my goggles and cap and shoved them in my sleeve.

Transition went smooth, hopped on the bike and was off.  The ride was relatively rolling with no major hills, but a constant smattering of them.  Talking with my coaches, I’m considering pounding harder on the bike and trying to gain ground there and seeing what it does to my run.  The bike was perfectly measures and I finished in 2:50:00, averaging 19.7mph, which is alright.

The run was rough!  I set out at 6:30-ish min/mile pace but for some reason it was just hard.  It began to get hot and there were a lot of people on the course.  I spent most of my time passing people, but it was one of those races I spent yelling at myself to run faster and couldn’t wait to be done.  The fans were great though, and I was never so zoned out that I couldn’t wink at a few cute Georgia girls along the course.

I slowly watched my pace slow even though I felt like I was pushing harder than ever.  I ended up running a 1:30:08 (not sub 1:30, damnit!) which comes out to a 6:53 min/mile pace.  Not good enough for me, I’ll be honest.  It’s funny when you tell your mom that and she says, “Oh, that is slow for you.”  Lol thanks mom ; )

Overall I was happy.  I went sub 5 hours and did a 4:59:27. I finished 150th of 3,179 overall, and 29/189 in my age group.  Even with the 1:30:08 run, I still had the 30th fastest run split which was better than many of the pros so that was cool to know I was still fast RELATIVE to the other times.

Tons of improvement room, but and awesome race!

Post race, there was a massage school and I got an awesome rub down.  This was good since I now I had an 8 hour drive ahead of me back to Tampa.  I hopped in the car, slammed a HoneyMilk, picked my bike up and hit the long drive home bundled up in all my Zensah recovery gear lol.

The rest of this year is filled with pretty high-profile races.  After the Nations Tri 2 weeks ago, the Ironman 70.3 this week, I am racing the Disney World Half marathon on Saturday NIGHT (10PM?!), then HalfRev3 in South Carolina the next week (another huge race production company), and to end the 5 weeks, the Men’s Health Urbanathlon Chicago!

Anyone going to be at or NEAR any of these races?  Especially Disney World this week—anyone know of any Sunday cycling groups?

Again, this all culminates with ITU Worlds on November 5th.  I found a pretty baller triathlete here in Tampa and am making him get me ready for the hills on the bike between now and then ha.

Thanks for reading guys!  I’ll have some more actually interesting posts later this week!

  1. Have you been to Disney World?  If so, favorite resort, ride, and restaurant?
  2. What  have you found to be positive about this week?

The Nations Triathlon: Dry-land in DC

No really—I wanted to swim!  As shocking as that sounds coming from me, I was incredibly bummed when I found out the swim portion of the Nations Tri this past Sunday would be cancelled.  Due to the hurricane, the second hurricane that kept the aforementioned hurricane stuck on land pounding DC, and the earthquake, the Potomac River was a mess of debris and runoff.  I have been working weekly with my swim coach though, and wanted to see what kind of changes this may have on my stroke.

I was so bummed, I almost backed out of this race and thought about heading down to Williamsburg to race the Patriots Half Ironman.  However, I would have had to figure out how to get my bike there, how to get it back, all the other travel arrangements, but the biggest reason I didn’t was that the Half Ironman was on Saturday not Sunday and I just didn’t have time to work everything out.

But I’m really glad I stuck with the Nations Tri, and Olympic distance race—it was a blast.  Over 3,900 people were in the race and the entire event was huge.  The format was done in the same way as the swim waves would start—every 15 seconds letting about 15 people run into transition based on your age group.  It was a mess of corrals, but when my group went off, we sprinted into transition, grabbed our bikes and gear, and headed out.  My new tri shoes and pedals from Exustar are awesome and made a huge difference in my transition time!

The bike was pretty fast with some rolling hills and was very crowded due to the starting format.  It made the course much like an Ironman race where there are just so many people.  I wouldn’t say that there was any drafting, but definitely a lot passing and riding near people.  I felt like the entire “out” portion of the course was downhill and was nervous that the entire return would be uphill… but I guess I was mistaken since coming back was just as fast if not better!  My overall bike split for the 40k was 1:06:17, which was over 22 mph.  I was really pleased with this—love that Felt!

**Scary side note—proceed reading with discretion: On the way back on the bike, there was an ambulance on the side of the road.  I look over and saw the EMTs performing CPR on a guy laying on the ground.  I’ve never felt so sick as I did then and it was all I could think about for the rest of the bike.  Most of the time spent riding after that was praying for this guy hoping he would be ok.  Unfortunately, I found out the next day that man actually died.  So please say a prayer for him.

I can’t tell you how motivating it was to see my mom and dad cheering for me as I left T2 and headed out on the run.  They don’t get to make it to a lot of races, so to get up at 4:45 to drive me to the course means so much to me.  Ha, apparently my dad wasn’t too pleased that I “couldn’t even smile at them” when I ran by, but sorry pops, I don’t smile at all on the course.  It’s business.  But my dad is such an awesome guy- He wanted "sun protection" and snagged this hat from another family.  Yes... we recycled a hat from the Dollar Store...

The run was a fun one and was relatively flat except for a long hill at the beginning..  Or I think that was the only hill… I dunno, I just kind of get in my zone as run.  I’m always cognizant of everything and am very focused on how hard I’m pushing and I always remember how much it hurt.  However, if you asked me to recall the whole course, I wouldn’t be able to do it… although I could probably remember all the funny things I thought while running.  I spent most of time passing people and had no real issues at all.  I felt good and just get repeating my mantra to myself that I always using during races: “Speed, Strength, Fluidity”.  This helps me keep focused on the most important aspects of the run.  Coming down the home stretch, I saw my mom screaming and just turned on the afterburners and passed a few more people as I broke the finish line.

My run time was a 38:46, although I “think” the course may have been a bit short—however, as a sanctioned race, it should officially be the required 10k, so I’ll have to believe the Race Directors.  This was a pace of 6:15 minutes/mile.  But if it were a bit short, it may have been close to 6:20.  I was happy with this regardless!!

Overall, I finished 34th of 362 in my age group (top 9.4%), and 265th of 3884 overall (top 6.8%) and my final time was 1:49:38, sans the swim.  Overall this was a great race and could definitely see myself doing it again next year.  It was so incredible.

Then I went home, ate, changed, and was back on a plane for Tampa by 5:00.  Nothing like meetings  at work to cut a trip short.

From here on out I’m basically racing every weekend: THIS WEEK!! 9/25 Ironman 70.3 Augusta (half Ironman), 10/1 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon, 10/09 Rev3 South Carolina (Half Ironman), 10/15 Men’s Health Chicago Urbanathlon!  It’s gonna be a blast!

Then ITU Worlds on 11/05 to end the triathlon year.  However, I would like to do a marathon if there is a convenient one by the end of the year.  I also want to do the Tough Mudder in Tampa!  A hella-crazy 12-mile adventure race on 12/03.

If anyone is doing any of these races, let me know and lets meet up! Or if you live between Tampa and South Carolina/Georgia and can house me for a night, lol, let me know!

Yo check out my new kicks

And to do fuel this, I’ve tried out a few new spur of the moment recipes this past week!  Also, I tried to focus my nutrition very well in the days leading up to this race: check out my pre-race day lunch:

Here is what I should have had for my pre-race breakfast...

Earlier his week I made Blackberry jam and goat cheese stuffed chicken breast.  I coated a breast in some coconut flour, then filled it and just baked it.  Very good!  But don't overcook the chicken:


Later this week there are definitely a few topics I want to talk about mostly.  Mostly about living what I say, "racing weight", and self-sabotage which I am becoming very guilty of.  I think I could have even better results if I treated my body and mind better.  Goals?  I think so.

I know this comes over a week after it all happened and a lot has gone in between, but I figured I would pare it down and keep it basic so this doesn’t turn into a novel.  More to come soon!

  1. What was the best part of your weekend?
  2. What do you have planned between now and the end of the year that you are excited about? (Anything!)

If you don't know who you are...

...How can your dreams come true? My triathlon season is 5 days away from kicking way back up into high-gear.  On Sunday I'll be in DC racing the Nations Tri- a pretty big and competitive Olympic distance race. I am feeling very confident about myself and firmly believe that what you believe is what you will make happen.  The opposition is going to be fierce so I will take it for what it is, however, after doing some research lately, I'm coming to believe that our minds are our only limiters and that believing in yourself, you can push through any pain that you believe limits you!  After this race, I have a week off before Ironman 70.3 Augusta, my third half ironman of the season.

But lately I've been somewhat questioning myself- not questioning my ability, but questioning WHO I am racing for.  Recently, it has seemed that I am not grinding through hard workouts solely for myself, but so that I can work harder, work more, and live up to the expectations of the people who follow me.  Whether it be coworkers, friends, my family, and even all the other triathlete I interact with on Twitter... What if they are doing more that me, what if they rode their bikes 60 miles and I only rode 50? Well what F**king if?!  If I do "less" than another person, does that make me a worse athlete?  Does it mean that I then need to eat way less to make up for that?  I'll let you decide on what you think the answer is...

Who cares?  I need to race/train/LIVE for me, not anyone else. But this being said, let me train, race, and eat because of them, not for them. It is motivation to see the success of others- people who have turned from non-athletes to Ironmen, of for people who cannot do what I do as much as they'd like to. Or even for those who have NO desire to do anything I do--I know my mom is absolutely no way wants to do a half-Ironman, but I do know that she is proud to watch me race in HEALTHY, competitive, properly nourished fashion.

So who am I? I'm someone who races for the love and passion of it all- not to be "better" than anyone else, or, God forbid, for an excuse to all myself to eat.

What really has me excited and nervous though, is my impending ITU Long Course Championships triathlon in Las Vegas in November.  This race, as I've mentioned, is on the world stage and is going to require a lot of hard work from me starting... well a month a go, ha. I got my registration notice in my e-mail today and have to sign up by the end of the week (gulp!)  The race is like a 3/4 ironman so it will be the longest race I've done to date.  But you know what?  Who knows when I will get this chance to be part of Team USA again?  It will be hot, hilly, windy, and unforgiving... But I'll finish... and I'll finish strong.

And check out the new Team Apex Endurance gear I'll be repping for the rest of the season!

I missed all the rides I had planed this weekend, but was really proud of myself for getting out and putting in work on my own.  Sunday I did a 4.5 mile run, 25.5 miles bike, 3.2 mile run, 60 minutes on the spin bike (20 miles), and another 1.6 mile run. Then Monday, I used the same format, but made the outdoor ride 10 miles longer.  Dude, the wind was BRUTAL this weekend!  This was all on the old Felt too, as the my baby, my B12, is en route to DC!

So if you're in DC this weekend, let me know and let's meet up!

I also know its been forever since I've blogged!  Here's a quick recap of my why and whats been going on:

First I was in New York with the family for a day (and got to meet up with Katelyn!)

After that, the family and I went to a lake where I got to spend another day with them before jetting off the Virginia Beach for work

After spending the week in Virginia Beach, it was back to Tampa for a weekend or so. Got some good training in and some awesome homemade grub.  I've basically just been using coconut oil to bake butternut or sweet potatoes fries... um like every night. So healthy, and if it tastes good, why not, right?? I have like 30 different variations now, haha, so just ask if you want to know what they are.

Then, later that week, I had to fly to Atlanta for work for a couple nights.  Finally I'm home, but I'm flying to DC Friday morning for the race! And, yay, I get to fly home just hours after the race to be back at work Monday... whoop whoop!

Think about something you do that your are passionate about... now ask yourself WHY you are passionate about it?  Rekindle that love for it and do it for you!

  1. What is that thing you are most passionate about and why?
  2. Best thing you had to eat this week? And how do you use coconut oil, if you don't, any reason why?
Have an amazing week!

I gave up. I quit.

I realized I had stopped trying.  And I was letting it happen again- I have been letting my eating disorder define me. After a long 3 days of training Friday, Saturday, Sunday and finally getting some serious bike mileage in, it all caught up to me- the stress, the lack of recovery, and the volume of training.

I can’t remember the exact moment, but at some point last week, either when I was working out or doing something at work, a thought came into my head and something and the response I had to myself was “it’s ok, I have an eating disorder.”

Now at the time , I didn’t think twice about it, but at home later that night, I realized- I had quit.  I was giving in again; I was letting myself be defined by my eating disorder… and more importantly I did NOT want to let it go.  I was enjoying, or at least defaulting, to the fact that it was ok for me to do certain things or act in certain manners because having an eating disorder made it ok.  I wanted that recognition, I wanted to be known that way.  It’s like I was proud of it.

Oh, I’m going to work out really hard today but then take tomorrow off because I’m sore and eat way less?  That’s ok, I have an eating disorder.

I’m going to put my socks on sitting on a certain side of my bed or else I’ll get fat or I won’t push myself to work out tomorrow? That’s ok, I have an eating disorder.

I’m going to not eat right after a hard workout so that I can “save” those calories for my real meal when I get home? That’s ok, I have an eating disorder.

NO!  It’s not ok.  It’s not normal for me to act like I have these inane “privileges” because I can use my eating disorder as a scapegoat.  This isn’t to say that I haven’t been challenging myself to new foods, etc. but it’s the fact that I wanted to be known by my eating disorder.

So as I was giving into all these rituals and obsessive compulsions that I believed were ok, I realized that I have to fight them.  I’ve written about this many times in the past, but I didn’t realize I was falling back in to it.  Being in a new city, new job, new lifestyle brings a lot of stress and I didn’t realize it.

When we are stressed, we revert back to ways that are comfortable for us.  People find different to handle (or not to handle) this stress and it’s not always good.  I guess this is how I cope.

So what am I doing about it?  For starters, I’m ignoring as many compulsions as I can.  I no longer have to chop my vegetables a certain amount of time.  I don’t have to believe I WON’T believe that wearing a certain shirt will make fat or not exercise. I REFUSE to believe my compulsions will have any effect on the greater part of my life.

Time to get back in the game.

How do you deal when you realize you are giving up?  Any help you can offer me?