Monday, May 23, 2016

Female distance runner, thin AND healthy - it's a thing

I have no idea how this post will go over. It's simply my thoughts and I am looking to win over no one. I have seen so many articles lately written by both men and women about the great perpetuity of eating disorders, particularly in distance running. I will acknowledge right now that they do exist. And I pray for those struggling with the real problem it is. But what I'm not happy with is the feeling I get that some of these article's authors seem to pit any thin, fast, long distance female runner as unhealthy or one with an eating disorder. I know that's a generalization, but it's how it feels to me. And here's my problem with it. I am a thin, fast, long distance female runner, have been for 16 years - and I am neither unhealthy nor do I have or have I ever suffered from an eating disorder. And I don't want this to belittle anyone at all that has or is struggling with one, but why do we have to be so politically correct?  My big beef here is not that others might assume I have an eating disorder, it's that because of all this writing about it and the stigma, that my daughters will think I do. 

My daughters know their mama is strong, that their mama runs a lot, and that she can share some of her clothes with their 12 year old sister. But it's not because I am unhealthy. This is my frame, it's my build. The same one my non-athletic twin sister shares, ironically minus some of the bulk I have. Sure some of it could be the miles I run and the good food I generally eat, but I have never altered the miles I run or the food I eat to be thinner. I have honestly never considered losing weight to get faster. I don't want my girls to think that watching and worrying about their weight is the way to get better in their sport, and with all the talk of the epidemic eating disorders are amongst athletes, sometimes I fear that's what they'll interpret. 

I may very well be the anomaly here with my thinking, but I kind of don't think so. I don't know why I wrote this, but it's been on my mind lately. Strong, thin, healthy, fast, female, distance runner are all words that can get along. Let's try it. 

*And while we're at it, why don't I hear more blame or accountability toward coaches?  Seems like much of these disorders stem from a coach's pressure or influence. I'm postitive there are many amazing coaches, I've experienced some!  But I find it funny that in the women I know personally who have struggled, it came from the outside pressure of a coach. Let's instill hard work and clean eating and positive body image in our coaches and then athletes as enough to achieve their goals.