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My name is Jill and I am a distance runner, I often joke that it takes me 3 miles just to warm up. I live with my husband, our daughter and our boxer dog, JadeTheBoxer. Professionally I am a web worker, my official title is “Director of Web Services”. I’ll decline to say specifically where I work on the blog. I am certified as a running coach with the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) and coached 4 seasons for Team Challenge, the endurance fundraising branch of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. (Stopped when I got pregnant.)
I started blogging in 2001 with a personal blog. I started this site in 2008 to share my passion for running and health with others and it has evolved into my main online presence. I love testing new running, fitness and health products and often write reviews of them on this site. (Some products are sent to me by the company, some are things I’ve purchased myself.)
I am also in recovery from an eating disorder, Anorexia Nervosa restricting sub-type with compensatory exercise compulsion and perfectionism. I look forward to the day where I can say that I am fully recovered, as well as a day when the world stops judging health by numbers (scales, sizes, measurements, etc.) and starts recognizing that health is essentially an optimal expression of the genetic hand we’ve been dealt.
Shortly after my 29th birthday I made a list of “Things to do Before I turned 30”. Finishing a marathon was one of those items. Five months later, in January 2008, I completed the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Phoenix, AZ. My mom and I both did the marathon, it was awesome to experience something of that magnitude with someone so important to me!
Finishing the marathon was an empowering, exciting and life-altering achievement. I went straight across the finish line into the medical tent for knee issues. I hurt and was delirious from lack of food at the end. I didn’t train very smart, but within moments I knew I wanted to do another marathon. I knew that if I was going to do this again (and again and again), I had to learn how to train properly and take care of myself the right way. I also knew that I wanted to do something really meaningful in life, to feel like I was giving back in some way.
On May 15, 2008 I attended a Team in Training meeting. At the end of the meeting, I signed up and committed to train for and run the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in addition to raising $3500 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. On November 16, 2008 I ran the full marathon in San Antonio, having exceeded my fundraising goal. I got sick during the marathon, but I finished (in a much better time than my first marathon) feeling pretty good overall. But I knew I had more to learn about this sport.
In January 2009 I earned my first DNF for a race. I fell 6.7 miles into the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. I ripped my hands to shreds, but also split open my chin and had to get stitches. That was a rough moment, but it’s also been a good learning experience for me. Even though I am pretty strong, I am not invincible and everybody needs to learn how to take it easy on themselves at times.
In the summer of 2009 I earned my coaching certification from the Road Runners Club of America and I have coached for Fleet Feet Las Vegas and Team Challenge. I love helping others learn to love running!
I have struggled with body image and disordered eating for many years with a brief diet pill flirtation in college, but in 2005 I moved to a new city where I was alone a lot while my husband worked long hours at a new job and I sat in my home, telecommuting for my job, thus I didn’t know how to meet new people. I kept a lot of burdens close to my heart, not sharing with anyone else. That sent me into a dark depression, and the only thing I knew how to control was my food intake. I started restricting my calories to an extreme in the name of “health” and spending lots of time at the gym or finding different ways to burn calories. I was exhausted, yet would spend time spinning my legs on the elliptical machine like a zombie, numb to the world and my feelings and my body. I had tumbled headfirst into a full-on eating disorder.
I got smaller and smaller, yet people praised me. The sad thing is that behind my back they would say things about how unhealthy I looked. Yet when I started to train for my first marathon, something clicked inside that told me I was embarking on a new path and needed to fuel myself… a little more. It wasn’t enough… I was still obsessed with keeping my intake pretty low. I gained a little weight to be able to cover the distance, but not enough to be healthy overall. After that first race I was inspired to “fix myself”… so I gained back a little more weight while running more and more. I completed another marathon and trained for my third, all while still being pretty dangerously underweight.
The DNF was particularly difficult. I found that I was really blue after that, falling back into more extreme restricting and my mood was very dark. At the encouragement of family and friends, I sought help… checking into an Intensive Outpatient Program for eating disorders. I spent 10 weeks in that program, working to correct my disordered eating and body weight as well as resolving all the underlying emotional troubles.
I have learned a lot of tools for coping with my inner demons and I’ve made a lot of progress. I have more work to do, recovery is a long process and can take years (and years and years) to accomplish. I’m up to the challenge though!