I like things that are concrete.  Real.  Tangible.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be something that I can hold; but I do prefer being able to see it, feel it, recognize it or know it.

Runner Collage
A collage I made during some of my non-running time.

Running feels tangible to me.  I can see that I have run X many miles.  I can see that I ran X many minutes.  I can feel my heart beating faster and my breath rate increase.  I can feel the sweat crystallized on my face. I can see a whole pile of running clothes that needs to be washed.

(Okay, I can do without that last tangible one… I wouldn’t mind a magic fairy that magically cleaned the clothes and put them away, waiting for me to use them again.)

It’s this reason why I like checklists and calendars and PDAs and day planners.  It’s also this need that gives me stress when I have lots of items in my feed reader or emails piling up or instant messages/voicemail coming in simultaneously.  I crave organization in my home yet I can’t do it because I’m paralyzed thinking about how to accomplish it because I want it to be perfect from the start.  I criticize myself when I don’t perform as well as I think I should. I like to feel like I’m taking action toward something, even if the action is misdirected because at least I’m DOING something.

So that’s why I’m having a really hard time right now.

I’m not running as much.  Just 10-12 miles a week at my doctors orders.*  At the risk of TMI (but this could also be information for others who may be in a same situation)… I am not ovulating.  I went off birth control pills in December 2008… and have not had a period since.

My body weight was way too low at that time to support a cycle, I get that.  I entered treatment for my ED.  I have been working with a psychologist and a dietitian since then.  I’ve reached a healthy BMI for my height now and I have been at that for several months.  I assumed that I would just feel great once I reached that point… magically I would have boundless energy, exceptional focus, speedy runs, fluid flexibility and super-happiness.  Apparently that isn’t the case.

A couple of months ago the doctor put me through about 50 days of hormone pills: progesterone, then estrogen, then progesterone…  All that did was prove that my body is capable of having a cycle as long as I have all the appropriate hormones.  Which apparently, I am not making.  Because after a brief artificially induced cycle, nothing has happened since that time… I foolishly downloaded an app that you can use to chart that womanly-crap.  It now tells me I am 41 days late since that drug-induced cycle.  Never mind the 2.5 years before that…. so like, 900+ days late.

My doctor wants me to “chill” until the fall.  Just “wait and see” if running less and relaxing more helps to kick my body “into gear.”

I hate it.

I know it’s right (probably) and I know it’s something that I need to go through (presumably) and that a monthly cycle is a desired thing for women’s health (supposedly.) But that doesn’t make this any easier.

I can’t see what’s happening inside me.  I can’t feel if this is doing any good.  I can’t see any tangible positive side effects.

What I can tell is that I feel much more antsy.  I have to fight the impulse to restrict a lot more right now.  I feel like an ass when people ask why I’m not running as much and I say, “Just cause.”  (True, I’m posting it here on the web… but when you are chatting with someone who you know casually before a fun run at Fleet Feet, it doesn’t seem like the place to open up about all this.)  Running was a form of stress relief, not running causes me anxiety and stress.

But then again, I’m struggling mightily with the heat this summer so far.
Every day feels a little worse than the last to me.
A little harder to deal with.
A little more uncomfortable.
So maybe running less throughout the summer months would be fine.

But what am I supposed to do with my time during then?

* I’m counting that 10-12 miles a week as “running” miles. My hubby thinks it is just “miles in general” – both walking & running. I can’t deal with that, so I haven’t called my doctor to ask for clarification.  Do you know just how little that would be? Just walking Jade The Boxer around the neighborhood each day of the week is 7 miles!


  1. My interpretation for mileage is the same as yours – that your doctor meant running (or at least raising your heart rate for that amount of mileage) but I’m interested to hear what the follow-up is.

    Are you able to make yoga more tangible for you? Do yoga for a certain number of minutes? Concentrate on certain poses to work toward improving? If you can make it more tangible for you, it might help keep up your strength (or improve it) as you keep your running down as well as help you relax more. If you schedule classes (either at a studio or at home) on your to-do list or in your PDA, you might find that checking them off after you’ve done them will give you similar feelings you get after completing a run.

    Good luck!

    • I like that idea… my doctor did suggest doing more yoga. If I just find ways to make that feel more tangible yet not make it too intense, that might work well! Thank you!

  2. Weird Jill… I sure hope you can get to the bottom
    of this! :-/ Not sure what kind of doc you are going to, but I know there is a special kind of hormone-ish doc that looks at stuff different than an endo or GP. (Per my aunt, who goes to one). I’ll have to check with her to see what kind it is again (she loves to talk about it-a more natural approach than regular med).

    Anyway, I sure know how not-fun it is to have med problems and no explanation. Hang in there. Are the non-periods giving you any other problems?

    • I’ve been working with a gynecologist on this. But if you find out from aunt what kind of doc she raves about, then please let me know! I don’t know if the non-period is causing other problems. I do know that it causes a loss in bone density. I haven’t had a bone scan or anything like that, so who knows if that is an issue. And part of me, is just too tired to think about those things! 🙂

  3. OMG, come hang out with meeeeee!! We can “chill” together!
    Seriously, we both need to find ways to cope. Please let me know what works for you – I need all the advice I can get. I have high hopes for you!

    • Why do you live so far away? We clearly need each other right now! If I figure anything out, I’ll let you know. Same goes to you, if you find stuff that helps you let me know, okay!

  4. as someone who has struggled with eating issues/body images issues, etc. I see this as part of your road to recovery. You HAVE to learn to be able to be happy given the cirumstances around you and while running may be an outlet, I would say that if you’re wanting to restrict because you’re not running, this is exactly where you need to be. For me, I can sometimes fall into the trap of exercising because of the fear that I might get fat. That is NOT where I want to be. I want to exercise because I enjoy it and it’s a healthy outlet. If it becomes something where I have to run in order to burn off the calories I’ve eaten, then I’ve just taken my ED to a different form. There are times when I can’t run and I may get that fear of feeling fat again. I cherish those times because I remember that this is something I have to work on. on days when I feel like i have to workout because i’ve eaten too much, I purposefully do not workout because I want my body to understand that I love it no matter what and I’m not going to fall victim to the cycle that I have created for myself.

    Yoga has been great for me NOT because of the physical aspects, but the spiritual ones. I’ve gained a lot from learning how to stay in the present moment and not live in a state of fear. I know that by listening to what my body is telling me it wants to eat, I’m going to be okay and I don’t have to exercise in order for it to be healthy. I just have to treat it right.

    That’s just my personal experience – i’m not a doctor.

    • Wendi, I had never thought of it from that point of view. Running is one of the things that helped me get out of my ED, but it did always have the potential to be a trap too. I love your advice to “cherish” the times when you get those feelings of fear, because really that’s what is helping to make me stronger and beat the cycle.

      I really appreciate your insight.

  5. Jill, I’m sorry you’re having to go through this, and although I can’t claim to completely understand how difficult it is, I feel like I can relate a little bit. It can be so difficult when our bodies are doing things that we don’t understand and can’t control. I know how hard it can be to take it easy, and often being told you have to relax and manage stress better just ends up being an additional source of stress, and anything but relaxing!

    I really hope that you are able to get to the bottom of what is going on, and find a way to slow down that makes you comfortable because of course that is a major part of the entire equation. Until then, though, you are in my thoughts and I’m always here if you just need to vent or even talk about something entirely unrelated ❤

  6. Hi Jill, This post is very eerily timely for me… I was just diagnosed with PCOS syndrome (google it), symptoms stemming from irregular cycles. Has your doctor looked into this? It explained alot of things I have been experiencing. I’ve decided to look it as a way of making me stronger rather than a roadblock. Good luck getting to the bottom of your symptoms!

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