Saturday, November 24, 2012

Run with endurance

This blog is going to start with a public confession to my mum - Mum, I got another tattoo, I'm Sorry. I can just see how you are pouting your lips and tilting your head to the side saying, in an anguished tone  "Oh Belinda". We  both know that when you use "Belinda" I'm in trouble. This tattoo, as opposed to the one preceeding this one, I do not regret at all. May I be confident enough and say that I think it looks brilliant. So before I leave you wondering for too long about what the newest addition to my collection is (and assuming you are still reading after the initial shock) I will reveal to you now that it sais "Run with endurance".
It has found its place on the same arm where I have my "Run with life" tattoo (on the inside of my bicep). The new tattoo runs on the same line, from my elbow to the middle of my forearm. Elegantly written in the same font, so as to continue the flow. I actually think you, mum, will like it, at least I very much hope so.

It's no secret that I like changing my body. Part of it is always linked with the ambition to make myself that bit more ideal, or perfect to state it honestly. I have taken my body to the extremes of emanciation, I have played with lifting weights to create a more muscely physique, I have died my hair, I have tattoos. Maybe my external manipulations to my body are a way to create internal acceptance for myself? However, I like to look at it from the perspective that I discussed with my psychologist, Dr. Prinz, who instilled in me the notion that the body is a blank canvas and we have the ability to fill it in however we please. I keep painting on my canvas, often re-painting it, but the tattos are now a permanent fixture on my body.

After fighting Anorexia , and as I continue to fight it, and as my passion for running has given me a new focus, a phrase hit me "Run with life". Upon that I decided to get that inked on my left inner bicep, to remind myself to appreciate the life I have, to keep myself accountable and to remind myself where I have come from.The left inner bicep because it is close to the heart.
There are many times where I forget to "Run with life" and it feels like I am stuck, or standing still. Much in the ways that Anorexia prevented me from moving forward. It felt like I was stuck in a type of quicksand that sucks you in so deep until you can no longer move in any other direction than downwards. It took "endurance" to claw my way out of that quicksand, the runs I love to do take "endurance". "Run with endurance" feels like it is the yang to the ying of "Run with life".

Fighting Anorexia is like running a Marathon... There is one critical difference, however. With the Marathon there is a prdictable and definite finishline, with Anorexia there isn't. I recall writing a letter to mum when I was in hospital, and before I had ever run a Marathon, in which I stated that I felt battling Anorexia is like running a Marathon, and that you need to save some energy for the final sprint to the finishline.
2 years after my hospital stint, and holding a steady weight, I ran my first Marathon by that philosophy. I ran conservatively for 36km to ensure I had that little bit in reserve for the final km's. It proved to work, and I finished in 3h36min, 4th female.

When I decided to actively take up the battle with "The Bitch" (anorexia) I started the battle tentatively and conservatively. I didn't know what kind of hurdles and walls were expecting me. I think I did it that way because I wanted to gain weight slowly, because I knew that if I gained a lot of weight in a short amount of time, I would have panicked and reverted back rapidly. I had numbers (in kg's) in my head that I wanted to reach by a certain time, much like I do when I run a Marathon (in km's). That concept of goal setting helped me move forward stride by stride and let my head adapt to the number.

There is nothing that makes me feel more satisfied than the feeling of complete and utter depletion. Anorexia depleted me daily - mentally and physically. Mentally the battle between the good and bad side within me drove me crazy. Physically the deprevation of energy made me feel empty and lifeless... that was a very destructive depletion.
Running depletes me physically. That depletion makes me feel cleansed. It gives me a fresh start to replenish myself, mentally, everyday. Anorexia never had that effect, she just kept depleting all systems until there was nothing left.

Running and Anorexia share so many parallels. Although I will argue that the parallels are differentiated by one attempting to take your life (anorexia) and the other giving you life (running).

I vow to myself to "Run with life" and "Run with endurance" literally and metaphorically... who is with me?