I sat on a bench and pulled out my protein snack bar and banana. At some point, I had decided that this was a sufficient number of calories for lunch, so I stuck to it. It was easy to pack when I left the apartment in the morning—no clean-up, no containers, no meal prep—so, maybe convenience factored in, too. But mostly, it was the calories.
By my senior year, I felt my grip loosening. I was no longer as obsessed with my calorie intake. I was more interested in running, enjoying that we could all (legally) go to the bars together, and building strong friendships with people I may not get to live with ever again. I was also very interested in denying that we were seniors, and wouldn’t have another chance at this college lifestyle, in this exact way, ever again. (I felt the same sense of preemptive nostalgia long before I graduated high school.)
Maybe that was it; maybe I have more anxious about life transitions than I care to admit. Maybe I was anxious about what life looked like after college, how separate our separate ways would take us, where I might end up. My “plan” was to complete my dietetic internship, but I wouldn’t have any information about that until late April. Maybe that didn’t sit so well with me. Maybe I fell back into a desire for control, a sense of familiarity, comfort.
Whatever the reason, I sat on that bench and pulled out my “lunch” that wasn’t actually a lunch. I ate it slowly. I never felt satisfied. I went to my job in the Kinesiology lab and did my work. I went to class and tried to concentrate. I thought about what I might cook for dinner, but I knew I wouldn’t cook much because I never made an effort to. I had regressed a bit in the progress I’m not even sure I knew I was making. I was walking the edge of the path to recovery. I needed to be walking confidently down the middle of that path, instead.
— — — — —
I decided to train for a half-marathon that spring (2008). Maybe because I wanted a distraction from this being our last semester together, maybe as a challenge to look at my body from a different perspective; maybe because I’m not honest with myself about how competitive I am, and if my roommate had run a marathon, I thought, I could at least try a half marathon.
I had no idea how to train for a half-marathon (I barely knew that the distance was 13.1 miles). But I did know how to convince said roommate to join me in the process, and we had six weeks to get ourselves into shape.
I had no idea how to fuel for half-marathon training. But I did know that my body would need more energy than I was giving it. (I was studying nutrition, after all.) I started eating more, and caring less. With more energy availability (i.e. food intake), our brains literally function better, think rationally, and are better able to recognize what we need. It helps that I was already interested in eating more, instead of being interested in weighing less. It helps that I was studying nutrition, and it helps that I wanted recovery. I was ready.
I would learn that, for me, I wanted to run the path of recovery, not walk on the edge.
The only photo I have of my first half-marathon, and the roommate I convinced to join me. March, 2008.
September 2018 Lane 9 Project Writing prompt: On the path
Submit your essay to Lane9Project@gmail.com.