The Lane 9 Project is a volunteer-run non-profit organization dedicated to educating active women and girls, and their support systems, on issues including women’s health, eating disorder recovery, fertility, and sport. The project came together by active ladies who strive to be lady (health) activists.


Click to join our bi-weekly Lane 9 Project newsletter for resources, virtual community, and event updates.

The Ninth Lane

The name, Lane 9 Project, ties together our two worlds: sport and recovery. A spin off Title IV and the eight lanes on the track, this proverbial ninth lane is the unspoken but ever present mindset in which many active girls and women exist.

There isn’t a ninth lane on the track. There isn’t a well-defined path to eating disorder recovery. There isn’t enough known about the impacts of under-fueling and over-exercising the female body. There isn’t one way to have an eating disorder, amenorrhea, or the female athlete triad.

We are runners, we have personal histories with eating disorders, we have been amenorrheic. We believe recovery is ongoing, and movement is part of it. We want a loud, strong, evolving conversation about the prevalence of eating disorders and amenorrhea amongst female athletes — girls and women of all ages and at any level of endurance or competition. We want to bring a voice, a movement, education, and hope to active women. We’re happy to be talking.

The Lane 9 Project Mission

With this project, we aim to empower women struggling in the ninth lane. If you’re an active woman with disordered eating and/or amenorrhea, we want you to know you’re not alone, you’re not stuck, and you’re not done. This project will be your community, and hopefully the start of your recovery. If you’ve been there, these are your people.

We work to bring coaches, teachers, parents, and female runners together to increase awareness of eating disorder signs and symptoms, along with the risks and long-term effects of missed periods and under-fueling for our bodies’ needs.

What is the Female Athlete Triad?

Female Athlete Triad (the triad) is a syndrome of three interrelated conditions: energy deficiency, menstrual irregularity/amenorrhea, and bone loss. Energy deficiency, often via food restriction or obsessive exercising, typically precedes the other conditions. A lack of fuel leads to amenorrhea, irregular (or nonexistent) periods. Menstrual and hormonal irregularity leads to bone loss. Bone loss leads to injury. Injury leads to less running, mental anguish, and a desire for control. At least, this has been our experience.

What is amenorrhea?

For this project, we are focusing on secondary amenorrhea. Secondary amenorrhea is when a woman who has been having normal menstrual cycles stops getting her periods for six months or longer. While amenorrhea may be caused by a variety of issues, including medications, pregnancy, menopause, PCOS, stress, and adrenal issues, among active women it is often due to a combination of under-fueling and over-training. Missing your period is not a normal symptom of exercise. Your period is necessary for hormonal health, bone health, and to recover from training.

What is disordered eating?

The primary symptom of the Female Athlete Triad, which leads to amenorrhea and bone loss is energy deficiency. Energy deficiency occurs when a person consumes less energy (calories) than they expend. Energy deficiency can occur with or without disordered eating, but for many female athletes disordered eating, or full-blown eating disorders, are present.

Disordered eating is a spectrum of abnormal eating behaviors such as skipping meals, restricting certain foods, and obsessive calorie counting. Disordered eating is differentiated from eating disorders by its level of severity, but it often leads to a clinically diagnosable eating disorder. Disordered eating may lead to a range of health issues from fatigue and lack of concentration to more serious problems such as malnutrition, extreme weight loss, and mental illness, including eating disorders.

Get involved with the Lane 9 Project

We launched this project during the 2017 National Eating Disorder Awareness (NEDA) week, under the theme “It’s Time to Talk About It.” A large part of our mission is to take charge of our own narratives. We share our community’s stories – on running, disordered eating, amenorrhea, and everything in between—on this publication and on our original Medium Page.

Click to join our bi-weekly Lane 9 Project newsletter for resources, virtual community, and event updates. 

If you’re an active lady or lady health activist, coach, mentor, parent, or healthcare provider, let us know through our community form. If you want to share your story, get in touch with us through the form or by emailing Lane9Project@gmail dot com. If you just want to follow along, stay tuned here and say hi 👋 on Twitter.

Note: The information provided on this website and by the Lane 9 Project community is not intended to replace medical, nutrition, or athletic consultations as needed. This community may be a sounding board, but is not intended to be a full solution to your personal recovery needs.

Meet the Co-Founders

Heather Caplan

Heather is a registered dietitian and running coach. She primarily works with active women, helping them recover from hypothalamic amenorrhea and eating disorders. She believes we can be healthy at any weight, and incorporates the principles of intuitive eating in her nutrition coaching. She is also a runner that prefers trails to roads, champagne to water, and dog-friendly routes for her pup, Banana.

Alexis Fairbanks

Alexis is a teacher and run coach. She also has a strong passion for health and received her master’s degree in Health Promotion Management from American University. Alexis was a collegiate runner and continues to chase big goals at the half marathon and marathon distances. Her perfect day is a morning run, followed by plenty of coffee and cuddles from her giant lap dog, Troy.

Samantha Strong

Samantha is a student, writer, and coach. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Health with a certificate in Health Humanities and Ethics in Denver, Colo., where she is also a running coach. Samantha writes about her experiences with recovery, mountain running, and autoimmune disease on her blog. When she isn’t studying you can find her climbing, running, and frolicking in Colorado’s mountains, often making airplane noises.