Still Here, Still High

“Hello, it’s me…. I’m in California dreaming about who we used to be….”  Adele.

Hi there.  I’ve missed you.  After I wrote my LA marathon recap in Sweat, Tears, Sea, I wasn’t sure if I would be back here again.  I felt like I had a marathon story to tell, and you graciously went on it with me, and is there really more than that to say?  And I’ve got this big to do list (who doesn’t) of things that aren’t urgent but do need to get done at some point, and when am I going to do them?  In Next Chapter, I told you that there are other stories I need to write, and when am I going to write them?  And then I questioned myself for the 100th time on the value of committing time to a blog with a small following that just repeats the same theme of running changed my life.

But here is what happened in the last few weeks and why we are meeting like this again.  For one, I’m running more days post-marathon than pre-marathon…I’ll tell you about that in a bit.  I wrote a couple of posts for Women’s Running Magazine, and I really do love writing those, but it is not the same.  Some of my posts for them are serious, some are light and fun, but in writing for a general wide audience, you don’t quite put yourself out there the way you do in a personal blog.  I missed the intimacy of sometimes just sitting down and having a heart to heart.  And although I’ve got this looming to do list and I took a few weeks off from this place, I’m still ignoring that list anyway.  Just when I questioned again whether or not I was going to come back to this space, I got what I think is a sign.  Yesterday, an international blog subscriber, a mother-runner herself who just did her first half-marathon, sent me a picture of some wristbands she made with inspirational sayings for her run, and wrote me saying “you and Kristin are major inspirations, running has this amazing power to bring random people closer together – I read your letter post from blog last night to beat stress and self-doubt”…. THANK YOU to her for writing me…. It reminded me that I started this blog with the intention of not having hundreds of followers, but reaching even just a handful of people who would understand and connect with how running changed my life….who would be inspired…..this post is for her and the other people who have been moved…. so with that, I’ll continue this post with what I like to do best…. reflect back…..

A little over a year ago, on February 15th, 2015, I had a food binge.  I sat down the next day and wrote the post Cousin Binge Revisits and then posted it last year at this time.  If you haven’t read it, it is the one post that immediately got read by the most people based on the title.  I wasn’t scared to put it out there, because I knew that many women struggle with food but just won’t talk about it.  Since that a-ha moment in that post, I have not had a single food binge….over one year and counting…. the longest that I have gone without bingeing since the age of 12.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of times when I ate more food than a person generally should in one sitting…. plenty of times when I went to a restaurant and had drinks and appetizers and my full meal and both desserts because I wanted to…. that is not a binge….  That is not secretly shoveling food from your pantry in your face to muffle frustration and emotion while feeling guilty and out of control and hating yourself.  Thanks to running, I’m in such a general state of high and happiness, that for the first time I’m thinking that it’s possible that I may never binge on food again.  I will continue to regularly enjoy rich, delicious, fabulous meals with other people and on my own as well, but it won’t be secretive… accompanied by feeling a lack of control….feeling hatred…. feeling like a big fat fake phony.  Did I substitute one type of addiction for another?  I don’t think so.  Bingeing makes you hate yourself and want to hide and lie and go to sleep and wake up to a new day.  Running makes you want to tackle and conquer the rest of your day…. it makes you want to shout from the rooftops that you ran today….but then you don’t because you think that the non-runners in your life are probably really really sick and tired of your incessant talk about running.

A year ago today, I met my guru Kristin Armstrong on March 7th, 2015 as part of a small women’s retreat of about a dozen women.  Her message and mission were clear.  She believes in women supporting other women.  It was evident that she had spent hours preparing her presentation for our retreat…. she was genuine….she was invested in the people who’d made the time to be there.  She made me realize that she is a role model beyond what I knew just based on reading Mile Markers and stalking her posts on Runner’s World.  She was a clear example of women supporting rather than competing with other women, not just in running but in life.  One year after meeting her, I have run my first full marathon, and I am doing my best to continue to be a genuine person who really takes an interest in others and invests and supports the tribe that is around her.

And now back to running…. since the LA marathon, I have been on an absolute high.  The day after, I was driving in my car to work after dropping my kids off at school, and I saw people running on my regular running path, and I was jealous.  I wanted to be out there with my sore quads.  I knew that I was going to make myself wait until 4 days after the marathon to run again, and I just couldn’t wait.  That first post-marathon run was with no Garmin on for the first time in a long time…. it was “free” with no worry about pace or distance or time…. It was flight….  And I’ve been running since… more than before…5 or 6 days instead of 3 or 4 per week… in fog, in rain, over hills, through trails….  Just last week my husband and I were at a quite dinner together in a little cafe, and he said, “As much as I worry about your knees, I have to admit that I have never seen you so happy and confident as I have in the last 2 years….”  While he doesn’t exactly get the whole runner thing, he gets that his wife is changed…he gets that the change is good for the entire family…. I’ve been walking around with a certain constant vibrancy….those who know me well have seen it and feel it….It’s been there over the last year at least, so it’s not just marathon high that will eventually go away…. I think it’s a high from a new-found serenity that is the greatest gift that running has given me…. namaste.

***If you haven’t read my post on thirty years of binge eating, here it is:  Cousin Binge Revisits.  If you missed my LA marathon re-cap, then read Sweat, Tears, Sea.  The post that my subscriber read the night before her half is Letter.  Thank you to Carly at Fine, Fit, Day who posted my LA marathon recap in her High Five Friday post, and has repeatedly referred to my blog as “poetry for runners” on twitter.


An un-filtered picture of the beautiful morning fog we’ve been having in LA lately… how can you not run in that?


About Paria

Runner, mother, pediatrician, blogger

18 comments on “Still Here, Still High

  1. So great to have you back!! Missed your blogs ….. your blogs are like unopened presents specially delivered to my door (an unopened box of chocolates at my doorstep), they serve as reassurance that I’m not alone in my similar struggles, they impart deep wisdom I take to heart. This blog is written with such honesty and brings tears to my eyes (not that I’m sad….I’m currently listening to Tween hip hop)….but your writing moves me so strongly and I can relate to them so well, as I encounter new stressors of life and finding the need for an outlet. As a result, I too am finding myself having a more and more unhealthy relationship to food: find myself binging in ways I have never before. Yes….it’s to quiet frustration, pain, anxiety, fear….of lost dreams, of self-hatred and shame…it’s bad. I need to start running. And get back to yoga. And so I do. Yoga last night: namaste. Your blog leads me the way…slowly. One step at a time….need to get healthy so I can run. and to have a better work schedule to run, and breathe ….Thank you.

    • I love that you are listening to tween hip hop…thank you for your encouragement. So many people have unhealthy relationships with food, and it’s never about food… Meditation, yoga, eventually running….whatever works to get you to a better place….and yes, just breathe….

  2. Wow Paria, I was reading this all unsuspecting and when I read your thank you, I was overcome with emotion. Thank YOU, friend. And I totally understand what you mean about being able to write intimately in your blog – you don’t have to find the right ‘tone’ or second guess anything you’re opining, because you can just be you. And I love that your husband can recognize the vibrancy running has brought to your life. Namaste indeed. xoxo

    • It’s strange how writing a public blog can still be pretty intimate…My husband sees the vibrancy…really anyone who spends ten minutes with me sees it…I’ve been glowing for a while now…and thank you!!! xoxo

  3. I don’t even remember when I started following your blog, but I devour your posts. It’s like a nice treat when I see it in my inbox! I was a runner, prior to having my baby a year ago. I’m dying to get back at it, but am struggling with balancing my career & new life as a Mom. Anyways, your posts inspire me & for selfish reasons I hope you continue to blog(it sounds like running & writing is good for your soul too)!

    • Nicole, thanks so much for your comment… I didn’t start doing things for myself until my youngest was 4 years old… I would have been a much more patient mother if I had started earlier… I hope you figure it out and find little pockets of time for you. Thank you for saying that you look forward to the posts in your inbox… these are exactly the comments that make me write again when a topic comes to mind.

  4. I am so glad that you are still writing. Yours is one of my favorite blogs to read. I love that you share your honest feelings and fears. I love reading about how running has changed you. I always find it hard to articulate that to a non runner as well. I also suffered from some eating issues at a younger age and then went on to get my MSW and work in an ED clinic. You are right ED are a way to hate your body while running makes you feel strong and proud of your body. Too much to write here but I will go read your other posts as well. Have a great week!

    • Deborah, so interesting that you have worked in the ED area. In college, I volunteered regularly at an inpatient anorexia unit…we are talking about hospitalized girls (and a few boys) who were at risk of dying… and yet it was not enough to make me have a healthy relationship with food.

  5. I have said it before and I will say it again, I truly hope you always write here – even if it’s inconsistent or just a stream of consciousness – because you’re right about those WR’s articles (or any article for that matter) where there is a bit of a disconnect or you’re sticking to a particular topic and you lose the intimacy that is this post and your love for running!
    I absolutely love how you husband said that about seeing the changes in you and I also love how much more you have wanted to (and have!) run post-marathon…not to mention NYC in November!!!! There is so much good yet to come!

    • Thanks Allie… blog writing is definitely different…it actually takes me longer to write a blog post than a WR post, but these connections make it so worth it:)

  6. I love these posts so much more than your posts for a magazine, but the posts you write for Women’s Running magazine allows me to say “Hey, I have a celebrity girlfriend who writes for Women’s Running magazine!”.

    This comment “I missed the intimacy of sometimes just sitting down and having a heart to heart.” is why I prefer and have several close girlfriends, instead of acquaintances. It’s also why I’m in a committed relationship with my husband. There’s a depth that is so satisfying and fulfilling that cannot be matched in numbers of acquaintances or lovers, for that matter. Do you know what I mean?

    I got to the end of your post, and these words popped into my head: Tuning in to the home that never changes location… the home within ourselves. Thank YOU for our relationship’s depth.

    • First, I have to lol, at the “celebrity girlfriend” who writes for Women’s Running magazine…. I don’t think that is celebrity status in anyone’s world; however, in my current world in which running takes a major role, it is the one place outside of here that I most want to write. I completely get the home comment…I think you get to a certain age and comfort with yourself, and then you are your own home…and if you have to relocate yourself, then you just do. Excited to see you soon (you may have to play photographer again)

  7. Paria, Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I love the intimacy and rawness of your writing…. It’s real and that is why we, your readers, feel a honest connection with you. Running has been a constant in my life for the past 20 years as I’ve raised kids, lost my mom and two sisters, moved across the ocean, went through menopause, watched my babies become men, loved my husband and grew into a strong, REAL woman. It has saved my life and enhanced my life. Connecting with sisters like you and other women around the world who “get it” is a blessing beyond measure! Isn’t it wonderful to come away from a challenging event like your marathon and feel energized? I turned 55 in October and just ran my first Ultra Marathon last weekend….I am so energized, I can hardly contain myself! Here’s to more running, more growing and more living! Namaste.

    • Pam, thanks so much for this. Your pictures on your FB of your ultra are just so amazing….you should be constantly beaming and unable to contain yourself…It’s interesting for me to see that you did your first ultra after 20 years of running…. I don’t have an ultra on my goals list, but then again, I’ve only been running for 4 years, so let’s see how I feel in 16 years…. so glad we have connected so that you can inspire me!

  8. I’m so glad you are still writing! I started following you a few months ago. I am running my first marathon in less than 2 weeks (!) in Paris, and have found an incredible amount of inspiration for your writing here and in Women’s Running (My weight loss/running journey was featured in Women’s Running a few months ago, and found you while snooping around there)

    • Denise…thanks for letting me know…I am so jealous that you are doing your first marathon in Paris…If I had to pick an international marathon to run, that would be it! So excited for you… I read most of the posts on WR, so I bet I have read yours:) Try to relax during the taper and not question yourself, and enjoy!!!

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