MSU Runner: Why I Went Public With My Weight Gain [PHOTOS]
Left:NCAA 2014. Right: NCAA 2016. Look at the picture on the left. If in your mind this is what a "good" or competitive distance runner looks like, please, keep reading. The truth is I was very unhealthy. My teammates and coaches will tell you that I was not happy; I was disengaged with my teammates and missing out on life. My coaches warned me about the consequences of running in this unhealthy state, but seeing as my running was going well I ignored them and figured they were wrong. And in the fall of 2015 I paid for it when I found I had a stress fracture. Last year consisted for the most part of training in a pool and sitting on the sidelines while the rest of my teammates got to train and compete. Slowly my body healed and I could start to run again. But mentally, another battle had begun. Even though I knew being too small is not sustainable, it was hard for me to believe that I could achieve success and be the runner I used to be without it, and I allowed myself to believe this for the better part of this season. My coaches told me time and time again that I am still the same runner as 2014, just stronger now and have the talent to be successful, but whenever I looked back at what I used to be I was discouraged all over again. The better part of this season I allowed this lie to dictate my running, and my running suffered as a consequence. The day before our conference meet I was so discouraged and worn down from beating myself up I could only lay in bed, and decided that after this meet I was going to give up and quit running because I doubted I could ever be good again without being unhealthy. My coach could tell from my race plan that I was not mentally engaged and the night before Big Tens called me in to talk. He asked me at what point I was going to draw a line in the sand and put an end to whatever was holding me back from running the way I know I can. So I did. Because the truth is, the idea that you have to look a certain way and be thin to be a fast runner is bullshit. It's a lie that a lot of people in the running community buy into. (Continued in comments)
As a fellow runner (although nowhere NEAR as competitive as she is), I can't emphasize how important her message is.
Rachele Schulist is a competitive runner at Michigan State. She never really worried about her weight until her sophomore year, when she started to restrict what she was eating. She says that she thought about food constantly, always wondering how much she could leave on her plate.
On paper, she had a record-breaking year with her racing career. However, her coaches were starting to notice, and were encouraging her to eat enough calories to fuel her body. Her personal relationships started to suffer, and so did her body - she suffered a stress fracture, which was likely because of her lack of nutrition.
She and her coaches realized that this was the wake up call that she needed to get healthy. Rachele admits that making her story public does make her vulnerable, but she feels like it's important. "I think I went through this journey for a reason and that’s why I want to share it. I want good to come from the bad.”