Looking back, a year and a half ago, it was mid August and in 5 days I had a whole new adventure ahead of me. I was 18, and about to start my freshman year of college! So many exciting expectations filled my head leading up to move in day. For me, the most exciting aspect of all was being a member of my schools cross country and Track team.
For the first two months of my freshman year, everything was amazing. Life finally felt like it was falling into place. I truly started to believe what everyone has been telling me “college will be the best four years of your life”
Reaching end of October and beginning of November things started to change. I noticed that I was constantly exhausted and didn’t feel like I was recovering after runs like I had in the past. However, I dismissed this as being normal for any college student, particularly a freshman runner who is still adjusting to higher demands in training. I figured this was normal and continued to power through.
That is until around mid November.
One day in November, I started experiencing a stabbing pain in my lower right quadrant of my abdomen. This pain, turned out to be an appendicitis. After an emergency surgery, I felt relieved. I assumed my body had been fighting and that seemed to explain the constant fatigue I was feeling.
Fast forwarding to February, I was now back into my training. At this point, not only was I constantly fatigued, rapidly gaining weight, had constant joint pain, dizziness and brain fog. Despite training 55 miles a week and eating a clean unprocessed diet 90 percent of the time, I managed to gain 25 pounds in the time span of 2 months and constantly in pain.
It was at this point that I knew something wasn’t right. Yes, it is typical to gain weight your freshman year of college. However, I was not drinking or consuming the typical college student diet and I was training harder than I ever had. In addition, I couldn’t even remember the last time I felt good. This marked the point when I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t realize how long the road was ahead. I was ignoring the directions and pretty soon, I was going to be lost.