Running with our story: Female Athlete Triad, a project

The essence of my (relatively new) newsletter came to life on Saturday, with a long conversation full of audible “Yep, me too!” declarations. We were talking about the Female Athlete Triad. That instant connection of shared experience is strong. Kindred spirits are hard to come by. We won’t find them by staying silent. We found each other through common interests—running, coffee, personal stories—and a willingness to speak up.

I wrote a little bit about this IRL Me Too soi·rée last night, but a little bit is not enough. I mean, the whole point is to talk about these things a LOT, right?

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As of recently, I’ve been open about my history with amenorrhea.

I just decided that nothing good came from keeping it to myself. I felt pretty sure that I wasn’t the only female runner around here with that story.

It happened. It lasted for six years. Those weren’t the best or the worst six years of my life, to my knowledge (I suppose that’s TBD). But those six years were filled with a lot of questions, self-doubt, and concern that there might be permanent damage (which, I suppose, is also TBD). If someone had walked up to me out of the blue and said, “I know your secret, I have that too” I would have been initially very creeped out but ultimately very relieved. I probably would have asked if she wanted to go for a run and chat about it.

The end of my amenorrhea’s reign felt very anticlimactic. I was SO PUMPED, but who to tell? I had kept it a secret from almost everyone. It would have been pretty strange to excitedly declare “I GOT MY CYCLE BACK” because most people had no idea I had lost it. Instead I had to wait until my next annual physical, to have an acceptable answer for the question “When was your last menstrual cycle?” No one would assume I was pregnant; no one would ask if I wanted to be put on the Pill, again.

I’m here to confirm that filling out a form at your next doctor’s appointment is not an exciting way to acknowledge personal growth.

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I would have done anything for someone to say, “Me too.”

But it’s hard to know where to find your people. So me and two other gals who have had similar, but unique, experiences with the Female Athlete Triad are combining forces. We’re starting small—because we are a team of three and we don’t know how else to start—with a goal to help young female athletes. Arlington County and DC, we’re coming for ya!

I would have taken help, but I didn’t know where it was supposed to come from.

We want to give these young ladies a chance to chat with women who have had a similar experience, and get the help they need. We want them to know it doesn’t have to be a secret; they don’t have to go at it alone. We want coaches and physicians to be better educated on this subject, because they play a BIG role in helping to identify prevent certain chronic health issues. Parents, we’re happy to chat with you too.

We’re not limited to this team of three.

If you specialize in ED counseling, work with young female athletes, are a parent, and/or have a health history similar to mine/ours, and want to help, let me know. Take your “Me too” reaction, and use it to find—and/or help—your people.

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