Saturday Spotlight- Constance Lawson

My story now is that running saved my life but there was a time not long ago it was assisting in taking it.

I have been a “healthy” runner for a little over 2 years now; prior to that every step I took was not measured in miles, but in calories burned.

My battle with an eating disorder (ED) had spiraled once again out of control when my father died.

I had joined a Gym for the first time in my life; prior to that (I am showing my age) it was VHS workout tapes and Body Electric when I was looking to burn calories. So, here I am at the gym stepping on a treadmill for the first time in my life… It was all I could do not to fall off at a speed of 2.5 mph. Eventually I was running 6-7 miles a day; eager to burn those calories.

With “ED” at the helm, steering me into deadly seas; the weight fell off quickly.

After sometime, I stopped going to the gym. When I returned a few months later, I hit the treadmill too fast and too hard!

I ran my first 4 mile race during that time; here in Patchogue, March, 2010.

Running in that 4 mile race and coming in 4th to dead last felt amazing!

Unfortunately, shortly after that race, my running days had to come to an end due to a right hip stress fracture. Pushing myself combined with “ED” had weakened my bones.

I took up running again nice and easy after my hip healed but now I ran both outside (weather permitting) and at the gym.

I was loving it! I ran my first 5k then a 10k, next a half-marathon and finally Chicago all in 2011.

People joke about, “I run to eat” but that was truly my motto. I never ate more than I burned and if I did; grossly I got rid of it.

Toward the end of my marathon training I was confronted by family and friends who cared enough not to deny what they knew to be true anymore. I was a mess to say the least.

I ran that first marathon during the first weeks of recovery from my 22 year battle with “ED”. I was sick and malnourished; crossing the finish line elated but also feeling beaten and weak.

I had to fight to hang on to running! I had to prove to myself and others that it was no longer a way to hurt myself but a way for me to continue living.

I no longer count calories burned. Running is no longer an appendage of “ED” assisting to deplete me…. It fulfills and sustains me! “ED” is no longer in my head; he is now under my feet as I run; I beat him down with every step I take!

I ran that same marathon in 2012 healthier and again in 2013; crossing the finish line more alive than ever this year!

Running is now my safe haven; a place that I can go outside my head; a place that inspires me and never judges, a place that challenges me without ridicule.

When I run, I’m in my own personal space; blessed and thankful that my body is healthy enough to enjoy this mind freeing, body strengthening outdoor activity!

I no longer run on a treadmill. I run outdoors in all kinds of weather; it’s all permitting!

Running allows me to have time and space away from life, while giving me clarity about how I want to live!

I believe I wouldn’t be where I am now in recovery if it weren’t for running and my steadfast husband Michael. A man who has biked countless miles beside me with all of my possible needs on hand; water, Tums, tissues, GU, glide….he carries it all! He is my biggest fan in life & running! He is my greatest blessing!

I can’t thank my new friend, Lori Kim enough for introducing me to the Selden Hills Warriors! I met her through Fred Altrui, while bumming a ride to Cow Harbor with his friends Jeff and Christine Pinkosh. I had always run alone and knew very few people who ran.

I joined the Selden Hills FB site as soon as I got home that day. Before I knew it I had been recruited to run OTS. I bummed a ride from Lou LaFleur (a stranger at the time) and met his sweet wife Nancy LaFleur.
When I arrived I was introduced to more amazing people Kathleen Gorman Neuman , Benizia Prashaw Triolo and Richard Ripke to mention a few!

It’s awesome being part of a community of people who share the same passion! This group was the missing link… Now I feel complete!

Thank you Lou LaFleur for challenging me to “step up to the plate” and be the next to share their running story.
God is good!

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