Wednesday, January 19, 2011

RRT 111: Eating Disorders and Exercise Addictions

As runners, we're always looking for ways to gain a competitive advantage. Whether it's shedding those last few pounds of extra body fat or hitting triple digits on a regular basis, we tend to be a driven, determined lot.

But how do runners know when they've tipped over the edge and moved from healthy training- and eating-patterns to unhealthy ones? What causes these disorders? How are they typically treated and what's the outlook for those who are recovering from these issues? What can be done to prevent them from developing in the first place?

We discussed these topics with three runners who have been there:
  • Lize Brittin is hostess of the recently revived blog Training on Empty (and author of an as-yet-unpublished memoir of the same title). Lize was a top high school and national-class mountain runner in Colorado in the 1980s, having set the Pike's Peak Marathon ascent record at just 16 -- despite battling severe eating and exercise disorder issues at the time.
  • Dave Dunham currently competes for the Central Massachusetts Striders. Something of a Renaissance Man, in addition to road running Dave also competes in ultras, trail/mountain runs and on snowshoes. Among other distinctions, Dave is a two-time qualifier for US Olympic Marathon Trials and seven-time member of the US Mountain Running team. While in his thirties, Dave struggled with anorexia, reaching 110 lbs on a 5'7" frame. He blogs at DDMountainRunr
  • Diane Israel, 1984 Colorado mountain-running champion, was a successful professional triathlete and runner for 15 years. She is also a recovering anorexic. Her film, Beauty Mark: Body Image and the Race for Perfection, examines how images from popular culture, familial influence and the drive for athletic perfection can all collide, resulting in dangerously disordered thinking and behavior.
Hosted by Julie Threlkeld -- RacesLikeAGirl and Running Times contributor -- for this show.