November 1st, 2013 was the answer I received to the above journal prayer–in the form of a broken kneecap, cracked in half during a running workout. The fractured bone was a representation of my fractured relationship with running and my body, a physical manifestation of my emotional pain.
It was the most challenging, painful, confusing days of my life. I fought between the Rachael who was distraught about not being able to run, with the Rachael who noticed this feeling of relief–relief to stop racing toward the impossible standards she set for herself, relief from the pressure of eating “perfectly” for running. I saw the Rachael who was exhausted and needed to lie down, and it wasn’t until this circumstance that she finally felt she could.
Following this was a year of two surgeries, physical and emotional pain beyond anything I thought I could handle, and my final season of cross country. This break was a reason to leave all that I loved behind in the hopes that there was something better, and in doing so my relationship with food also began to heal at last.
I was set free in a way I never would have expected, and didn’t understand this rebirth until many years later.
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