Drtyrunner is Who You Want to Be Post-Recovery

I have been following Sarah Scozzaro (aka: Drtyrunner) on Instagram for a while and know that she's a badass ultrarunner. It never would have occurred to me that she suffered from amenorrhea in the past! Since so many of you ask me if I think that you have a future in your sport post-recovery, I HAD to get some answers from Sarah. She's another brilliant example of what is possible when you treat your body (and mind) well!

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Let’s start from the beginning. If you were to look back, where would you say that things started to go down the wrong road for you?

 I had been a fairly confident child, but my sense of self and self confidence slipped in high school and I bounced from one unhealthy relationship to another, back to back. I look back at this time and realize that I really lost my sense of worth and feelings of control. By the time I started college, I was convinced I needed to lose weight (and that this weight would result in a greater sense of happiness). Around this time, I also decided that I wanted to run a marathon (running had always been a passion of mine, since I was young) and I also came to the conclusion that I could regain a sense of control by controlling what I put into my mouth/body. I hid behind a vegan diet as a way to drastically control what I could/could not eat.

How did you realize that things were not right physically?  What were your symptoms?

I lost my period for a year, and initially, I was thrilled!  I didn’t have to plan races around my cycle, buy feminine  products, or worry about a period interfering with my life.  Oh, how wrong I was.  After a year of no periods, I was diagnosed with a stress fracture of my pelvic ramus (pubic bone) and was sent for a DEXA scan, where they found my bone density was that of a 70+ year old woman.  I was 22 years old.

What was going through your mind when you got this information? Did you finally understand that something was wrong?

I honestly thought things were fine until I got my bone scan results.  I wasn’t underweight, I “looked” normal, I was able to run the training runs I wanted to do.  But little did I know, my body had been sending me warning signs along the way.  The lost period, the exhaustion, no interest in sex, the inability to recover well after hard runs. I thought this was all part of the training process.

 What you did to get on the right track?

I changed my diet to include more food; healthier fats, quality protein and carbohydrates. A stress fracture resulted in forced time off, which in turn was just what my body needed.  Less stress + higher quality and quantity in food = healing and restoration!  And I had a regular cycle again!  Yay!  

 What kinds of struggles did you have?

Body image issues don’t just go away right away.  I still struggle from time to time with it; not “looking” a certain part (I am a trainer and coach, and have at times been told I don’t “look like how someone in my field should look”.) But I really was scared about my long term health, and shifted my mindset from looking a certain way or being a certain size, and focused on performance; being strong, healthy, and giving my body what it needed to be able to live a full life and to participate in the activities I loved. So whenever I start to feel like I am not good enough or don’t look the part (whatever that means), I remind myself how strong I am, of all the amazing things my body allows me to do, and all the adventures I have.

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 How have things changed?

Oh goodness, I am so much happier and at peace with myself than ever before. I am an ultra runner and finding joy on the trails is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I fuel my body so I can get out in nature and explore and share adventures with great people.  I don’t put pressure to hit a certain weight (a control area that I had to learn to relinquish) or to fit into a certain size. I want to enjoy what I eat, and know that I can enjoy good foods, including foods that use to be “off limits” (I no longer have “off limit” foods).  I can experience better health and performance and I am at peace with my body.  I know longer I am in a war against myself. It is so freeing and worth all the struggle it took to get here.  

 Do you see your old self in some of your clients?

I see women, and women runners in particular, that really struggle with equating their weight with their value and with their ability to be a better athlete.  “If I were only thinner I could run faster…” I hear this alot.  But you can have a normal cycle, eat healthfully, and train smart. You do not have to be a predetermined weight or have a specific look and enjoy your sport fully.

 What would you say to those struggling with the idea of recovery?

Nurturing your body and having a regular and healthy cycle is SO worth it. YOU are worth it.  

 

Connect with Sarah:

IG: @drtyrunner

www.drtyrunner.com