WARNING: This is gonna be a MONSTER long post, I am literally sharing my biggest secret, the one I have kept from you this whole time. If you do not want to read the whole thing, I have made a video, which will be at the bottom. You can watch that instead.
Ever since this blog really started getting traction, I have always thought about this day.
Wondered how I would approach it.
How you would handle it.
At the time, I didn’t imagine that it would involve me choosing to stop running.
I thought I would just naturally reach a point where I wanted to focus on a family, and that the desire would be so strong that I would be prepared to give it all up to try.
But things don’t work out how we expect.
It’s hard to believe that I am giving up the opportunity of a lifetime, two actually. Not only am I not pacing the London Marathon, but I am not racing Gold Coast Marathon either; a race I was SO excited about.
Still am actually.
Yet here I am, telling you that I am done running…at least for now.
I havent run in 2 weeks, and the scary part is, I havent missed it.
No, I am not injured. No there was nothing wrong with my blood work that Inside Tracker were kind enough to get done for me.
My heart just wasn’t in it any more, and once I finally admitted it out loud, I felt relief, not fear.
You know I am an intuitive person, but this decision did not come easy. I couldn’t hear my internal voice, and that was scary.
It has been the hardest decision of my life, giving up something that I have given my entire life to for 14 years. I was in a cycle of Train-Race-Rest, Train-Race-Rest, over and over again.
I loved it, and I have said countless times that this is the primary reason I do love to run; what you put in is what you get out.
I am extremely thankful that I havent had any injuries requiring more than 2 weeks off. Sure, I have had a few big injuries that needed 3-4 weeks of no running, but I could cross train, and cross train I did, probably harder than my regular training, certainly not a break.
However, it seems all those years of intensity have finally burned me out.
I always told you the 2 weeks I think everyone should take after a goal race is usually enough for an emotional reset, but this time, it just didn’t work.
It has been five months since I raced, five months since California International Marathon, and in that time, I could probably count on two hands the amount of runs I have actually enjoyed.
The rest have been one big struggle, a case of just getting through the run, dreading the next run, and trying to convince my mind that it would be worth it, all I needed to do was persevere, my heart would come back, my excitement would come back.
But I didn’t.
And that is why I was struggling.
Of course the travel, emotions, and stress over the last few months from other areas of my life also play a part in feeling this way, but this has been going on way longer than that. I would even trace this back to Falmouth last year, where I first felt that burnout feeling, questioning why I was even doing this anymore.
So yes, running and I are on a break.
Not the kinda break where you take a few weeks and get back into it.
The kind of break that doesn’t guarantee you will ever come back. This might be the end of my competitive days.
I do believe I will come back, in fact, I think that coming back will someday be my next big goal. Since I achieved my lifetime goal of running for Great Britain and Northern Ireland in a World Championship I have lacked that drive to go chase something BIG. Yeah, there is the sub 2:30 marathon, but it just didn’t feel realistic to me, at least not now.
I believe deep in my heart, that someday, hopefully after children, I will make it my mission to come back, stronger and faster than ever. A new sense of appreciation and love for the sport.
Over the past few months, running has become a source of frustration and dread, not joy, and that is when you know it is time to try something new. The lure of running a PR can be enough to keep training, keep fighting, and it was, but I noticed that the London Marathon pacing was making my life miserable.
I was freaking out about not being able to hit the times, my workouts kept getting worse and worse. I was back to running 90 miles a week, doing everything Steve and I usually would; getting the strength training in, cross training in, eating the right foods, but I kept getting slower.
The slower I got, the more I tried to force it.
Even though I didn’t look at my GPS watch in my workouts (and lucky I didn’t, or I would have had a lot of DNF workouts), when I would get home and look at the workout on my Strava account, I would be in complete disbelief that I could feel so exhausted running a pace for a few miles that I could usually hold for a long run.
Enough was enough. It was making me miserable. I decided it was time to tell the London Marathon Elite Coordinator that things were not going well, and the last thing I would want would be to sabotage the GB girls chances of running a London 2017 World Championship time by not being able to hold the pace. I would never forgive myself for that.
I thought would get the relief that way, I would feel better after I told him how I was feeling.
Appreciating my honesty, he told me to report back in a weeks time, it would be a shame to lose me as a pacer.
Giving my body another week to catch up.
I clung onto hope that it would click together at some point, it had to. How could I be doing all my training, yet getting slower?
Except it didn’t.
A week came and went, and I still didn’t feel any better.
Time to tell him, and I did, thinking this would give me the relief I needed to take the stress off and start to enjoy running again.
Except it didn’t.
I felt just as bad for the next week, and found myself thinking “I’m done, I’m done, I need a break, I don’t want to do this anymore” in my workouts. It made it almost impossible to use Evie’s Be Kind to Yourself suggestions, as they do not work as well against a mind that is already defeated and doesn’t want to be saved.
I kept trying, kept desperately blowing that little fire burning in my heart that believed it would all come together, I would get back into it, and I had plenty of time to get ready for Gold Coast Marathon,
Until the breaking point came.
The day I was headed back to the US, I had a track workout, and once again, those toxic thoughts poisoned my mind from the first step of the hard interval.
Only 1/3 of the way through my workout, someone working for my local track, the place where my running had all began, came out onto the track, and told me I needed to leave the track as it was a private track.
Usually, I would have gone off the track, frustrated, but determined to finish what I started, and somehow made it work on the 1.5 mile loop around Verulanium.
But I didn’t. This time, I was given an out, and I took it.
I never stop workouts like that, not early in the workout before the tough part even begins.
That’s all I kept thinking, over and over again.
I had no desire to restart the workout, or even start my watch.
So I ran home, crying the whole way.
Fell into the hallway of my parents house, and lost it.
Crying my eyes out, as Charlotte and Jess came around the corner, wondering what could be so wrong. They had come over early this morning to say goodbye.
Jess knew that I had been struggling with this lately, but I could see in her eyes that she knew this was for real.
I really was done.
My parents rushed out to the hallway, helpless, speechless as to what they could say to make the pain go away.
But I couldn’t be helped.
We all knew the answer.
Running and I had grown apart and it was time to say goodbye.
Not forever, I really believe that. I will come back to it someday, but I just felt like if I kept going, I would end up despising running, everything about it.
We decided I would take five days to think about it. Decide if it was what I really wanted, or if I really did just need a reset.
The emotional turmoil during these few days was horrible. I felt as though there was no right answer, all the what if’s poisoned my mind:
What if I am wasting my talent? Will I regret quitting? What if I can’t ever stop and suddenly I am 40 years old and can’t have kids? What if people are not interested in what I have to offer because I am not an elite runner? What if I can’t find another job?
What if, what if, what if.
That is all I thought about for five days. Allowing my mind to be open, and talking to many of my close friends and family about my thoughts, but in reality, there was only one person whose opinion could really decide what was best for me.
Or so I thought.
Steve made it very clear that he was not going to decide this for me. He was not going to say anything really because it had to be my choice. He would support and be happy with either decision, but I had to be the one to make it. He just wanted me to be happy.
I wanted him to make it for me. Take the burden off my heart, but at the same time, I knew he was right. Only I could decide what I wanted.
My intuition seemed confused, I pleaded with it, give me a sign, tell me what you want.
Five days came and went, and although I didn’t have a definite answer, I could hear a quiet whisper I could only hear when I really sat and listened.
I knew that was my decision.
I just needed to say it aloud.
I think the moment I told Steve my decision will be one of those photograph moments you remember forever. I can remember every detail of that moment, and I think I always will.
But once I said it to him, I felt relief.
As I told my close friends and family, they sent back kind loving words of support. The peace in my heart continued to grow.
I had made the right choice.
How long will I stop running for?
Well, it has been two weeks, and I have had absolutely zero desire to run, and zero desire to exercise. I am going to give myself some time to embrace that, do nothing, and enjoy doing nothing…other than a few leisurely walks, which I am surprised to say I have actually enjoyed.
I know I want health to be the priority here, and so after 3-4 weeks of rest, I will begin to exercise. Maybe a few runs here and there, but nothing structured, and I will do whatever exercise I feel like.
Now is the time for me to have fun exploring new things, go to a Barre class, a trampoline class, and best of all, get back in the saddle and go horse riding. Something I gave up for my running 12 years ago.
It seems like too much of a coincidence that we live in the Horse capital of the world.
I am sure you noticed that other than my Facebook live chats on the Running for Real page, I have been pretty quiet on social media. Partly because I have been working so hard getting Running for Real ready (Podcast launches April 14!!), and partly because I have felt guilty, like I was living a double life.
My best friends and family knew that I was feeling a little lost, had a little identity crisis going on, but I hated showing a different face to you guys.
I felt like a fraud. It felt deceptive, like I was not doing the one thing I had promised I would always do; be real.
I wasn’t quite ready to reveal it to the world, and I hadn’t informed my sponsors or even GCAM about what was happening.
Those were some hard phone calls, but after each one was supportive and kind, I felt better.
So pretty big bombshell, right.
But wait, there’s more.
I have not yet revealed my biggest secret of all.
The one that I have been hiding from you all this time, terrified that if it came out, I would be the center of an internet attack.
I still am terrified, but at the same time, I am not going to listen to that fear anymore.
I am going to be brave and share it with you.
There is another part of this story, another reason I wanted to step away from running.
You may have noticed over the past year I have mentioned how much I wanted to focus on my health. I changed my diet. I tried to relax more, I take probiotics, I eat organic, grass fed, quality foods.
There is a reason for that.
I am 28 years old, and although I have not yet reached the point of it being all I wanted, I knew the time was coming where I wanted to focus on starting a family.
But I can’t.
I have amenorrhea.
I have not had a period in 9 years.
For those of you who think, “Wow! Wish I was so lucky”, it may sound great, and sure, it certainly has its perks, but its a natural human thing to do, and we all know that without ovulating, you cannot get pregnant.
I have always had a fear that it would make me infertile, or that I would stop running at age 35, it would take me 5 years to get it back, and by that time, Steve and I are too late.
So I started making changes, seeing specialists, digging deeper into the topic. I wanted to do everything I could to get my body ready for it and find out what the heck was wrong with me.
And so I did.
But they all came to one conclusion. The more tests I did. The more specialists I saw, confirmed that all my numbers were great, I was healthy and normal.
My weight was good. My nutrition was good. My health was good.
There was only one way I could get my period back:
All the while I held a little beacon of hope that adding more fat and protein to my diet, eating more, gaining a little weight, focusing on relaxing, all the other stuff, would help it come back on its own.
So I wouldn’t have to give up the running.
But it never did.
Until one day my heart gave me the solution. Gave me the out I had been looking for.
And so I have.
Which means now, the focus of my life, my next big goal is to get my period back.
Now you might be thinking, why the heck would you hide this? It is nothing to be ashamed of, it happens to a lot of people.
Well, you probably also know that people associate amenorrhea with calorie deficit and too low body fat percentage.
I have spoken to nutritionists, consultants, all kinds of experts over the years, and EVERY SINGLE ONE has told me that calories are not the issue with me. Diet quality is not the issue with me. Even the naturopath told me that my health is very very good, a result she very rarely sees.
So I was a coward.
I feared people would assume it was my diet, assume I was lying about all the sweets I eat, all the food I enjoy.
That I had an eating disorder.
My friends and family know the truth, they know that I eat A LOT, and that I really do get enough.
But I did not want to be the victim of attacks, people patronizing me, telling me that maybe I just needed to eat more or eat better.
So I kept it secret.
And that secret ate away at me for all these years. I hated telling you that I am honest and real, yet I couldn’t admit the one thing that I knew I could really make a difference with.
I know I am not the only one.
There are SO MANY people out there who lose their cycles, yet no one talks about it.
It is such a taboo subject, not because of the nature of what happens in a period, but because everyone feels ashamed like me.
Well no more.
Now I have stopped running, I am on a mission to change that.
I am going to shout about this from the rooftops if I have to. I am going to bring awareness to this topic of amenorrhea and I am going to get my period back.
I know this will involve little to no exercise to allow my body to come out of panic mode.
I know this will involve weight gain. I certainly do not intend on giving up all the food I enjoy to stay skinny.
I know this will involve lots of negative talk in my brain I will have to deal with as I lose my muscle definition and shape.
And I know I will probably get criticized for this.
But why should this be a taboo topic? This is literally the thing women’s bodies need to have a child, to do the one thing that we were brought on this earth to do.
So I hope you will support me, join me, and help spread the word about this.
If I can learn to love my body as my muscles fade away, my weight increases, and my identity as an elite runner disappears, then hopefully you can learn to love your body too.
I am building a 5* baby hotel (love that quote from Nicole Rinaldi!) and I am prepared to do whatever I need to for it to be ready.
So, in conclusion of this MONSTER post, I can step back, knowing I have made the right decision. No matter what happens, I can reflect on my running career and know that I gave it my very best. I dedicated myself in a way that allowed me to achieve my potential, allowed me to accomplish my number one goal of representing Great Britain and Northern Ireland in a World Championship. I ran 16:08 in the 5k, 33:24 in the 10k, 1:13 in the half marathon, and 2:36 in the marathon. Times I can forever be proud of.
I don’t know if I will ever “get back” there. All I do know is that it is my time to be a leader for something else, to help other with their running and to pass my knowledge on to you.
I am so thankful for all the opportunities I had as a runner, and if I had not been a runner, I would never have met my husband (or 99% of you, actually), so I will reflect on this period with pride, happiness, and love.
But sometimes we have to take a leap of faith.
Something told me this was the right thing to do.
I just have to let my path unfold to show me what is next.
Think we could be friends?
I am always this honest, real, raw. If this article speaks to you, I really believe we could be friends and I could help you as you get your health back. Drop your email below, and I will reach out to you
*NOTE* Now, I just want to say, that I am NOT encouraging you to stop running. I am not suggesting that if you are struggling, you take the same extreme measures I have. I have been talking for over a year (even before I ran for GB), that you can put your health first, and still give running your very best. Running does include a lot of ups and downs, and we know that. It is making it through those downs that makes us achieve those ups.
If you are going through this emotional or physical burnout, try taking 1-2 weeks off for a reset, do other things, see how you feel. I would hate to see you give up on your dreams because of me. The time off will most likely be enough to get your head back in the right place, and give it another try.
Finally, this does not mean I am going anywhere. Quite the opposite in fact, I will be building Running for Real, and dedicating more time, energy, and love into helping others, be it with bringing awareness to what I talked about today, or by helping you with your training, this is not the end of Tina Muir. Please enter your email above (the box below the video), to stay updated.
UPDATE: Since writing this article, I have taken EVERYTHING I learned in my journey to get my period back, and wrote a book on the topic, so you have everything I know about amenorrhea in one place. This book is written for runners who have lost their period, but regardless of what sport you do, if you don’t get your period, Overcoming Amenorrhea: Get Your Period Back. Get Your Life Back will help. I have since fallen back in love with running, and would love for you to follow my story on Facebook or Instagram.
If you think someone you know could benefit from reading this, PLEASE share it with them, if they are going through what I am, knowing you are not alone is the best thing for you.
I am so glad you shared such a personal story with us and I am proud of you for making the decisions you feel in your heart are necessary. I know we have discussed this in the past but I promise, you will get your period back!! I do my best to talk about amenorrhea as often as possible on my blog, knowing that it often takes several times of hearing something until people really grasp it and understand. Running will always be there, I can’t wait for you to try barre! I love it 🙂 Wishing you the best xoxox
I already sent my love and thoughts to you in an email but I just want to tell you again that I support you 110% in all of this. You are so brave and inspiring and doing all the right things for all the right reasons. I look forward to what you will bring us all next… xoxoxo
Thank you for sharing! While running is wonderful, it’s not the only wonder-full pursuit out there! Praying you’ll be able to enjoy finding new pursuits, adventures and passions…. along with building that 5* baby hotel.
Kind of a shock to hear this but it seems you have made the right, brave decision. Have to say your life has always sounded incredibly busy and stressful to me so enjoy the break and take a good bit of time to get used to not being under so much pressure to fit things in. It takes a while to get used to havign spare time and beign more relaxed. When you’ve taken that time, as you say, you have a chance to try other things… I have just started horse riding again and I really enjoy it. I’d also suggest you could try a sprint triathlon as they are a lot of fun, but they might also be over competitive too so might be best avoided! Good luck getting your period back.
Hugs!!! I know this is a difficult decision. Thank you for sharing! Your health mentally and physically are more important. Quality of Life!!!!
Sending you so much love now as when you first shared the story with me. It is time to get your health and happiness back. Let me know how I can help–you know where I am. HUGS
I’m so proud of you Tina – you know you have a huge fan-dom supporting you, and rooting for you. Big hugs for you – 5* baby hotel…I love it!
Tina, my heart goes out to you. I was a Division I runner at one time, and I fell out of love with running as well. After graduating, I stopped running. It took me 15 years to get back and to finally admit out loud that I didn’t love it (back then). I have to tell you during that off time, I learned so much about myself. And now I’m back. I am almost hitting the times I ran when I was young. I’m not near as fast as you, but I am excited that I’m close to going sub 19 in the 5K. Just ran my first sub 1:30 in the half and sub 65 in a 10 miler. I feel that I am rebuilding stronger than ever and the time off really helped. Give yourself the break (however long), get yourself healthy and I am looking forward to following your journey. You got this girl!
Thank you for this monster post. Love and prayers for you.
You are a brave, honest, vulnerable, REAL, and bright young woman. Your integrity and wisdom are inspiring. You don’t have to be fast, you don’t have to run, you don’t have to exercise at ALL to be an amazing role model, person, coach, friend, whatever word you fill in. Those things do not define you. The way you carry yourself does and Tina, you are an upstanding person. I think this is a beautiful post and a courageous and honorable move.
Thank you so much for sharing, Tina. I am by no means an elite runner, but running has been a huge part of my identity for over a decade and suddenly every run is a paInful slog. At 43, I wake up every morning with sore feet and hips, and feel too young to feel so old and achy! My heart, body and mind are all telling me it’s time for a break, too – your post resonated with me on so many levels.
Best wishes as well in your journey to get your period back. I lost mine about a year after I had my first child, despite not having a clinically underweight BMI…It took gaining just about 5 lbs and cutting back on exercise & stress (easier said than done, I know!) to get things going again. Fingers crossed that your hiatus from running is exactly what your body needs!!
Thank you for sharing this decision with all of us. It takes a lot of bravery to make a choice you believe will disappoint so many. The most important thing is to always take care of yourself. Love yourself and that love will spread to the people around you. Having a child is the most wonderful thing my husband and I have done together. I wish you all the luck on the road to this exciting and wonderful new beginning.
As much as I am sad and shocked about your news (after all you are the driver/creator of my yesterday’s marathon PR! coached by RunnersConnect), I do understand your decision and have respect for your standpoint (no point in discussing hypothetic solutions, even though it seemed you might have been close to a major breakthrough in your career not too long ago, and it’s a shame that GCM and London are not going to become real, which might have allowed for planning an exit more strategically..). I fully understand that YOUR running was very different from mine or anything common in our yet dedicated running community. I’d not have the same grit as you do and would probably be reluctant altogether to push through those intensities for a few months, let alone for 14 long years!
Please do keep up the good work, follow your heart and take control of your life & happiness.
You have a wealth of knowledge and experience which is invaluable to your audience.
I’m very glad you do not abandon your Running4Real brand and podcasting. You do make a difference to my running and thinking. Looking very much forward you’ll still be in my running world 🙂
All the best!
P.S.: Kathrine Switzer has a blue print on changing a ‘girly’ body early in her book “Marathon Woman”.
(something like peanut butter and carbs at night 😉 which also changes the look though.
Take your time, Rome was not built in a day..)
I’m so so proud of you Tina but you already know that from my email I sent last week! You are so brave and your story will help to inspire so many other girls! Hugs!!! Can’t wait to follow your journey!
So proud of you, so amazing to share your story, and I think you are very brave – all the best in your new journey!!!!
I can only imagine how hard this decision has been for you but good for you for taking the leap. It’s funny how our bodies can give us messages when we ignore what our minds are telling us. You are so young and have your whole life ahead of you and so much awaits you.
(((Hugs))) to you, Tina. So proud of your sharing a difficult, identity-shaking decision.
While I have never been elite, where being a runner was a core to who I was, I have found over 40 years of running that it is something you can always have, even if not actively practicing. It ebbs and flows around the contours of the rest of your life.
Best wishes for this chapter of your journey. And if you’re at a loss for other career directions, I think you’d be a great mental health clinician and/or writer.
Thank you so much for sharing all this with us. My heart breaks knowing you were struggling with this emotionally for so long. It was not an easy decision and I can’t imagine the challenge it was to make, but I’m also glad you are forging a path that will make you happy. The awesome thing about running is that it is always there when you’re ready and it never has to be about a goal race or being fast. I learned a lot about running the past few years during my own pregnancy journey. There was a point that it simply became about moving and enjoying the outdoors. Not about racing or keeping up a pace or judging myself in the miles. I am also exited for you to start the journey to have a baby. There are so many women struggling with fertility issues but I also know so many who have had positive outcomes working with their doctors. I can honestly tell you that 12 weeks into this being a mom is the most remarkable thing in the world. So I will be cheering for you and praying for you as you work to get pregnant. I will be thinking about you. I’ve loved getting to know you and your journey and am equally excited about the next one. xoxoxo
Such a brave post. But I’m not entirely surprised about you wanting a break, your posts about running have been full of frustration and disappointment. It was clear you’d lost the love and oomph for running. There have been so few posts from you that were really truly happy and excited about running.
So I think this will be a fantastic time for you to focus on what you want to do and have fun. You’re not a fraud or a failure! You’re a true role model.
Tina! I am so glad you are finally comfortable sharing your personal struggles with the masses 🙂 In a FB live the other day, I wanted to ask if you were thinking about starting a family…but that may have been too soon and none of our business at the time. Some days I struggle with the energy to get out the door, but that is nothing like the stress you have. I am really glad that your family and friends are being so supportive of your decisions! Having that conversation can’t be easy. I have a form of BC that is known to limit your periods and I can count on 2-3 hands how many I have had in the three years since I had it. It doesn’t stress me out too much…but since my time to have it removed and/or a new one put in, the thought of “what if” has crept in a few times… I have followed your journey for a long time now – and you were one of the first blogs I started to follow in the beginning of my running journey 🙂 I hope that you continue to share your wealth of knowledge when it comes to running and I also hope that you see this blog as a space to allow others to support you in your new journey 🙂
Thank you…thank you so much for posting this. This is exactly how I have and am feeling lately. Am slowly coming back from injury and it has been a struggle both mentally and physically. I am so very thankful to be able to do what I can…but there are so many other things to life as well. You are a huge inspiration..thanks! 🙂
Tina, I am sending you so much love! Amenorrhea is rough to deal with and it carries so many emotions, whether the cause is known or not. 9 years after my diagnosis and it’s still not easy to grapple with having period problems. I emphasize with you so much on this struggle and from the bottom of my heart I hope you are able to get your period again. This decision must have been so hard for you but ultimately you are doing what is best for you and your family. Xoxo
Oh my gosh, 9 years? You should check out ‘No Period Now What’ by Nicola Rinaldi. I’m a runner who had amenorrhea for about the same amount of time as you, and I had no idea how much not having a period destroys your health and increases your risk for heart disease and other issues later in life. That book helped me get my period back in 4 weeks after not having it for my entire twenties.
Good job for following your heart – it sounds so easy…but when our mind is telling us otherwise, it can be a very difficult decision to make. And thanks for sharing such a personal story with everyone as well! Best of luck on your journey, I enjoy following your posts and seeing where life takes you 🙂
Enjoy your break from running. You will feel so much better now you have taken the pressure of yourself. You have achieved so much in your career. The best way to hate what you love, is do it full time as a career. You will find your passion again but only once the pressure to race has gone. Don’t think of it as giving up. Just taking a rest from competitive running.
Enjoy your time away from the roads.
Tina- I read this with tears in my eyes. Not because I’m sad you’re not running ,but because you have such a beautiful soul and felt like a hypocrite for saying one thing yet doing another. None of us would ever call you that. And your words ‘the one thing we were out on this earth to do’ is beautiful and exactly how I feel about being a woman/wife/mother. I’ll be praying that your body is healed and before you know it, a tiny little Tina or Steve will be taking up residence in your 5 star hotel!!! ❤️❤️
Thank you for sharing this Tina. Your courage and honesty are truly inspiring.
I am so saddened by this news but I am so proud of you.
Your health is rightly your top priority.
You will forever be a Runner; I am certain of that.
You may even enjoy your Running more, in the future.
You may never get back to your elite levels, but you may enjoy it more so than ever, without all that stress and nervous energy.
Thank you very much for all your suggestions and advice.
I wish you and Steve all the best, every happiness, and hope that all your dreams come true.
Tina good for you in listening to your heart and not being influenced by what you think everyone else wanted for you. You only have one life to live so you have to live it with no regrets!! Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. And good luck as you venture into your next goal of motherhood.
Wishing you all the best!! Thank you for your honesty!
Tina I just want to say thank you for sharing with us what you’ve been going through. Don’t ever feel like a fraud or a failure for the decisions you make. Life is too short to worry about what others will think. You are an amazing person. You may not be running at this time but you still have so much to contribute to this sport. You are just on a different road right now. I am so looking forward to learning from you through your website and podcasts. You are special. Take care.
I’m sorry you had to make such a tough decision and Steve was right, it was yours and yours only to make. Had it made it, in the back of your mind years later, it could have been seen as “I wasn’t ready to stop yet”. Thank you for your honesty and raw truth. You’re an amazing woman and are not defined by being a runner. And here’s a secret… I haven’t had a regular period (just a few sprinkled in here an there which can count on 1 hand) in over a decade. You’re not alone.
Hi Tina, well done on writing such a tough post but I’m so glad you did. Sorry to hear about your recent struggles with running and can understand how tough it was to make the decision to stop running. You’re very brave. I’ve had similar issues with my cycle in the last 10 yrs and I’m delighted to see you talking about it on here and to hear someone else’s views on it. Just want to wish you the very best of luck with everything, you deserve all the goodness ?
You are so very strong and you are the path that is for you. What you share with the world is a gift to be appreciated. Sending so many hugs to you!
Thank you so much for sharing and being honest about not having your period. It is SO refreshing to hear as a woman runner, especially as I have silently admired you over the years. Truly look forward to following you on this next path to motherhood as I hope to do the same sometime in the future as well.
I’m proud of you for speaking up about a subject (amenorrhea) that is often hidden. I hope that adding your voice to those that are already outspoken about the issue and how it affects health and how it is truly not healthy, more people will be enlightened to the many different avenues that can contribute to the issue.
Tina, you rock! I felt so happy for you reading this. Change can be heartbreaking, but having the courage to change is so so important (as the saying goes, change is the only constant), and I wish you all the best!
Hi. I’m just a social media and blog follower. I am a mom and a full time librarian. After the birth of my daughter 7 yrs ago I started running to help with stress and it worked into my schedule. I’ve recently tried training for my first full marathon and the wheels fell off. I gained lots of weight got tons of injuries and ended up limping through the half. I have taken 6 months off from running and am just now starting to feel interested again. I like running as part of my exercise and stress relief program. I am not an elite runner. The time off made me focus back on other workouts and I was able to clean up my vegan diet that had become full of processed junk. I am so much healthier now and look forward running for fun again. Thank you for sharing your struggle with us. Finding a work life or life and running balance isn’t always easy. Cheers to you for making the best decision for YOU!!
Thank you for sharing this story. It sounds like it was a very, very hard decision for you, but that it was ultimately the right choice. You gave so much of yourself to run professionally, and you achieved a lot, such as the GB Marathon, the very fast 5Ks, etc. I wish you best of luck, and please do keep us updated on how life is going. Amenorrhea, falling out of love with running, and family are topics that a lot of people don’t share about, even though they are common topics among athletes. If it helps, I’m pretty much going through what you’re going through.
I too lost my period while running, due to an eating disorder, and abused my running. Yes, I did start off running because it was meditative and gave me joy. But for 3 years, I never missed a day of working out, 6-7 days of working out per week. I started to hate running. About 3 months ago, I made a hard decision to stop running (I had a gait imbalance anyway)…and felt relief. I’ve been doing what I like, and it’s been fun. I work out with friends and I don’t have to worry about times, paces, etc.
I think right now, I’m in a place where I might consider restarting running. I accidentally ran 4 miles the other day (I don’t advise this when recovering from a gait imbalance)…and I grinned because it was a lovely day and I enjoyed every minute of running along the water. Other times, I really dread running. I’m waiting things out and hope the love for running will overpower the hatred in time. I hope the joy of running comes back to you too, but life throws all sorts of weird things at us. It’s a good time to explore other sports and maybe catch up on being social, since running can be isolating.
Again, thank you so much for sharing your story, and best of luck!
I’m so happy for you. You “decided to decide” on something both very personal and professional. I applaud your bravery. I send my love to your future.
I was also impressed that when you asked your husband for guidance he handed it back to you. He gave you only what you needed; love, support, and total acceptance.
I’m sending you empathy and excitement. You will look back at this fork in the road in five years and smile.
The great thing about running is that it will always be there… so if and when you are ever ready to get back to you? It’ll be there for you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts around this. xoxo
Thank you for sharing this tough tough post. Running will always be there for you when you want to return, if you even choose to. I am sorry you are going through all of this and really sorrry about your lack of period for 9 years. Gosh how frustrating to not have answers. I am hoping you are feeling better about this decision now~
I have so much respect for you. I can only imagine how incredibly difficult this decision to make. Good for you for listening to your heart and making the best decision for you! I am just a regular runner (a stay at home mom who runs to blow off some steam and have something for myself). I hope you stick around as I learn so much from you! I wish you all of the best in your future. Thank you Tina! You deserve health and you deserve happiness!
You are so brave to share this, Tina. There are so many who feel pressure to continue, and it takes a lot of courage to admit that it’s not right for you. Just sending thoughts of strength and gratitude for sharing your journey!
I wish I could hug you right now. I had just begun marathon training with my coach/fiance, who is a veteran marathoner, when I discovered I was pregnant. We are far from elites, but we are athletes and a bit on the older side. I gave up running when it became uncomfortable and I also swore I would if I ever sensed my eating disorder creeping back. I am five weeks out from (hopefully) delivering a healthy baby boy. Thank you for reminding me to count my blessings! I wish you all the best and cannot wait to follow more of your story…not just as a runner but as a person. Thanks for sharing!
Sending lots of love! You were one of the first runners I started following and you really helped me to get excited about this sport but also helped me stay grounded and not push myself into fatigue or injury. I actually followed your advice and took the whole last week off for an emotional reset and it made a huge difference. I can’t wait to see what your next adventures will be.
Wow, Tina, thank you so much for being so courageous and sharing. I can’t imagine the struggle that you have been and are facing. It’s gret to hear that you have made the right decision for you, and I wish you luck with your health and family!
You are a brave courageous woman. Thank you for sharing. Enjoy your new journey! You’ll persevere and succede in whatever you’ll do in life.
You are so brave Tina, Thankyou for sharing your story, you are an inspiration, your honesty and courage, will help many people. You have already achieved so much and have such a lot to offer. Enjoy yourself now, live in the moment and let things unfold. You have nothing to prove, you are a wonderful ambassador and a perfect role model. Don’t change, just be you, passionate, open, honest and brace.
Sending you virtual hugs! Been a silent reader of your blog and always, if one thing stood out, it was Honesty!!! Thanks for considering your readers special enough to talk about your feelings so openly. You have inspired so many to start running (including me). That shall always remain the truth. Loads of love to you to find happiness (and your periods). We’re always here!
Bravo to you Tina for writing such a brave post. I cannot begin to imagine how hard coming to this decision was for you. You continue to be an inspiration to me and I so appreciate your being so open. I have no doubt that you will help many with this post. Wishing much happiness as you enter this next phase. I’ll be cheering you on 🙂
Elite runner and/or baby maker, regardless of your current “definition” or status (our roles are ever-changing, such is the nature of the beast / life) – you are a lovely soul and we’d hate to lose the privilege of hearing your positive, enthusiastic voice and how you get on with your dreams and wishes. Please stay in touch with us. Wishing you all the best with everything you pursue. Thank you for sharing so much of your love (or running, of your life) with the world and connecting to your listeners / followers in such an lovely, inspiring, individual & personal way. Much love from London ♡
Standing behind you. Kudos for being brave. Keep believing in yourself. Can’t wait for the podcast
hey Tina, just remember: you are a person, a whole person, not just a profesional athlete or runner. So take your decisions, follow you path in life and try to be as happy as you can.
Of course you will run AGAIN, YOU KNOW THAT, maybe not as profesional, and this could be a problem “now” or… an opportunity. In three months you will have cleaned up your mind, took some pounds of fat, etc. and suddenly you will be lacing your shoes. Then… who knows what will happen? Just a few months. Look at it as recovery time, post-season, whatever.
So sorry to hear this Tina, your Runners Connect podcasts got me through my London Marathon training last year! You have to do what your body needs now though, there’s nothing like being a mum! I’m struggling with my running, I have an underactive thyroid and have gained weight which is making running so difficult, but there’s not a lot of information out there to help me work through it, but I’ll keep plodding on, for now. Good luck with your health, I’ll be following you and hoping for some good news soon xx
As I mentioned in my email the other day, once your passion becomes more of a chore for you it’s time to step back and take a break. Running will always be there should you choose to return in the future. Wanting to prepare your body to be a mom is a marathon goal of it’s own. Thinking of you and sending warm thoughts.
Tina, thank you for sharing your story! You never know who is struggling and I’m sure your message and journey will help so many. I can’t imagine how scary it must be to put this out there, but your honesty and positivity is truly inspiring and I wish you the best of luck in this next part of your journey!
Thank you for being open and brave to share this.
Although I am as far from elite as you can get, I understand the tumultuous and frustrating relationship you can have with running. I’ve struggled the past few years to fully embrace it, as it never quite served me the way I saw it serving others on social media (because you know, social media is real life…? ha). Anyways, I am on a break and interestingly enough, not really missing it. I miss the community of runners but definitely think I needed to take a mental break. I needed to let myself know that it is ok. I should feel no pressure to run or do anything because of some weird unspoken (and un-real) obligation. Thank you.
Oh and best wishes on whatever the future holds for you!
Wow thank you so, so much for sharing this you have no idea how much this touched me (literally in tears!) I have been an avid runner for 10 years now and I have not had my period for 5 years. I gave up running about 4 weeks ago in hopes that it will return. I too want to be an advocate and bring awareness to this issue because it’s not spoken enough about. I started a blog where I talk about my journey on a week by week basis (under the journey tab https://abloomingsoul.com/category/journey/). Once again, thank you for your words. Such a huge inspiration and so glad I came across your post. There’s also a great community on Facebook (Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Recovery Support – No Period Now What) that I would highly recommend you to join if you’re not a part of already. 🙂
Hey Tina, beautifully written, thanks for sharing. I don’t think the passion to run and race and even coach ever leaves you. We grow and change, our priorities change, and that’s ok. We all have chapters in our lives and it is pretty scary to start a new one, even if we know its the right things to do. The joy, wisdom, and knowledge that running brought you will stay, and you will be able to pass that along in the future in many more ways.
It’s brave to be real (for real real ) and share really personal things that are scary to us. Thanks for being so honest and girl, I know you’ll come back stronger, faster, and happier one day.
This is an incredibly brave decision and anyone who criticizes you or puts you down for it really is not worth your time! So happy for you 🙂 (In fact, you may receive a lot more subscribers even if you do lose some 😉
Sorry to hear this Tina, but I understand that you have to follow your heart. I look forward to seeing what your journey will take you. And good luck on your starting a family, I hope that you get all that you deserve, you’ve been a source of inspiration for me.
Good for you Tina. This is exactly how I felt about running towards the end of my career. I was just glad to have a coach like you who helped inspire and train me to help me through it. It’s been almost three years and I barely ever have an interest in running, but that’s because I realized there were other things I could never explore because of running and at this point in my life I like them more. It’s a great feeling to finally allow yourself to relax, not torture yourself, and have no responsiblity to run. You may lose some muscle but gain some happiness. I’m happy you finally are listening to your gut and I wish you and Steve the best. Looking forward to seeing baby pictures all over Facebook one day or even meeting the little ones one day.
“I am building a 5* baby hotel and I am prepared to do whatever I need to for it to be ready.”
Great piece of prose there 🙂
Thank you! I’m going through the same thing. Almost 9 years. It helps to hear someone else going through it. I used to run marathons, but have cut those out and cut my running in half. I’m still hoping and praying for the change I need.
Brave lady and no question you are making the right choice. Have you read Phil Maffetone’s Big Book of Endurance Racing and Training? I learned so much from his incredible section on Overtraining Syndrome. It’s fascinating stuff and not as obvious as it sounds. Best of luck to you on your break, however long that is. So far, mine has been about 2 years.
Good for you for doing what YOU WANT TO DO. Not everyone stays in love with running (or any other hobby) forever. Be kind to yourself. If other people disagree with your choices, tell them to pound sand–it’s your body and your life, and YOU get to live it. Letting go of what you don’t love–even if it turns out to be just for a year, or a decade–gives you room in your life to discover new things you DO love.
Just know that 40 isn’t that old! (I say that on behalf of “women of a certain age” everywhere.) I know that you have probably heard all the scary business about being “too old” to have a baby, but I personally know several people who have had a first baby (naturally, like without having to go through IVF or anything) after age 40. If you know right now that you want kids, I wouldn’t make that your a-game plan, but it has been done before, and will be done again.
Go live your life and do what makes YOU happy.
Thank you for sharing Tina. We all have so much respect for you. I was never as fast as you but I have had a goal to run a marathon in all 50 states with my fastest 3:12. I have been 6 years without a period, as soon as I started my marathon journey since i was not fueling enough. Then i started to get restrictive. I am also 28 now. Doctors all said I was healthy and once i stop running I would get my period back. I tried with the weight gain first. I put back on almost 20lbs (I am 5’3″ and lost by period at 117lb, lowest weight was 107lbs). I got my bmi to 22.5. I was still marathon running. After NYC 2016 marathon I qualified for i thought it would be all the excitement. But honestly halfway through i mentally broke down. I knew my husband and I wanted kids and i was ruining our chance. After that i took a month off of running and just did yoga and swimming. I do recommend reading No Period Now What book. I did the estrogen+progesterone challenge for a light bleed (mind you i was weight restored) and did Clomid. Funny thing is i started marathon training again at that point but kept it all easy and made sure I ate a lot, no restrictions. Holiday Christmas cookies helped. We got pregnant right away, I was expecting 3+months of trying. Yes i just competed my last 2 marathons for 20 states, 2 pregnant. I am so glad to be taking a break now. 6 years of training and done and ready to have fun. 15 weeks pregnant now. I think you can do it with the time off, have fun, relax, eat all foods, gain some weight. Trust me it is scary to gain weight but you barely notice, at least others won’t. You are very thin. So no worries and always gorgeous. Enjoy more time with Steve! Good luck!
I’ve learned that certainty comes very infrequently in life; follow it when it strikes so profoundly.
This was the hardest thing to read. I keep telling myself I’ve made peace with my own (similar) situation, but there are always more lessons to be learned. Thank you for so courageously sharing your experience, and for shining light on such an important topic. Wishing you all the best!
I’ve been following your blog for a while and I am happy that you have found the best decision for yourself, both for your emotional and physical health. I also suffered from amenorrhea for several years and had to stop running (hard) and had to eat more. It was difficult but eventually things returned to normal. I wish you all the best in all your future endeavours. Thank you for sharing. xo
My daughter Morgan passed on your blog. I wish you nothing but the best of luck. Sometimes the best decisions are the hardest decisions but you have to trust what you and your family feels is best. Having the courage to step away from something that no longer feels right is a huge step but you definitely have the strength to do it. I know you have been a real inspiration for Morgan and I consider myself fortunate to have had the chance to make your friendship. Good luck to you in whatever you do and maybe we will see each other on the roads one day. If you are ever back in Philadelphia, please let us know.
Hi Tina! It is so refreshing to see someone in an elite place sharing this. I wanted to offer you some encouragement as I recently went through the same thing quietly. I was nowhere near your caliber in running but I was running for High Performance West here in Portland for the past year and I had lost my period for the entire time I was training. I have no eating disorder. I eat a lot. I weight more than a lot of runners and I’m comfortable with that. But I still wasn’t having my period. I did bloodwork. I focused on a strength routine. I tried to relax and work a little less. I took CalMag at night to calm down. I focused on my sleep. And then I just stopped running. After a year of no period (and months of periods here and there) I decided that was the cutoff point for me and I knew it wasn’t healthy and I knew that I was losing the ability to build my lifelong bone density and it wasn’t worth it to me. And the down time was super super hard. I worked with a doctor and did bloodwork and tried thyroid medication (which has personally helped me a lot!). I tried to get into yoga or lifting or other forms of exercise to stay active but they ultimately weren’t my passion, so they never satisfied my running desire personally. However, it’s been 8 months and I have had my period every single month for the last 6. I am so proud. I have worked super hard at my running and gone to the edge, but I am telling you, getting that period back took so much strength and hard work and patience too. But it happened! And it is so good. And I know that you will figure this out too. Your journey will be different but you are a determined and strong person and you will find your balance. I am so happy to see all the support you’ve received and I will be cheering you on in your journey to health! Much love to you!
Tina, Brava! I loved seeing that inkling of a smile when you mentioned trampoline and riding. Seek your joy. This is a great time to try new things that seemed “risky” while competing. Or catch up on books or movies? I hope to see you post pictures of the new things you are trying!
I have a “soft” body, wide hips & alarmingly regular periods. I don’t fit the idea of a runner body – my abs never show! There is some body shame (internalized) about this. So I love the pic of your tummy as you build your ‘baby hotel.’ This assures many of us that we are ok not looking like the pictures of elite runners in booty shorts & crop tops, with every muscle defined.
Though I’ve not experienced amenorrhea, I’ve had the heartbreak of deciding to let go of a dream – ironically, horseback riding. I just wanted to be a good equestrian, not compete, but was behind the curve in talent, training and opportunity. I also wanted to hike and backpack, and there wasn’t enough time for both. So I let go of a childhood dream (riding) to pursue a new one (long-distance hiking). I really grieved this, but embraced the opportunity. I spent a month in Wyoming on a backpacking course, and the next year hiked the Appalachian Trail, 2170 miles GA to ME. I was 26. Best decision ever. I continued hiking & doing shorter backpacking trips, while also picking up Swing Dance. In 2010, I met my future husband, and we decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, 2665 miles, in 2011. I got pregnant several months after, and had our daughter 2 weeks shy of 41 years old. (Yes, for some of us, 40 is just the beginning!)
Ironically, the insane fitness of backpacking for 5 months is what led me back to running. I had not run since high school. I was very mediocre then. I believed I was not built to be a runner. But I’d walked the Portland Marathon twice, and planned to do it again in 2011, fresh off 25-mile days on the PCT. I ended up jogging 23 miles of it, not even breathing hard, for a 4:47 finish. (My quads were so sore, tho’!) That changed my belief in what I could do. I started running 1/1/13, when my daughter was 4 months, and finished 3:59:59 in the Portland Marathon that Oct. Since then, I’ve run 50k & 50-mile races, got a BQ last year, and just completed Boston.
Your podcasts helped get me through an injury this winter, when elliptical and stairclimber were my substitute. Thank you so much for your honesty. I totally understand you stepping back. You absolutely need that fire in your belly to take on a tough sport. I said over & over, the people who made it to the end of the AT & PCT were A) stubborn, and B) never lost the fire – that burning desire to keep going.
You can always circle back to running. It will always be there. Until then, enjoy! Seek your bliss! Have fun! You may find a new vocation that surprises & delights you! And please do post pictures of the fun things you try in your newly acquired spare time. 😉