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Tina Muir’s struggle with amenorrhea described in new book

The British runner gave birth to a healthy baby girl last year after battling amenorrhea for nine years. Her new book comes on the heels of her comeback victory at the Disney World half-marathon

British runner Tina Muir, 30, a former British elite runner who lives in Lexington, Kentucky, has published a book entitled Overcoming Amenorrhea: Get Your Period Back. Get Your Life Back. Amenorrhea is the loss of menstrual periods, which has serious implications for women’s athletic performance and their reproductive health. The book details Muir’s nine-year struggle and is intended to support others dealing with the issue.

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Muir was a professional runner and Olympic hopeful with a 4:26 personal best in the 1,500m, 16:08 in the 5K, 34:35 in the 10K, 1:13 in the half-marathon, and 2:37 in the marathon. In 2017 she was training to be a pacer in the London Marathon and run the Gold Coast Marathon, but she was feeling burnt out and lost. Moreover, she had not had her period for nine years, and was terrified that if people found out, they would assume she had an eating disorder. Ultimately she decided to take a long break from running, without knowing if she would ever come back. 

Amenorrhea is one of several hallmarks of RED-S (relative energy deficiency in sport) in women, that can lead to diminished bone health, stress fractures, and a cycle of repeated injury and recovery, not to mention compromising their reproductive health. Muir knew she wanted to have children, and though she was extremely healthy in every other aspect, she describes her inability to conquer her amenorrhea like carrying around a dirty secret. 

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While eating disorders are not uncommon among athletes of both sexes (and can be the reason for RED-S), athletes can fall into a caloric deficit gradually and unwittingly over time. Muir, who knew she needed to consume a lot of calories and who ate a healthy and generous diet, had consulted with numerous health professionals, and in the end felt the only thing left was to stop running, in order for her body to recover from being in “panic mode,” as she calls it.

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🏃‍♀️RACE RECAP PART 4🏃‍♀️ . I could feel myself slowing, I just hoped I wouldn’t hit that point all runners dread, where your legs totally blow up, and you can barely move. . I gritted my teeth. The lead cyclist had told me I had a 2 minute lead, so I could play it safe a little, after leading the entire race, I was not going to give up the high I knew was coming. I had seen the finish line photos at the @rundisney races, and they are spectacular. This was about to be my moment. . The final mile has a lot of twists and turns, and it was hard to recover what little momentum I had left, but finally, I saw it, the finish line up ahead. . I was really going to do it. I, Tina Muir, was going to WIN the Disney World Half marathon less than one year after the birth of my daughter, less than two years since I thought I was saying goodbye to running for good. . I saw Mickey and Donald up ahead, facing away. for a moment I panicked, did they even know I was coming? Would the tape be ready or would I have to tap them on the shoulder and say, “excuse me, I just finished”. . Then I realized why…they were ready for the photo, for what I knew would be one of my favorite photos of my life! . I had the biggest smile as I crossed that line, I tried to take in every one of my senses, I wanted this memory etched in my mind forever. You know how it feels to cross the finish line, the most exhilarating rush, one of the best highs we as humans experience. . And what was even better, I was doing it for the journey, for the experience. Yes, this moment was incredible, but it was about so much more than the finish line. It was about what it represented. That it is possible to train hard while still putting your baby first. That is is possible to find your love of running if you have lost it. That it is possible to find peace and joy with not running as fast as you may have in the past. . Here I was, running 6 minutes slower than my best, but overjoyed. . I was showing that I am not a superhuman who can bounce back and smash my PR soon after having a baby. I was showing that I am just like everyone else out there who is trying to be the best they can be.

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Spoiler alert: Muir’s story has a happy ending. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Bailey Grace, last year. And though it’s taken some time, she has returned to running. Muir won the Walt Disney World Half-Marathon on January 13 in 1:19:45.