GLENDALE, Ariz. — Emily Stutesman crossed the finish line at the Desert Solstice in Marana, the first cross-country race of her junior season, and she couldn’t stop beaming.
She didn’t care what her time was. She didn’t care how many girls finished ahead of her. She made it.
“I just cared that I was in that racing environment,” Stutesman said. “Everybody was there. The tents were set up. I’m hearing the gun go off for the races. I’m watching the races. I just missed the environment, the racing community.”
It was another victory over “Ed,” the name she gave an eating disorder that derailed her life a year earlier, when she was a 15-year-old sophomore at Glendale Deer Valley.
Anorexia had swallowed her up.
Stutesman spent 92 days at Rosewood Center For Eating Disorders in Wickenburg, while her running friends were blazing new trails.
When she got out, she went through another three months of outpatient therapy — group after school for three hours, three days a week — before transitioning into weekly counseling sessions.
Now the high school senior is at a place where she checks in with her counselor only when she feels she needs to; bounces things off her dietician, Amy McCallister, in text messages; and isn’t scrutinizing everything she puts in her 5 feet 4 inch, 110-pound body.
“I feel like I have muscle to build on,” she says. “The nutrition, I know how important it is now, make sure I have enough calories.”